Interview Series: 60 Minute Finance

This is the fifty-third in a series of interviews with fellow personal finance bloggers. Today’s guest is John from 60 Minute Finance.

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. 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.

60 minute finance

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!)
Early-Retirement.org
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.

60 minute finance

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 stand point?
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.

20 thoughts on “Interview Series: 60 Minute Finance”

    1. John -Thanks so much for being part of the series! Couldn’t agree more about having a plan for your money! Continued success with your coaching. So important to help spread the financial literary word.

    1. Thanks, Gary. Glad you liked it.

      It really is possible to get your financial management time to under 60 minutes a month. It takes some work to get there, but it’s well worth it!

      John

  1. Thanks for the shout out John!

    I didn’t realize you retired from full-time accounting work this year..I’m currently going through my audit this week so I wish I was right there with you!

    Congrats on “retiring” before 50 and being able to move to something you really enjoy doing! A great accomplishment!

    1. Thanks, Thias, and thanks for your work at It Pays Dividends.

      Yes, retirement from full-time work is great. I really enjoyed my career, but after 28 years it had lost some of it’s luster. Still, it was a great ride and provided for me and my family.

      Now on to bigger and better things!

      John

    1. Thanks, Amy. Both of my daughters had Roth IRA’s by their mid-teens. 50 years of compounding should really help those investments!

      Hopefully they’ll stick with it. As with each of us, it’s up to them to stay diligent and see it through.

      Thanks again.

      John

  2. It’s great that you retired and now found a new passion. Welcome to the blog world. I like idea of teaching others as well, and by having a blog you are sort of a teacher by sharing knowledge.

    1. Thanks for the comment, EL. I’m looking forward to seeing where blogging takes me. Hopefully it will be a vehicle to reaching more people to further their financial education.

      Thanks again.

      John

  3. Hey John!

    Congrats on retiring early to pursue your passions. That is awesome! I am on that path and hopefully will be where you are within the next 10 years or so. Im in my mid 30s now but trying really hard to be financially independent.

  4. It is true that some people spend too much time on their finances. I’m from the opposite end of the spectrum and working my way towards being better informed and just wise and well balanced with money – but I sure wouldn’t want to go too far and become obsessive about it. 60 minutes per month is a surprisingly short amount of time. When I read “60 minutes a . . . ” I thought that “week” would follow – not month.

    1. Hi, Prudence. Thanks for your comment.

      The 60 minutes per month is the end goal, not how much time everyone should spend today regardless of their current financial condition. I know when we first started budgeting and taking control of our total financial picture we spent much more than an hour a month on it. My objective with the site is that folks will eventually get to only needing to spend 60 minutes a month on their finances. For some, this would be an increase in time. For others (like you and me!), it would be a decrease.

      Of course, as the saying goes, personal finance is 80% personal and only 20% math, so if someone enjoys spending more time on their finances, great – go for it! I know I spend more time on my investments than I recommend for most people simply because I enjoy it! Do what works for you! But it’s nice to be in the position (after some work upfront) to only NEED (if you choose) to spend 60 minutes a month on your finances!

      Thanks again for your comment!

      John

    1. Thanks, Jordan. I appreciate your positive words. Hope you’ll subscribe to my blog at 60minutefinance.com!

      Take care,

      John

  5. I love to hear the background on fellow bloggers out there, so this was great!

    And thanks for the shout out on my blog, John – I really appreciate it and I’m glad you enjoy it!

    — Jim

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