When I first read his site I had a feeling it would take off – he tackles personal finances topics like real estate investing, how much to spend on your car, and how to save at 50% of your income while still living well. His aggressive saving and investing rules has helped him achieve his money goal even while living in San Francisco one of the most expensive cities in the country.
Sam has been kind enough to answer some of my questions about him, his blog, and his goals. I look forward to seeing what he brings to the table in the years to come.
Financial Samurai Interview
FS(Sam), could you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure, without revealing too much, I’ve been working for over 10 years, got my MBA part-time because I was pretty worried about getting blown out during the last recession, and am absolutely addicted to all things finance-related!
I love to play the acoustic guitar, unfortunately I don’t play very well. I was introduced to sports very early on and consider sports to be one of my great passions, specifically basketball, tennis, and hacking it up on the golf course with friends.
What motivated you to begin blogging about personal finance?
I’ve always wanted to write a book, but after only one publisher (out of 10) got back to me during the last downturn and asked me to redo several things, I scratched the idea. This latest downturn has spurred me to resume my writing again. The freedom to be able to write and edit whatever you want on your own site is liberating. Who knows, perhaps I’ll still be able to achieve my goal of getting a book published if Financial Samurai continues to grow. Ironically, I’m doing book reviews for some of the same publishers who rejected me!
In addition, I discovered a tennis buddy of mine ran a successful site earlier this year. For the first month we met, he asked me to play tennis every week around 1pm. And each time, I told him I couldn’t because I work. As I learned more about his on-line business, I realized he only works 4 hours a day and lives in a $5 million dollar, 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom condo in The Four Seasons! After that, I was determined to plant my online seed now, so that when I do retire from my job in 10 years I’ll have a steady income and hobby to keep me busy while I travel the world.
Finally, I thoroughly enjoy interacting with the community. Instead of starting dialogues on the many sites I visit, why not just start a dialogue on my own site about interesting topics? Financial Samurai is a place where comments are highly welcome, and questions and statements will always be responded to.
What are your favorite personal finance books?
I enjoy all of David Bach’s Automatic Millionaire series because they are easy to read and have very simple concepts. It really doesn’t get easier than spending less than you earn, and automating your finances does it? I believe with the right process, we all will be rich one day. “Set it and forget it” as RonCo used to always say regarding that rotisserie chicken thingy my wife actually ended up buying!
I’ve probably read 50 or so books on personal finance. Many are gimmicky, some are too long, and others are just plain boring. I admire all authors for being able to put their ideas on to paper and get published. With my site, I get to practice my own writing, while not having to report to anybody but me.
What are some of your favorite posts on the site and why?
One of my favorite posts is “Diamond Engagement Rings: Bling Bling!” because I wrote it not too long after I got married. An engagement ring is such a personal thing, but also very complex. You want to get something proper, while not blowing up your finances as well.
“A Weak Dollar Doesn’t Matter Folks!“: I’m constantly amused by the rash of panic politicians and financial pundits have towards our currency. The US dollar has fluctuated by 50% over the past several years, and really not much has changed. The USD is a symptom of our problems that already exist, rather than a catalyst for problems. I’m very bullish on the USD here.
“The Worst Seat On An Airplane Is The Best Seat In The Office“: I’m constantly traveling for work and always get stuck in the back next to the bathroom for some reason. This goes to show you that being a 100K United Airlines member doesn’t really matter, and one should always check in early if they want a decent seat! I like telling simple stories and related them to personal finance.
“The Dumpster Of Treasure” The article was written earlier in my publishing career and probably hasn’t been read too often, but it’s one of my favorites. It’s a story of an old wise man and a young brash man who dumpster dive for the same treasure, but only one comes up with the goods and soldiers on.
“Losing Your Way To More Money” Despite my relative active lifestyle, I’ve obsessed over weight many times in the past. I can fluctuate from 162-180lbs quite easily, so I finally did a once in for all experiment to understand what keeps the weight off more, exercise or eating right. It’s so simple, and it works.
“We’re Ignorant Idiots! Please Tell Us Why A Flat Tax Isn’t Fair” After doing the math, and thinking things through, I just can’t see why taxing people who are above the poverty line a same percentage of their income isn’t fair. The post has engendered over 100 comments which gave me a big headache, b/c probably a third of those were mine!
As you can see, my favorite posts run the gamut, as I get easily bored writing about just one topic.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next year with Financial Samurai?
I’d like an article to be picked up by the mainstream media one day, but I’m not sure that will happen since I write anonymously. The media understandably needs credibility, and who knows, I may be just a pimple-faced kid in middle school who still gets an allowance from his parents! Seriously, it would be such a thrill to get picked up by the mainstream. It’s one of those check-the-box things in life.
Readership is something I wish to continue building, but I really don’t have a set target. Perhaps a good one is to consistently be a top 100,000 website according to Alexa. There are supposedly some 40 million active websites in the world (200million total), and the top 100,000 garner 70% of all advertisement revenue and viewership more importantly.
It’s very important that Financial Samurai doesn’t take over my life. I tend to immerse myself completely into any project I undertake to the detriment of what’s more important, such as family, work, and friends. The pear tree in my backyard took five years before it started bearing fruit, so I’m prepared to be patient. If I can maintain my writing consistency, I strongly believe 2010 will surprise on the upside!
Thank you Sam so much for being a part of my series. Sam can be found at Financial Samurai and chatting with readers on Twitter.
Joining the Sunday Blogger Series
If you’re interesting in being interviewed as part of the Sunday Blogger series, please feel free to contact me. To keep everything organized I just have a few tidbits to keep in mind:
You’ve been blogging for 3 months on personal finance and/or entrepreneurship.
You’ve publish original content. I want to connect to genuine bloggers, not linking to a spam site. I review all the sites before sending out interview questions.
You’re willingly to promote other bloggers in the series. I don’t expect you to tweet every interview, but I would like interviewees to spread the word on their favorite bloggers. By the way, I don’t want others to just promote the posts here on Couple Money, please share posts from the sites of your favorite interviews. They are some wonderful bloggers out there.