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Please welcome Mystery Money Man as our guest for today’s Financial Literacy Chronicles interview here on Enwealthen.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your blog.

I launched Mystery Money Man in August 2016, as a way to document my thoughts on consumerism and personal finance, and hopefully provide a resource for individuals and families who are wanting more financial freedom.

The funny thing is, my experience with blogging has been such that I think I’ve learned more than anything I’ve been able to teach anyone!

The subject matter is general finance, but I tend to focus more on the emotions and psychology of money, and less on the analytical stuff.  I draw on personal experience in much of my writing.

There’s nothing you can sell me that can make me happy

Career-wise, I’m a financial professional, and have helped thousands of families with their finances over the years.  That experience has taught me that for the vast majority of people, their greatest roadblock to financial success is themselves, more so than whether they happened to choose the right investment.

In short, most people need to begin by shifting their money mindset.

Can you share your most impactful money memory from your childhood?

My brother and I grew up in a single parent home, where our mother worked very hard to make ends meet.  When it came to money, she was constantly making tough choices, and there was a lot of sacrifice.  Looking back though, I never felt as though I went without.  In fact, I recall this amazing childhood, full of rich experiences.

Nowadays, we live in a consumer culture which bombards us with the message that good parents don’t deny their children anything.  In order for kids to become all they can be, they require the best education, access to an unlimited range of expensive activities, the newest in technology, you name it.

As a parent, I often draw on those childhood memories, understanding that while I may not have the same financial constraints we had when I was young, I don’t need to cave in to the pressure of mass marketing for my kids to have a fulfilling childhood.

Simply put, kids don’t need more stuff from their parents, they need their love, their time and their attention.

We all receive financial advice from people in our lives.  What’s the most interesting or useful financial advice you’ve received from your community?

I’ve become even more frugal since starting my blog, the result of reading and learning from other personal finance bloggers.  It’s an incredible community.

I have several personal finance books I regularly give to friends and family.  What are your 3 favorite fundamental personal finance books you often gift to others?

Now that is a great gift idea….that I have never used! Haha.  I’m really not creative when it comes to gifts.  I usually resort to stuffing cash or a gift card in an envelope.

That being said, 3 of my favorite personal finance books are Your Money Or Your Life, Rich Dad Poor Dad, and The Wealthy Barber Returns, all would make great gifts!

What financial literacy education did you receive in school?  If you had a magic wand, what would you change to improve that?

In short, not much.  I’ve seen the enormous opportunity first hand though.

A couple of years ago, I had a chance to deliver a financial literacy course to grade 8 kids on behalf of an organization called Junior Achievement.  It was a wonderful experience, the class were super engaged by the concepts of budgeting and saving, and the importance of making smart choices with money.

There’s no reason these types of programs can’t be in every classroom.  It’s all about planting seeds, and instilling knowledge that children can carry into adulthood.

There are so many blogs on the internet, what are 3 of your favorite blogs that instill financial literacy, either by word or action?

There are SO many great personal finance blogs out there, but in sticking to the topic of financial literacy, I would mark my ballot for the following:

Mr. Money Mustache.  It’s almost cliche to name this one, but it’s a popular choice for good reason.  MMM’s blog will transform not only how you think about money, but the way you view consumption, while forcing you to question many of the lifestyle habits you take for granted.

Learning to live a frugal life can teach you more about money than you’ve ever imagined.  The Frugalwoods blog conveys the power of frugal living more than any blog I’ve read.

Financial literacy is not just about saving money.  Nowadays, it’s important to understand how to develop multiple income streams, or side hustles. It’s about breaking the 9 to 5 mindset and taking control of your financial future.  Grant, over at Millennial Money, has built something that’s so much more than just a blog.  It’s an amazing resource, packed with great money making advice.  Very inspiring!

kids don’t need more stuff from their parents, they need their love, their time and their attention

I like to keep inspirational quotes around the house to remind me of what’s important.  Do you have a favorite money quote you use to inspire your financial life?

Off the top of my head, I can think of two:

“There’s nothing you can sell me that can make me happy” — Jon Foreman.

A quote by one of my favorite songwriters, this one is pinned to my Twitter profile page.  The excessive consumerism of our western culture drives me crazy, and this quote pretty much sums up my attitude towards the mass marketing machine.

“Don’t fall in love with a house until you’re living in it.” — my Mom

I was reminded of this one the other day, when reading (and lamenting) about the concept of the “forever home”.

It’s a great quote, and besides, it’s my Mom, how can I not love it. : )

Thanks for contributing to the Financial Literacy Chronicles here on Enwealthen, Mystery Money Man!

Mystery Money Man and his wife have been married for 18 years this summer, and have three kids (two teenagers) and 2 dogs.  He’s also a songwriter and music producer, loves hockey and baseball, and is always up for an epic road trip.  Follow along on Instagram!

Readers, please share your thoughts on Mystery Money Man’s experiences, any additional questions you have, and suggestions for who else you’d like to see interviewed in the comments below.  And please do spread the financial literacy and share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Thanks!

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Brian, thanks for checking out the interview! Of course my kids are all at different ages / stages of their financial journey, so the lessons vary in frequency and complexity. I would say that our goal is always to introduce them to situations where they can self discover, rather than simply telling them what to do and not to do. This way the lessons learned will have a better chance of staying with them.

    For example, my son got his first job this year. We’ve talked about the idea of calculating the number of hours he has to work for an item he wants to buy, the importance of delayed gratification, buying items used vs.new, and automating his savings. I’ve let him make mistakes along the way, but he’s learned so much. At one point, he cancelled his pending purchase of a new video game system (impulse buy) and then proceeded to sell his one remaining system to boost his savings. He also started dollar cost averaging funds from each paycheque into an index mutual fund which I’m holding for him until he turns 18 and can buy his own investments. It’s a journey! : )

  2. I haven’t listened to Jon Foreman in forever, but the fact you quoted him just made me remember how much I enjoyed his music in high school/college! Like you said, he is an amazing songwriter.

    And I’m with you on the Personal Finance blogger community, it has been so welcoming and encouraging as we launched our blog. Plus- I have found a new source of motivation for frugality and a wealth of knowledge around all things personal finance!
    Mrs. Adventure Rich recently posted Leveraging our Property for Half a PigMy Profile

    • Thanks for reading AR, yes, big Jon Foreman/Switchfoot fan. : ) As for the PF community, I think that’s how reading other blogs has benefitted me the most as well. It’s helped to sharpen my focus, and inspired me towards my goals.

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