You can't deny how someone feels. They just do and you've got to accept it. Maybe the color blue looks different between two people. We'll never know because we can only know ourselves.
I started this site as a way to deal with the agony of the financial meltdown in 2008-2009. I needed to find a way to let the pain escape in a healthy way. Drugs and booze were not an option although tempting they were.
This site has always been about introspection. To understand why we think the way we think. To understand our inconsistencies. Finally, to talk about issues that are on so many people's minds but cannot be publicly discussed due to fear of persecution.
Since my very first post in 2009 I've been able to reconcile the stupidity of my multitude of financial mistakes. I've met many friends online who are also on uncertain paths to financial independence. We've shared victories and defeats.
But I thought there would be more people like me who fear being alone, going broke, or being a failure to our family. Lately, I feel like I'm the only loser around.
A PERFECT WORLD FULL OF PERFECT PEOPLE
It's never easy to open up about mistakes and insecurities. Yet, that's exactly what I've done in posts such as, “Real Estate Mistakes To Avoid,” “Dealing With The Fear Of Being Alone Forever,” and “How Amazing Is Your Fabulous Life?“. I thought I'd feel a little better about exposing some failures full on and I slightly do. But as I read and responded to the comments, I realized I was basically the only one who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in real estate, who fears dying alone, and who has a case of FOMO.
Nobody commented in a particularly negative manner. Instead, it was more, “Thank goodness I didn't buy a second property!” or “I'm so happy to come home to a loving wife,” or “FOMO? Really? That's pretty ridiculous if you ask me.” Each comment reaffirmed that I was the only sucker to experience such things.
Keeping Things real
One of my goals for writing about my mistakes and worries is to let readers know there's a real person behind the writing, not some financial wizard who never steps into a hole and twists his ankle.
Personal finance is such an unpredictable journey that if you travel long enough, bad things will happen. I thought if I could share my bends and turns, you'd not only feel better about yourself but also become more encouraged with never giving up. Maybe it's not working or maybe it's working a little too well.
Failure to properly convey a message online is frustrating. I enjoy crafting stories around a topic so that maybe readers can better imagine a scenario that will promote dynamic discussion. My goal is to always try and put myself in someone else's shoes so we can better understand their situation.
To be told my ideals are “different,” with the insinuation they are inferior is disappointing. I need to constantly remind myself not everybody is as open minded or has seen the world or speaks another language.
I FEEL STUPID FOR CARING SO MUCH
Those who care the most are probably the weakest link. If I didn't care so much about my company, I wouldn't have stayed for 11 consecutive years. I would have hit one of many multiple bids from competing firms looking to hire me for more money instead.
I also felt it a duty to train up my junior hire so that he could be self-sufficient in running the business before I left. The decision cost me around $300,000-$500,000 in lost income over two years.
Lesson learned: Loyalty is overrated. Do what's best for you.
In the blogging world, I'm probably the only blogger my size who actively comments on other sites because I remember the loneliness of first starting out and the joy of having someone leave a note. The positive comments are what kept me going in the very beginning.
Now I'm thinking it's probably best to conserve my energy to prevent burnout as things are getting unwieldy. I still have a habit of responding to the vast majority of comments on Financial Samurai, but I should probably learn to be more indifferent.
Lesson learned: Write more boring, neutral posts which produce less commentary.
What a fool I am for spending hours writing posts on touchy topics that are specifically requested by readers who are too shy to ask friends or family for help. I do all the work and get all the flack while the inquirer gets to sit back and take in all the helpful information. No more.
If you've got a particular problem that's not mainstream, I want you to sit down in front of a computer, spend at least three hours crafting a structurally sound 1,500 word article and send me a copy. I'll give you some editorial pointers and will publish your post. But you've got to do most of the work so you know how it feels.
Lesson learned: Encourage readers to do the work if they want to hear answers to their concerns. This way, more readers will realize how difficult it is to write a post and receive criticism from people who don't share their own story.
I write about relationships all the time because I want to be a better boyfriend, husband, son and father. By trying to write from different viewpoints I hope to better understand when conflict inevitably arises. I'm well aware about how hard it is to maintain a long-term harmonious relationship given the difficulties I see with close family and friends.
Everybody knows someone who seemed to have the perfect marriage but decided to split. I'm optimistic that relationships can be improved through hard work, no matter how much flack I get from my writing. Truly, the source of all stress is giving a giant crap.
Lesson learned: Putting yourself out there hurts. I've got to better weigh the rewards of understanding others with the pain of getting stomped on.
Finally, just a couple weeks ago a buddy of mine was turning the big 3-0. I promised him a week before his birthday that I'd take him out for drinks to celebrate. He enthusiastically said yes.
About three days before his birthday he started getting wishy washy about celebrating. I could sense he was going to flake so I made other plans. It turns out he made plans with some other friends and didn't even mention it until the next day. Thanks a lot for agreeing to hang when you had no plans but pushing me aside once new plans were made.
We can visit Pity City, but let’s not stay there! Because at the end of the day, nobody really cares about our situation as much as ourselves.
Lesson learned: Be more selfish with my time. Focus on friendships where there is reciprocity and dump the rest.
TIME FOR A CHANGE AND A BREAK
In a 50 minute podcast interview I did the other week about the reasons for starting this site and the trends of online publishing, I told Spencer the host I wanted to do more of the things that made me happy (write). In addition, I shared I wanted to do less of the things that no longer made me proud (working in finance) when I was deciding on engineering my layoff.
I've decided to do the same thing with my writing by gradually taking away some personality and candor. Being open hurts. You just get constantly hammered by an unrelenting crowd who takes pleasure in mishap.
But I must say that often times I'm overfilled with joy by the internet world. The wonderful feedback from readers on my post, “My Fear Of Being A Father” makes everything worthwhile again. I also received several private e-mails from fathers who feel the same way and we were able to talk things out.
Finally, there are people out there who have admitted to suffering financial hardship like reader JayCeezy who wrote, “How To Lose A Million Dollars And Live To See Another Day.” If only I could figure out a way to consistently write more such posts to engender such terrific responses and find more readers to open up about their imperfect lives.
Neutralizing The Soul Of Writing
The biggest personal finance blogs in the world – some of which have sold for millions of dollars – are expertly neutral in their writing. They don't delve into taboo or more controversial topics out of fear of offending anybody.
The big guys deftly hire multiple writers who report the news, write plenty of products reviews and talk about subjects that belies their experience. And guess what? Readers love it otherwise how could they grow so large? Building a content business is all about plain vanilla.
All the biggest sites also focus on frugality instead of ways to make more money through investments and alternative means. The reason is because writing about making money is much harder than writing about saving.
From a reader's perspective, it's also much easier to follow money saving instructions instead of doing research on real estate or stocks. It's a match made in heaven which I'm being encouraged to pursue. One fellow blogger writes about a minimalist lifestyle living off less than $30,000 a year with a family while earning multiple six figures a year. The business model is brilliant.
Don't Want To Change My Writing Style
It's a little sad for me to change the style of my posts because it's been so fun to read all the various responses. But I'm not stubborn. I'm a realist who is acting rationally. Vanilla is what is demanded of readers who feel slapped in the face by what I write.
I also don't want to feel bad about my writing any more so I plan to slowly remove myself out of the equation.
For all of you who've been privately asking me difficult questions, I'm sorry but the public has spoken. We cannot talk about things such as finding a rich husband. As one commenter said, I lose credibility when I write about anything other than personal finance because I should have no other interests or concerns in life.
Time For A Break
I've decided to take another 10 days off and won't be back until the end of the month. I will think short and soft about the new direction I want to take with Financial Samurai. Maybe I'll even cure some FOMO given there will be no wi-fi out at sea thank goodness. I will meditate on whether the vocal minority is striking and should be ignored or whether I need to drastically change directions to ensure the growth and survival of this site.
I'm looking forward to this potential new phase of Financial Samurai. Don't worry, I've got at least 15 previously written posts and guest posts to go through before any significant changes take affect. Maybe by that time I'll have regenerated my thick skin to take on the body blows once again. Or maybe new readers might change my mind. Here's to feeling up and in again!
