How Blogging Has Sped Our Progress to Financial Independence

I’m not going to join the chorus of voices telling everyone pursuing early retirement or financial independence to start a blog. Blogging is a huge amount of work, essentially a second full-time job for me at this point. And that’s without spending one second thinking about how to make money from it, given that that’s not our goal. But that would add even more time to the equation. Blogging is by far my biggest hobby at this point, leaving time for little else beside a few ski laps or hikes a week. (So no, I haven’t seen that show you love so much. I consider it a win if I can stay current on SNL!)

But I wouldn’t trade it, because blogging here has made more of an impact on our lives than we ever could have imagined. Some of these benefits you can get without blogging yourself, and some only come from doing the work. Today, we’re breaking it all down!

Related post: Our Next Life Turns 2! // A Look Back, A Look Forward, and So Many Questions

How Blogging Has Sped Our Progress To Financial Independence // Blogging has been so much more rewarding than we ever could have anticipated, but best of all, it has helped us get to FI faster!

We’re just over two years into this blog, and I now can’t imagine life without it. Getting to know so many of you through this forum has made our life a thousand times richer. Even those where I have no idea what your name is, but I know something of your story from your comments — I love getting to know you in little snippets. And the dozens of you that we’ve met in real life or on Skype — we consider so many of you to be real friends, not just some random people we met on the internet. And you know how important those social connections are for long-term mental health and longevity!

Friends are certainly our favorite part of all of this, but having friends, no matter how wonderful they are, doesn’t get anyone to their magic number. But here’s how blogging has helped us get there faster:


This one is probably the most obvious, but it’s incredibly important. I know we have to write a quarterly financial update, and I never want to show the numbers going backward. Sometimes the markets get the final say, but it’s hugely motivating to have this blog — and those reading it — holding us accountable. There’ve been months where we’ve wanted to spend money on some trip, but we’ve though, “Wouldn’t it make the chart nicer if we invested that money instead?”


Writing two posts a week, and doing my best to make those posts interesting instead of just an account of our lives en route to FIRE, has forced us to think about FI a lot more than we’d have to just to reach our goal. We voraciously read articles about different financial news and theories, we explore alternate approaches to it, and we think about all the psychological aspects that come into play, too. A day rarely goes by when I don’t read or hear something that inspires a post idea, which keeps FIRE top of mind. And that focus keeps us on track to our goals.

“Writing Out the Proof”

Here’s an example from geometry class. #mathnerd  When you first learn to do proofs, you have to write out every step and every bit of logic. But then you learn more postulates and theorems, and you can start short-cutting your thinking by citing those laws. (Ringing any bells for anyone?) But blogging is like those early proofs, when you actually have to explain yourself and your thinking, or at least it should be like that. And that process of having to explain things step by step has in more cases than I can count made us rethink something, or think about it from some new angle we hadn’t previously considered. That has broadened our thinking and improved our planning.

New Ideas

This is something you don’t have to blog to benefit from. Being engaged in the financial independence community means we’re constantly exposed to new ideas and different ways of thinking about saving and investing. If we only popped in occasionally, we’d miss a ton, but by staying connected here, we’re continually thinking through different approaches we could take now and after we retire. Some of these have sped our progress undoubtedly, like learning to think of paying off our mortgage as a form of diversification, which motivated us to make that happen faster.

Finely Honed BS Detection

My least favorite phenomenon in PF blogs is people who’ve done something once, and therefore proclaim themselves experts. While many of us have spent a lot of time doing research and crunching numbers, few of us are true experts, but sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. Thinking about early retirement, investment strategies, diversification and an endless list of other topics for the blogs has trained me to do two things: 1.) Be able to immediate tell when someone is claiming expertise they don’t really have, and 2.) See through bad advice because I read things with an eye toward how I would write about the same topic. That’s led me to write posts like this one (Our Biggest Lesson from the Financial Crisis // Don’t Bank on Going Back to Work), which in turn encouraged us to rethink our original plan of not working at all in retirement (Rethinking Work in Early Retirement // Contingencies, Sequence Risk and Fail Safes), as just one example.

Continuous Refinement

This one and the next one are related. When we have to crank out 3000+ words a week on the blog, it forces us to talk about our plans and our finances more than we otherwise would. And that had many times led us to have some light bulb moment and realize there’s something we could be doing better. Honestly, this happens all the time.

