Happy Valentine’s Day! This year, I celebrate my latest loves in the world of personal finance, and say goodbye to some old ones. With so much competing information out there, it can be hard to know where to turn for trusted advice on money. And will the leaders you look up to at the beginning of your financial journey still be the same mentors for you years down the road?
In episode 31 of the Rich & REGULAR podcast, the topic discussed was “Have You Outgrown Your Financial Hero?” That episode from 10/31/2021 inspired me to share this list of the money mentors who I am currently loving. And also, the ones who I may have fallen out of love with.
⬅️ “To the left, to the left… everything you sold me in a box to the left…”
So without further ado, here are the money mentors currently holding the love of the Top 10 spots in my HOMO heart. These just happen to be the content creators who are resonating with me lately that I have in heavy rotation.
My Top 9 Financial Loves
There are 12 of you who stand before me, but I only have 10 roses. Let’s start with MMM.
Peter, a.k.a. Mr. Money Moustache, a.k.a. Triple M, your brazen perspective on personal finance is the cold splash of water that many of us need to wake us up from our bad spending habits. You’re not as active as a blogger anymore, but for good reason. Your blog archive will forever hold a spot as a timeless reference guide, with you wearing the ring as the Godfather of FIRE. You represent the freedom that comes with financial independence. Your spartan lifestyle and dedication to environmentalism are an inspiration. Will you accept this rose?
Rachel, I first stumbled across your book “Money Honey” when I researching different names for my blog. Your book did not disappoint with it’s fun approach and solid info, and your new tips and courses always hit the mark. I was especially impressed by your tribute to The Office in your January 29 post on IG. Will you accept this rose?
John and David, I always look forward to the latest topic you’ll be covering every time my podcast player shows a new episode of Queer Money. As I said in my review of your podcast, discovering your podcast felt like I had finally found my tribe of LGBT money nerds. Thank you for the community you create and the Madonna and other pop-culture infused banter you bring to personal finance. Will you accept this rose?
Paula, I always look forward to the thought leaders you have every week on your “Afford Anything” podcast. Listening to the thorough research and thoughtful questions, I feel like I’m getting a Ph.D in personal finance with every episode. I admire your world-class content and journalistic integrity. Will you accept this rose?
Jeremy, you retired at the ripe age of 36 and haven’t looked back. You offer a fresh, no-nonsense perspective on finance with PFC. Your infographics are clean and to-the-point; and your perspective is spot-on. I’m proud to live in the same city as you (San Diego). Will you accept this rose?
Jaspreet, your YouTube channel and social media quotes are always an inspiration. For those of us pursuing financial independence, I feel like we are all share the Minority Mindset. For that reason, I feel like you offer a universal message of intelligent insight that I think people appreciate right away when they check out your stuff. Will you accept this rose?
Jonathan and Brad, your podcast “ChooseFI,” is a long-standing favorite of mine for my lifelong learning toward Financial Independence; but also, for my learning about life itself. I love how even your sidebar convos–like tangents on sleep hygiene and electronic pollution–are equally valuable and well-researched. Your cameos in the “Playing With FIRE” documentary are a great introduction for anyone unfamiliar with you both. Over 350 episodes into your podcast and, to quote Brad, you’re both doing “quite well.” Will you accept this rose?
Leandra, I think I first stumbled across your content because I was following the hashtag for #financialindependence on IG. I’m so glad you deviated from your dream job of becoming a mathematician for NASA and decided to, instead, use that brilliant brain of yours to break down complex financial concepts for the rest of us at Female In Finance. I’m always learning something new from your insightful infographics on Instagram, and I’m forever in awe of your meteoric rise to social media fame. Over 100K followers just over a year??? Wow!!! Will you accept this rose?
Kiersten and Julien, my favorite moment at FINCON 2021 was the morning I was listening to an episode of your Rich & REGULAR podcast while walking to the Austin Convention Center. My AirPods had your smart and playful banter buzzing in my ears. After entering the convention center and into the main stage auditorium, I heard something familiar. It was both of you on stage giving a keynote, straight out of something I’d expect to see on TED Talks! There you were in my ears while also standing in front of me in person. It was surreal! I love the fun you both bring to personal finance, with sayings like “big booty flatscreen TV” and “too much dip on the chip.” Your continuing success has been well-deserved and is an inspiration to watch. Will you accept this rose?
My Final Rose…
There are 3 of you who stand before me, but I only have one rose left. You represent some of the most established voices of personal finance, with books dating back to the 90s. Let’s start with Dave.
Dave, I’m a huge fan of your impassioned speech on using “gazelle intensity” to outrun the cheetahs of the traditional financial institutions, who want to trap us with inescapable debt. However, your “SmartVestor Pros” service does not clearly articulate this referral network of yours will consist of pros who agree to be fiduciaries to legally act in a client’s best interest. Instead, they agree to the nebulous language of your own branded contract, which you call “The Code of Conduct.” Nor did I see any mention of certifications, like the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) in your network.
