Silicon Valley Blogger is a web entreprenuer and the founder of two personal finance blogs: The Digerati Life and The Smarter Wallet. She sat down with LearnVest to answer twelve Proust Questionnaire-inspired questions about her financial experiences, her website, and her thoughts for the rest of us!
1. Best financial advice you ever got?
It's one I learned fairly early and found to be the most meaningful tip I received thus far: invest early. I got started with investing in my early twenties, a couple of decades ago, and doing so has made a huge impact on my finances. Investing early allows you to take advantage of the power of compounding as it affects your rate of return. After I graduated from college, I learned as much as I could about investing and opted to develop a long term view. I diversified and developed an asset allocation, and these strategies have helped manage the risks that come with participating in the stock market.
2. If you could change one thing about your finances what would it be?
It's the ability to control expenses. Living in a high cost area has required me to watch my expenses and seek income opportunities in order to maintain a financially stable lifestyle. If it were just my decision alone, I would consider moving to a lower cost neighborhood. Doing so would allow me to live with less financial pressure and possibly enjoy more of a slower paced, balanced life.
3. Biggest financial mistake you ever made?
The mistakes I have made I would attribute to forgetting the diversification mantra. We put all our eggs in one basket on a few occasions and paid the price. One example is buying into one high flying stock after it's cratered, assuming that it will recover. That is not always the case. It's much like catching a falling knife.
4. Biggest financial mistakes other people make?
Some big financial mistakes that my relatives and friends have experienced involve lending money to friends and family with certain expectations. I believe in mixing business with family only with careful scrutiny. I don't believe in embarking on financial ventures with people close to you without making sure that expectations are set and the risks and consequences of such ventures are well understood. Other mistakes I've seen people make involve following the herd in the midst of an investment bubble, falling for scams and even getting married when a partner is experiencing financial trouble or is not financially stable.
5. What is your greatest extravagance?
My home. And it's precisely why I sometimes wish I lived in a lower cost location. I've put a lot into turning our house into the home I've always wanted (playing the part as designer) but at the same time, living where I do, it turns out that maintaining it has also been (and continues to be) costly.
6. What is your most treasured possession?
Everything I have of sentimental value: this would be heirlooms from my mother and grandmother, pictures and videos captured of my grandparents, parents, extended family, kids and husband.
7. What is your motto when it comes to money?
Make hay while the sun shines. Be prepared.
8. What is your greatest financial fear?
That there are things that happen in our lives that are out of our control that we cannot really prepare for. Not to be Debbie Downer, but I have learned that with certain events, no amount of preparation can help cushion the blow of their aftermath. A big natural disaster, prolonged unemployment or chronic illness can do a number on your finances no matter how prepared you are.
9. Who is your financial role model?
I'm a big fan of John Bogle [Founder of The Vanguard Group and author of Common Sense on Mutual Funds].
10. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A stress free life where you're able to pursue your ambitions while leading a balanced, healthy life among your loved ones. Having a healthy life (physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually) with positive personal and professional relationships would be just awesome.
11. What should people know about your site?
I started my site out as a personal finance blog that covers a wide variety of financial topics, ranging from investing and saving to discussions about the economy and small business. While I try to cover diverse topics, my favorite ones are in the areas of stock and real estate investing, entrepreneurship and building net worth. The name "Digerati" comes from my connection with the computer and tech world, but it could also reference one's online existence. I look at my site as a labor of love which started out as a hobby. Now it has grown into a business that also allows me to share views and information about one of my favorite topics in the world (personal finance). I consider it a dream venture, which I hope to keep supporting for a long time. I hope that what I deliver helps my readers as much as it helps me, given that I also write as a way to keep myself accountable. As for the future, I have some bigger plans which will involve providing additional resources (besides just content) in this realm.
12. What do you like best about LearnVest?
I like the fact that LearnVest is a fabulous financial resource that's focused on women's interests and needs. But more specifically? I like the Personalized Action Plan and other tools because of how they can directly help you with your finances. I also find the idea of financial bootcamps really helpful, and LearnVest offers these on a regular basis. Online financial education is a great way to beef up your knowledge on finance at very little or no cost. I wish I had a resource like this when I was just starting out with my career and building my net worth many years ago!