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Tag Archives: personal finance

Why Your Work Ethic Is More Important than Anything Else with Catherine Alford [TDI107]


People often like to play up the importance of “luck” or being in the “right place at the right time,” when in reality, we all know what drives success: work ethic.  Hard work may not guarantee success, but it virtually eliminates the chances that you will fail forever (assuming you don’t give up).

Today’s guest, Catherine Alford (Cat), is a prime example of this.  She does what a lot of people do (freelance writing and blogging) in a niche that is saturated with writers (personal finance), yet she recognized early on that she could push through these barriers simply by working harder than other people (and not being afraid of rejection).

In this interview, Cat talks about how she got into blogging, the challenges she overcame, and how she managed to get published by The Huffington Post.  As you’ll find out, there was no magic at work here: she was persistent, worked extremely hard, and it ultimately paid off.

If you’ve been feeling like you’re spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere, this interview will give you the much needed motivation to put in some hard work.

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Learning About the Only REAL Way to Be Unique as a Blogger with Ashley Barnett [TDI106]


Time and time again, we read advice about how “being unique” and finding a way to stand out is the path to success as an entrepreneur (especially online).  Today we have another story that simply underscores this point even further.

Ashley has an interesting entrepreneurial story because she does a mix of things: she runs a personal finance blog, manages a landscaping company remotely, and has also written and published a Kindle eBook.

In this interview, she not only tells us about her journey and background, but talks about some difficult challenges she’s had to overcome, and explains how she stands out with her blog by being unique (and actually tells us what that means to her).


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“Don’t Quit, Get Laid!” – Leaving Wall Street for Blogging with Sam from Financial Samurai [TDI042]


Note (7/8/14): This interview was originally published on 3/10/14. This week, we’re going to feature some of my favorite interviews that were published when The Daily Interview was brand new, that many of you may have missed. As I’m busy packing and getting ready to move to a new home later this month, I’ve decided to take another week off from posting new interviews. Don’t worry though – we’ll be back with new interviews starting next Monday. In the mean time, enjoy this one! 🙂

There are few people I admire more than Sam Dogen, the mastermind behind the blog Financial Samurai.

I love a great entrepreneurial story, but I especially love when it involves leaving behind a very successful career to pursue a genuine passion.  In Sam’s case, he worked on Wall Street for 13 years before his passion for blogging (and doing other projects on his own) pushed him to want to leave his job (in addition to feeling burned out).

Here’s where things got interesting: He didn’t quit. He engineered a layoff that basically allowed him to get paid a six-figure sum in the form of a severance package.

Even better, his blog has been a massive success (his writing is very interesting, especially if you’re into personal finance), and I think it still has room to grow.

You can read the interview to find out the rest of his story.

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How a Doctor Dominated a Super Specific Blogging Niche with James M. Dahle, MD [TDI103]


It’s extremely common for bloggers to select a popular niche and dig right into it.  The good bloggers will find a way to bring out their unique voices and perspectives, but there typically isn’t a lot of real innovation.

But to take a very popular and saturated niche – like personal finance – and carve out your own sub-niche that you can dominate (almost completely), is a completely different story.  It also serves as a great lesson that even something like blogging can still be open to innovation.

Today’s interview features James M. Dahle, MD, an emergency physician.  As a CPA who has worked with doctors before (as clients), I’ve seen how many people in the medical profession often don’t understand (or don’t care to understand) personal finance, which leaves them open to less-than-noble individuals who can take advantage of them.  And that’s why James created his blog – to help other doctors better understand personal finance.

As you’ll read in this interview, James has found a way to really make a name for himself (and his blog) by providing information that generally wasn’t available before (to doctors) – or at least, not with the same depth that James offers.  He also explains what types of monetization work well for his blog, and gives some advice on how other bloggers may be able to find similar success.

Enough from me – let’s get to the interview.

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Succeeding with Authenticity and Financial Sexiness with Shannon from Financially Blonde [TDI098]


“Be yourself” is pretty common advice, but it often helps to see it in action.

Shannon, blogger at Financially Blonde and owner of NextGen Financial, has taken this advice to heart.  As a professional financial advisor, Shannon has used her personality as a key differentiator and a way to really connect with her audience (and clients).

In this interview, we not only discuss Shannon’s background, but we talk about how she’s been able to stand out in the personal finance niche, why she doesn’t feel comfortable pushing products on her blog, and why she doesn’t really believe she makes money from ads or affiliate links.  However, she also mentions how her blog does actually help her earn an income.

Give it a read, and be sure to leave a comment. 🙂

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Discussing One of My Favorite Sources of Passive Income with Peter Renton from Lend Academy [TDI092]


I’m a big believer in doing what you can to build sources of passive income.  Like most good things in life, passive income isn’t very easy to obtain.  It’s a wonderful thing once it’s established and you’re reaping the benefits. But generally, if you want to build a decent source of passive income, you need to invest time or money (or some combination of the two).

The least time consuming way to build passive income is by investing money.  For example, some stocks pay dividends, bank accounts pay interest (although that’s close to non-existent in today’s low rate environment), and rental properties earn rental income. 

All of these require you to risk your money.

As you might expect, the more risky the investment, the higher the potential return is (along with a greater chance for loss).  As a potential investor, one of your goals is to find investments that have a worthwhile return, given the risk.

