Let's Talk Money - The Series - With American Debt Project

lets talk money with american debt projectI am so very happy that the author of the well known blog American Debt Project recently agreed to participate in the interview series on my blog known as Let’s Talk Money. This series is a great way to get to know other bloggers that write about money. It often includes the challenges they have dealt with and their plans for their financial future.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at this week’s interview.

Please provide a brief introduction about yourself and your personal finance blog including when you created your blog. If comfortable, please share if you are married and how many children you have.

I love Tackling Our Debt’s Let’s Talk Money series! I have been wanting to do this for a while and am excited to talk money. I started my blog in June 2011 with the goal of paying off over $38,000 of consumer debt. I’ve since paid off nearly $10,000 and think this year will be even better. I am not married and don’t have kids but I would like both in the not-too-distant future.      

Outside of a regular job, have you found ways to make additional income? If yes, please explain.

I love selling stuff on eBay. I have a small business where I help businesses list surplus, usually industrial items for a commission. Although this business started out very small, I am now making a few hundred dollars a month for a small investment of my time each week.

I also have a vending machine placed in an office. Having just one vending machine doesn’t make very much money, but I am not losing money and I own a pretty cool asset- a full-size soda vending machine. When my situation improves, I’d like to have a route of 10 vending machines.

I have tons of ideas on how to make money all the time but I have learned to be more focused and work deliberately. Not every idea will happen, but if I can implement one or two each year, I can make an impact on my income.

Have you ever lost a large amount of money in investments?

I lost what was a lot of money to me: $5200. This happened back in July/August 2011. You can read the full story here. Although I definitely want investing to be a part of my portfolio, right now I am not ready to jump back in and am much more focused on paying off debt and researching small business opportunities.

Do you utilize an employer retirement plan?

We have a SARSEP retirement plan at work but it offers no match. I’ve heard the standard financial advice to be to skip employer plans without a match, but for me, this is the one area of my finances where I have been good about diligently saving money. I increase my contribution by $50 per paycheck every six months, and that has been relatively painless. I also like that it reduces my taxable income.

How important is planning for retirement to you?

I am going to be honest: I am an excellent planner in my career (in fact my official job title is Strategic Planner) but I have a really hard time envisioning my future past the next 6 months. This is something I am working on based on studies that suggest that seeing yourself in the future where you want to be and making very specific goals and plans to get there is very effective (like Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill). And when it comes to retirement, I have no plan and no vision. I think it is because I don’t like the idea of retiring and doing nothing, I would like to still own businesses and be active well after retirement age. But I am seeing that having a regular monthly cash flow outside of work gives you options, and so I am now working on my long-term plans in order to start taking more actions now to get there.

What is the most expensive item you have ever purchased?

My Mazda3. I wanted this car so bad and I loved the body, handling and sticker price. I am a hardline negotiator and brought in my mom, aunt and cousin (who are three beautiful, intimidating ladies) when I picked out the car. It got a little ugly, but in the end I paid $15,200 for a car with an $18,500 sticker price!  I love negotiating and making deals. I want to get out of debt so I can get serious about building up my businesses.

@American Debt Project – Thank you so much for participating this week. I love the opportunity to get a peek into the life of the person behind the blog.

Remember to check out ADP’s blog and to catch up with her on Twitter @IAmDebtProject  as well.



    • AverageJoe

      AverageJoe 08/01/2012 7:25 a.m. #

      Great interview! I'm with ADP...the standard "forgo a retirement plan with a match" advice is ridiculous. It's the only way to get pretax money, so for many, they're investing about 20% more money. Who doesn't want a free 20% return?

    • American Debt Project

      American Debt Project 08/01/2012 9:18 a.m. #

      Thanks Average Joe! I am glad to know it makes sense. And thanks again Sicorra for including me in the series, it was a lot of fun to do the interview.

    • Stephanie @ Empowered Dollar

      Stephanie @ Empowered Dollar 08/02/2012 6:48 a.m. #

      I feel the same way about investing. I only lost $1,000 in the ups and downs of the market, but it still scared me enough to stay away from the market.

      Sicorra - awesome series. Let me know if you're looking for more bloggers to interview! :)

    • CF

      CF 08/02/2012 11:52 a.m. #

      I like reading the interviews as well - get to see the blogger from another perspective. I can sympathize with your Mazda 3 love. We don't have a car, but when we use car sharing, the Mazda 3 is one of our favourite rentals.

    • Money Bulldog

      Money Bulldog 08/02/2012 5:01 p.m. #

      I agree that shares can be a good long term investment but when it comes to investing in the stock market I think the old saying 'only invest what you can afford to lose' still holds a lot of weight!

    • Jai Catalano

      Jai Catalano 08/03/2012 7:15 a.m. #

      Big mistake with not jumping back in the market. Bad for you bad for the economy. There are plenty of ways to make money and hedge risk.

    • femmefrugality

      femmefrugality 08/05/2012 7:39 a.m. #

      Nice to meet you ADP! Nice job on negotiating on the car. I'd love to do the whole ebay thing...I'll have to read up on how you do it.

    • American Debt Project

      American Debt Project 08/09/2012 9:09 p.m. #

      Thanks for all your comments guys!! @Jai- I see what you are saying, but I am a BIG believer in questioning conventional wisdom. Consumers who are paying off debt and less excited to invest in markets (and instead invest in local, small businesses) are "bad for the economy". But they are good for their own prosperity :). So it's working for me!

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