Feeling Down And Out Updates
Update 2019: I lasted for another 6 years since writing this post, but am once again fading fast as I'm now a dad to a two year old lovely boy. He is the most wonderful person ever, but boy does he take a lot of time and energy to take care of. Because of my boy, I've decided to keep Financial Samurai going for another 20 years until 2039. Financial Samurai will be a career insurance policy for my son just in case he gets rejected everywhere and can't find something he loves to do.
My goal of achieving $200,000 a year in passive income has been hit.
Update 2023: I wrote this post back in 2013, 10 years ago. And since then, so much has gone on. One thing I'm really proud of is publishing a Wall Street Journal bestseller called, Buy This, Not That. It took two years to write. But just a week after making the bestseller list, I felt this emptiness inside very similar to when I first wrote this post.
What I've learned over the years is that putting yourself out there and trying really hard can often hurt. But we do it anyway because we feel a great need to do something meaningful and help other people. I just want to remind everyone not to let your critics defeat you. Keep going no matter what! Eventually, good things will happen.
192 thoughts on “Feeling Down And Out In This Perfect World”
One perspective no one has mentioned yet is also the value of your minority voice. As an Asian female about your age who’s been raised by immigrants, I’ve been looking for a voice like yours in the PF space. So far they’re mostly white males, and while finance is finance so who cares who writes it, sometimes you need a voice you can relate to. Frugality looks different across different cultures. Sacrifice too. Your filial piety, conservative financial views, and aggressive anti-racism personally resonate with me.
My income has ranged from $22-60k/yr, so I would argue that your blog appeals to a wider range of incomes by speaking to a value system rarely heard of outside of minority groups. Putting your vulnerabilities out there is definitely risky, because when people see a big soft underbelly, it’s tempting to punch it. It is a courageous thing to do and it helps me understand my brother better. I do understand how exhausting it can be to go on emotional roller coasters that inconsiderate people put you on, so I hope you do lots of self-care!
Great to hear from you. It’s interesting because to gain the biggest audience, one should write for the biggest demographic. So if I was narrowed down to the Asian American group, I’d only capture 5% of the US population, even though there are well over a billion Asian people in the world.
I enjoy reading different perspectives from all people. This is what makes the internet fun.
Thanks for reading!
I know it’s an old post but seeing you link back to it today reminded me.
‘In the blogging world, I’m probably the only blogger my size who actively comments on other sites because I remember the loneliness of first starting out and the joy of having someone leave a note.’
^^ I couldn’t agree more with this. Having just started a couple of months ago, it really inspires me to continue when far more experienced writers take the time to read and comment on some of the random thoughts going around my head. I hope you don’t burn out and do continue to interact with the smaller bloggers just starting out there.
I lost finances, house etc…in the 2008/2009 financial meltdown. I have learned a lot since then and I am striving to make better decisions and avoid potential pitfalls as I never want to relive those years again. It’s good to know that I am not alone in my struggle for obtaining financial freedom. As far as the question posed about whether you should continue blogging, do what you do knowing that everyone may not be receptive of your message but there are some (like myself) who are open minded to learning new things. Please continue your blogging and thank you for sharing what you’ve learned along the way.
I’m sorry to hear about the losses. I do hope we are not getting into an irrational state again with many parts of the country showing crazy lift offs in housing prices
See: Zillow Is Broken Or We’re In A Housing Bubble
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I hope you continue to recovery and regain your financial health!
Just found your blog and am enjoying it!
This year, after saving and contributing, I took it upon myself to manage my own retirement savings. Your site has been, by far, the most interesting and informative. I rarely, almost never, reply to posts as I like to read and peruse what others are willing to put out there. In most cases, I lose interest. So far, I like what I see. I hope the new year bought a new layer of skin.
Do what you do for yourself, not for the validation that is unlikely to come from an internet of voyeurs. Looking forward to keeping on reading what you got.
Thanks. I really enjoy extreme comments. How else could I have produced this post?
I agree that it’s great to kick back and read other people’s stuff if it is entertaining. The only problem is, someone has actually got to spend the time to write it. We can’t all kick back!
But, it would be great to kick back and get showered with accolades and hundred dollar bills from the sky too. Go USA!
The thing that keeps me reading your blog and others is the personal side to your articles. Otherwise all blogs would be repeating the same financial formulas that are already out there. A lot of blogs do this..
I’ve been reading your site for about a month now and have learned a lot from it. I like the personal stories and opinions (even if I don’t agree with all of them). I think it’s what makes your site unique and keeps me coming back. I’ve found that other PF blogs I’ve read run out of steam when life events take over (getting married, having kids). I hope that doesn’t happen to you. I find your direct honesty about how you view things appealing. And if I don’t agree with what you say then we just disagree. That’s all.
Just my opinion but STOP caring what others’ think of your work and just do the work that inspires YOU. Personally, I’ve found your stuff to be original and interesting.
Plenty of us have big incomes, lost a shit-ton of $, made huge painful gaffes but lack the courage to put it out there in an open forum; KUDOS to you for being so brave and honest and thank you.
Oh dear. Sam, you sound depressed. I hope you know that you are not the only one who has a fear of being alone. I went back and read your post. In my opinion, I don’t think you revealed a lot of you personal feelings. You DID say you were afraid of being alone, but there weren’t a lot of details about your fears. Does it keep you up at night? Have you had trouble dating? Is it awkward going to movies alone? I think you would have gotten more of a sympathetic response if you had revealed a little more about yourself.
I’m not trying to insult the post because it was a fine post. I just don’t think it was as revealing as you think it was.
Please don’t purposely let the quality of your posts decline. That’s silly. You have had an amazing career and accomplished many things. Putting out bland posts would be a waste. For what it’s worth, I used to read dozens of PF blogs and I’m down to about 5. This is one of the few remaining sites that consistently offers good material.
You’re right in that I didn’t reveal thoroughly how I’ve been feeling with those posts. Lots went on during this summer. An emotional roller coaster one can say. I’m off the ride now and feel much better. It was fun while it lasted, but I rediscovered again who I am.
A little late to the party, but I want to join the chorus of voices encouraging you to continue doing what you are doing. The fact that you have managed to stand out in the ocean of online financial advice is in itself a feat. There is so much out there that is basic and dull. I don’t need that. I came to your site because finally I found information that was relevant to me. My household has a relatively high income and not many people write on topics that are directed at my circumstances. At the same time, I don’t come from a wealthy background, so sometimes I feel like I’m making this up as I go along. Your site gives me food for thought and new methods of evaluation to keep personal finance rewarding. There may be some posts that don’t speak to me or with which I disagree, but that will always be the case for anyone I read. More important to me are the posts that hit it out of the ballpark: in depth, thoughtful, visually represented, and personally relevant. And that’s the reason I have and will come back. I’m also impressed with your reader interaction. Beyond the posts themselves, you’ve got some of the most interesting comments sections out there precisely because you respond to almost everything. I think it makes sense to bring on guest bloggers, as you’ve indicated, because the pace at which you produce must be exhausting creatively. But selfishly, I hope you don’t use guest bloggers to go for mass market appeal. Instead, hopefully, you will maintain and expand the brand you’ve created with diversified viewpoints. I would love writing for a site like this, exploring the fun and complexities of personal finance. Put another way: when I was applying for college years ago, I had to write a personal essay as part of my application. One of my teachers said to me, “It’s a personal essay. Make it personal.” It was the best writing advice I could have received. The same applies here. It’s personal finance. Make it personal.
Hi AO, I feel you regarding making it up as we go along. It’s why I wait for years to often write about something because when I get somewhere, I sometimes pinch myself wondering how did I get there? I then have to make sure it’s not a fluke and do some analysis before feeling comfortable producing a post.
I’d love to have a creative post from you! Please shoot me an email!
Hi Sam, just catching up here, and this post made me sad. Don’t go changing.
Comments can be the worst. My email is full of people who say “love your blog, it’s helped me do this or that”, all the snipers are in the comments. I think I’ve got a pretty decent community with some excellent contributors, but there’s 2-3 ice cold souls who seem to wait to pounce with an early putdown almost as soon as I publish them. Sometimes I just delete them.
