Christopher Guest Post: Get Money Got Money

Welcome to the latest Christopher Guest post. Today’s lucky guest is a young man who caught my attention with a guest post entitled What Hiking 700 Miles Taught Me About Money and Life. I’m a big fan of walking, but WOW! That is one long walk.

I first saw the post on Pauline Paquin’s Reach Financial Independence, and learned that the author, Brian Groener, has a site of his own known as Get Money Got Money.

The recent college grad has wisdom well beyond his years, a fact that should be quite evident as you wade through the proceeding paragraphs.

 

What’s a Christopher Guest post?

 

Get Money Got MoneyInspired by Nigel Tufnel, the character portrayed by Christopher Guest in Spinal Tap, I took Mr. 1500’s ten questions, and amped them up to eleven.

 

If you’re not familiar with the scene, take 50 seconds to watch this video and enjoy the dialog between Nigel and Rob Reiner.

 

I decided I’d start a Q&A of my own. Not satisfied with just ten questions, “this one goes to eleven”. Just like Nigel’s amplifiers.

 

Presenting: Get Money Got Money

 

What do you do for a living? What do you like best about your job? If you were a physician, what type of a physician do you think you would be? Why?

First of all, what’s up every one?! My name’s Brian and I recently graduated from James Madison University in 2016 and am currently working at an engineering firm just outside of Philadelphia. But as for what I like best? I think it would have to be the fact that I’m constantly learning. I love to explore and am a very curious and inquisitive person by nature. So even though I just got done with 20 years of school I get to find out something new every day at my job which keeps me excited and on my toes.
Admittedly, I don’t know much about physicians. Tough word to spell too. Even though I’m an engineer I’m certainly not a genius so me trying to be a physician would probably be a disaster. That being said, I’d be interested in being a pediatrician because I love working with and being around kids. Their energy and perspective on the world fascinates me!

[PoF: What’s it like to earn money at 22? Most of us were just going deeper into debt at that age.

I once thought I’d like to be a pediatrician, too, but in medical school I realized my fondness for playing and tutoring children doesn’t translate well to treating sick kids and neurotic parents.

Regarding the spelling of physician, I see multiple misspellings in the search engines that lead people to this site every day. It’s impressive.]

 

Describe your blog and tell us why your blog would appeal to a physician seeking FIRE in eleven sentences.

My blog is about my journey to financial independence from the very beginning of my first “real world” job, which I started in the late Fall of 2016, to the point where I hit FI.

The majority of other personal finance blogs were started much later along the way or after the author had already reached their goal. Another unique aspect to my site is that there aren’t many written by people my age (I’m currently 22) who have just graduated and are trying to figure out how to best take care of their money.


I also try to keep my content real, transparent, honest, and relatable so anyone interested in these topics can jump right in and not be totally lost. I’m no comedian, but money and finance in particular can be serious and boring at times so I want to bring a more light hearted approach to it while also giving some good advice.

Getting rich is easy if that’s what you’re after, all you need is some common sense and a few tips which I try and provide. However, I’m also trying to get the point across that everyone needs to start looking at money differently and realizing that being rich is not what’s going to make them happy but autonomy, connectedness, and fulfillment will.

As far as why my blog would appeal to a physician seeking FIRE? Well, it might not and that’s fine. But I think in the end, all of us want the same thing which is independence and the freedom to do what we love on a daily basis.

If that’s you then we’ll get along just fine and you’ll probably enjoy my site!

[PoF: If you think money is boring, you clearly haven’t seen Wall Street. Or Brewster’s Millions. But of course you haven’t. Those movies are older than you by eight and ten years respectively!

Although I’ve got nearly two decades on you, my approach is fairly similar. The main difference is I started my site post-FI, whereas you can share your journey as you make progress towards it. There are a lot of newly minted physicians with a zero or negative net worth who read this site that could benefit from your perspective.]

 

What inspired you to start a blog of your own? Was there a particular event you remember that made you feel your blog had arrived? Any big plans for your blog in the future?

2 reasons.

1. I want to help people and I feel like if people can learn from the mistakes I go through and benefit from the good moves I make then I’ve helped to make the world just a slightly better place.

2. I’ve always wanted to start my own business and although I am currently not making any income from my site (and don’t really plan to anytime in the near future), this is sort of my first step in that direction. Building a business is all about creating an audience to consume your product whether that product is an iPhone or a blog post.