Pressure-Testing Our Plans

In addition to improving our plans by talking about them together, we are constantly revising aspects of our approach based on input we get in the comments here. (I’m dead serious.) We think of everything we put out there as something to be pressure-tested, and we know that if we’re not thinking about something the right way, you guys will jump in and tell us so. You’ve helped us rethink when we should pull the plug, how long of notice we should give, and so many more things than I can count.

High Fives

It may not materially impact our financial lives when you guys cheer us on, but I also kinda think it does. When you guys share our excitement, or give us high fives for hitting big milestones, that stuff makes our day. And it makes us work harder to have more high five-worthy milestones to share. If that’s not the best motivation to keep pressing on, I don’t know what is.

– – – – –

What Has Impacted Your Pace?

Whether you blog or not, what factors have sped you along to your goal, or perhaps slowed you down? For bloggers, what has sped you along that I missed here? For non-bloggers, have you considered starting a blog for any of these reasons, or other ones? Let’s chat about it all in the comments!

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108 replies »

  1. I agree that blogging is a huge time suck and it is not at all easy to build an audience and I still don’t even know where to start to monetize it if that is someone’s goals. Despite all of that, I think it is totally worth it and has been monumentally helpful on our journey.

    I think that writing alone as a journal for yourself is immensely helpful. It has turned me from one of those people that you cite as thinking that they know it all and will show others, into someone that realizes that, holy crap, I don’t know anything and I need to learn a lot. That is the value of the public blogging versus journaling. You can lie to yourself, but the public accountability and feedback that come with a blog, both positive and negative, are incredibly useful. The have helped me learn, make new connections, and just keep me honest with myself.

    • Yeah, it’s all hard, but like you, I think it has been 110% worth it. Like you said, even just keeping a journal of the process is a great reason to do it, even if you never find any audience. I especially love hearing that you went through that evolution from “knowing everything” to realizing how much there is to learn — that’s a tough but important personal evolution!

      • I agree. I just started blogging about 4.5 months ago. The stuff I get from reading others’ post is a lot better than the crap I hear and see on TV. It’s really expanded my mind to discover new places to visit, stories to hear and kept my writing decent. Good stuff on this post. 👍 feedback is also very important and I like the fact that everyone is open to learn and grow. Let me know what you guys think of my blog if you get a chance.

  2. I think my writing has been impacting my pace. Let me just say that I’m not even an excellent writer and it’s a pretty hard task to place my thoughts on paper. It takes me about five days to write about 1000 words and I’m usually not happy with the end product.

    While these are negatives, I’m looking on the bright side and am trying to improve my writing as much as I can, so that maybe one day my writing will be able to captivate a reader and make them want to “stay a while and listen”.

    Currently, my blog is serving as a journal and more of my thoughts about personal finance and credit card churning. It might not be great or even the best personal finance advice, but it’ll improve as I learn more about it.

    • Well let me say this back to you: I have SO MUCH respect for the fact that you’re working so hard at something (writing) that is so challenging for you. Most people only do what comes easy for them, so you get major high fives for sticking with something that is hard. :-)

  3. I have really loved blogging, in ways that have surprised me. The accountability one has been huge for us. There are times we have been about to spend money, I think about putting it on the blog (we publish monthly expense reports) and ultimately decide not to make the purchase.

    I am working to build a stronger community amongst the Australian personal finance bloggers and this has been such fun, getting to know everyone and bringing us all together. We love the American bloggers we’ve befriended and followed, but building a community down under has also been fantastic.

    • I LOVE that you are building a PF blog community in Oz. That’s such a huge value you are providing! But don’t get so wrapped up in it that you forget about us North Americans who like being your friend too. :-)

  4. I wrote a similar treaty on why I blog last week. Essentially it’s about learning new things and having a community of like minded individuals to bounce ideas off. In my everyday life there is a distinct lack of people I can talk about these things with and expect an educated answer. Even if I did find one it might be with a load of judgement. There still may be some judgement online, but your more likely to find someone whose considering the same situations in comments. They then act as a sounding board you otherwise can’t find. Also if you read others content your likely to find some angles you’ve never considered.

    • I think we can mostly all relate to the last of IRL people who can help us think this stuff through, and with such a HUGE life direction and decision, it’s great to have others to support us. And I love that our community is diverse enough in our thinking that, like you said, there’s usually someone who thinks similarly even if we’re going against the grain of FIRE thinking.

