Welcome to my blog! – My Personal Finance Journey
My name is Jacob. I majored in biological engineering, finance, and Spanish in undergrad in Arkansas, worked for a Dow Jones-listed pharmaceutical company on the East Coast for two years, returned to graduate school in Virginia to get my PhD, and am currently working for a biopharmaceutical development company in Colorado. To read the complete details of me, the purpose of this blog, and why I started it, see the About Me page.
In taking a brief step back and looking at my blog from the viewpoint of a new visitor, I realized it can be very intimidating, since there is SO much content and lots of things to learn (currently 1,400 total posts scattered over almost 6 years now).
Accordingly, to make my blog more accessible, I put together the following starter’s guide to My Personal Finance Journey. As always, if there is anything that doesn’t make sense, please don’t hesitate to contact me and ask a question.
An 11-Step Starter Guide To Staying Sane on My Personal Finance Journey
1. Stay in-touch with new content
This is probably the most important part to getting the most out of My Personal Finance Journey. Since I have started this blog, I have averaged publishing new content/updates every 1-2 days.
New Option for Staying in Touch with Content: My Personal Finance Journey now has an Android App featured in the Android Marketplace. To download the app on your Android Smart Phone, click on the following link.
Also, if you typically surf the Internet with your Smart Phone, be sure to bookmark the Smart Phone Friendly Version of My Personal Finance Journey. It’ll speed up the time it takes to load the site, enabling you to get the content faster!
2. Commenting and asking questions is highly encouraged!
One of the principle aspects of a blog that makes it better and different than a newspaper or magazine is that it is interactive. To maximize this advantage of the blog media-type, I need your input on the content that is published. To do this, simply post a comment using the easy comment form located directly below each post.
3. View my portfolio, net worth, and blogging goals progress updates
Now that we’e covered the administrative stuff, it’s time to dig in to what this site is about. At its core, My Personal Finance Journey, as the name implies, is a story of my quest to learn about finances and optimize my own financial situation.
As such, once per month, I review/analyze my current investment portfolio and net worth against my blogging goals, investment strategy, and financial goals. You can view these updates, as they are published (usually the 1st week of each month), by clicking on the My Portfolio link at the top of any page.
4. Study and understand the My Personal Finance Journey Account Hierarchy
After you have taken a peek at my financial goals and strategy and gotten a feel for my operating principles, it is now time to dive in to the information that you can use/adapt, as recommended by your financial planner, to improve your financial situation.
The single most important article on this site is what I have come to call the My Personal Finance Account Hierarchy. This hierarchy is a list containing 10 uses/accounts, reported in order where the highest money priority is shown first, that your income should be allocated to in order to meet your most basic needs (health) to being able to save for your child’s higher education (icing on the cake).
5. Create your Purpose Focused Financial Plan
After you have studied the Account Hierarchy and have met the basic needs in life (housing, health insurance, etc), it is now time to move towards creating a system I picked up from David Bach’s book, Smart Couples Finish Rich, called a Purpose Focused Financial Plan.
The overall goal of this exercise is to make sure that you are living your life according to 1) the values that you hold most dearest and important and 2) you are working towards fullfilling your dreams. I outlined action steps to create this plan in a 4-Part series earlier this year, which can be accessed at the links below
Part 1 – Determine the purpose of money in your life, Part 2 – Determine your life values, Part 3 – Determine your life dreams, Part 4 – Automate everything and place your dream and life value plan on auotpilot.
6. Create your personalized asset allocation and investment strategy
After you have your Purpose Focused Financial Plan in place and are moving towards fullfilling your life values and dreams, it is now time to set up a personally-tailored investment strategy so that you can meet both 1) shorter term spending/cash needs and 2) long-term horizon savings goals (example – retirement). I created a 6 part guide to implementing this investment strategy earlier this year, which can be accessed from the links below. This series is the “pride-and-joy” of this blog, as it contains the summated knoweldge from about 5 asset allocation books that I have read.
Part 1 – The Liquidity Test, Part 2 – Determine your fixed income asset allocation %, Part 3 – Determine your specific mix of fixed income investments, Part 4 – Determine your international and domestic equity asset allocation %’s, Part 5 – Determine your specific mix of equity investments, Part 6 – Putting it all together – rebalancing and review.
7. Make some free money
After creating your investment strategy, you most likely will have a headache. So, it’s time to have a little fun and make some free money. Read about some of the free money promotions I have taken advantage of, and you can too. Easy money, and it’s fun!
8. Give me feedback
After you have had a chance to look around the site a little, click on the link below and fill out the 60-second My Personal Finance Journey feedback form. It is less than 10 questions and will help me immensely in optimizing this site!
9. Listen to My Personal Finance Journey’s Podcasts
This area will serve as a running list of the Podcasts available of the content from this site. This will make it easy for readers to listen to the Podcasts in an audio format, when a computer is not available to them (i.e in the car or in a train).
You can search for “My Personal Finance Journey” in iTunes or subscribe directly to listen to the Podcasts.
The Podcast Feed is available directly from this URL if you use a service different from iTunes.
- Podcast #1 – Account Hierarchy and The Correct Order to Prioritize Funds
- To download the mp3 audio file, click on the following link – Download Podcast #1
- Podcast #2 – Building Your Emergency Cash Fund
- To download the mp3 audio file, click on the following link – Download Podcast #2
More Podcasts on the way soon!
10. Visit the Blog Store and pick up some nifty thrifty merchandise!
11. Have fun!
I know I don’t have to tell you all this, but my blog is not Personal Finance class in college or high school. So, take things one day at a time, and HAVE FUN WITH IT!
Thanks again for reading! Keep on learning!