I don’t feel like my blog has arrived at this point yet to be totally honest with you. It’s still quite small and I’m okay with that. My goal is to hit 10,000 page views per month sometime in the near future, which would be a big landmark for me, but I still have a ways to go before I get there. I was recently featured on some awesome personal finance sites and even on this site’s best of (thanks!!) all of which were great moments but I still have quite a bit of grinding left before I can say I’ve really gotten to where I want to be.

As for future plans, I recently started a podcast that’s only airing on my site at the moment. I want to release more episodes of it and eventually get it going on Apple Podcasts. I’d also like to reach out to people like Mr Money Mustache and Vicki Robins and see if I could work with them in any capacity. It’s probably a longshot, but could you imagine if that somehow worked out??

[PoF: It probably is a long shot, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get. It’s probably best to build an audience before approaching the big names in FI, but you’re smart to aim high.]

 

Give me eleven posts you think Physician on FIRE readers might want to read.

 

67 SEO Blogger Tips

The Mr Money Mustache Story

The Root Of Good Story

Lifestyle Design

JCollins Stock Series

JCollins Money Manifesto

Make Money Blogging

Hiking, Money, and Life

Start your FI Journey

Don’t Fear Wall Street

Your Money or Your Life

 

[PoF: Brian is the first blogger to recommend 11 posts written entirely by other people. I thought that was wonderful, so I kept them, but I asked him for an additional 11 posts that he has written so that we can get to know him better.]

 

How to achieve financial freedom in 10 years – An interesting post I wrote specifically for my friends over at thesavvycouple, which details my story and plan to reach FI in 10 years.

10 Habits of Eventual Millionaires – Like the 10 habits of highly effective teens/people/etc but way more fun to read and more focused on making money.

How to Invest if you’re new to investing – A great starting point for people new to the world of investing.

GMGM Podcast – My first and currently only podcast on the site. Warning: If you’re looking for some actual entertainment, look elsewhere, it’s a bit rough.

SEO For Dummies – Who doesn’t have a blog these days? If you want to get your stuff out there SEO is crucial and this should help.

Hiking 700 Miles, Money, and Life – That time I hiked 700 miles and how it has anything to do with money.

Start your FI Journey – Another post that describes a bit more about me, and how I got started with all this.

How much is a twitter follow worth? – Pretty self-explanatory but not something many people know about…marketing and making money on social media.

From living in a tent by a river, To an engineer in the city – A personal story about how I went from being nearly homeless to working as an engineer in Philly.

Saving $1,000,000 is easy, Saving $1 is hard – Why breaking habits is so important and how that can snowball into a lot of cash.

How to retire in less than 25 years on minimum wage – Not necessarily a guide so much as a thought experiment. Also helps you to realize that you can get yourself out of even the worse situation with a little bit of creativity.

[PoF: That last article really highlights how keeping expenses low can make FI possible at any salary in this country. It may not be an ideal life for any of us, but it is possible.

Somehow, most of us have forgotten how happy we were and how little we spent as college students.]

 

At what age are you most likely to retire (or at what age did you retire) from full-time work? What are you doing to help realize your retirement target?

Praying by 30. But I probably won’t be super rich at that point, not that I want to be. I track all my spending and net worth with personal spreadsheets I plan to put on my site.

If I can get a following on my site/podcasts it would be a nice side hustle if I can get an income going from it some time down the road in addition to my current job. But I think the biggest part is having a goal set (mine’s by 30, with at least $500,000) and being as frugal as possible within reason until achieving that goal. And trying to find other ways to boost income in the process doesn’t hurt either.

[PoF: An 8-year plan is ambitious, but achievable with a very high savings rate in the neighborhood of 70% or more.

I don’t know what life has in store for you over the next decade, but if you choose a path that to marriage and / or children, your goals may change drastically.

Some couples do keep finances separate, so marriage wouldn’t necessarily derail your FI plans, but kids most definitely cost money, and need to be considered in any financial planning.]

 

What does an ideal retirement look like for you? What will you do with your time when full-time work is in your rearview mirror?

That’s funny to think about as a 22 year old. Even though my goal is to retire quickly, it doesn’t seem like a reality just yet.

In a perfect world, I just don’t want to have to worry about money or work and be able to spend my time traveling and outdoors. I think I would get more into my blog and doing creative things like painting, learning to play the guitar, and other activities I’ve just never had the time to learn. I have a gigantic list of things that I want to do at some point in my life (I guess a bucket list of sorts) which has a couple items like:

-Run with the bulls
-Complete an Ironman
-Visit all 7 continents (4 of 7 down!)