I’d turn off comments before I changed my style. But I’m stubborn! :)
Good luck whatever you decide.
Always good to hear from you mate. Can’t believe you’re still blogging after all these years as well! I’m going to bring on new writers to get their point of view on more mass appeal subjects. I’m getting sick of hearing myself speak and want to be a fan again and read other people’s stuff more often. Thanks for the encouragement!
Yep, I’m still plugging away. ;)
Not that you need anyone’s approval, but I think you’ve earned the right to try something different with your blog. You’ve done a lot to try to grow the personal finance blogging community. Who says you can’t grow in new directions yourself?
I just hope you keep some up your uniqueness, too. :) You’ve got a personality here — rare on money sites nowadays! Obviously that will be diluted by some of these new “how to” type articles, but you can still keep your voice in the mix.
Good luck with it!
I enjoy reading your material, because I feel it pertains to my goals and what I want to strive to be. From time to time I visit other top blogs high in ranking, but I do not find what I am looking for. Its always the usual crap about skip drinking your starbucks, save 5 dollars here and there. How to make cheap food at home. How to cut back on this and that just to save a few pennies and dollars. To me that is not what life is about. Your overall thought about freedom, doing what you want and when you want by attaining financial freedom. Is exactly the stuff I am looking for… But I do understand, you still have to do what is right for you in the long term. I will respect whatever you decide to do with your site. For now thank you for all you have provided to this community.
Thanks for sharing mate.
Maybe I will work on a more entertaining version of skipping a morning coffee to save $3 instead.
Uh, you aren’t a sucker. If it makes you feel better, I blew off the guy who had the regional distribution of Nike footwear for the Northeast back in the eighties (who wants running shoes but jocks?). My buddies screwed a deal in the 11th hour to secure exclusive rights to all Anheiser-Busch products for the country of Taiwan. My friends and I determined that a video store wouldn’t be a viable business and couldn’t make money let alone cover rent (can we say blockbuster?). My list could go on for a while as well.
You’re doing leaps and bounds better financially and probably have more in assets now than I’ll ever accumulate.
The small minded or envious refuse to allow others success. It’s always, “sure they did X, BUT what about Y, they didn’t consider Y did they. I considered Y so therefore they aren’t so great, blah blah blah.”
You provide a unique point of view. Occasional guest posts, if you chose to put them in, could be fine. But I will give you Get Rich Slowly as an example. Since JD no longer has a heavy hand in the site, I’ve found the articles less and less valuable and interesting. They have sensed this themselves and are bringing JD back to some extent, but it seems stressed and artificial now versus when he ran the ship. However, I can appreciate burn out and JD’s need to move on and that they may have attracted new readers who like what they are doing and I could be the minority.
The risk of any form of communication is that it can be taken in a manner not intended. Or that you don’t get the expected response. It also opens you up to those who full out just hate anyone doing better than they are.
In any case, best of luck with whatever you decide to do.
Ah, but someone mentioned JD cashed out for 8 figures, which ain’t so bad!
Thanks for sharing your examples. It’d always interesting to look back on things when we are in a different state of mind. I’d like more guest posts because frankly, I’m getting sick of hearing myself speak!
Hey, don’t feel alone about the 3 things (real estate failures, alone forever, and FOMO). I admit, I made hundreds of thousands of negative money owning/owing two houses. Then in 2010, I had to short both to cut my losses. It nearly wiped my net worth from 10 years of savings, making Bay Area engineering income. But I eventually found a way to double my income (no, I did not start a business, nor changed company, nor did fancy investing) and half my taxes. This housing disaster came a few years after my divorce (we split, therefore house of cards toppled).
But you know what, the two biggest failures in my life were the best lessons that happened to me!
My short sales eventually forced me to calculate my finances. It taught me the habit to always look at the repercussions. I learned to plan. It brought me here.
The divorce helped me find myself again. And it opened a path to meeting new people and doing things outside of my comfort zone. It allowed me to relocation (that’s how I turbo charged my income).
Maybe I can share (privately) the things I did after my divorce to be an “honorable single”. Behaving and acting like a Single Samurai, is different than being a Settled Samurai.
About FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), well I don’t have that ailment to your degree. I also forced myself to close my Facebook account, don’t do twitter, etc. I try to live a clean frugal life (gasp! I follow MMM and ERE blogs too!)
Maybe you should love thyself; being a blogger, living in S.F., FOMO is part of the job (and I think your personality :-).
Please do not write too much about frugality, since I get that from other sites.
Thanks for sharing. I’m digging the attitude! Hope you find someone new and supercharge your finances better than ever before.
Nooo…please don’t you dare go plain vanilla on us. I came here because you have a unique perspective that you share. I know you must receive whiney, bitchy, hater responses that don’t make it to the blog, but who wouldn’t when you lay it on the line. Oh, that’s right, the plain vanilla readership wouldn’t! Well, tell the haters to F-off. It’s your blog, now please get back up on that horse and write using YOUR voice. Don’t change who you are Sam.
Ah, you have no idea! I try to spare folks from it, like an Iron man deflector shield. We’ll see. I need to being someone on who can write with passion from a median income level.
I think you finance / San Fran guys tend to live in some bubble, where everyone you know is making 250K+ – So, right off the bat you’re excluding 95% of the population and to those people the advice (ie Six figure Tax Bills etc . . .) may feel condescending or spark a level of jealousy, so when you open up about your personal life, with things like “not being married” or “having no kids” – Those type of topics immediately present themselves as opportunities for those not fortunate enough to be in the 5%, to justify their own circumstances and discount your achievements. Now, staying fairly neutral up until this point, I originally came to this website by way of a Google search about what is a lot of money to earn, I believe your most commented on post. So I began reading, I’ve read a good amount of your articles, and my takeaways are almost always, this a great “ideal”, I want to do better in my personal finances and I have benefited from your posts but at the same time, at what cost? I’m around your age or at least your buddy’s age – 30 – And I feel more like my life is just getting started. If I have to work a few extra years, that’s fine, because I believe more in balance, where I make good money, I have some savings but I don’t deny myself an occasional splurge, save some / spend some is my motto – I also believe that my legacy will be my family, not the net worth of my portfolio – Sure, I want to be comfortable in retirement, and I have every confidence that I will be, I’ll just have to work longer then 10 years for it and I’m okay with that because honestly, I need something to do all day anyway :-). The point is we all have the same problems, whether you make 50 grand or 500 grand – Don’t make the 50 grand guy feel like his problems are any less significant because he turns a wrench and not a tennis racquet and you’ll reach a broader audience and face less contempt IMHO.
I think the folks living in a bubble are those who’ve never lived overseas and witnessed extended periods of poverty and those who can’t speak at least two languages fully. One of my biggest surprises coming to America was how self-centered the US is about how to do things. We even govern world affairs through wars!
You make a good point about the median income level. And this is the community I plan on addressing more on this blog going forward to appeal to more readers. I need the encouragement to go mass market and I thank you for it.
Good luck in your journey!
I don’t think you take the opinion out of it, people value it, its apparent from the comments here and you don’t apologize for your success. Its been 8 or 9 months for me, and I’m still reading, so onward and upward . . .
I’ll be so sad if you become a dull, bland vanilla. I’m another one of those first time commentators, after years of regularly following your blog since its inception in 2008. Then I just graduated from Cal with a major in economics, starting my young adulthood in SF. So I have been following you for five years now, and still going strong! I have always taken pleasures in reading about your personal experiences and insights, along with the public thoughts. And yes, I’m a natural saver…only spending big when it comes to investment.
Go Bears! I’m glad you started following before you started making money. Whatcha up to now?
Moved to LA, having started my own fashion e-commerce biz. At the age of 24, bought my first condo in LA. Based on comparable real estate sales, the current market value of my condo has increased by 35% of the purchase price. Not so bad for two years of real estate investment. Though I still left my heart in SF. Go Bears!
Big difference between what you are doing and what the vanilla “Big PF” blogs are doing is that they are building a blog/web site and you’re building a community. Long after the Big Beige Blogs have taken a tailspin into obscurity because of their bland beige-ness Financial Samurai will still be going strong as will many members of this community.
