Category Archives: Blogging

New York Personal Finance Meet Up

I did not have the opportunity to attend Fincon 2017.  This blog was newly created in April and in all honesty, FinCon was not even on my radar of things to do this year.  After reading the many blog posts about FinCon 2017, I am defiantly going to attend next year’s event in Orlando, Florida.  I was, however, able to attend the New York Personal Finance Meet Up (#NYPFMeetUp).

The New York Personal Finance Meet Up was not a formal convention.  There were not any vendors or presentations.  It was an informal meet-up of people from the RockStar Finance Forum and the FinCon Community.

Most of the people who attended the meet-up were from New York City.  I was one of the few people who came from out of town to attend.  To attend this event, I traveled from my home in Pennsylvania.

When you think of New York City, you normally do not think of it as a place to live if your goal is to reach financial independence or early retirement.  Don’t get me wrong, Manhattan is about making big money.  It is also about spending big money because of the high cost of housing, taxes, transportation, and just about everything else.  The group of people who I met prove that you can reach financial independence while enjoying everything that New York City has to offer.

Prior to attending the event, there were some people who I wanted to meet because I was familiar with them from the financial independence community.  There were others in attendance who I did not know.  The financial independence community is very big and it is hard to read everyone’s work.  As the result of attending the event, I had the opportunity to meet a few new people and am looking forward to reading their blogs in the future.

Stefanie O’Connell

I was the first person to arrive at Tacombi in the Flatiron Section of New York where the meet-up took place.  I was only there for about two minutes and Stefanie O’Connell arrived.  Stefanie asked me if I was there for the blogger meet-up and our conversation took off from there.  Stefanie is a big deal in the financial independence space.  She is a full-time professional blogger and has been at it for 5 years.  She has over 10,000 followers on Twitter and has been featured many times in the financial media.  Stefanie’s target audience is millennial women who want to be as confident with their money as they are in their lives.  Stefanie O’Connell has an impressive blog and is doing a great job at helping her audience reach financial independence.

Chief Mom Officer

The second person to arrive was Liz from Chief Mom Officer.  She did not have to introduce herself because her gravatar is of her likeness.  Like me, Liz traveled from out of town to attend this meet-up.  Liz was one of the bloggers who I was looking forward to meeting.  I stumbled upon her blog not long after my own blog was launched.

Even though I am not a mom, I can relate to Liz in other ways.  We both attended college and graduate school the hard way.  We worked full time jobs in the day and went to school in the evening while managing our other responsibilities.  Liz’s blog is about reaching financial independence, raising her three children, and caring for her husband who has serious health issues.  At first, I was going to write that Liz is a good role model for moms, but she is a great role model for everyone to follow.

I had a great conversation with Liz about blogging and personal finance.  As a new blogger, she gave me some solid information on growing my blog.  We also spoke about her recent experience at FinCon.  She gave me some tips and suggestions for next year’s event.

Big Law Investor

Another personal finance blogger who I was looking forward to meeting was Joshua from Big Law Investor.  As the title of his blog suggests, Joshua is a lawyer and personal finance blogger who is living in New York City.  While Joshua’s blog is about personal finance for lawyers, the principles that he writes about are useful for anyone who wants to achieve financial independence.

Even though I am not a lawyer, I enjoy reading his articles that are written for lawyers.  His posts about the legal profession are objective and educational.  He writes about the challenges that lawyers face in their career, with student loans, and as investors.  I would highly suggest his blog to anyone who is interested in personal finance or is considering attending law school.  It was a pleasure to meet and chat with Joshua.  He is a rising star in the financial independence community.

The Luxe Strategist

It was also a pleasure meeting Luxe from The Luxe Strategist.  She and I launched our blogs around the same time.  We also follow the progress that each other is making.

Luxe was one of the coordinators for this meet-up.  Luxe is living an awesome life in New York City.  She writes about saving 50% of her salary while indulging in the finer things that New York City has to offer.  Who says you cannot have the best of both worlds?  If you want to learn how to have a high savings rate while living a posh lifestyle, check out The Luxe Strategist.

Pleasant Surprises

Again, since there are so many people in the financial independence space, it is hard to know everyone unless you are J. Money.  Another new blogger who I met at this event was Church from My Mattress Money.  I enjoyed chatting with Church.  I am not just saying that because he is a Philadelphia Eagles fan.  He and I had a good conversation about how important it is to first focus on reaching financial independence before considering early retirement.   His blog is about one year old and has some great content about tracking your net worth, insurance, and how his family shaped his views about money.