[PoF: You could probably work some bulls into the marathon portion of the Ironman, and do it all on one of three continents you haven’t visited (preferably not Antarctica) to kill three birds with one stone.

I’ve still got three continents to go, as well. Africa, Antarctica, and Australia beckon.]

 

Equator Ecuador

we’ve been to the equator in ecuador

 

I’ll give you eleven sentences to dish out advice to a young physician. Any and all advice is welcome. We talk about personal finance, so money is fair game, but if you have advice on being a better doctor, a better parent / spouse / friend / human, we’re all ears.

Hmm, that’s tough for me. First of all, I’m still pretty young and an engineer by trade so giving sage advice to a lot of really smart physicians seems daunting. But I think one of the biggest things I try to discuss on my site besides money is just doing everything in your power to be a good human being. It’s sad but I think we get way too focused on ourselves and we tend to easily forget about the important people around us in our daily lives. The people we spend the most time with have an incredibly profound impact on us whether we’d like to admit it or not.

Money is also not the end all, be all. This may be an ironic statement, but I think we as people spend too much time thinking about money.

Everyone wants to be rich and powerful and doesn’t realize that what they’re after is happiness which can’t be achieved with money alone. If you use it for freedom and to do what you love, that’s a different story. It’s pretty simple really. Just be smart with your money (which I know you all already are) and be nice to others.

[PoF: Being a good human is a more worthy goal than becoming wealthy. Fortunately, it is possible to do both, particularly in a profession that exists to help people live longer, healthier lives.

Don’t assume we’re all smart with our money. The incomes we enjoy allow us to do some really dumb things with our money.

 

You’ve got eleven days to visit anyplace in the world with an $11,000 budget. Where do you go and what do you do?

For someone like me who is addicted to traveling, that is pretty much an impossible question to answer because I want to go everywhere and do everything. That list I started earlier is just the tip of the iceberg for me. With that budget, I could probably hit a lot of countries in Europe spending a day or two in each.

Buttttt, I suppose my actual answer would be to visit Patagonia. That’s kind of my holy grail trip at the moment. I would want to spend much more than 11 days there ideally, but with that time I think I would spend it all hiking, camping, and kayaking.

Not a fan of this question because now I’m dreaming that this is actually going to happen in the near future.

[PoF: You may have to bump that goal up to $511,000 to allow for Patagonia. Although with some travel hacking, I’ll bet you could do it for a lot less.

We’d love to spend some more time in South America, too, but we need to brush up on our Spanish skills first!]

 

Quito Ecuador

 

Name eleven beverages you enjoy. You can be as general or specific as you like.

Chocolate Milk
Guinness
Root Beer
Ciroc
Arnold Palmer (Lemonade + Ice tea)
John Daly (Lemonade + Ice tea + Vodka)
Orange Soda
Corona
Gatorade
Strawberry lemonade
Angry Orchard Hard Cider

 

Guinness Good For You

 

Now, eleven foods.

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger
Wawa Buffalo chicken sandwich (if you’ve never had this you haven’t lived)
Chicken Parm
Grilled cheese + Tomato soup
Any kind of pizza (but Pizza Hut’s is the best by far)
Steak
Spaghetti + Meatballs
Pulled Pork Sandwich
Ribs
Philly Cheesesteak!
Mint chocolate chip ice cream

Healthy, huh?

 

[PoF: I guess I haven’t lived. Or maybe I just don’t live anywhere near a Wawa.

You would definitely not be mistaken for a vegan, and I think you may want to include a little extra for healthcare (i.e. coronary stents) in that lean budget of yours. The diet appears to be anything but lean. I guess you can eat like that when you walk it off with a 700-mile hike.]

 


You’re still not using Personal Capital? Track all your accounts in one place like I do.


 

How did you first learn about PhysicianonFIRE.com? What one piece of advice do you have for me?

The first time I knew of your site was after you commented on my piece over at reachfinancialindependence. If I had to give one piece of advice, it would be to focus on what you’re passionate about and makes you happy in life, simple as that!

I think what you’re doing is great and I appreciate you letting me be a part of it!

[PoF: Thank you for the kind words and for taking the time to answer all these questions.]

 

If you would like to read more of these Christopher Guest Posts, I’ve got a bunch more great ones lined up and a pretty impressive backlog:

 

Readers, what else what you like to know from this young man? What do you think of the $500,000 goal at age 30 for this 22-year old engineer?

