Modest Money on a BoatI don’t have mountains of debt. I haven’t overcome some crazy financial obstacles. I’m not a financial expert with vast knowledge to share. I’m not even willing to disclose my monthly finances in a nice report.

So what the hell am I doing starting a personal finance blog?? Couldn’t I at least make something up and treat this as some fictional story inspiring people with lies? I might go that route if I were some aspiring novelist or if I wanted to play the sympathy card, but I’d rather just be myself. If you are in one of those situations, all the power to you.

No, I am just an average guy facing an average financial situation. It may not be glamorous, but life rarely is.

I do have plenty of financial lessons to share and I want to improve my own personal money management habits. So what better way to kill two birds with two stones? Now let’s rewind things a bit…

My Childhood

By modern day small town standards, I grew up in the classic rags to riches tale. Our family was never penniless and living on the streets, nor were we ever driving around in luxury cars and eating caviar with lunch. We did face our financial challenges and come out of it at a comfortable level though.

When I was still quite young, my parents divorced with me and my sister primarily living with my mom. Our first home after the divorce was a small cottage that was so small it didn’t even have a full bathroom. I remember having to go to the landlord’s house to take baths. Of course I didn’t think anything of it at the time. The fact that the landlord happened to own a monkey must’ve made me actually look forward to those baths. Yes apparently people do really do own monkeys for pets.

When we visited my dad, he at least had a bigger house which he built himself. That’s one benefit to being a carpenter by trade. He lived so far out of town that his house didn’t have running water or electricity. That meant outhouses, propane lighting & appliances, wood stoves and plenty of candles. We even had to use a well for water, which still had to be boiled to be drinkable.

I’m not complaining at all. If anything it taught me to appreciate things other than just money and all the stuff you can buy with it. It was a simple way of life, but enjoyable nonetheless.

It’s easy enough to be ignorant about money as a young child. Most of my friends’ families didn’t have much money either. As you get older though, the differences start to stand out more. Like many parents, they just wanted us to have a normal childhood and not face limitations due to money. So they both worked hard to try to provide a better life for us.

Over the next several years we moved around a fair bit. Gradually we upgraded housing from a cottage to a small apartment to a small house to a townhouse to a medium house and finally onto a decent sized house. Obviously, they were almost all rentals.

During that time my mom bought into a video rental store that she was managing. By high school, I think we would’ve been considered ‘well off’. My mom even went on to become business person of the year in our town of 10,000+ which I am quite proud of.

Anyway that is the coles notes version of my childhood. Later I will go into more detail about how my parents overcame their circumstances to be successful.

Who I Am Today

Jeremy at the zooAt the time of starting this blog I am an unemployed 31 year old website marketer. Although I don’t have an actual job right now, I am making enough money from my own websites to get by. You gotta love a career path that allows you be your own boss if you lose your job.

Since I’ve been working over 10 years as an IT professional, you’d think I would be doing very well financially. I have made decent money, enough to keep me happy with a nice car, big screen tv and other luxuries. I can’t say I’ve always managed my money very well though. I think when you start a career with early promise, it’s natural to assume that money will just keep increasing.

Unfortunately mostly due to lack of self discipline and some mental challenges, I’ve gone through ups and downs. I realize if I had worked harder or made better financial decisions, I would be much better off at this point. I can’t change the past though. I can only work at improving things in the future.

So I consider the start of this blog as a turning point in my life. It’s my chance to learn from my own decisions and the experiences of others. I want to rediscover the joys of living modestly. If this sounds like something that you are interested in, feel free to join me on my journey.

*UPDATE: Later in 2012 my blog helped me secure a great job. I’ve now been there 6 months and really enjoying working for that company. This blog truly has helped me turn around my life in multiple areas.

Also, you can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. I’d love to hear about your personal finance stories.

Blog Dedication

I figure if the author of a book can dedicate a book to his or her sources of inspiration, a blogger can too. So I’d like to dedicate this blog to several people. First of all I’d like to dedicate this blog to my parents since they taught me financial lessons early on in life. I’ve kept these lessons with me throughout life and they continue to be a source of inspiration. They’ve played a major role in how I became the person I am today.

The other person that I want to acknowledge is my high school English teacher Christopher Dryvynsyde. I can’t say he ever taught me much about finances, but he had a major impact on me in other ways. He instilled other life lessons in me, such as being myself and following my dreams. More than any other teacher, he helped prepare me for the real world. Plus he taught me a fair bit about the English language and literature. Unfortunately he passed away towards the end of my time at high school, but I consider myself lucky to have known him. He was truly a great man and a great friend. I know he really touched the lives of many people.