Hi Betsy, maybe you are right! Dang I like my beige khakis though. Looks like I’m invisible while laying on the beach.
If the big boys fade (doubt it due to Google), they may very well vacuum all the pennies and leve nothing left for the rest of us!
Khakis…on the beach? Please tell me the collared shirt and tie are at home!
It stinks to see how crappy some of the big sites are…or have become. One of the reasons I’m here is because of the bad information (or lack of good information) at one of the big sites. I was researching credit cards for one daughter and bank accounts for the other (both college students) and being a former banker was appalled at what I was reading. Most of it was pure and utter crap with a credit card sales pitch attached. Anyway…here I am. I don’t know if I can make a difference, but I’m going to give it my best shot.
Khaki shorts that is.
I think part of the problem with bigger sites is they hire writers not folks with first hand experience in what they are writing about. So if you have a person three years out of school write about improving your credit score, it kinda seems like you’re wasting time as a reader. Oh well. Good luck!
I am in my 50s and I have to look long and hard to find articles on the Internet that can still catch my interest and have a new slant on things. I really enjoy your site, as it provides that catchy personal view. I appreciate your frustration as you may think that people are not getting what you are trying to say. I am sure there is a silent majority that really appreciate what you have to offer.
Entertainers/writers/talk show people often have to be very provocative to get people’s attention. Getting negative feedback is a sign that you are being edgy and getting people to think. I urge you to take the negative feedback as a sign that you are stirring people up! A good thing!
This article you just wrote now for example. your lessons learned are the complete opposite of what you should be striving for. This is a great example of writing something that would be controversial to spur conversation. Another example is your blog on how to get a rich husband. That was a fun article, and, that was guaranteed to get a lot of people riled up (and that’s okay).
Keep up the great work Sam. We all appreciate your site and how you comment on people’s feedback. I lose interest in bloggers who completely ignore their fans.
Thanks for your support Bruce. Always good to have those with more experience on board sharing their thoughts. It seems like I can’t really get away with posts that people just ignore for some reason. I’m not purposefully trying to incite anything anymore. Just writing how I see things.
Screw that. I read FS because it is different. By all means, Take a break, recharge, but please don’t change too much. Someone has to challenge the conventional wisdom that is holding so many people back.
Sam – don’t change I thing. I love your blog and look actually come back to reading it. Don’t worry, you are providing society a real value with your writing.
So much love in your comment thread. Simply amazing. As you said, do what’s best for you. I’m not worried that you’ll change. You can’t. Duh. Writing is just thinking through your fingers. If your personality isn’t changing, you’re writing style isn’t going to change.
I beg of you Sam do not become one of those boring neutral PF bloggers. The reason I check out PF blogs this many years after discovering the first one is when I can actually care about their growth. It is the reason I bailed on most huge sites at this point…if I just wanted pure info without any personal feel to it I’ll check out WSJ.
Your posts have inspired me to buy my latest car by the 1/10th rule, significantly increase my savings rate, and improve my work ethic, so thank you!
I also enjoy the discourse on investment vehicles. I am too chicken shit to invest in individual stocks, have done ok with a rental property, and feel like I have missed the boat on p2p lending (it seems like a bloated market now); so all in all I’m a very mediocre invester. So once you turn your business into a money making empire; you’re gonna write about it, right ;) ?
Seeing this made me want to cry. I love reading your blog, I love how in depth you are. You don’t just say things and have nothing to back it up. I love your personalilty and would hate to see it toned down. I’d love to one day sit with you even though I think I’d be a little intimidated. (ok, alot intimidated)
Don’t cry! Would love to grab a drink if you are in SF one day. Once you see me, you won’t be intimidated at all. I’m a West Coast / Hawaii boy after all. It’s all about kicking back and taking it easy.
31 flavors needs lots of different staff. So perhaps that is exactly what I’ll try.
Oprah got some great exclusive interviews though! Oh Lance.
Thanks Nick. That’s the plan. To focus more on what makes me happy and away from things that bum me out.
Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts! Really appreciate the support. As soon as I can find some wifi I’ll do some responding!
First comment, but frequent reader. Your blog is so successful BECAUSE of the way you write. There’s a reason yours is one of the only finance blogs I still follow…
Thanks Ben. Will do my best!
This is my first comment on this site and I’ve been reading for 2+ years.
I don’t always agree with you and sometimes I have some bones to pick with you, what I love about your blog is your honesty and optimism. Keep on doing what you’re doing!
I thought you were gonna say, “I don’t always agree with you, but when I do I drink Dos Equis!”
Two years… I gotta do a better job gettig you to comment!
I’m a shy bunny!
I don’t comment because I’m young (26), under-employed currently, and have 0 desire to be an entrepreneur and my husband is disabled (but works full time) so it’s basically like you and I live in different dimensions. I’m a huge saver/investor (33% of our income) and a good networker your blog keeps me hopeful that the good habits pay off in time!
Hello shy bunny!
Given you save 33% of your income, we are in similar dimensions!
Don’t let them get you down! I love your blog the way it is.
Is this a fishing expedition for compliments?
Adorable hang dog face by the way!
Hah! No, but it seems that way doesn’t it? Thanks for your comment.
The sad Frenchie is a perfect encapsulation of how I was feeling at the time of writing.
I read through all of the comments posted thus far and the consensus is overwhelming, Sam: Do NOT change a thing!
I’m only around 3 months into my own blogging journey. I aspire to reach the quality you offer more so than any other site and there are some good ones out there, so that’s a major compliment.
You may not receive as much backlash from “putting yourself out there” if you go more plain jane vanilla. However, I’ll bet you’d get much less satisfaction out of blogging if you took that approach. Just keep on keeping on and realize how many people enjoy the way you already do things here – just look at all the evidence immediately above me in these comments!!
Keep up the insightful, out of the box, creative, touching, and informative posts Sam. You have a unique style all your own and we love your articles! As a blogger like Mr U and many others I know how hard it is to put yourself out there. There will always be some readers out there who are just plain rude and say things on the internet they would never have the nerve to say in person. They are usually totally clueless, insecure, or incredibly jealous. Forget about them! Keep on blogging, you inspire all the rest of us, bloggers especially, every day with your spirit, honesty, and style!
I hear yah. Best of luck your remaining 9 months to hit 1 year! Once you get to a year, things get easier until they get hard.
Never left a message before. Your blog is top spot in my favourites list precisely because you don’t talk just about money but real life which of course affects your financial well being – love, cars, parents, feelings, Childhood, politics, religion, friendships etc etc are all an integral part of the way one view’s finances.
Please keep writing.
Reg, Jon, London, uk
Jon, good to know and thanks. There’s so much more to life than just money that it behooved us to incorporate so much more. Might go out to London nov 4-11 for the tennis masters. How’s the weather and city then?
I’ll voice in too. Your blog gives a lot of personality that I find interesting. The way you dive into different topics- some of which most people who avoid- makes this an unusual blog, yet very interesting blog.
I admit I’m under one of those camps where it was weird to see you write about relationships, but I just took it as something you wanted to write. I still come back every time there’s a new post to see what you’ve written, and enjoy reading every article.
That said, it’s not my place to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. I’m only here to add to the multitude that I’ve appreciate the amount of hard work you put into this site (It really shows), and discuss on topics that I rarely hear people discussing among my circle of people.
Thank you for posting articles. You’ve earned a permanent spot on my browser tab section that I check everyday in the morning.
Thanks MG. Sorry I don’t write everyday, but hopefully every other day is good enough. But, if I stop responding to comments I could write more everyday!
I think it’s crucial for any personal finance blogger, or any blogger, to write about what you enjoy and what brings your happiness. If you’re writing because you HAVE TO write and feel obligated to write with a personality that isn’t you, writing truly becomes WORK and not FUN! So my opinion is to be who you are and write that way.
I personally look forward to your articles and insight. You inpsire me to write with your heart in my own personal finance blog!
Thanks Monica. Good luck on your new blogging journey. Survival is half the battle!
