Next week, I’ll join Mr PoP on a trip that he’s taking for work. Getting all of the details arranged for this upcoming trip also has me thinking about a similar trip we took to the same destination back in 2012 and one of the biggest things that came of it. That is, this blog – our own little home on the internet where we write about money, happiness, and kittens.
You see, it was nearly four years ago while on a similar trip to Hawaii that Mr PoP had the inspiration for us to start a personal finance blog. He envisioned it as a way for us to add a little easy passive income (fellow bloggers, don’t laugh) to our portfolio, and I agreed to participate, envisioning it as a project that we would really be working on together. But we had a compromise. To do it the way Mr PoP wanted – with full financial transparency into our income, spending, and net worth – I required us to be anonymous.
It Hasn’t Really Worked Out Exactly As We Thought
As it turns out, monetizing a blog isn’t effortless, and to top it off, we (well, mostly I) don’t really have the personality for it. So, other than paying for hosting expenses, the ad income generated by this site (from those lovely Google ads you see in the sidebar and hopefully aren’t too intrusive) pays for the ongoing expenses of the site, but not a whole lot more.
It also hasn’t really turned into as much of a joint project as I really wanted it to be. Mr PoP does do all the back-end work (minimal though it may be for our rather low tech and old-fashioned web presence here). But I’ve ended up being the person writing almost all of the content. That continues to be true seemingly no matter how many times I tell Mr PoP, “You should write a post about that!” when he says something rather insightful about money or happiness. For the record, his strokes of brilliance are never about kittens. All kitten ideas come from me and me alone.
What’s interesting is that the compromise that we struck for presenting full financial transparency into our money-lives (which overlaps with the rest of our lives pretty heavily) while maintaining anonymity has been mostly maintained. The transparency part is there… Heck, you can go to this one page and see links to our income, spending, and net worth since May 2012. That’s a long time, especially as we have watched other bloggers start and stop sharing similar information for various reasons in the same period.
Our anonymity has also mostly been maintained as well. About a year in, we “came out” to Mr PoP’s parents when we paid off a loan they had extended to us to buy our rental duplex. Then a couple of years ago someone emailed us wanting to talk generally about real estate in Florida and it turned out they were a great couple our age and had just moved to our small town. We met for coffee and became IRL friends (as opposed to internet friends), so they know who we are. (But I don’t actually know if they still read our blog on occasion since we never really talk about it!) The only uncontrolled “leak” of our anonymity was when one of Mr PoP’s colleagues put 2 and 2 together maybe a year ago. He’s a smart guy who also had the benefit of sitting in a cube just steps away from Mr PoP at the time and had also been seated next to me a few months before that at a fancy work dinner. So… given that most people don’t have this colleague’s proximity or intelligence, AND that we try not to provoke enough internet ire for someone to set their mind about tracking us down, it seems our anonymity is still fairly safe.
Where We Are Today
While we’re not working together on the blog in the way I had hoped we would, we’ve definitely been working together more than ever (hello, kitchen renovation!). As a result, it hasn’t really felt like the blog has been needed to fill a void in that arena in the same way it did in 2012 after coming off years (sometimes too many) projects that we worked on together in the first couple years after buying our house and then our duplex, both of which were foreclosures in pretty rough shape.
Our finances have also gotten kindof boring. In the early days of the blog, we had a decent amount of debt (~$100K not including our mortgage) from buying our investment properties and our car that we paid off. Since then, our finances feel like they’ve gotten a lot more boring. We’ve gotten a pretty good handle on what we feel is worth spending money on and what isn’t, and use our money accordingly. The rest gets put into our retirement accounts and our taxable investment accounts each month. Heck, the most exciting thing we did financially in 2015 was buying a photo-voltaic (aka solar) system to power the electrical needs of our house. When it comes down to it, we’re in the boring part of our overall journey for financial independence.
In terms of our writing on the blog, I’ve been feeling like it’s been reflecting that boredom as well. Where once there was inspiration for posts emanating from our everyday financial “to dos”, now there’s a distinct dearth as we feel like most of our recent financial moves are ones we’ve now visited again and again. And as even with the chorus of a great song, encountered enough times it can still start to sound tired, so I really don’t want to start writing about the same things ad nauseam.
And so we get to the heart of the matter…
Where Do We Go From Here?
Personally, we’ve got a broad outline for what we’re aiming the next few years for us to be like, and other than finishing the kitchen and then restoring Sunny to her former glory (or will we?), it’s going to be a lot of “staying the course” for us financially. And that’s kindof boring.
We’re not exactly sure what it means for our blog here. Perhaps we’ll find some more inspiration on the shores of Hawaii this time around. But it does lead me to ask the following…
Is there something in particular you’d like to read about from our perspective?