  5. I definitely have found that blogging has made me more accountable. Gretchen Rubin has an interesting concept around this called the four tendencies-I learned about it through her Happier podcast. It’s all about determining if you respond better to inner expectations, or outer obligations (or neither). Since personal finance and investing is something we feel we can’t discuss in our “real lives”, our blog lives may be the only place we can get that outer obligation for some of our goals like retiring early, paying off a mortgage, or saving for college. I know since I started blogging it makes me think a lot more about whether or not my financial decisions are aligned with my goals. And it gives me additional motivation to perform some financial tasks that I “should” do but just haven’t made the time for/don’t really want to do.

    • I read Gretchen Rubin back when she wrote her Happiness Project blog, and haven’t been able to get into her podcast. But I love so many of her concepts, including the tendencies. (She taught me that I’m an abstainer, not a moderator, for example. And a rebel.) And I agree — it’s helpful to get that external validation via blogs, even for folks who don’t strictly need that. And I’ve had the same experience re: aligning financial decisions with big goals. Sometimes I might want to drift off the path, but thinking about this stuff so much for the blog keeps me focused!

  6. Why hello there friend! Seriously, the people are the best part of blogging. I’m so happy to be part of this community. The support from everyone has probably had the biggest impact on my FI life. Those further along on their journey let me ask questions and help quash any doubts I might have. Not to mention, of course, putting everyone’s posts into action and seeing the journey speed up!

    • Hi back atcha! :-D People are the best all the way. And not just talking to people online but turning those into IRL friendships. Something tells me you agree. ;-)

  7. Great perspectives. For me, blogging has definitley helped me stay accountable to myself. Also, I like what you said about it being a mechanism to “proof” your thinking. I can’t even tell you how many articles have died because I couldn’t fully explain my own thoughts (which probably means they still need refinement!). Blogging has been a fun ride so far and I’m hoping it continues to challenge me and push me toward meeting my goals.

    • Thanks! Same here on articles that have died — I have DOZENS of draft articles that will likely stay that way forever for the same reasons. Sometimes a thought might be good, but it doesn’t stand up to having to be proven. :-)

  8. Accountability and writing out the proof has sped up our path considerably – taking the time to reflect on the growth 4 times a year makes the journey real and actually seeing the progress broken down let’s us know our plan is working.

    It would be harder to stick to The FIRE plan without the community to talk through the bumps in the road and get advice from people farther along than we are

    • Glad you feel the same way about writing out the proofs. :-) If I accomplished nothing today, I hope I made us all feel a little bit better about the worst part of geometry class. Hahaha. And totally agree that being able to get advice from the community absolutely helps get past those roadblocks!

  9. Love this post! I started our blog when we almost bought a big house we couldn’t comfortably afford. That moment we really needed to get out heads out of our you know whats and start acting like adults with higher than average salaries. The blog gave us accountability. We already had the frugality living piece down – but we were prone to sometimes make money mistakes in the past. So basically, two steps forward, one step backwards. These days, it’s full stream ahead. I love having my blog for that reason alone. It will definitely be a part of us reaching FI sooner rather than later!

    • Thank you for the writing prompt! :-) I love that in your case the blog is a way of keeping you from going off the deep end financially again — it’s like your safety release valve, but of course so much more as well. :-)

  10. Totally – blogging is like talking things out with people, but even better. Your readers will generally be those who are going through the very same thing as you. It’s almost like a support group. I’ve found the same thing happen to me on my blog as well. It’s gotten to the point where I actually enjoy the occasional negative comment, because that means the blog is getting out into the “real world” :)

    • I think Steve pretty much nailed it for me as well. Being able to put your thoughts all down is great and helps you really learn just by itself. But then getting the feedback of others in the community (positive and negative) can really help you figure out any holes in your plan or other thoughts.

      — Jim

      • Totally agree — that’s the “writing out the proof” idea for me. I think best by writing through questions. And that feedback — that you guys give us for free! haha — is priceless. ;-)

    • I love that way of thinking about it — this is a big FIRE support group. “Hi, my name is Ms. ONL and I’m a FIRE addict.” ;-) (I don’t mean to make light of real addiction, but we can all use our own support for whatever we’re thinking about or struggling with!)

  11. High five! ;-) Blogging is fun when you have people that get excited with you. It makes the whole experience better knowing that you have people that actually care about what you’re saying or like you said, celebrate your wins (and fails).

    For us what has impacted our pace the most since we haven’t posted any financial updates, it’s mostly thinking about what the goal is and how we can fit more of what we love into our schedule. Once we got the idea that it could be possible to retire early and do more of what we love, it makes us think twice about needless spending. We do still take vacations & spend on some things, but it’s all about optimizing maximum happiness from that spending.

    • Ugh — you’re back to spam! :-( Why WordPress, why?!?!?!?!

      I’m totally with you — blogging is TONS of fun when you can share your excitement with others, and it’s been downright amazing how many folks have shared in our excitement time and time again. I wish I had time to comment on more blogs and share that love back! I love how you guys are thinking about it all — optimizing your happiness and eliminating the mindless spending without hacking down ALL spending.

  12. The post positive outcome for me from my own blog is knowing that like minded people exist out there in the world! Sometimes it can feel like your swimming upstream against societal norms- but having even a small group of people who are going through the same thing as you makes it worth the work!

  13. I started blogging about FIRE more than 10 years ago and the difference in our net worth is just amazing.

    I don’t know if you need focus (I certainly don’t have it – look – shiny object!), but being immersed in the idea of FIRE (with accountability) is very powerful.

    I had forgotten about proofs until reading this post.

    My least favorite part of being a math nerd was writing out proofs. Some of the things just seemed obvious to me and I didn’t want to go through 30 steps of history to explain why. Nowadays, I think I would enjoy that “journey.”

    • I can’t disaggregate one thing from another since our FIRE journey has involved the blog, but knowing myself, I do think I would probably have spent more time thinking about shiny new things if I didn’t have the forced focus of the blog. And I think it’s awesome that you hated proofs but now might enjoy them! :-)

  14. My favorite part about blogging as been the people. Everyone is so encouraging and it’s been awesome to share ideas with like-minded people. No one I know in real life is on a similar journey so it’s been life changing to forge these relationships online.

    Although I don’t write/post much, I want to keep my blog active to keep those relationships going and allow people a glimpse into my journey, so I’m not just a voyeur looking in on theirs. And I’m always open to suggestions regarding how I can meet my goals faster :)

    • Yay for the people! :-) As another comment put it, it’s nice to know you’re not crazy, and with it hard to find other FIRErs in real life, it’s nice to get that insanity check here. Haha.

  15. I started out writing for my kids to pass along some perspectives on success, money, and happiness I’ve learned from my own life and from others. As I kept thinking of topics to write more about, I thought about a blog as a better way to document (and clarify) my thoughts, and hopefully get input from readers.

    I’m still a novice when it comes to blogging and I limit my time so I don’t take away from other priorities in my life but it’s been very helpful to take the time to write. It’s kept me more engaged in this community and the key tenets of savings and investing (not to mention some wisdom on happiness).

    Our progress has accelerated nicely since I started blogging ($0 from blogging itself). Coincidence? Maybe.

    • I love the idea of cataloging your journey for your kids. That’s so awesome. And also a big high five for limiting the time you spend. I call it the blogging black hole sometimes… it would be easy to spend ALL of my time on this, especially because I love it. So boundaries are good. :-)

  16. I’m particularly fond of all the high-fives I get from blogging. :) For me it’s been so, so wonderful to meet so many like-minded people. I’m introverted and it’s hard to make friends anyway–it’s even harder to find like-minded people in my area anyway. But online I’ve made so many great friends with big ideas. I love it. :)

    I agree; blogging is a full-time job. It’s been so, so fun and I’ve gotten such a great sense of purpose from it. I do want to turn it into my full-time gig, so I’m trying to monetize it right now (I have a long, long way to go).

    And there’s no better accountability than thousands of people reading your plan and putting in their two cents. ;)

    • High fives are pretty great. :-) And what a godsend blogging is for introverts! I’m more ambiverted and can function a bit as an extrovert, but I appreciate getting to have so many social interactions without having to do the full extrovert bit. :-) In working to monetize your blog, are you taking courses or just going the DIY route? There are tons of great resources out there — let me know if you’d like any recommendations from bloggers I think are doing it right. ;-)

  17. Blogging has definitely helped us shorten our timeline but in unexpected ways. Like, realizing we were being uber conservative in our risk tolerances, so by adjusting those slightly, bam! almost 4 years got shaved off. Literally, 4 years…

    Another unexpected outcome was the “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality and savings rates. I know there will always be people saving more, and always people saving less, but it kept driving home that we could do more than we are and still live comfortably. Also, that we could live on way less than we initially were anticipating, since most of that was driven upwards by me. whoops

    It’s also given me an outlet to vent my anxieties about leaving a nice paying cushy job to go “live in a van down by the river” oh, and only eat Ramen, lol. Like you, we discuss our plans almost constantly and they change slightly almost constantly. Staying flexible and remembering it’s only a plan – not something set in concrete, has been key for us.

    The most unexpected outcome was developing friendships with all the other blogers out there. Even though it’s mostly thru comments, and whatnot, I still feel like I’ve gotten to know people in a deeper way than co-worker friends and that sort of thing.

    All that and more has helped us speed up our FIRE/FFLC journey and reshape it from what it started out as to what it is now.

    • I LOLed at the idea of you guys being too conservative on the risk front because your 100% stock allocation is about a thousand times more aggressive than ours! ;-) (I’m exaggerating. A little.) I think the venting the anxiety about the van life is the single best part for me, because real life people pretty much universally think that aspect is crazy. Like even our IRL friends who are totally supportive start to get this look in their eyes when we tell them what we plan to live on, nevermind that that’s based on having a paid off house, which makes a huge difference and means our budget will essentially spend like double that. But being able to talk about that here reminds me that we are not, in fact, insane. ;-) And also, let’s meet up in real life when I’m in your area next month!!!!!!

      • I had that same look in my eyes for years when Prof SSC would talk to me about FIRE. It was like, no way, no how! Then I realized that with no mortgage, no taxes to speak of, a lower income of like $55k/yr is a LOT of money. Sure people spend more and people live off less, but it’s a good comfy number for us.

        I’m totally down to meet up next month. we’ll figure something out one way or another. :)

      • Haha. I love that you guys had the FIRE convo driven by the female half of the relationship… seems like it’s so often the other way. (I think in our case it was completely mutual because WE DON’T WANT TO WORK ANYMORE! Haha.) And exactly right — our budget in ER is a LOT of money with few/no taxes or mortgage coming out. Or at least it is if you don’t live like a cash-hemorrhaging monster. ;-)

  18. Ha! Glad to be a help, lol. I appreciate having another female voice in the blogosphere and hearing from someone who is at the top of her game in her career. Nothing against you guys out there, I read some of your blogs as well, but it’s nice to have someone with whom you can relate, even if only electronically, on another level. And nothing against you ladies either, but I found a hard time relating to some of the other women’s blogs. I have a house and a child but I don’t relate well to someone whose primary focus is managing the house and family, not that there is anything wrong with that. I just find it boring. I want to hear the numbers and ideas, the stresses and the analysis you have done to feel comfortable making the leap to early retirement. I’m a little less detail oriented I think than you are, but I have a feeling that once you finally retire, how the whole thing from a financial perspective plays out will be different than you expect. Not to scare you…. I just think that once you get to that point it will be different and I’m looking forward to hearing about it! For me, I hit my FI number and have some wiggle room and have a diversified set of investments, so while it is scary to finally jump off the cliff, I think it will be fun to figure out how to manage the passive investment cash flow stream and figure out the optimal way to make it work, but since there are so many variables, I don’t think you can know until you get there!

    • LOL — I’m definitely not feeling at the top of my game at this moment. Having a drowning in the career moment. ;-) But I know what you mean, and I appreciate the sentiment… and glad I can be this voice here representing FI women who see the world in a particular way. :-) I’m sure that you’re right that lots of this stuff will be different than we expect or anticipate, and you know I’ll share all of that stuff here when the time comes. I still find it useful to think ahead even if the reality ends up being completely different — it still prepares me to feel a bit off balance, which makes that sensation easier to handle than if it comes out of nowhere.

      • Don’t drown! Remember to breathe and remember boundaries… And something that helps me, is that while I think it’s important to set a high bar, I try not to set bars too high for myself anymore. Why for so many years did I expect 2-3 times as much as what I expect of other folks I manage? Don’t commit to deadlines or projects or whatnot that are going to stress you out. And exactly. I think planning is good and being mentally prepared to be flexible and make a change if things aren’t working is even more important… I still go back and forth about paying off my house, for example, but without going into too much detail, I’m going to sit tight and see what happens with our economy, see if any tax reform happens (I don’t care what happens, but strategy may change depending on how it plays out), and see what happens with healthcare. I think just sitting and watching and figuring out how to live without a bi-monthly steady income will be interesting as well as trying to sort out how to minimize our tax liabilities. Good luck!

      • All solid advice! Sometimes it’s just a pure and simple volume problem… especially ahead of taking two weeks off and leaving the country. ;-) Fortunately we successfully got out the door with minimal work on our plates for the duration of the trip, so I call that a big win. :-) And I don’t blame you on sitting tight… especially to find out what the heck is going to happen with health care. (Ugh!)

  19. The community has been huge for me. Other bloggers and readers alike. I’m a very relational person and love having other positive, like minded people around me to create momentum. Between reading other blogs, comments, emails, Skype, text messages, phone calls, I feel like I have found my tribe. =) And this year FinCon!

      • Sweet story from today… I had told my email community how I was going back and forth on a post because it felt too honest and personal. So one emailed me and said, “Do it!” Then after I hit publish 2 readers sent me a text message thanking me for getting it out there. With all the nerves of hitting publish this morning, those text messages were just what I needed! So awesome.

      • Aww, I love that! Such a great support system you have there! I think it’s hard for people who don’t engage in a community like this one how much support a bunch of online people can provide to one another in very real ways!

  20. Community can make you crazy, or make you realize you are not crazy at all. In a world filled with messages to buy and spend, it is great to be part of a community – if only in the virtual world until you meet in flesh and blood – of like-minded people. I find writing does keep me / us accountable; reading opens doors not yet explored. We are far from getting where we would like to be – and need to be – but we have been enroute for a year, and getting in a better position each month. Cheers!

    • Hahaha. Well said! Fortunately this community only makes me crazy a little bit of the time. ;-) I’m so glad that you’re finding that writing is helping you on your journey (and for sure reading does that too!). You’re in such an exciting time in the journey!

      • Thanks for the reply … too close to retirement to make this journey “exciting” but more like “necessary”! But, yes, it is exciting because have that internal motivation keeps – stops – one from being a victim of one’s own ignorance and/or stupidity!

      • I stand by “exciting” because a year in or so tends to be when folks start seeing more ways to optimize, or the momentum starts to become visible, or both. Stick with it! It just gets better and better. :-)

  21. All true.
    For me personally, having a blog has made my mind more aware of our FI plan. In a lot that I do, FI pops up out of the blue, or at least the blog. It created often new ideas and topics to discuss with my wife.
    It also allowed me to set up meetups with like minded people. Without out blog, that would be harder.

  22. Everything on your list rings true. Accountability is a big one for me, I definitely think of my blog updates when I’m considering what to spend my dollars on. The blog is also helping me practice (and hopefully improve) my writing skills. I have long wanted to write and planned to write but just never got down to it. Now I feel compelled to post on a regular schedule and that means lots of writing practice. The blog has also taught me a few new technical skills. I am a software engineer but I work deep down in the bowels of the operating system, so web/GUI stuff is pretty foreign to me. Here is the big one though: the blog has helped me diversify my sources of accomplishment, motivation and creativity. I used to have my job and my relationships, now I also have this.

    • I love that blogging is making you feel better at writing. For those of us who feel driven to write, it’s so satisfying to engage in the craft, and I’ve found that blogging has gotten me into a better writing habit than I’ve ever been in before. Such a gift. And I love how you put it: diversifying your sources of accomplishment, motivation and creativity! So, so true. I might have a bad work day, but a great “blog day,” and what a difference that makes!

  23. Blogging has certainly kept me connected to the community. I love reading all the different plans and POV. I love to glean little bits and pieces of information to help us along our journey.

    • Amen to all of that, Brian! And you’re a great example of someone who has taken what you’ve learned and discovered through blogging out into the real world to help people. I LOVE that.

  24. The accountability part is huge, and you’re right on about the connections with people being the best part. I would just add that many people are afraid to start blogging because they know they are not an expert (as you mentioned) and feel like they have nothing else to add to the community. Just sharing their personal story is important too. I can read the same-types of articles over and over but sometimes it’s the way someone writes or who they are that really impacts me and motivates me to be better. Hope you guys are having a great week!

    • Hi friend! You’re proof to me of the people connections being the best part. :-) I couldn’t agree more on sharing your personal story and the value of that. Very few of us are experts (though many claim to be), but the personal stories are my very favorite part. (Having a totally insane week pre-vacation, but hoping it will be worth it!!! Dying to know about your big decision… any updates??)

  25. My husband and I retired seven years ago (5 for him, 3 for me), and I can tell you that blogging has made a big difference in our post-work lives. Now that we have the time and finances to travel, we have enjoyed meeting blogging friends around the country and in Canada. And, when we travel to Europe, we’ll have friends there too. After following a blogger for awhile, and having them follow – and comment – on your blog, you really feel like you know them pretty well.

    Blogging takes a lot of time, but, for me anyway, it’s well worth it. If anyone really want to make a success of their blog – and they want to welcome all sorts of interesting people into their life – generating comments, consistently replying to comments, and actively commenting on blogs they follow is key.

    • Hear, hear! We’ve now met so many different people we wouldn’t have met without the blog, and I consider many to be true friends. And once we quit and start traveling more, I expect we’ll double and triple that number easily!

  26. The online PF community is awesome for encouragement and motivation and just a sense of belonging that can be hard to find in real life. So glad we found these people willing to share their financial mistakes and successes, because we learn from you all every day! No question, we are and will continue to be better off financially thanks to you and other PF/FIRE bloggers.

    At times I feel like my own blog is just rehashing what we read on other blogs, but I keep going because I know I appreciate reading many perspectives. Even if a lot of writers say similar stuff, it’s all useful and encouraging. Always learning, always moving forward!

    • All so true! Finding anyone in real life to talk to about all of this stuff is super hard. We have a handful of friends who know our plans beyond “we’re quitting our jobs at the end of the year,” and even among the small group, there’s really only one friend that I talk to honestly about it all. So yeah, having this outlet here is so valuable to so many of us! And don’t worry about whether your content looks like others’. As long as you’re giving credit to others when you’re inspired by their ideas, it’s all good. We’re each advancing the conversation one baby step at a time. :-)

  27. As always, wether the topic is self reflection, having fun or money you guys put together some gems. I sound like a broken record but you have knocked it out of the park with each of your points and the reflection on them. Blogging and the FI realm has changed my life, of which I will always be grateful. Happy to know you guys too of course :)

    • You’re way too kind, my friend. ;-) And you know I’m glad to know you, too! My favorite part about all of this is how unexpected all these benefits were when we started the blog!

  28. Starting out, it was about accountability and fun. Now, the blog has become so much more. I just love the PF and FIRE communities. :) We’re so thankful to have met so many wonderful people because of the blog!

  29. Blogging has absolutely helped me on my path. I have improved my negative net worth by many percentage points in the first not-quite-year I’ve been blogging. So much knowledge and encouragement to be shared.

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  31. I love all of your reasons. Although my own blog isn’t focused solely on personal finance, I agree with most of what you’ve written – especially the points about personal accountability and being forced to challenge/refine my own views and ideas. Thanks!

  32. Love the part about proofs! Starting a blog has really forced me to stress-test my thinking when it comes to money – and I often come up short, but that’s all part of the journey. As a brand new blogger, I am amazed at the level of consciousness blogging has already brought to my finances and I can’t wait to see how that evolves as time goes on. Thank you for another wonderful, thoughtful post!

    • “Stress testing your thinking” is another great way to put it! And brace yourself — blogging will absolutely make you SO MUCH MORE focused on your finances and conscientious about all of it. But it’s all good! :-)

  33. I just started my journey online this past Wednesday and maybe it’s the joy or novelty of the newness but I have more ideas than I can put to paper right now. I am sure in a couple years I’ll be starting to have to be creative with my topics, but right now I’m just enjoying the ride. Love the article.

  34. I started my blog about a week or two ago. I had emergency surgery from a ruptured tube and a blood transfusion and decided because I knew nothing about an Ectopic pregnancy that I would blog my story and recovery and everything else that comes up in life after this happening to me. It has been amazing to write again and the blogging community has been so wonderful it feels so good to have a sense of doing something right and belonging somewhere. I want to blog for the long haul!

    • Oh my goodness — what an awful experience! I hope you’ve recovered from it all. I’m so glad the blog community has supported you through all of that!

  35. I love to blog because it is a release in a way. Like an online diary but much more refined than that, and also a brilliant way to practise and refine one’s own writing, and find other writers with similar interests and tastes.

  36. I consider blogging and reading different stories about personal finance and financial independence as my core group of people I interact with. In the sense that I mostly read FI bloggers who are more concerned with reaching a point where the most valuable commodity is time that we have chosen is more important. The accountability is great, especially for debt repayment. The BS meter also helps on my current plans as I write out what I’m doing or intend to do, I’m always secretly hoping someone will challenge me as this allows me to think through the thoughts of health care, living arrangements, travel, taxes, 4% rules, etc.

    Talking about money with others in person and out loud is frowned upon, sharing with strangers on the internet or reading about strangers who share info about their money is how I survive. I can share about paying off a house or my FI dream scenario with ease and not have to be selective. When I first started blogging I had plans to pay off debt, but everything got supercharged because of the like minded and motivational people you run across on the internet, pretty amazing!

    • I agree with all of this! We have shared our home payoff news with a few people in real life, but even then, it’s still a tiny bit weird and braggy, whereas here in FIRE blogland, it’s a much more positive thing. I do wonder how many of us would have fallen off of this path if we hadn’t found each other online?!

  37. There’s one X factor you are missing: the ability to make extra retirement money/side hustle money/ or full time big money from your blog!

    I never thought FS would grow to the point where it equaled or surpassed my day job income, but it finally did about 3 years after leaving corporate america.

    You’ll be surprised how much you can monetize if you really try!


    • Absolutely true, Sam! That’s definitely not the focus right now, but we’re open to expanding certain aspects of the blog in the future, within reason. ;-)

  38. Such a great outlook on it. There are so many reasons to blog. With the end in sight for one of our biggest financial goals, paying off our home blogging has become important to the process. It keeps us on the rails. Accountable. Sticking to frugal ways so that we can actually achieve our plan. I also love to blog to get out my frustration with the lack of basic financial literacy out there, with so many people unwittingly falling into debt traps. It seems there aren’t many Australian’s that are blogging about debt reduction while they are actually doing it. Personal finance here seems to be still ‘hidden’ behind closed walls here where the Americans seem so more open about it. I’d love to follow your blog. We need all the inspiration we can muster this year! Thank you. I’m glad I saw your blog today.

    • I’m glad you found our blog as well! :-D And there may be more American PF blogs, but talking about money in most settings is still very taboo, and most people are way too ashamed of their debt to talk about it openly.We ALL have a long way to go, but I really think all of our collective blogging voices make a difference. :-)

  39. I agree that blogging community is so much more open about most subjects. Maybe its a sense of safety in opening your heart to strangers… with the knowledge that the innermost feelings though revealed in blogs.. will not be traced back or identified with the blogger…whatever.. im all for it.. in this day and age where personal communication has taken a knock .. the blogging community is a huge plank to help everyone to at least vent their thoughts..
    Having said that, the question of making up the difference in income in the initial years after early retirement is of paramount importance. I can say that with confidence, as I took early retirement a few months ago ( am having a blast by the way). Have started working at my pace on the very next day. No compulsions and no rules to follow. This not only gives me the financial buffer but also boosts my confidence. Ur blog touched a chord.. keep going!!
    BTW, some one mentioned that blogs can also be a means of generating income.. being a total novice at it.. have no clue on this whatsoever.. can someone please enlighten??

    • There are about a gajillion ways to make money blogging, but I do exactly zero of those things, so you’re better off asking someone who actually walks the talk. :-) But you’re so right — blogging gives a lot of us a space to talk about subjects that are taboo or at least odd in “normal” company. We have zero intention of staying anonymous after we quit, which therefore limits some of what we are willing to share here, but there’s so much more freedom to talk money here than in real life. And YES, we do plan to earn SOMETHING in retirement, so nice to hear it’s going well for you. :-)

  40. Great post and totally agree with it all, especially the accountability side of blogging, which is why I’ve started one. Looking forward to checking back through all of your old stuff!

  41. I use my blog for accountability too. I’m so prone to giving up that if I announce I’m going to do something publicly I have to follow through no matter what!

    • That’s so awesome! I think whatever accountability mechanism works for you is worth going with — including if a public pronouncement on your blog is that thing! ;-)

  42. Accountability is why I began, but now it’s more about sharing with others, learning from others, and connecting than anything else. It’s getting better all the time!

    • Totally! Same here all the way. I just wanted to have a record of our journey, but now the blog is so much more than that. :-)