This is the fifty-third in a series of interviews with fellow personal finance bloggers. Today’s guest is John from 60 Minute Finance.
60 Minute Finance Interview
Who is John Madison?
John: I’m a CPA by training, with nearly 30 years experience (ouch!). 2016 marks my “retirement” from full-time accounting work. I’m blessed to be able to step away from full-time work to pursue my passions at 49 years old.
On the personal side, I’m happily married with three kids, one at home, one in college and one on his own. I was born, raised and still reside in Virginia. A proud graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University (Go, Rams!).
My blog is 60minutefinance.com and it was started last year. I noticed how some people spent way too much time on their finances, and others spent hardly any time at all. 60 Minute Finance was created from the idea that most (if not all) of us should be able to arrange our finances in such a way as to never spend more than one hour a month managing them. It may take some extra work upfront to get there, but it is doable. My site shares tips and strategies to help others to meet this goal.
Why did you start your blog?
John: Over the last few years, as my full-time work began to wind down, I began to coach others with their personal finances and lead small group finance classes. Now that I’ve retired from full-time accounting work, I’d like to dedicate more of my time to doing so.
I started the blog for two reasons: (1) I wanted to offer sound personal finance advice at no cost to the reader, as well as additional follow-up resources for students in the small groups I led. Blogging seemed like a great way to do so. (2) I also hope the blog eventually turns into a lead generator for new coaching clients, although word-of-mouth referrals are much more likely.
What are your favorite Blogs?
John: A few of my favorites (besides debtdiscipline.com, of course!):
Oblivious Investor (a fellow CPA!)
Route to Retire
Think $ave Retire
It Pays Dividends (another accountant!)
Our Next Life
When did you first become financially literate?
John: There was no magic moment of clarity. It was more of a multi-year process of trial and error. I made many of the classic personal finance mistakes: spent too much, too much personal debt, no plan, chased investment returns, and bought the wrong type of insurance policies. I paid a lot of tuition to the “school of hard knocks!”.
These poor decisions inspired me to learn about other options. There really is a better way! The lessons I’ve learned are what I want to pass along to my blog readers and coaching clients. Maybe they’ve made a few of the same mistakes and I’d like to show them a way out.
What was the last item you regretted purchasing?
John: While not a recent purchase, the classic buyer’s remorse case in our home is our dining room furniture. A few years ago we purchased a nice set of dining room furniture, including curtains and rug, from a high-end furniture store. The furniture is great, and it looks really nice. The problem? We’ve used it twice. Those were two pretty expensive meals!
The real issue is that we fell in love with “pretty” instead of finding what really matched our personalities and plans for the room. In fact, it’s so “pretty” that we don’t want to mess it up by using it!
It’s much like picking an investment to buy because it looks so good (on paper at least). But if it doesn’t fit into your investment plans and goals, it’s not a good buy. The furniture purchase constantly reminds me to understand our goals first…..then pick the product (or investment, or budget item, etc.).
If you died today, would your family be okay from a financial standpoint?
John: Yes, at least if history is any guide. The future is unknowable obviously, so perhaps a zombie apocalypse would change things. I’ve tried to set up the investments in a really simple, straightforward, tax-efficient way. Having no debt makes it a lot easier to manage.
What are you teaching (or will you teach) your kids about money?
John: Awesome question! Here’s the bottom line: Have a plan. Too often we chase things without thinking about the bigger picture or opportunity cost of other options. Taking time up front to define your goals and dreams is so important. It doesn’t have to be unchangeable or etched in stone, but it should reflect your core values and objectives. Living strictly for today is a short path to debt and financial mismanagement.
Money will slip between your fingers if there is no plan. Count on it. Opt for another choice: plan what you want from life (and your money), then go out and get it.
What’s your dream job? (write-in question)
John: I really enjoy coaching individuals and couples and I’d love to do more of it! Working one-on-one, talking about hopes and dreams and challenges to overcome, then putting together a plan to meet those dreams is really rewarding. I’m a teacher at heart and with having such a strong interest in personal finance, coaching is the perfect blend of the two.