If you reflected on the very moment you’re writing this post today, tell us your story – how did you get you get where you are?
I grew up on the west coast of Canada with an amazing family. Spent my youth playing sports and enjoying the great outdoors like a wayward wanderer in a wild kingdom.
For anyone who’s explored British Columbia, you know the beauty and adventure it can bring.
Fast forward to adulthood, I moved across the country (well across most of it) to downtown Toronto to pursue my career aspirations. I landed my dream job and met a beautiful girl. Storybook right?
Not really, I was living paycheck to paycheck and making little to no progress with my finances or life in general.
Skip ahead a couple more years and some life changing decisions to take control of my money and life, I guess the reason I’m here would be that in February 2018 I launched a blog, Making Momentum.
So here I sit…on a mini throne (AKA my ergonomic office chair).
When did you have an epiphany moment to get in gear towards building a financial kingdom for yourself and your family?
After graduating university and working in my new dream career for a couple years, I realized I was just stuck in a cycle. I was sold on the concept that this was just the financial landscape all millennials had to deal with.
Student loans, budgets with little flexibility, minimal retirement savings, expensive housing.
Safe to say the progress I was making in my financial standing was minimal. The stresses built and thoughts of “this really can’t be the only solution” gained steam in my head.
I started to ask myself (and Google) some questions about saving money, making more money, expediting student loan repayment timelines and investing for retirement.
Par for the course with me, I dove in head first.Within a month I’d read 4 of the stalwart personal finance books, listened to 100+ personal finance podcast episodes and read more blog articles than I could count.
That was August 2015 and personal finances have been at the forefront of my priorities since. Making momentum with my money and life was now the focus.
I touched on the personal finance and resources that saved my financial life in a post on my site.
From Chris -> This is wonder man! I love hearing when people see a change or recognize a cycle take action!
What are three lessons you’ve learned while getting to the exact moment you’re writing this blog?
- The majority of control over money and life lies in your hands, no one else’s. Therefore, making personal finances a priority and taking an active, engaged approach to bettering them was the first step that helped get me on the correct path.
- Compound wins to make momentum with your money and life. There is a web of connectivity between most decisions you make, big or small, so focus on continuous improvement and reap the benefits of how most positive gains will springboard others.
- Shifting from a scarcity mindset to one of abundance helped me grow my income over 83% in the last 2.5 years.
From Chris -> Where should one learn more about how you did this?
What are your big motivators for building a financial kingdom and achieving FIRE?
The biggest motivator for building my financial kingdom is freedom. I will work as hard and smart as I can in the next 10 years so that I can achieve the freedom of choice.
I love my current job but life is so short.
The time we get to experience the amazing people, places and moments this wild world delivers is so limited.
Whether I want to stay at my current job or jump to an entirely different lifestyle will be a future decision, but I want to be able to make that decision when the time comes.
I want to have the freedom to make choices that maximize the value and happiness I get from those amazing people, places and moment.
When looking at the kingdom roadmap which milestone are you currently working towards?
Based on the Kingdom Roadmap, I’m towards the end of Milestone Map 2. In 2018, I will make the final payment on student loans thanks to a student loan repayment strategy I’ve adopted that helped speed up that journey.
Have you faced any challenges while working towards financial stability and how did you adapt to them?
The biggest challenge in my financial journey to reach financial stability has been financial illiteracy.
I understood the principles of the basic concepts of making money, living within your means and needing to save for retirement. The actual practice of putting those into action in my own life was where I came up short.
I’ve written about some of my stupid money mistakes from my late-teens and early 20’s. The consistent theme across those mistakes is clearly financial illiteracy and acting like a financial dullard with a consumer, spend-happy mindset.
The turnaround happened after I read those 4 amazing personal finance books, listened to a collection of personal finance podcasts and consumed a handful of blogs.
Finding this collection of personal finance content changed my life and set me on the right path.