With all of this in mind, we turn our attention to peer-to-peer lending (also sometimes called “social lending”).  In simple terms, this is when you lend money to another person, and that person repays you with interest.

Practically speaking, there are online platforms that allow borrowers to crowd source these funds.  In other words, someone might need to borrow $10,000, but you only have the ability to invest in $25 of that loan.  The nice part about these online platforms is that they help you remove some of the potential risk by evaluating the borrower (credit check, employment status, etc.) and giving you that information before you invest.

When selected correctly, many of these investments can provide a relatively high rate of return for a relatively low amount of risk.  Personally, I’ve been a big proponent of investing through Lending Club (affiliate link). You can read about exactly how I invest with Lending Club here.

In today’s interview, we talk about peer-to-peer lending with one of the industry’s experts – Peter Renton.  He discusses how he got started in the industry (with his blog, Lend Academy), what he thinks about the current peer-to-peer lending websites, and what he believes the future holds for this relatively new (and evolving) form of investing.

If you’re at all interested in this type of passive income, definitely check out the interview below!

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Soaking Up the Wisdom of 9 Years of Blogging Experience with Shane Ede [TDI091]


There are a lot of ways to measure success, but sometimes success is as simple as survival and longevity.

Shane Ede has been a blogger for over 9 years, which undoubtedly makes him one of the more experienced bloggers in existence today.  Although many were blogging back when he started, I’d venture to guess that most of them don’t blog today (aside from the successful ones, who probably make up a very small percentage).

In this interview, Shane and I discuss some basic areas of blogging, given that he’s seen it all.  We talk about monetization, growing traffic, and how someone can actually compete in a really competitive niche.  There really are no secret ingredients as you’ll find – sometimes it’s just a matter of learning from mistakes, being persistent, and being yourself.

Let’s get to the interview…

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Helping People Save Over $1.3 Billion for Retirement with Chad Parks from The Online 401(k) [TDI085]


If you work at a regular job, perhaps in a corporate environment, your retirement savings is probably easy to manage.  You set a % of your salary aside each paycheck to go into the company’s 401(k) plan, and it’s pretty much hands off from there (at least, for awhile).

As an entrepreneur, small business owner, or freelancer, this can get a bit more tricky.  It may not be clear what your options are, and if you’re extremely busy, you might neglect to ever figure it out.  And when that happens, you’re setting yourself up for failure in retirement.  Even if you do put money aside for retirement, you may be “leaving money on the table” by not approaching it with the right strategy.

Today’s interview features Chad Parks, founder of The Online 401(k).  He has a unique online business that helps small business owners save for retirement.  In an industry where people can be greedy and unethical, Chad’s business aims to take the mystery out of saving for retirement.  In this interview, we discuss how his business started back in 1999, to where it’s gotten to today – helping people save over $1.3 billion for retirement.

This is a pretty inspiring interview, with a lot of important information for every entrepreneur. 

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Getting Inside the Mind of a Millennial with Erin Lowry [TDI084]


I think millennials today have a pretty bad reputation.  As one myself, I can see truth in a lot of the stereotypes (they’re stereotypes for a reason), but I think millennials are also misunderstood simply because they have a different approach to life.

Here are some of the (negative) stereotypes:

  • Lazy
  • Short attention span
  • Feeling of entitlement
  • Require constant praise

While some millennials may show some or all of these characteristics, part of the problem is that older generations may view these characteristics out of context.  For example, it may not be that millennials necessarily have short attention spans – it may be that they are always motivated to move onto something better.  Technology in general has enabled us to be more efficient (while also providing more distraction), which I think plays a large role in what might be perceived as “short attention span.”

Another millennial trait – which is in line with all of the characteristics above – is the fact that millennials often don’t work at one job for too long.  In addition, many pursue self-employment.  It’s not because they are “lazy” and don’t want to stay dedicated to a job, but they prefer to live their lives with more flexibility.

It’s not uncommon for a millennial entrepreneur to take random days off from work, yet still put in a 50+ hour week.  It’s all about flexibility – working when you are at your most effective and efficient.  It may not fit into the standard “9 to 5” work day, which is why older generations struggle to define this characteristic, and are quick to use labels like “entitled” or “lazy.”

The reason I’m discussing millennials in some detail, is because my guest today (Erin Lowry) has a blog, Broke Millennial, that focuses on personal finance from the perspective of a millennial.  In the interview, we talk briefly about her journey, and we also touch upon the fact that her professional life (working multiple jobs, freelancing, etc.) fits the typical “millennial” profile, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Enjoy this quick interview, but also feel free to comment on what you think about millennials and how they are perceived. 

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Why You Should Get a College Degree, Even as an Aspiring Entrepreneur with Justin Bouchard [TDI081]


As a college educated person (I have both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Accounting), I’m a big proponent for higher education.  I realize it’s not for everyone though.

I think it’s somewhat common for entrepreneurial minded people (or those who may actually have a functioning business of their own) to think that college is a waste of time/money, especially when they ultimately won’t need a degree for whatever they need to do.  That’s why I was pretty excited to interview Justin from My University Money to get his thoughts on the topic.

In addition, we also discuss how and why he started his blog, some of his successes, and some advice for people who may just be starting out in the world of blogging.  Justin has a pretty interesting story about how he created and now runs a blog with a partner (vs. doing it alone like many people do).

Check it out, and leave a comment to let us know what you think!

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