Mustard Seed Money // Financial Literacy Chronicles, No. 15

open book with hand writing and magnfying glass

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Please welcome Mustard Seed Money as our guest for today’s Financial Literacy Chronicles.  This is Day 15 of 30 in the Financial Literacy Month interview series here on Enwealthen.

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

I am a thirty-something father of a one-year-old and a husband to my beautiful wife.  I work a 9-5 government job by day and blog all other waking hours (minus family and gym time).  My passion for personal finance commenced in college.  It started with the stock market and then I began reading as much as possible involving everything personal finance.

I’m so enthralled by it all that I tell people it’s my hobby.

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.

I created Mustard Seed Money in August of 2016.  Over the years, I had learned so much in the area of personal finance, and I wanted to share my accumulation of knowledge.  Though my writing skills were subpar, I wrote anyways.  Over the last few months, I have noticed improvement in my writing, which has been an awesome side effect of starting my blog.

I try to encourage anyone who feels a push to start a blog to just go with it.  You never know who you might be helping or inspiring by doing so.

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

As a young kid, I still remember receiving bank statements from First Virginia bank (currently BB&T).

Each month, I would eagerly await to receive these statements.  I couldn’t believe they’d pay me (pennies) just for having my money in a bank account.  Now if only I had known about the stock market, that would be a whole different story.

With that said, I can’t wait to teach my son all about the stock market and passive index funds.  It’s going to be a blast teaching him the fundamentals, some of which I didn’t fully understand until later on in life.

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?

The best advice that I ever received was from a co-worker when I first started my job.

He said that every time I received a raise, that I should increase my 401k until I reach the maximum amount possible.  At the time, I was just excited to have a job, let alone trying to save for retirement.  However, I took his advice and slowly started to raise my 401k.

Then starting five years ago, I was finally able to max out my 401k for the first time.

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?

My three favorite personal finance books are I Will Teach You To Be Rich, The Richest Man in Babylon and The Alchemist.

I love I Will Teach You To Be Rich.  The author has a great sense of humor and I learned a ton even though I went into it thinking I knew everything already.  I highly recommend this one.

The Richest Man in Babylon is wonderfully written as short parables that are told to illustrate powerful concepts in wealth building.  Written in 1926, it still as relevant as it was 100 years ago.

The Alchemist is not a personal finance book, per se, but it’s all  about enjoying life’s journey.  I find it applicable to personal finance because with a heavy focus on FIRE, sometimes we forget to really take in life’s enjoyable moments.

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

When I was a senior in high school, I learned the various functions of Excel.  Our teacher told us to pick some stocks, and we tracked their performance over the quarter.  I remember being ecstatic when my stocks performed well, but don’t remember why I chose the particular stocks that I did at the time.

That was the beginning of my interest in stocks, and I majored in Finance in college as a result.

If I had the opportunity to invoke change, I would require that every high school require students to take a mandatory class in order to graduate.  This class would expound upon a few personal finance highlights: budgets, loans, and the stock market.

Those three concepts are so important for young adults to grasp as they enter into the “real world”.

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

Kathryn, a CPA, over at Making Your Money Matter does an incredible series of classes on everything that you’ve ever wondered about your finances.  She goes into great detail, and it’s definitely an all-encompassing place for financial literacy.

I stumbled upon Financial Samurai (interview) just as I was getting a little burned out from personal finance.  He opened my eyes to private investments, real estate and providing a west coast, silicon valley view on life.  My financial knowledge has greatly increased as a result of reading his blog, and honestly, he gave me the motivation to start my blog in the first place.

Finally, Eddy Elfenbein of Crossing Wall Street is excellent.  He does great analysis on the stock market.  Plus, I always come away feeling smarter after I read his free weekly newsletter.

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?

My favorite quote comes from Warren Buffett:  “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Thanks for contributing to Financial Literacy Month here on Enwealthen, Mustard Seed Money!

Mustard Seed Money is a relatively new blogger.  He works for the federal government as an accountant and is on the way to achieving financial independence by 2020.  His thoughts and insights can be read over at Mustard Seed Money.

Readers, please share your thoughts on MSM’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 share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Thanks!


  1. Great interview, Mustard! And good thing you listened to your coworker’s advice about a 401k. I tried to get one if my younger coworkers to do the same a few years ago, but he didn’t want to as “I’m only 20 and want to live large while I’m young”. Not s whole lot I can do other than make sure MY money is properly saved and invested.

    ARB–Angry Retail Banker
    ARB recently posted The Angry Retail Banker……………REVEALED!!!!!!My Profile


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