If you met someone who was just starting out on their journey towards building their kingdom – what would be your advice to them?
The Kingdom Roadmap you developed is an amazing resource that lays out the fundamentals in a great way for a beginner to build their understanding of the principles of personal finance. So kudos to you!
If I was giving five quick bullet points just laying the first bricks of building their own financial kingdom, I’d note:
- Educate yourself on personal finances (books, podcasts, blogs and mentors)
- Create your financial snapshot, goals and roadmap
- Start with budgeting and cutting costs to optimize your spending
- Shift your mindset from scarcity to abundance to increase your income
- Monitor, track and automate as best possible
From Chris -> I love the abundance mindset you talk about here – the shift to that is wonderful for overall happiness. Someone got promoted? It isn’t the only promotion in the world – there are an abundance!
When you first graduated from university and began your career in the corporate world, what really triggered that change to get out of the cycle and what was a big change that came from it?
I mentioned this early but it was really from finally saying enough is enough. Breaking free from the cycle I was in and overcoming my financial illiteracy triggered my change.
Given how poor I was managing my money, there was plenty of room for improvement. I tried to learn as much as I could quickly about budgeting, proper money management, growing your income and saving for retirement the smart way.
Those lessons learned unlock an avalanche of financial momentum in my life.
Blogging / Writing Questions
What motivated you to begin writing about personal finance and starting a blog to share with the world?
In 2015, during my journey to improve my personal finances, I was also tuning into side hustle podcasts like The Side Hustle Show and The Fizzle Show.
Each of these shows featured guests that spoke about the power and benefits of blogging. So I went into the Apple Podcast app and searched “start a blog” and “blogging”. Those search results brought me to Do You Even Blog and ProBlogger.
Long-story short, I decided I could relate to the everyday person looking to take control of their money and life. I had something to say and wanted to explore this world of personal finance blogging.
In February 2018, Making Momentum was born…
It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made.
What are one or two top lessons or some advice you could share on building a great blog like yours?
The first thing I would say is it takes hustle, a lot of hustle. Since you’re reading this on Duke Of Dollars, that’s a good sign. You aren’t going to be tricked by any blog spam about starting a blog in 15 minutes and then you’re on the way to making passive income.
When you’re starting out it takes time if you’re serious about blogging. It’s like trying to get an MBA in Digital Marketing & Entrepreneurship on hyperspeed.
You’re trying to master a dozen different skills all at the same time.
So the speed list of advice I’d give is:
- Network with the community member in your niche
- Study the top blogs in your niche that you admire
- Test different types of posts and contents to help find your voice
- Choose 1-2 social media channels to try and master at the start
- Promote, connect, discuss and engage on those channels with your community
- Stay consistent and produce content regularly as you need to learn by doing
Oh and hustle. Did I say it takes hustle?
So lean in and take a risk, just start and see if you enjoy it.
From Chris -> These are great steps for new bloggers! We really enjoy just writing to the world, finding people with the same passion and interest, and want to be free!
What are the most important small wins you’ve wrote about that people can begin today?
I wrote about 5 easy financial wins I had when starting my personal finance journey. These were the first 5 shifts I quickly made in my life once I decided enough is enough. Quick, easy wins applicable to those at the beginning of their journey.
The small win that has helped make the most momentum in my life was deciding to wake up at 5am for basically everyday over the last 28 months. This changed my entire life and I could write a whole guest post about it on the lasting impact it’s made on my kingdom. Is it feasible or doable for everyone? That’s debatable.
My last comment would just be that personal finances are personal. There are no two situations that are the same. Some things I mentioned above may not be applicable to your lifestyle, financial situation or the financial goals you have. However, I hope something I said connected with you.
Finally, thank you for letting me step inside the Duke’s Kingdom. I feel like an honorary Knight inside these walls.
And thank you Scott! We look forward to reading more of your posts in the future and Dukes – keep making momentum!!