What would you say if I told you that I am full professor at one of the better ranking universities in the world (currently in the top fifty), that I have two Masters’ degrees and a PhD, and that I teach philosophy of science to PhD researchers? Reads like the brief resume of one smart woman, uh?
Now, what would you think if I tell you that in the autumn of 2009 I had no idea how much I earn (not very hard really, I am on a salary that doesn’t change much) and when a friend showed me a pint of milk and asked ‘how much’ I had absolutely no idea; honestly, I would have paid for this pint of milk anything between 2 pence and 2 pounds if asked. Do you still think I am that smart?
Not a very good start for a personal finance blogger, I know. But then at the end of 2009 something that was to turn my life around, transform the way I relate to life, money and everything else, and make me a highly knowledgeable, open minded, research oriented, storytelling blogger happened: we found that we were in debt. About £100,000 ($157,000) to be precise!
People ask me how we found ourselves in so much consumer debt. It is easy really; you only need a combination of financial crisis and reduction in income, financial ignorance and a complete refusal to engage with most of what is considered to be sound money management practice.
So at the beginning of 2010 we had £100,000 ($157,000) of consumer debt; fast forward three years to the beginning of 2013 and we have no debt apart from the mortgage. Yep, well spotted – we paid off £100,000 ($150,000) in three years flat. This needed research, education, ingenuity, hard work, experimentation and good fortune. Plus the ability to continue enjoying life – just in different ways!
Some say that ‘fat is a family issue’. I say, debt is a family issue as well – it can destroy or strengthen family ties and I was lucky that we ended up stronger than ever. We worked as a team to repay the debt and bring you The Money Principle.
I research, analyse, synthesise and write but otherwise am a bit of luddite; John does research, writes occasionally and does all the technical stuff that goes with building and maintaining a top notch blog; and our youngest son was so good while we were doing all that that he deserves a special mention; oh, and I thought of asking him to write a post on how to negotiate his pocket money but re-considered – this may backfire .
The Money Principle
We started The Money Principle in March 2011 and it contains all that I researched, learned, puzzled over, simplified (or at least tried to), played around with and figured out about money management and life. Some of it may seem a bit abstract but please don’t discard it – learning the principles of money management is so much more important than offering simple rules and trivial pronouncements. Learning ‘how to think about things’ will help you find the ‘what to do about it’.
At purely technical level, personal finance is easy: if you spend less that you earn you are, kind of, all right. What makes it complex and exciting is that personal finance is not about the personal and has little to do with finance. Your financial choices are not simply choices about money; they are choices about your life and these have to account for developments much broader that the ‘personal’.
We at The Money Principle shall continue to provoke you, build an information base for you and entertain you. We offer you the support you need to come up with your answers – after all we are here to help you deal with your money and with your life!
Hope you enjoy reading The Money Principle and please let me know what you think; after all what I really want is to help others do what we did and set them on the way to creating the life they want and building the wealth to do it.