2/27/06: Turns out that Ray sold his blog late last year. All of the links in this post to that site were removed since they resulted in 404 Errors. I was looking forward to seeing him inject his religion into personal finance, oh well.
Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what the difference is between all the personal finance bloggers out there. What makes my perspective different than any other blog? Therein lies the purpose of these PFBlogger spotlights, to try to illustrate the differences so we can all learn a little bit more about one another and today’s spotlight is no different. Ray is the guiding force behind The Millionaire’s Blog, a blog that published its first article on July 18th, 2005, and Ray brings a new perspective to the table – one that I hadn’t seen before. The importance of religion or lack of religion plays a significant role in all our lives but often times you don’t see it very publicly in the personal finance world because finance is mostly numbers. Occasionally, you read an article about tithing but for the most part the blogosphere is silent on the matter (again, as with female bloggers before, I could be entirely wrong).
Ray plans to “reinvent” his blog and inject a perspective that I feel adds tremendous value, one that includes his faith.
|jim:||Could you tell us a little about yourself?|
|Ray:||I’m originally from Brooklyn, NY; I now call Kingfisher, OK, my home. Married to a wonderful woman, Tammy. We also have 2 boys and 2 girls, and two daschunds (Jack and Jade). I am self-employed as a Right of Way Agent for one of the major railroads.|
|jim:||How did you end up in Oklahoma?|
|Ray:||Prior to becoming a Right of Way Agent I worked as a Site Acquisition Specialist for the wireless industry. So I moved quite a bit from project to project. I went from Brookly, NY to North Bergen, NJ, Augusta, GA, Greenville, SC, The Woodlands, TX, Austin, TX, Round Rock, TX and finally Kingfisher, OK. My wife and I agreed that if I was going to continue to travel it would be best if she were close to family. My wife is originally from Oklahoma.|
|jim:||How do you think the mindsets of OK and NY differ?|
|Ray:||NY mindset is very different. It is very much go, go ,go. Oklahomans’s are much more relaxed and it’s not a dog eat dog environment. Both places have their pros and cons.|
|jim:||What kind of car do you drive and how long have you had it?|
|Ray:||We own two cars. A 2004 Explorer, that my wife drives, and I drive a 2002 Mazda pick-up. Both were purchased new.|
|jim:||Any plans on getting a new one?|
|Ray:||Absolutely not. When we are totally out of debt I will get a bigger pick-up, BUT, it won’t be new. I ‘ve learned my lesson. I will purchase something a couple of years old, where someone else has paid for the depreciation cars take when you drive them off the lot.|
|jim:||When and why did you start a blog?|
|Ray:||I started my blog in July 2005. I started to write just to make myself accountable to other as far as my goals were concerned. I figured if I had other who knew what I wanted to accomplish than I would be less hesitant to quit.|
|jim:||Is there anything that makes your perspective unique?|
|Ray:||To tell you the truth I am not sure. I write about almost that I think can help people with their finances. I have recently begun thinking about my blog’s focus. I believe our faith and God’s teaching can have a significant positive affect on our own personal finances, and on how and what we give to others.|
|jim:||How do you plan to tie in the importance of faith with regard to personal finances?|
|Ray:||[With] posts that show how words in the scripture actually tell you how to run you personal finances, examples of people who allow faith to guide their finances, and my own experiences.|
|jim:||Have you written any posts in which you’ve introduced the two together yet?|
|Ray:||Yes, the RJ Letourenau “God’s shovel is bigger than mine!” post is a very good example.|
|jim:||Would would you say is your favorite personal finance book and why?|
|Ray:||David Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. I bought the book November 2004 and saw David in Oklahoma City in March 2005. The day after, we cut up all our credit cards and began getting out of debt. We have not borrowed any money, other than our mortgage, and will be totally out of debt, except our mortgage, by June 2006.|
|jim:||Which of your posts do you think are must reads?|
|Ray:||I think the one that realy encompasses my beliefs and what I would like other to take from my blog is a recent post called “God’s shovel in bigger than mine.” (mentioned earlier) This post is about RJ LeTourneau, his faith, and his passion for helping others.|
|jim:||What financial “mistake” bothers you the most?|
|Ray:||Not starting investing at a young age. Time is your best ally when it comes to gaining wealth. I have learned from that mistake and have started my children’s investing plans early.|
|jim:||What was your best financial decision to date?|
|Ray:||Deciding that if I am to retire comfortably I have to take matters into my own hands.|
|jim:||What is your favorite personal finance blog and why?|
|Ray:||I don’t have a particular favorite. I read about 5-8 a day and they are all very good.|
|jim:||If your blog ended today, how would you like people to remember it?|
|Ray:||Because of the direction I am taking my blog I hope people will remember it as the place where they learned to become stewards of God’s wealth. If I can make that happen with just a handful of people I would be very pleased.|
|jim:||Is there anything I haven’t asked that I should have?|
|Ray:||Jim, there is a point that I want to make and that is if we are truly faithful and believe in a higher power than we have to realize the wealth we possess or hope to possess is not ours to keep. If we are to truly do the work of the Lord than we must become his servant in all aspect including managing his wealth. If we learn to manage his wealth, by giving and using it wisely, than he will give us even more to manage. He wants us to take care of our famliy with the wealth he give us, but he also wants us to do great things with it as well. By giving and helping others we can truly be stewards of God and his wealth.
I know I will probably lose some reader when I make this transistion, but I feel very strongly about the role faith plays in all aspects of our lives, including wealth building. A quick fact is this: There are over 40 passages in the bible related to finances. Including my favorite ” The borrower is a slave to the lender”. That is my motivation for not getting into debt. Imagine the freedom we would have if we are debt free. We could choose work based on our likes and dislikes rather than how much we need to make to pay the bills. that is just an example of many other that I will write about in my blog.