Nelson Smith’s personal finance story: “I sucked as a realtor”

By: Nelson Smith on November 15, 2016
Article image

The year was 2010. I was stuck in a career that was a terrible fit for me. I might have been the world’s worst realtor.

Instead of going out and drumming up business, I killed time doing a lot of different things. I would play video games in my office. I’d chat with co-workers or the random people who showed up to sell us things. I’d show up to the office late and leave early.

I sucked as a realtor.

But one pretty great thing came out of it — I just didn’t realize it at the time. I started reading a lot of personal finance blogs.

After a few months of delving into personal finance writing, I had a revelation. I loved learning about personal finance; I was genuinely interested in it. So I decided to start my own blog. In just a few days, Financial Uproar was born, and it’s been my online home ever since.

So in honor of Financial Literacy Month, here’s a brief reflection on my personal finance journey.

Why did I start?

When I started reading personal finance blogs, a couple of thoughts overwhelmed me. First, I couldn’t believe these people were making money by writing about money. Second, I couldn’t believe how basic the advice they were giving was.

As it turned out, I had stumbled upon the part of the personal finance world that was obsessed with paying off debt. I quickly found a number of sites that focused on more advanced finance tips and investing advice.

Ever since the beginning, I strived to be a unique voice in the financial space. I’ve tried to find interesting solutions to problems. I’ve tried to explain that things like interest rates on savings accounts don’t really matter, and I’ve worked hard to shatter myths on emergency funds (no, you probably don’t need 6 months of salary sitting in the bank doing nothing). I’ve also wrote against myths such as the go-to-college-or-else-end-up-poor philosophy.

There are multiple paths to becoming financially comfortable, and I truly believe no single solution works for everyone.

Why do I keep writing?

After more than a thousand blog posts on my website and hundreds of other articles around the web, I sometimes ask myself why I’m still doing this. I’ve covered just about everything worth mentioning, often multiple times.

So why do I keep doing it?

There are a number of reasons. The most important one is that I still enjoy it and I believe I’m making a difference. Thousands of people take some sort of action each year, at least in part, because of something I’ve said. I think that’s pretty cool.

I’m still passionate about the subject too. You’d think that after years of writing about the same, stuff I’d be bored. Hardly. I’m still addicted to saving a few bucks or finding a way to earn a few more.

Money is fantastic. I love to earn it and save it. I love to watch my bank balance and my investments grow. I’m ecstatic anytime a dividend or interest payment hits my account. It continues to amaze me that I can turn money into more money.

It also represents security. If I can accumulate enough dollars, I’ll never have to worry about work ever again. I like my work, but it’s a big motivator to be able to quit when I decide.

I’ve also gained hundreds of contacts in the industry, many of whom I consider friends. Being part of the personal finance community is a blast. It’s filled with lots of smart and hilarious characters.

Final thoughts

Becoming a personal finance expert has truly changed my life. I met my wife because of my blog and I make a significant chunk of my livelihood by writing about money.

Money is a big part of all of our lives. Sometimes it feels like it’s my whole life. And I’m okay with that.