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28 comments

  • Hey, I live in Philly too! But I’m 57 and already FIREd, so big difference there.

    “However, I’m also trying to get the point across that everyone needs to start looking at money differently and realizing that being rich is not what’s going to make them happy but autonomy, connectedness, and fulfillment will.”

    Brian – very wise words!

  • Thanks for sharing! I love that you pointed out that money isn’t going to make you happy. You have to make yourself happy and money can make it even better.

  • Hi Brian, nice to learn a little bit about you. Great answers, although I’d like to work on the beverage and food choices for ya! 😉

    I look forward to checking out your site!

    • Hey Amy, oh trust me I know what that stuff will do to ya but I promise I don’t eat that way all the time. I’ll be sure to check yours out as well!

  • Great post as always. I really enjoy the Christopher Guest Post series, but I would love to see more of the great female financial bloggers being featured. Of the 20 posts you’ve done, there have been only two female bloggers featured (and one was in partnership with her husband). How about featuring a blog like Bitches Get Riches (bitchesgetriches.com) or She Picks Up Pennies (shepicksuppennies.com)?

    • Keen observation, Solitary Diner. The guests typically contact me, and apparently I don’t attract many females. But I would love to host more women in this series, including you. Check your e-mail!

      Best,
      -PoF

  • Your favorite foods would kill me, literally. Put some green and fiber in that diet. When I was your age I was able to eat that stuff, too. But 25 years later, the cumulative effects took their toll. Kind of like how driving 20 Ton vehicles across a bridge, day-in and day-out will.

    Anyway, great to see a young person featured here. Need to see and read those that have that zest for life. My daughter is like you, but even younger yet. I tell her to not lose her zeal.

    Keep it up.
    cd :O)

  • fiberguyr1

    Awesome goals for you at 22, Brian. I wish I would have had more sense when I was younger. When I was 22, I was slinging pizza at Papa John’s I think, and I have to agree with you that Pizza Hut’s is the best. Strange that I never worked there in my three different pizza place jobs.

    I’m now 43 with a cholesterol number through the roof, but I would definitely like to plow my way through your food list.

  • Wow. Brian, at 22 you’re already ahead of most people in their 40s and 50s. The money is the east part, it’s the mindset that’s really tough and you have that down pat. Kudos to you!

  • Great post and Patagonia is worth the trip! 500k by 30. I think I was minus $250 k at that age. It’s very doable particularly as an engineer. A higher then average salary with a good savings rate and you will be living the mustachian dream soon enough. Good work man!

  • Millenial Doc

    Enjoyed reading your story, Brian! It is great to see financial wisdom at your age. I would like to warn you that priorities change as you get older, and being about a decade older than you, it will be hard to call it quits with a nest egg of 500k if you plan on having kids. Childcare, lessons/activities, and college savings add up quick. 500k, though, could be your door to pursuing a more enjoyable, lower paying career at an older age, or it could be all that you need if you don’t plan on having kids.

    I enjoy many items on your food list. I think there are a ton of comparisons between personal finance and personal health. If you are avid with your excercise (i.e. hike 700 miles, train for and run marathons), you can probably be fine with the occasional food splurge, similar to how the high earner can afford the occasional spending splurge. The problem comes when the splurges become a part of everyday life and all discipline is lost.

    • Agree with everything you said. The 500k likely wouldn’t be enough to last a lifetime but at least get me down the right path, and spot on with the discipline!

  • hatton1

    I think it is wonderful to see such a young guy saving towards a goal. None of us docs were able to do that. I read your post on SEO and found it interesting. Keep up the good work.

  • Great post. We should never eat together because we would both need some cholesterol meds afterwards! I think you have plenty to offer physicians, especially young ones. If we can increase our collective savings rate, then physicians can greatly increase our independence and influence.

  • This is the first I’m reading of the Christopher Guest series – I love it! Brian, what you said in your post about hiking 700 miles of PCT really resonates with me. Spending days outdoors with just a backpack gives us amazing perspective on what we really *need* to be happy. Maybe the ultimate frugality bootcamp for high consumption folks is a backpacking trip 🙂

  • You know what I love about guest posts? Learning about a super cool blog that I didn’t know about before. Thanks for sharing this sweet little secret PoF. I am heading over to read the 700 miles post right now Brian (and probably a few more while I’m at it)!!

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