Don’t change a thing. Yours is the first feed that I read when I pull up my financial threads. I’ve followed you for a few years now and you “keep it real”. You also fill a niche that nobody else seems to fill in the dollar amounts that you deal with. I know someone who makes less than 70-80k wants to hear stuff about what to do/not do with making that level of income but those of us making low and mid 6 figures would rather read your current postings than have you bring it back to the masses. There are plenty of bloggers telling people how to make their own soap and where to find the best coupons. Your site doesn’t do that, that’s why I read every post.
Keep up the good work.
Thanks Av. I’m thinking of writing for the 80k and under segment or hiring someone to address just different mass topics. There’s a huge population out there that is like to also tap, and talking about frugality and living below ones means is a good strategy. That’s what all the biggest blogs have done and they’ve killed it.
I’ll keep my voice, but perhaps just not as much anymore.
okay…this post finally inspired me to comment. NOT typical for me, as one who prefers to sit on the sidelines and observe. I am not typically a ‘blog-follower,’ and even less so a ‘blog-commenter.’ But I do need to let you know that I truly respect your posts. About a year ago, I added your little icon onto my iPad home screen, and every morning – along with a few select news sites and fave comics – I check your site for something new. Sometimes I even re-read previous posts. It is quite enjoyable to contemplate things like whether or not you are being sarcastic, and how old you are and what you look like. I have even learned a few honorable things about personal finance!
Thanks Shercolano. To have my icon on your iPad is an honor.
Shake it off man!!!!! Your thought provoking topics are exceptional. I love starting my day off reading your blog. This sight is not for everyone. If you are not trying to think and grow you should not be here. As a entreprenuer, I have learned the true meaning of “misery love company”. Miserable people with try to discredit others people achievements and you can not let them have that kind of power over you. Vaca, shake it off, and keep it movin!!!
OK mate. I do hope my thick elephant ass skin grows back thicker than ever!
Sam, it would be really sad if you stop writing like “you.” I love reading your opinionated posts. Boring, dry, cut to the chase posts can be found all over the place and they just aren’t nearly as interesting as taking a personal spin. I hope after your short break you scrap the idea of “vanilla” posts.
It’s funny though right Jennifer. Vanilla is everywhere and they are HUGE! Maybe the tide is changing though.
BTW, pls send me your new Paypal address. Some money I sent got returned. Thx
man, the site is great the way it is. A lot of the sites I started reading when I first got into reading personal finance blog about 5 years ago are now very blah, too generic . Yours is one of the few sites I read today and thats is becasue it’s still interesting, edgy and personal. As a single, professional, soon to be 30 year old female, what you write about is very relevant to me and even though I dont always agree with you, man it sure is refreshing to read a post like “finding a rich husband” every once in a while.
Alana, thanks for your thoughts. Do not panic like I did a week before turning 30. It is not the end of the world! 40 is! Jk
Hi Sam, I have been following your site for at least 6 months now without ever putting any comment. However i thoroughly enjoyed reading them and readers’ comments. I like it the fact that every night after work, i get to check out your sites and few others that i am interested in and there is no time left for watching TV. The reason why i comment today because i can feel that you are feeling down. Pls keep up the good work and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Love your articles and how you can almost produce one good post per day! Have a good break and come back feeling refreshed and happy !
Thanks Anne! I’m glad I’m one of several sites that have supplanted TV for yah. Hope I don’t get as mindless as TV either! Although I so love the shows Revenge, GOThrones and Homeland!
The non vanilla approach to your blog is a big reason why this one of my favorites. I’ve also had three other friends that have started reading you after my recommendation. Those plain vanilla blogs often regurgitate the same things. Your blog is a great kick in the ass for people to build their net worth.
Mahalo Charles. Thanks for the referrals. Have a big passive income post coming up that you might enjoy.
relax a little, ok? too much over-thinking and over-analyzing.
are you measuring your effectiveness by gauging the quality of the comments? if so, you are making a big mistake.
you need to measure your effectiveness by your own comfort level, how you feel about you. the hell with how others feel. how others feel is their business, not yours.
if you are happy with who you are and how you are, then that is all you ever need.
if you feel stressed out, then find ways to de-stress.
Here’s a margarita for you.
I don’t comment a lot, but I read just about every thing you have written here. I’ll keep this short. I am 65 years old, seen a lot, read a lot, I can tell the difference between a first class blog that keeps people coming back and wanting more like yours and the run of the mill dribble many others put out. Even though most articles are written for people much younger than myself, I still enjoy them and appreciate the hard work you put into this. Don’t mess with success! Take some time off, recharge your batteries, we will all be here waiting for the SAM we know when he gets back.
Thanks for your perspective. The perspective I crave most for are those in their 60s and over who have so much wisdom to share to us kiddos who think we know it all or who are trying to just understand. The acceleration of time as we age is something I’ve been well aware of since college. I know I’ll be 50 within a blink of an eye and I hope to reread my writing throughout different times of my life.
I feel terrible. I made a couple of pointed comments on your previous postings (“lowers your credibility”) and I didn’t fully consider it might dig deep. It’s incredibly easy to make hasty comments on others’ work and I regret that. You’re a talented guy that puts tremendous effort and work into your postings. Really sorry life is a downer right now, I go through the same feelings from time to time. Hang in there and tomorrow is always a new day.
Best Wishes, Chris
Appreciate the follow up. Don’t worry, I’m just in a funky time right now. Still getting over a summer roller coaster and am trying to settle down again.
All is good.
Hi Sam. I recently found your blog online and could not be more inspired to maximize my money for financial freedom and happiness. Thinking smart and being resourceful is fun! I appreciate your point of view and writing for these attributes among many others. I relate to your values and your posts inform and entertain me. In your writing, it’s the sharing of your mistakes, opinions, resilience, experiences paired with a very practical mindset that motivate me to risk failure for big success.
Michelle, always nice to hear from new readers. Hope you stick around and follow along on this crazy journey of all of ours!
I like your stuff (and don’t read ‘generic’ finance sites).
You do post a lot though.
I’d be happy with just one or two posts a week, especially if they remain the same quality…
Hope you carry on :)
I never post comments, but I thought for once I would voice myself in the online community.
The “plain vanilla” found in most blogs is the reason why I do not read them. I follow your blogs, MMM, YCL, and jlcollinsnh in my RSS reader because of the personality and originality behind them.
Last fall when I first began my endeavor towards financial independence, I started with the recommendation on getrichslowly. The articles/ blogs began to lose the ability to capture my attention and cover original topics. This geared me towards searching for new websites, which I found yours and the others previously mentioned.
Frugality/savings only goes so far and your take on finances and life covers a small yet vital part to financial independence.
Whatever the decision, enjoy the time off in sea.
Hi Joshua, but GRS sold for megamillions. I could be rich writing about just frugality and inviting a ton of staff writers :) they’ve got a great community still and I plan to contribute to them once a month or so.
Here’s to saving $10 off our next cable bill!
Frankly, I do not how to write a neutral post! All of my posts have a point of view. It is what makes it interesting for me. In fact, I particularly enjoy taking opposing or contrary points of view to stir things up from time to time. I like what I do and I think am pretty good at it. Why change? Perhaps the question applies to you too?
This is why you are happy and your blog is so great. Me, on the other hand, not so much so I’m strategizing new ways.
Thanks, but I am constantly thinking of new things to do, but neutral is not one of them. I think occasionally taking a neutral position to draw opposing opinions may be interesting, but not a steady diet.
I’ll be short and sweet – if you change I will leave.
You are the only financial blog that I read – I don’t need to read crap that just makes the other person money.
I want to think about what you have to say and see if I agree or disagree – that is why I read you blog.
Sorry that you’re leaving David. It was good while it lasted though. We will always have our memories together.
Just keep writing like you have been writing and me and all the rest of your faithful readers will stay.
Going plain vanilla and writing stuff just for the money – I don’t think you would be happy with yourself or the product.
As I said in my original post and MANY others said, don’t stop writing great posts, with thought, conviction, courage, opinion, edge, etc!
This post makes me sad. I hope that you feel better after your time off.
In regards to:
“But as I read and responded to the comments, I realized I was basically the only one who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in real estate”
My wife and I have made some major mistakes in real estate, that have cost us at least $30K. If that makes you feel any better.
Lyle, sorry to hear about your RE losses. Hope things are recovering for you as it seems like the entire US RE market is coming back!
FYI: I drive a 17 year old car; I’m not giving up my Starbucks! LOL! At some level, what’s the point? I’m assuming that anyone following this blog is not dirt poor.
Personal finance should be about improving your life over the long term. Skipping Starbucks (if it is important to you) is rather pointless. Life is short. On average, Americans are wealthy people. They should go out and have positive experiences. If that involves being a bit of a spendthrift, well, so be it.
Being average is ok!
Please eat cake and ice cream too.
Have you ever read “Fool by Randomness”?
I’ve followed your blogs for the past 3+ years but have never posted a response until now. Like so many others have said, PLEASE do not change who you are in order to satisfy other people. You are a unique and gifted person and your experiences with the ups and downs of life and personal finance are entertaining and informative.
Because of you, I made the decision to try and unplug from the Matrix and retire at age 53. I was employed with the same law enforcement agency for 26 years (originally planned for 30) but your posts literally enlightened me about the need to appreciate what we have and to enjoy life. I’m still working on moving to Hawaii, but my wife has to find a job out there first because she’s a lot younger than me and actually wants to work for a few more years.
JayCeezy’s quotes really hit home for me because during my career I was threatened and called some not so nice names, shot at, stabbed and even experienced a riot and saw parts of the city go up in flames. And all for trying to do my job, so I can empathize with how you feel right now.
Hang in there Sam!!!
That makes me super happy that you’ve decided to work towards and earlier retirement than planned! I can unequivocally tell you that it is so damn worth it. You don’t need as much money as you think to survive. I know it is scary as hell, but like decade birthday milestones, you feel no pain once you get there, only acceptance and gratitude.
Good luck and hope you comment again within the next 3 years!
I remember when “The dark side of early retirement” Post caused all sorts of uproar here and on some other early retirement blogs. Even though many posts on those other blogs had to do with peoples problems in early retirement people still complained that your post was somehow out of line. I for one like your blog. I like to look at things from all angles.
The Financial Samurai blog fits me more than most others. Lets see…..there’s the live in a cardboard box and eat beans blog. The live in a van/car/RV blog. The blogs full of tips-give up Starbucks- make your own laundry detergent- etc. Simplify and minimalize blogs. You name it.
I follow some advise espoused by all the blogs that I read. I save over 50% of my income, try to invest wisely, often, and within my risk tolerance. I try to find happiness outside of material wealth and consumerism. Even so, the name of the game is to have a retirement where I can fulfill my interests and passions. Your goal of having 200k annual passive income is great. Even so, some other bloggers profess that they would still be living in a box eating beans and getting around via foot power even if they had that kind of income. Good for them. I won’t be doing that.
Oh and thanks for cranking out these articles on a pretty regular basis. (Dont know how you do it) Don’t change the content would be my advice. The Internet is full of snipers and subversives. Such types will lurk about no matter your message. I have seen your responses to some of them and they seem tactful and polite. What you are doing is helping a lot of people learn what school and life may have never taught them.
What a great comment. You’ve been around the site for a while now! The Dark Side Of Early Retirement was a fun write. Got upper cut good on that one! Little did anybody know at the time I wrote it to upper cut myself before doing something so crazy as leaving a big income job to be a starving writer.
To living in a wooden box instead of cardboard!
Ha Ha…O.k. Sam you got us! Seriously though, your constant mixing up of posts and different opinions is what makes for really good reading…there is a hell of a lot more to life than money and I think you’ve got a unique take on things. I enjoy that we’ve both gotten to FI different routes and different philosophies, I envy your level of freedom yet love working for a living. Enjoy the time off then get back to work doing what you were doing…trust me, its good stuff.
Love the response! You’re the only one so far who has responded in such a way.
Goodbye cruel world! Need a frozen margarita. It’s like 88 degrees in Cabo right now.
I have been reading this site for about 2 years now, and almost exclusively for those more thought-inspiring posts. I’m a 21 year old Junior in college, who got at least 3-4 years left (I need 5 years for accounting and might take another year off to travel the world), and in all honesty credit scores and refinancing your house mean absolutely nothing to me. I’m delighted making 15 dollars an hour delivering pizzas; numbers you speak of in the hundreds of thousands are just fantasy to me. But the stuff that is real is your thought provoking posts on life, relationships, the use of your time, and work ethic. Those type of posts, those with soul in them, are the ones that can connect with anyone at any age level or financial position in life. I hope you don’t stop writing insightful posts like that just because some base of people got their panties up in a bunch, pretending to be delusional that we all don’t want more time or money, or that money doesn’t play a role in relationships, etc.
Anyways, just my two cents. I really hope you stick to these thoughtful posts and just not manufacture out cookie-cutter articles on using coupons at the grocery store or something like that.
I’m excited for you and others of your generation. So much opportunity and potential. I’m also fearful of how difficult it is to “make it” today. Competition is brutal with globalization and the Internet. I plan to write more helpful posts for folks like you and new employees in the future.
Sam, Sorry you’ve gotten in a bit of a funk. Perhaps the time you are taking off will help you recharge. You have helped a lot of people in the personal finance field. I hope you come back from you time off feeling better about the things you do. If changing your writing style and blog will help you to earn more, then more power to you.
Thanks Bryce. It’s the plan. Got another week of vacay so here’s hoping the battery continues to recharge.
I have to agree with the sentiment that losing your unique voice would be very sad. I know you’ve shared a lot over the years; I’ve gotten a lot out of your insights and there’s a lot of support from other members here too. But, to turn it into a frugality blog, I just don’t know… I can’t see you writing articles about re-using old dishtowels and paper plates to make a festive holiday centerpiece! LOL
OTOH, it’s hard to tell someone to “just keep doing it”, when “it” is making them feel unhappy or unfulfilled. Ultimately, this is something that you have to decide to either do or not do.
As an aside, I have to admit I’m a little surprised by this post and your feelings of being so alone. Everyone around here has their share of doubts and hardship; lord knows I’ve had mine. I’m not sure why these articles didn’t strike as much of a chord as you were expecting.
But, I am all for your ideas of having more readers share their stories, both of success and of the hard times. When I posted my article here, both writing it and getting comments from everyone really helped me get my head together.
Whatever you decide to do, Sam, I wish you the best.
Thanks Jason. What about a post on reusing toilet paper? Great money save IMO.
Thanks for contributing your article. If you ever want to write another one, I will heatedly welcome it!
I love that money-saving tip!
I’m definitely tempted to write another article, but one that’s a little more up-beat than last time. I was in a really bad headspace back then and feeling at the end of my rope, energy-wise.
Hmm, now I’m tempted to do a new article. I’d write something in the real-estate area for sure, maybe highlighting either my experiences with Sec8 or out-of-state investing.
I’m interested in the pros and cons of section 8 tenants and whether one can price higher than market to at least get the 80% guaranteed by the government just in case the tenants can’t pay the remaining 20%?
An interesting dynamic to take advantage of the government and landlord folks who may have tighter financial budgets for sure.
Well, most people won’t comment about financial mistakes they make because it’s not something most people are proud to admit. I mean, you said it yourself in this post “It’s never easy to open up about mistakes and insecurities.” I’ve made a lot of mistakes (financial and otherwise) but I just don’t feel the need to share with people I don’t really know.
You can’t please everyone all the time so I think you should stick with what you want to write about. Unless to please yourself that means watching what you say and letting the commenters dictate how this site will be run.
I must admit, I don’t always like your topics, sometimes they just don’t relate to me or I don’t care, but I have that feeling with a lot of sites I follow. But yours is obviously interesting enough to me to keep reading because I’m here commenting.
Do what’s best for you and don’t spread yourself too thin. If that means picking more neutral topics to make this site still a good income source for you along with curbing the amount of backlash then that’s what you have to do. If that means possibly letting go of the reigns so that someone else can deal with all the backlash that you don’t want to deal with then maybe you can look into an option like that too.
Good luck with whatever you choose to do.
Thanks Zee. Yes, better to have a site and enjoy it than burnout and never post again. I’m going to do what I gotta do.
“If Jesus Christ returned to earth from the heavens tomorrow and it was reported in the paper, the first comment to the article would be “Jesus Christ is a douche!”” – Kid Rock
“What’s a safe distance to talk shit to someone who could fuck you up? The Internet.” – Ice T
“Hell is other people” – Jean Paul Sartre
Sam, don’t be so quick to dismiss drugs and booze.
OK, that was a joke. Hope your time off will bring you clarity. Keeping good thoughts for you. Two motivational pros that have helped me with similar feelings are… Roger Crawford /A> and Nick Arnette.
Love it. One thing folks don’t know about me is that I’m stubborn and will never back down from a fight in person if provoked. I’ve been defending my honor since I was in 2nd grade and will continue to do so. Thank goodness for insurance and years of martial arts training!
Pain is good. Makes me feel alive.
This post was enough to make me comment for the first time – I can see why you’re thinking this way and why it might make sense to go “plain” but, honestly, your blog is the best one out there for those of us trying to not only reduce spending but to also increase income! It’s the one I most look forward to BECAUSE of the views and personality you put into it.
Please don’t give up on showing a bit of reality and humour!
Thanks Elena. I’m going to try and return to humor again. I lost that after the second year I think.
This post makes me very sad. Sam, don’t do this, don’t lose your VOICE!
Your opinions, your views, and your perspectives are what make this site unique and worth reading at all.
You’re a writer. And trust me there is NOT ONE writer who exists or has ever existed whom all readers read the same way. I was a critical theorist and that was the WHOLE POINT of my college education!
Just think of all of the people who you admire and who achieved great things. Did they ever tell their critics “Lesson learned! I’ll do what you say!”
I hope your vacation re-invigorates you and you come back with a vengeance, not with vanilla.
Thanks K. Yeah, it’s always tough to feel down but I can’t deny the feeling. It just is. I’m hopefully it will pass and I plan on doing things to not get to down again.
Let me go get a margarita now … :)
As my coach would say – suck it up, walk it off, rub some dirt on it. You’ll be fine.
You’ll feel better after your vacation. But if you’re still feeling like you need to tone it down to grow larger, I’d recommend starting a completely different “vanilla” site and hiring the staff to run it, and keep this site your personal platform and just reduce the post frequency. You have the audience here to quickly grow a new website to self-sustaining proportions, and a reduced publishing schedule here would only make people read what you write more closely.
Best of luck, whatever your decision.
Nah, can’t start another site. Would spread myself too thin and probably burn out faster. I will just lower my posting frequency I think. Cheers
Don’t change the way you post. The way you post is the reason I come to your blog. If you didn’t have the personality and personal touch it would be like so many other personal finance blogs, that i don’t read anymore.
BTW – first time commenter after probably 4 years of following you.
Wow, you are a power lurker! To not comment in 4 years must mean you are super strong with self control and delayed gratification. Tell me you are a savings beast as well. :)
I am a huge fan of this blog because I have made a lot of mistakes. And I bet that many of your biggest fans seldom leave comments because they, too, make mistakes more often than they care to admit. But there is beauty in the experience of picking yourself up and dusting yourself off–and that’s why I keep coming back to this blog.
Don’t let the whiners and complainers get you down. If they are chirping so much it’s because you’ve probably ruffled a feather or two. Let them find validation elsewhere on the internetz.
Thanks Jessica. Perhaps it’s because ruffling feathers seems to be so commonplace here for tr past four years for whatever reason that I’m getting tired of it. Thanks for reading!
Haters gonna hate, but that’s all they’ll do. I doubt you’ll get them to “contribute” or “produce” anything, as that’s probably not what they’re really interested in. So just work on what you can control, which hopefully is feeling good about what you write (whether it’s vulnerable or vanilla).
I hear you on how difficult it is to see the criticism though. I’m fairly certain that that’s a byproduct of success online no matter what you write… I wish I could tell you how to feel better about it and what to do next, but I don’t know what’s best. Hopefully some time off will help you clear things up.
Enjoy the trip!
Hi Pat, getting critics to write awesome blog posts for me on their disposition will be my number one goal. I want to understand their background. I had one guy disagree with me completely on a retirement savings post, and it turns out he’s 33 with a 65k net worth. I was like dude, why are you being so argumentative and wasting my time?
I hardly EVER make comments, but let me tell you, I appreciate you putting some personal perspective into your posts.. Please please continue to write the way you have. I only follow about 3 blogs regularly and would be sad to see yours change. The internet is a huge place, but I feel I “know” you , ya know??
BTW, this post is coming from a 45 yr old SAHM in North Carolina. I am even considering starting my own blog soon, kinda scared to, and need people like you to continue to be good examples to me. Thanks!!
You will love starting a blog Jen! The first year will be some of the most exhilarating times you’ll ever know. I highly encourage SAHMs to blog. Check out Yakezie and good luck! Starting is the hardest.
man…do what you want…you gotta stay true to yourself
Do what you want, and voice your opinion if you like. I have always found genuine writing that reveals the human side of things to be more interesting than cold facts and news. Maybe that defies the “build your blog into a mega-blog and ultimately monetize it by selling” business model.
Don’t settle for being 2D. Live life in 3D and write about it!
Thinking about living 3D and keeping absolutely silent for weeks on end. It’s what most normal people do, except post everything on FB.
Sounds like blogger burnout is setting in spurred on by a few negative comments… Sucks, but some time off might change you perspective yet again.
Sam, I know it is tough to honest when writing, but I have to tell you that they way you write your post with “honesty” is really the only way I want to read your stuff. I personally hope you continue to be direct and personal, after all you are the Financial Samurai and can take on all that attack.
Armor has a lot of kinks. Thanks joe.
I don’t know about developing a thick skin but I was enjoying your controversial posts. Getting a rich husband was amusing to me! Or men getting a sugar mama ;) It gives you something to think about. I really don’t need anymore articles on how to save. You can only save so much! Growing your income/profits is much more interesting to me.
Have fun on your time off!
Thanks. I got a great post on how to save $100 extra a month coming up just for you!
I’ve been reading your blog specifically because of the “touchy” subjects. You’ve given me some perspective on where I stand financially with other successful people, struggling later with my vacation home purchase and being a single guy living in an area surrounded by Amandas. If I lived in an urban area, it would be much easier to find people in the same socio-economic status, but in a small college town I’m on a bit more of an island. So thanks for sharing and giving a different perspective than what I’m used to…
Single guy surrounded by Amandas, that ain’t such a bad thing Red. I would suggest you enjoy the time as much as possible and take good advantage!
If you went vanilla, I wouldn’t probably follow like I do now. I guess it’s like being a politician who has to give up ideals to please the masses. I get it but hope your skin grows back. I didn’t particularly like the post about finding a rich husband, but it made me think more than any other one that I read that week.
I think to many of us you are the rock star. You walked away from the man to do your own thing. You’re like the Pearl Jam of the blogging world. Lots of what you write makes me want I get my butt in gear and I probably wouldn’t have the nerve to write about all the mistakes I’ve made or how my family thinks I’m a nut. I hope you keep writing controversial posts. My brain needs them!
Love Pearl Jam! That’s the thing. I don’t feel a lot of my posts are controversial, just truly topics people are passionately curious about. I keep forgetting the web is global and not just read by liberal San Franciscans who’ve seen and probably done everything.
Looking forward to your controversial posts!
Try not to take the criticism personally. There are people in this world that are negative 100% of the time. You could give them 1,000,000 dollars and the would complain that they have to pay a bunch of taxes now. It’s your lack of vanilla that attracted me to your website in the first place. The other large finance blogs are boring and push out the same content over and over.
Please reconsider and tune out those negative people.
Ryan, you are right. Sometimes it’s just hard which is why I need a break. It’s tough being optimistic all the time in a public setting. You’ll inevitably get dragged down and normalized. Good for those who are pessimists, but not for optimists.
Sam, I just started reading your blog and I really enjoy it, mainly because it is not “vanilla”. Please take time for yourself and enjoy your break. I hope you come back and realize that most of us enjoy your blog as it is today, whether or not we agree or disagree with some of your posts.
Ok, but only if you agree to elaborate why you disagree instead of just disagreeing. Thanks!
I will do my best!
Sam – keep it coming in your own style. That’s why we read your blog. It’s awesome and the only one of its kind.
The reason I love your blog is because of your contrarian views, don’t change.
Sam, don’t change just because you feel you need to, since you see yourself as going against the flow. Do what you think is best, but make sure that your decision will keep you happy. Good luck!
I want to change towards what makes me happy first, then for survival. We shall see.
Dude! Frugality is boring. Please continue with your style of posts and write what is on your mind.
I agree that there needs to be more sites that talk about making money, but I figure the people that could do it are often busy making the money (or enjoying it).
You don’t want to learn how to save money on laundry detergent??
I’m thinking of just focusing my energy on making money like the Chinese Internet stocks this May and writing less.
I agree with Money Beagle that you need to continue to write about topics you feel strongly about and that you think would be useful, rather than things that will make readers happy. I read blogs to see different perspectives on various topics, and I particularly enjoy the ones that actually “take sides.”
I think writing blogs is somewhat similar to the situation faced with software design. Generally speaking, users (readers) don’t really know what they want until they see (read) it. They may not like it when they see it, but trying to build (write) to what they want won’t accomplish anything.
Hmm, you might have a point. Like staging a house to help homebuyers envision what the layout would be like. Thanks!
Hey, Sam, take some time off if you need to. However, never forget that you are not simply a blogger; you are not even simply a good blogger. You are one of the pillars of the PF community and while it is hard to take ‘the hard’ there are so many people put there who have nothing but great admiration for you.
Yep, be who you are, never be who you aren`t Sam. coz desperate times mean desperate measure. I like your financial advice as much as your personal stories….. it makes me feel that I am not the only person that faced difficult situation. you lift 100 pound weight in my shoulder. Thank you Sam and sorry for the bad English.
BSS, always good to hear from readers. Yes, we all have our struggles. And I’m glad my struggles help you deal with your own.
Maria, that’s very kind of you to say. I’m tempted to just fade into black as the weight is becoming very heavy on my old legs.
I just started reading your blog a few months ago and it has quickly become my favorite because it covers serious and fun topics equally well and because you have a real and authentic voice. I hope you don’t make too many changes. There are plenty of neutral blogs already – yours is special.
Thanks B. I’m a pretty silly guy and am always joking around. So it kinda stinks when other people can’t find the humor and bring me down. It’s one of the bains of always being happier than average. It’s much more likely I get brought down than I get brought up if you know what I’m saying.
I know there are ups and downs, but one of the successes in blogging (other than “great content”) is to simply fight through the tough times and stick with it. This too shall pass…
FMF I’m thinking about adopting your style of copying and pasting a list from a larger media publication, reprinting and sharing my thoughts. Seems pretty straight forward and your readers like it yeah?
Do what you have to do, but know that many of the ‘big’ PF blogs have fallen off my radar simply because they lose the voice that gained them the foundation of their popularity in the first place. Maybe by the point you’re that big, the loss of a few readers is inconsequential compared to the massive amount of followers gained that will stick with the generic articles, but that’s up to each blogger to decide. Also, remember that blogging was created as a way for people to discuss things using their own…voice. So, if you made that change would you still be a PF blog or just a PF site? Is it important? Only you can answer. Either way, I’m sure you’ll still be putting out valuable content.
Will be an interesting balance I’ll try and figure out for sure. Maybe I just post once a week from now on and have staff writers to create the business empire. MoneyNing does it extremely well and he hardly ever writes. He’s my hero!
I think this is unfortunate, but you need to do what you think is best! Enjoy your break!
Sam, don’t let the critics change your writing style. That will most certainly make this blog fade into anonymity. The personal connection to your writings I have every morning even IF I am not having those problems at the moment, is such a charge to start the day, because your voice is present. On this site, people want your opinion. Vanilla is a popular flavor, but Vanilla sucks.
Ok Nathan. Although you are right, vanilla is a really popular flavor and is everywhere. If people didn’t like it, it would not be everywhere!
I’m not used to seeing this “woe is me” attitude from you! Where is the Sam who wrote cheerfully and honestly about mistakes that cost tens of thousands of dollars, and still managed to end the post on a positive note?
Yeah, people are gonna complain no matter what you write. Yeah, blogging (and life) involve putting yourself out there – most of the time it’s worth it, but once in a while it’s not. Write what you want to write, and if someone doesn’t like it, you can tell him or her that the door is that-a-way.
Thanks Laura. I love showing people the door who complain. It’s not like I have to refund anybody’s money!
Rejuvenating my batteries now in Cabo. The Mexican way of life here is great.
Are you feeling sorry for yourself? Let me know when the pity party ends.
First, kudos to you because you’re the king of blog interactions. I see you everywhere. That’s awesome. That might be why your posts get a million more comments than mine do.
No need to be neutral. If you’re not hurting feelings and offending people, you’re not making a difference. It’s more important to attract the RIGHT kind of readers than it is to please everyone.
Pity party and everyone is invited! Good to see you pumping out some regular content again studenomics and you always trying new business ideas.
Financial Samurai is one of my favorite blogs because it’s fun. I guess you would appeal to more readers if you tone it down a little, but is that really true? Mr. Money Mustache did very well by being himself. It’s always more fun to have a personality behind the articles.
Anyway, enjoy your time away. I’m sure your thick skin will have regrown by the time you get back.
Yeah, commenting takes a lot of time, but it’s also what I enjoy so I’ll keep at it.
Thanks Joe. Let’s hope the blogging good times last for much longer!
I for one read your site for because it’s NOT “plain vanilla”. The other sites appeal to the masses because the masses don’t want to do anything difficult, your site appeals to people who don’t want the same old “5 ways to save money on your cable bill” type stuff. Sure you might make more money with that kind of site, but I suspect that’s not your prime motivation. I say keep on doing what you have been.
I’ve been thinking, maybe not getting heat and making more money might not be a bad thing.
Sam – really honest post. I’ve been an off and on reader for the last 3 years, I really enjoy your posts.They are often not what you read at some many other blogs. I don’t think you should change for the masses. You should continue to write about topics that are meaningful to you. After 4 years I would think that the thick skin would have developed by now, there are plenty of internet tough guys out there looking to hide behind comments but would never same the same to you in person. I would let them second guess yourself.
Calloused skin sometimes cracks and bleeds after a while.
I’m sorry you feel this way Sam. I enjoy reading blogs that take a stand, even if I disagree with what they’re saying, as long as the stand is well-reasoned and is intended to promote a genuine opinion and isn’t just attempted to stir up the mud. I would personally be disappointed to see you take the opinion out of your writing, as I think that’s part of what makes it powerful.
But I also think it comes back to what you said in the podcast, which is wanting to do more of what makes you happy and less of what doesn’t. If putting your heart and soul into your content here doesn’t make you happy, then I think you’re spot on for trying to find something that does. But is that new thing really writing vanilla content just to placate certain readers? Just make sure that whatever decision you’re making is really for you, and not for the people who’ve reacted negatively to some of your past opinions.
nice. you said it best.
Ditto! Love your posts! So much truth and honesty!
I’m just hoping that more people who do take a stand elaborate why instead of just bash. I respect all well reasoned arguments!
Sam, I’m a big fan of your “non-traditional” posts. One of my favorites is the one about going to business school to meet a rich significant other. If your writing takes a turn for the vanilla, that might maximize your blogging income, but it probably wouldn’t keep my attention (sorry). I love seeing the unique ways to boost your income and make better investments.
As far as developing a thicker skin, I can’t really help you there. My site’s small enough that I don’t get nasty comments, but certainly that’s not a solution for you. Have a great vacation!
To be vanilla and rich! Life could be worse.
Sam, I believe you are one of the 0.01% that could not be called “looser”.
I really enjoyed the podcast with Spencer.
Please don’t remove yourself and keep here your personality as it is.
Who cares about some anonymous assholes? There is no way you can be beloved by everybody. And hell, who would even want that? :-)
Have a nice break, and see you soon in full power!
Jakub, appreciate the support man. I flopped a Queen high flush on the cruise last night and had to call a guys all in on the river who flopped a Ace high flush! Ah, the pain felt so good.
Just got to keep playing the percentages!