As the meeting went on, I had some other great conversations.  I had an interesting conversation with a gentleman named David.  We spoke about using Pinterest to grow blog traffic, the optimal frequency for blog posts, and about different personal finance forums.

About 15 minutes before the meeting was scheduled to end, a gentleman named Jack walked over to me and struck up a conversation.  I was not familiar with Jack’s blog because he is not on RockStar Finance.  Jack explained how his blog is about travel hacking.  He also explained to me how he gets to take great trips for almost free by applying travel hacking strategies.  Jack and I exchanged contact information and he has provided me with some solid tips on how to implement these practices.  Thanks Jack, you rock!

Conclusion

As you can tell from my post, I had an awesome time.  It was great to be able to meet this group of people who are working towards financial independence, helping others, and living exciting lives in New York City.

There was only one part of the evening that I regret.  As my wife and I were walking back uptown to catch our bus home, I realized that I did not get to talk with everyone who attended the meeting.  It was my fault for not taking the time to introduce myself.  It was difficult because there were 15 people at the meeting, the meeting was only 2 hours long, and as you can imagine the conversations with this group of dynamic people went way beyond small talk.  Next time, It will be my priority to talk with everyone who attends.

 

Six Month Blog Review

Thank you for taking the time to read about my first 6-months as a personal finance blogger.  I have read that reaching the 6-month point is a major milestone because it is when many bloggers call it quits.  The past 6-months have gone by in a flash.  Creating The Financial Journeyman has been an educational experience.  Other than being a learning experience, it has fun to try to be creative and to watch the blog develop.

What I have most enjoyed about creating this blog is the interaction with other bloggers in the personal finance space.  Everyone has been friendly.  Whenever I reached out to someone with a question, they have always been willing to assist if they were able to do so.  It is such a great experience to be part of a community that is working towards helping others to improve their financial situation.

Along the way, I have interacted with people from many different walks of life and who are in different financial situations.  There are moms who blog about their family finances, Asian finance bloggers, Millennials, Gen-Xers, Baby-Boomers, and Professionals.  There are blogs that focus on getting out of debt, budgets, dividends, index fund investing, financial independence, and early retirement.

Launching the Blog

I did not know what to expect with this blog.  I do not classify myself as being technically savvy, but more along the lines of technically functional.  My blog was created and launched on April 8th, 2017.  My good friend, Tim @timtekk volunteered a whole Saturday of his time to build the blog.  Without him, this blog would not exist.  He is also my go to guy when my Word Press plugins are not working correctly.

My First Post

The first post that I published was about how my grandmother taught me about money when I was just a boy.  I did not know if anyone would ever read it.  The post was only about a day old and it received a comment.  The first comment that I received was from @My_Sons_Father.  He gave me encouragement and I appreciated that.  A few weeks later, J. Money commented on the post.  I was taken aback knowing that J. Money stumbled across my new blog that had only 3 posts at the time.  That motivated me to keep at it.

Performance Metrics

The first few months of traffic was slow.  Traffic did pick-up, however, after I became more involved on The Rockstar Finance Forum.  My big spike in traffic came when I joined the “chain gang” for the Drawdown Strategy.  By being active on Rockstar Finance, I have been able to interact with many great people.  September was my best month because I had a post featured on RockStarFinance.com.    Below are the traffic metrics for the past 6 months:

April

  • Pageviews – 415
  • Sessions – 228
  • Pageviews/Sessions – 1.82

May

  • Pageviews – 645
  • Sessions – 323
  • Pageviews/Sessions – 2

June

  • Pageviews – 1,325
  • Sessions – 711
  • Pageviews/Sessions – 1.86

July

  • Pageviews – 1,980
  • Sessions – 1,062
  • Pageviews/Sessions – 1.86

August

  • Pageviews – 1,450
  • Sessions – 821
  • Pageviews/Sessions – 1,76

September

  • Pageviews – 3,822
  • Sessions – 2,720
  • Pageviews/Sessions – 1.40

Earnings

In the first six months, I have joined Amazon Associates, Google AdSense, The Pepperjam Network, and CJ.  Below are the metrics for the past six months:

Amazon Associates – $13.35

Google AdSense – $19.30

Pepperjam – $0.00

CJ – $0.00

The earnings have not been great.  However, Jim @RouteToRetire explained that this is a process that takes time.  The monetization goals for this blog are primary based on paying for expenses and sustainability.

