Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Fame through blogging

I have to give it up once again to my friend JD Roth. He's come a long way from the poetry-loving, soccer-playing, girl-crazy kid I once knew. His personal blog inspired the creation of his personal finance blog, Get Rich Slowly, which has become wildly popular and allowed him to quit his day job and blog full-time. Tonight he was interviewed on the local Portland news (I couldn't embed it but here's a link to the video on the KGW site: http://www.kgw.com/video/business-index.html?nvid=253860&shu=1 )

More than that, his success with his personal finance blog has inspired him to tackle the other challenge in his life: weight loss. Having reduced his debt and gotten his financial house in order, he started a fitness blog with his friend Mac called Get Fit Slowly. For those of us who have known JD for years, the idea of a JD who wasn't spending money frivolously on comic books (or just books in general, or photography equipment, or whatever his hobby passion of the moment might be) took a little getting used to. The idea of a JD who has run a 10K race, biked and run a total of 226 miles this year and counting, a JD who is exercising restraint and eschewing "lunch" made up of processed snack cakes? What does this JD even look like?

Judging by the television interview, it's the JD we've known and loved all these years, looking fit and sounding confident. Blog fame sits well with him and it's fame well-deserved because believe me, readers, if JD Roth can do it, you (and I) can do it, too. Good for you, JD! Keep up the great (inspirational) work!

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Get Rich Slowly

My junior high soccer teammate and high school poetry friend, JD, has been having great success with his personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly. JD and I come from the same side of the tracks, I guess you could say. We definitely came from families where money was tight and poorly managed, where personal finance was not something we learned from our parents or had any idea about. JD has always been a passionate fellow, always throwing himself headlong into one thing or another (photography, comic books, animal intelligence...) and I'm so glad that his personal quest to right his finances has evolved into Get Rich Slowly and taken off!

JD and his lovely wife are currently away on a European vacation with her parents. In preparation for his trip, JD asked around to get people lined up to contribute essays for Get Rich Slowly for the duration of his absence. He asked me if I might have something to contribute but I felt I had to say no. It's the busiest time of the year for us and I didn't feel I could give a contribution the thoughtfulness it deserved. An essay for Get Rich Slowly felt like a lot more pressure than something similar for my own tiny blog.

Another thing has been holding me back from taking JD up on his offers to participate on his blog and its associated forums. I'm not sure I'm cut out for "getting rich" (no matter how slowly) in the manner that his most avid readers are likely to appreciate. I want to live fully, I want to live in a manner aligned with my beliefs, and I am not always appreciative of the supposed "savings" trumpeted by many of the converts to frugality who are so excited about the "savings" they experience by shopping at Wal*Mart or switching to generic diapers.

JD's site stays away from ethics and values when addressing personal finance. In fact, JD specifically stated "Ive intentionally kept my political and religious leanings obscure at Get Rich Slowly they have no bearing on personal finance." One of his guest essayists took the opportunity to disagree and laid out why his Christian beliefs affect his approach to personal finances, which (although applying a different set of rules) has much in common with my feelings on reconciling ethics/values and money.

For example, I have posted several times this year about my feelings on big agribusiness and irresponsible corporate farming practices (check my post on Corn, for example). So when someone gives me advice to save money on food by watching for sales or using coupons at big national chain stores that exclusively offer meat that's been treated with growth hormones and antibiotics, fed industrial waste and by-products, and born/bred/slaughtered in ways that I consider to be suspect if not outright inhumane... well, that "savings" doesn't seem like something I want. Other things that I've done (such as my love affair with Flexcar and my lack of car ownership lo these last three and a half years) are not universally practical and of limited use to recommend to people who are more interested in saving a few bucks on generic disposable diapers than in giving up disposable diapers in favor of reusable (but "less convenient") cloth.

I go round and round with myself, wondering where I can or should draw the lines of my personal beliefs. Most of the time, I end up thinking of this awesome Cat and Girl cartoon, which is how I find myself feeling more often than I'd like:

I figure that's probably not the subject for an essay at a personal finance site, especially when the owner is out of the country and wouldn't like to come home to find the place burned to the ground.

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