This interview is the latest in a series of interviews with fellow personal finance bloggers. Today’s guest is Joe from Average Joe Finance.
Average Joe Finance Interview
Who is Joe?
Joe: I’m someone who loves to learn and try new things. I find that the best way to learn anything is to just try it out and learn from your mistakes. Plus, I’m somebody that enjoys helping others succeed.
Why did you start your blog?
Joe: As I mentioned in my background, I really enjoy helping others and experimenting with new ideas. Plus, being an Accountant, I have a deep interest in finance. All of these personality traits sort of came together and I decided to try blogging. I started Average Joe Finance as a way to share my knowledge and love of finance with the largest audience possible.
What are your favorite personal finance books?
Joe: I really enjoy reading about either events in financial history or behind the scenes stories about companies. Some of my favorites include Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and The Big Short by Michael Lewis.
When did you first become financially literate?
Joe: My earliest memory of personal finance is asking my parents to buy me shares of Microsoft and Apple for my 13th birthday. Ever since then I’ve tried to learn as much as I can about investing, saving for retirement and just personal finance in general. My love of business and understanding how money works is what drove me to become an Accountant.
What’s your take on financial education? Parents or school’s responsibility?
Joe: It’s definitely a mix of both. With that being said, I think schools are really letting kids down today by not requiring financial education. Learning how to balance a budget, open a credit card, or use debt responsibly is as important as math and science.
If you died today, would your family be okay from a financial standpoint?
Joe: I hope so. You never want to think about your own death, but I’m always planning for the future. My wife and I both have life insurance policies so that if something would happen the other person would have enough to cover our entire mortgage and monthly expenses for a few years.
What are you teaching (or will you teach) your kids about money?
Joe: I’ll probably focus on the importance of saving and identifying wants vs. needs. Plus, I would want to instill in them that it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from it and keep trying.
What’s one bucket list item you’d like to complete?
Joe: I would love to climb Mount Fuji.
Are you perusing financial independence? (FIRE) If not, what’s your take on the FIRE concept?
Joe: My goal is to build enough wealth that I’m not completely reliant on my job to survive. I’d love to be able to work doing something I’m completely passionate about and not working just for a paycheck. Plus, with the current economic environment, you never know how long your job will be around, so I would love the freedom of having a fallback if we suffered another recession.
Overall, I think the FIRE concept is great. More people need to be building wealth for the future, whether they plan to retire early or not. A lot of people don’t have $1,000 saved, so the more people who learn about FIRE, the better.
What’s one piece of advice you have for someone looking to invest in the stock market?
Joe: Don’t try to time or outsmart the market. Trying to pick individual stocks and determine the exact time to buy or sell is a good way to lose money. Instead, find a good low-cost index fund and dollar cost average your purchases.