GE Miller writes 20 Something Finance , a personal finance blog that is geared towards the twenty-something crowd, and Microfrugality , a new site on lowering your expenses and living the frugal lifestyle. As a twenty-something myself, I stumbled onto 20 Something Finance a few months ago and have been quietly lurking in the background as posts were delivered to my RSS reader. His recent pair of posts about getting rid of material clutter remind me of my recent purge of financial clutter.
So a few weeks ago, I reached out to GE to see if he’d be interested in participating in my PFBlogger Spotlight series and he agreed. It’s not every day you meet someone who enjoys the occasional game of cornhole (I learned about it in Pittsburgh, which isn’t too far from Michigan). I hope you enjoy the interview and if you have a moment, check out his site.
Q. Hi GE, could you tell us a little about yourself?
A. Sure. I’m in my late twenties and have been married for four years. I currently reside in Michigan and work at a tech company. I enjoy hiking, cycling, tennis, disc golf, backpacking, and an occasional game of cornhole (look it up). I’m a huge Michigan State football and basketball fan (and alum) and have football season tickets.
Q. What motivated you to begin blogging and how long have you been doing it?
A. I started blogging two years ago this December. Throughout my 20’s, I have noticed that many of my peers are starting to make a real income for the first time in their lives, yet their careless high school and college personal finance habits have stayed the same. Many were making horrible financial decisions that would affect them for the rest of their lives. It’s hard for me to keep my opinions to myself, but I quickly found that personal finance advice is not pertinent unless the audience is actively seeking it. A personal finance blog was the right platform for me to help others out who were seeking that help. The site does focus on issues that young professional adults face, however, there are plenty of essential financial lessons for everyone, regardless of age.
Q. What do you think makes your perspective unique?
A. My perspective is not unique. The personal finance advice niche is not short on false prophets. How many times have we heard the same old “I have risen from the ashes of debt and if you follow me, you will too” story? It’s getting a little old, quite frankly. I like to think that I bring up timely and relevant personal finance discussions that just about anyone can relate to and provide a platform for people to share their experiences. Hopefully a few people are motivated to take action. It’s not about me, it’s about the reader.
Q. As someone who isn’t a fan of the “I got out of debt, you can do it, rah rah” type of blog, were you ever personally in credit card debt? I didn’t think you did but if you had, do you think your philosophy would have changed?
A. I’ve never personally had credit card debt, but if I had been, I might be a little more sympathetic to that story line, but not too much. Spending habits or misuse of credit cards are the number one reason most get into trouble. For the most part people know that credit cards are bad yet they still misuse them, so it’s hard to make a case against anyone but the debtor.
Q. What are your favorite personal finance books?
A.The first personal finance book I read was Personal Finance for Dummies . It’s a great overview on just about everything that you need to know about personal finance. Maybe it’s nostalgia, but it still ranks up there as one of the best that I’ve read.
Q. What’s something no one else in the blogging world knows about you?
A. I have two pets named after characters in the A-team – the greatest television series EVER.
Q. Are your pets named Murdock and Hannibal? I know that one is a dog, what’s the other one?
A. I have a cat named B.A. and a dog named Murdock (and ironically, they don’t really like each other).
Q. Ahh… I was close. Anyway, which of your posts do you think all your readers should read?
A. That’s a tough one. How about a series? I wrote a series on eco-friendly cost savings . We’re not talking about just ‘going green’ in these posts, but ‘going green and saving money’. What’s not to like about simultaneously ensuring a better financial future for yourself and planet for everyone?
Q. What financial “mistake” that you’ve done has bothered you the most?
A. A few years ago I piled a bunch of cash into mutual funds at the peak of the market. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I wish that I had held a larger cash position so that I could have bought more during the recession.
Q. How about your best decision?
A. Selling my car and taking the bus to work. I figure that it saves me about $3K annually. Not that it is without its drawbacks.
Q. What are some of the drawbacks of not having a car in Michigan?
A. Most cities in Michigan are not very public transit friendly. Luckily, I happen to be located in one that is. A drawback to not having a car is winter travels. Biking or taking a scooter around town is not very practical in the winter.
Q. What is your favorite personal finance blog and why?
A. Other than Bargaineering? Honestly, there’s a lot of blogs in the space, but only a handful worth reading. Jeremy over at GenXFinance  is a good guy who writes well thought out posts and actually has some credibility in that he professionally works in the industry.
Q. How about your three favorite non personal finance blogs, and why?
A. Brazencareerist : I don’t always agree with Penelope, but she inspires her readers to pick sides. Seth Godin’s Blog : He’s a creative marketer who understands the big picture. Tiny House Blog : The tiny house movement is one that I’m very passionate about.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish this year?
A. I’d like to cut the amount of material possessions that I have in half.
Q. If your blog ended today, how would you like people to remember it?
A. If I’ve helped one person by motivating them to make thoughtful decisions that positively impacted their finances or their life, then I’d be satisfied.
Q. Finally, knowing what you know now, what would you advise someone just graduating college and entering the real world?
A. Give yourself a few years to figure your career out, and make big financial decisions knowing that your first job right out of school is not going to be your last. In this economy, you may have to be creative in finding work right out of school. When experimenting with your career in this stage, you probably don’t want to tie yourself down with a mortgage or other large expenses. Additionally, don’t be so quick to jump to business or grad school. Give yourself a few years to get to know the industry that you are looking to expand your career in. Use your added income wisely to pay down high interest debt, vs. adding new high interest debt.
If you have a moment, check out GE at 20 Something Finance  and if you like his stuff, you can subscribe to his RSS feed . Also give his Microfrugality  site a look too, it’s brand new as of this writing but if it’s anything like 20 Something Finance, it’ll have some good stuff on it very soon.