Over the next few weeks, XY Planning Network is running a special feature on some of our favorite personal finance bloggers for Millennials. Up first: Paula Pant of Afford Anything!
Paula runs Afford Anything, a personal finance blog dedicated to helping readers leverage their money to fund their biggest dreams and goals. For Afford Anything readers, it’s all about ruthlessly eliminating expenses that don’t matter in order to spend freely on the few things that do.
Paula is strongly anti-cubicle, and believes we’re not meant to sit in offices and rush hour traffic day after day after day. Instead, she’s all about building wealth so you can use your finances to create freedom.
How long have you been blogging?
I launched Afford Anything on March 1, 2011 -- we've been brewing an anti-cubicle rebellion for more than three years!
What inspired you to start blogging about money?
In 2008, I quit my 9-to-5 desk job, sold all my worldly possessions, and traveled the globe for two years. All my friends said: "I'd love to do that, but I can't afford it." I launched Afford Anything to bust that myth. People can afford anything. You can't necessarily afford everything, but you can afford anything.
Of all the personal finance topics you blog about, which are you most passionate about?
Financial freedom, which is that glorious state in which you never need to trade your time for money. You can choose to work, but you're never forced to work. You achieve this level of supreme awesomeness through investing -- I'm a huge advocate for both index funds and rental properties.
Why do young adults need to build financial education?
Money is life. It's cliche to make trite statements like "money doesn't matter," but that's ridiculous. If money truly didn't matter, millions of people wouldn't wake up at 5 a.m. in the freezing cold, to scrape ice off their car and drive through the dark to reach their cubicle farm, where they suffer through meetings and get yelled at by their bosses for the next 9 hours. And those people are the lucky ones; the employed.
The truth is that money DOES matter, quite a lot. It determines almost everything about your life: your stress levels, your access to education and health care, your ability to retire or to care for your family. Financial education -- learning about money -- is the most critical education that we need. It's far, far more relevant to our lives than Ancient Peloponnesian History.
What's the biggest thing young adults don't understand about money?
Investing is your BFF. Focus on ramping up your income, so that you can grow the "gap" between your spending and your earnings. Then invest that gap. Put it into passively-managed index funds, or buy a cashflowing rental property.
If someone doesn't know a single thing about money, where can they go to start learning?
AffordAnything.com is the best place to start! But if you're looking for books, I recommend Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, The Millionaire Next Door by Dr. Thomas Stanley, and From 0 to 130 Properties in 3.5 Years by Steve McKnight. If you prefer radio or podcast formats, listen to the Dave Ramsey show.
What are 3 pieces of your favorite personal finance advice?
- Stay away from all debt that isn't cash-flow positive.
- Hustle during your evenings and weekends so you can boost your income, and then invest all of that extra money.
- Live like a broke college student for much, much longer than necessary.
Where can we connect with you?
Please note that XY Planning Network has no affiliation or relationship with any featured blogger. Some of the bloggers we have linked to via this site share content with affiliate links and make money off commissioned sales of products. Each blog has a disclosure page that we encourage you to read for more consumer information and details about how these independent sites are monetized.