Wallet Hacks // Financial Literacy Chronicles, No. 20

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Please welcome Jim from Wallet Hacks as our guest for today’s Financial Literacy Chronicles.  This is Day 20 of 30 in the Financial Literacy Month interview series here on Enwealthen.

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

I’m a thirty-something father of two and my blog is Wallet Hacks, where I share strategies and tactics for getting ahead financially and in life.

Before I was a full-time blogger, I was a software engineer and sometimes I feel like I still take an engineer’s eye towards many of the issues in personal finances.

Remember, you take care of the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves.

Over the years, I’ve learned that while the numbers are important, it’s usually more about managing human psychology, habits, and other “softer” sciences.

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

The most impactful one was learning why my parents were frugal – we did what a lot of immigrant families do, we saved very aggressively.

Part of that was so that we could improve our finances, have some upward mobility economically, and those aspects. But a bigger part was so that we could spend it on flights home to Taiwan, which were thousands of dollars back in the 1980s, to see family.

We turned down the heat not because we just wanted to save more money, but because we wanted to fly home to Taiwan every three or four years instead of every six or seven.

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?

Spend on the things you care about and save on the things you don’t.

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?

I’ve never given a book as a gift.

I am very much a “just in time” learner, so I get books to solve specific problems or to learn skills I need. As such, I rarely think about giving books to people since it feels more like giving an obligation than a gift. *smile*

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

I didn’t receive any, though I don’t think it impacted me negatively.

I think basic financial education is important so that people don’t make simple mistakes, like falling into credit card debt for spurious reasons.

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

I’ve always been a fan of JD Roth and his new blog, Money Boss (interview) is good because it pushes you to think about your finances like a business would.

Our Next Life (interview) and 1500 Days to Freedom (interview) are great if you’re into early retirement and want to watch people as they go through that process.

I’d also cheat and just start scanning Rockstar Finance’s list of the best blogs and the newest ones. See which ones resonate with your personal story.

Spend on the things you care about and save on the things you don’t.

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?

Not really a quote but my friend Kyle at The Penny Hoarder signs every newsletter email with

“Remember, you take care of the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves.”

I really like that one as a reminder to take care of the little things.

What’s something you’ve done recently that has significantly improved your finances?

I’ve long been a huge fan of automation – I automated as much as humanly possible while still putting in checks to makes sure things work properly.
One of the things I do every month is record, in Excel, our net worth and other relevant financial numbers.
I’ve been tracking that for years and about a year ago I switched to using Personal Capital and it’s cut down my monthly time to a mere fifteen minutes.

Thanks for contributing to Financial Literacy Month here on Enwealthen, Jim!

I’d love it if folks signed up to my free newsletter where they’ll get access to some awesome bonus material plus weekly emails from me! You can also follow me on Twitter @wallethacks, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Readers, please share your thoughts on Jim’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!

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