Top Traffic Sources

Rockstarfinance.com – 1,770

Direct – 950

Twitter – 363

Google – 304

Forums.rockstarfinance.com – 114

Directory.rockstarfinance.com – 79

Top Posts and Pages

How the Mob Influenced My Asset Allocation – 2,055

Home Page – 272

Blog Page – 259

Early Retirement Portfolio & Plan – 135

The Aldi Experience – 91

About Me – 82

Twitter

Prior to launching The Financial Journeyman, I had a twitter account, but only used it for following financial writers, a few financial bloggers, and mainly my favorite sports teams.  Twitter has been a source of my relative success.  I have used to communicate with many of the top financial bloggers.  My Twitter metrics are:

Following – 4,406

Followers – 2,005

Tweets – 1,713

Likes – 2,110

Conclusion

I waited six months to publish any type of metrics on my blog.  Moving forward, I am going to publish a quarterly blog performance report.  These types of posts are not my favorite to write because I feel like I am creating a report for my boss.  However, I do feel that publishing these reports are a great way to track progress, celebrate success, and motivate others.  There have been a few other big moments for The Financial Journeyman, but they were not metrics driven.  I will write more about them in my end of year review post in late December.

How do my metrics compare to your first six-months of blogging?

Do you think my blog is heading in the right direction?

Blogger Recognition Award

I would like to start by thanking A Journey to FI for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award.  The Financial Journeyman is only six months old and this recognition is a big deal to me.  There are many personal finance blogs.  It is easy to get lost in the crowd.  It is an honor to be mentioned among some of the best bloggers in the personal finance space who were also nominated for this award.

The Blogger Recognition Award

The Blogger Recognition Award is an award for bloggers that is given by fellow bloggers.  It is like the (chain letters) from the past.  There are no superstitions, however, if you do not participate with the Blogger Recognition Award.  If you want to join in, nominate other blogs that you enjoy reading and pass it on.  The nice thing about this award is that it both shows recognition and helps other blogs to be discovered.  Fellow bloggers will also appreciate that you noticed their hard work.

Why I started blogging

I have always had the dream of being a personal finance writer.  I never thought that it was possible because I did not have a dual Journalism/Economics degree from an Ivy League University.  I am also not a financial advisor, so I did not feel like I had the industry credibility.

Reaching financial independence has been my goal since my first year of full-time employment.  I started studying about building wealth and investing in 1997.  That was also when I started saving and investing as much as possible while I was working on an assembly line in the day and attending college at night.

Over the years, some friends learned that I was passionate about investing.  Many of them asked for my help.  Some even asked if I would help their relatives.  Along the way, I have helped many people to create a financial plan and to set up their investment accounts.

My friend Tim suggested that I start a blog.  He is an IT guy and said that he would set up my WordPress account for me since I helped him with his investments.  I gave it a few weeks of thought and decided to take him up on the offer.  It just took off from there. There was not a well thought out strategic plan.  I just wrote down a few ideas and started working.

Advice for New Bloggers

Tip #1

Have fun with your blog.  Enjoying your blog is crucial because nobody will read it more than you do.   Be true to yourself.  Write what you are passionate about.  Read more than you write.  Spend as much time possible doing research on what you want to write about.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  There is an audience for every stage of the process.  People are searching for information from others who have experienced a similar situation. Provide them with the content that they are looking for.  Help them, entertain them, become a resource.  You never know, you might even make a friend or two along the way.

Tip #2

Get involved with the online communities that are related to your genre.  Prior to creating my blog, I have read forums and a few blogs.  I never commented or communicated with the authors.  The day that I launched my blog, I created a twitter account to go along with my blog.  I jumped right it.  I started commenting and sharing as much as possible.  It is much better to be part of a pack than to be on an island.  Most bloggers want to help other bloggers succeed.  Make use of what other bloggers can offer.  Before you know it, you will be helping people as well.

My Nominees (not in order)

Actuary on Fire

My Sons Father

Life Zemplified

Optimize Your Life

Route to Retire

Adventure Rich

Our Financial Path

Maximize Your Money

Cyinnovations

Wall Street Physician

Chronicles of a Father with Cents

Chief Mom Officer

My Strategic Dollar

Rules for paying it forward

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post about being nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award.
  • Give a brief story of how/why you started blogging.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  • Select between 10 -15 bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Let the people know that you nominated them for this award and provide them with a link to your post.