Your website also advertises that it will connect people to one of these SmartVestors for “nothing, zilch, nada.” Free consultation sounds an awful lot like they are commission-based. As per the reporting from the PBS special “The Retirement Gamble,” with a portfolio grossing an average return of 7%, a simple 2% fee going to a commission-based financial planner can erode nearly 2/3 of someone’s retirement nest egg over a 50-year period. Anyone in the FIRE community will tell you the same thing: high fees will crush your returns, and relying on actively managed mutual funds (which historically underperform the market) and charging these high fees is a double-whammy.
You’ve also faced criticism for firing an employee for coming out as a lesbian, claiming that she violated your Christian employee-conduct code. I’m a gay man and a Christian, and I believe a person can be both, but you’re welcome to your belief system. My hope is that as the best practices for how to invest evolves, that your company code might evolve as well to something more inclusive approach.
But LGBT issues aside, I worry that even for the chosen ones–those who pass your religious purity test–that you are failing them as well. You do an excellent job of helping people escape the cheetahs of the credit card industry to become debt-free, but then you seem fine throwing them to the wolves when it comes to the standards you set for your network of investment pros.
Robert, your book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” is often cited as the favorite finance book by everyday millionaires and early retirees alike. I purchased your Cashflow board game back in the day and love the way you have been able to teach so many of the money lessons we were never taught in school. However, I heard in a podcast interview about a woman who spent tens of thousands of dollars at your real estate investing seminar and said she wishes she’d used the money on a down payment instead. I had a similar experience at a Rich Dad seminar, where my friend and I were didn’t want to stay and felt like we needed to orchestrate a jail break just to be able get past all the people in the lobby to finally leave. It seems that your Rich Dad brand has strayed off course from where it started by peddling expensive up-sell programs that were not in people’s best interest.
David, you wrote “The Automatic Millionaire,” which is quite possibly my favorite personal finance book of all time. Decades after being published, your books are still national bestsellers. However, some people reject the idea of the Latte Factor and find it unnecessary to give up something as simple as coffee from a coffee shop, when it costs so little and brings them so much joy.
And my final rose goes to…
David, while your Latte Factor may be controversial with some people, I understand the intent of it: to create a simple behavior modification and be the start of more mindful spending. Your recent interview on the Stacking Benjamins podcast titled “People Who Don’t Like The FIRE Movement Don’t Understand It” showed me that your advice and perspective is just as relevant today as it always was. Will you accept my final rose?
How To Do a Little Financial Self-Love
To sum up, we all have the power to use the law of marginal gains and learn a little more about personal finance every day. That’s the “Own” stage of my HOMO Money journey to financial independence: not being reliant on someone else as we start our money journey but instead, learning the basics to operate on our own so we can minimize fees and maximize returns.
If you’re like me, once you dig in you’ll start to hear common threads between the trusted experts who you follow. And after a while, when you hear an outdated sales pitch disguised as financial advice (I’m looking at you, Universal Life Insurance and Whole Life Insurance reps), you’ll steadily begin developing your own financial savvy to avoid the pitfalls that have been made by those who have come before you and eventually reached FIRE. Everyone from Dave Ramsey to Rachel Richards–possibly the two opposite ends of the spectrum on finance–have said that if you buy life insurance, to go with a low-cost “term” policy and don’t buy into anyone promoting life insurance as an investment vehicle.
On a side note, 10 years ago I locked in a term life insurance policy for just $24/month. I bought it in preparation for the day I married and had dependents who would rely on my income. As of today, I’ve been able to grow my net worth to nearly $800K, thereby self-insuring myself for any future dependents. And so, this past week, I gladly cancelled my term policy. But I’m glad I had it for the time I did. Minimizing the amount I paid into life insurance with a term policy for the past 10 years meant I was able to put that much more into my 401(k) and real estate investments.
Atomic Habits says that achieving our goals boils down to simply creating a new habit that you follow every day. In the spirit of self-love, I’d encourage you to start a new habit for your financial well-being. Here’s a few to consider:
- Try listening to at least one podcast episode per week on personal finance during your commute to work or while walking the dog. (POWER TIP: set the playback speed to 1.5X or faster. After a while, you’ll never even notice a difference in the speed);
- Try reading 5 pages a day of a personal finance book before bed; or
- Try watching a short YouTube video on personal finance (such as the ones by Minority Mindset or Money on the Table) before a Netflix binge sesh.
That’s all I got! If you’ve learned anything from this post to help you financially step your p*ssy up and “Own” a more confident financial mindset, I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments!