In a 1906, well-known playwright George Bernard Shaw saw the first stage performance of his play The Doctor's Dilemma. The story itself is fascinating but the gem is the following quote:
It refers to the methods “professionals” will use to get and retain power and wealth.
People in a profession have a vested interest in keeping others out because it helps them earn more.
This is most often achieved by adding complexity, requiring certifications, requiring long periods of study or apprenticeship, and other similar techniques.
I was first turned onto this idea in Tim Harford's The Undercover Economist, a book I picked up in a bookstore in England just because it had a cool cover. In it, Harford describes and the idea of “green belts.”
What does this have to do with me?
I'm one of the laity and I understand personal finance and I have no vested interest in keeping it complicated.
Hi – I'm Jim.
I've been writing about personal finance for over 10+ years and been featured in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Marketplace Money, Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, U.S. News and World Report, and more.
I didn't learn about money in the classroom. I didn't get a certification and I'm not an adviser or coach.
I learned about building wealth through trial and error. I learned by doing it.
I am part of the laity. You are part of the laity.
The beauty of the internet is that any geek off the street can write a blog.
But after ten+ years, I've earned my keep.
And when it comes to your money, action and results matter. Certifications don't.
We need to understand “complex” ideas so we don't need the priests. We need to work hard, get results, and then do it again.
I believe that managing your money does not have to be difficult. Or complex. Or scary.
And here's the key – I don't benefit from it being difficult and I hope to learn from you as much as you learn from me
That's why I explain what I learn in very simple to understand terms. The more you understand, the more we can talk about it and the more we can help each other out.
I also focus on taking action, not concepts or ideas. I'm about concrete steps that will have an impact.
You know what I'm not… here's a bit about what I am.
My parents emigrated to the United States in 1978, first my father came on a one-way ticket from Taiwan on a student visa. My mother would join him a year later.
I would be born shortly thereafter.
Education was always a very important part of my upbringing, which explains why I'd do well enough in school to continue my studies at Carnegie Mellon.
There, I studied Computer Science and Economics as an undergrad and followed that up with a Masters in Information Technology – Software Engineering.
I share that with you because Carnegie Mellon taught me many things, but the most valuable one was problem solving. Their approach of breaking a problem down into its component steps is how I approach every problem today. At CMU, it was less about the programming and more about learning how to think.
Simplicity is elegant. Complexity is ugly (and slow).
My approach to building wealth involves breaking things down to their simplest steps, optimizing it, and executing them. I seek elegant financial solutions.
For over 10 years, I wrote about money on a blog that chronicled my own journey, including:
- I started my first job, left it for a better job, and left that to work on Bargaineering full time…
- I bought my first house, made plenty of mistakes, and documented the whole thing…
- I bought two cars, after the first one was totalled by a driver who ran a red light…
- I got married and started a family…
My family is my bedrock. It is the most important thing in my life.
My lovely wife has a far more impressive academic and professional resume and we are blessed to have two lovely kids.
Life is a series of epic events. Graduation. Buying a House. Buying a Car. Marriage. Retirement. Etc.
Ever notice that there are gatekeepers at every step? Conspiracies against the laity. 🙂
Alright, enough about me – this site is about you too. It's about what we can do together to achieve your goals of building wealth.
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