Today, I thought I would introduce you to the inspiration for The Simple Dollar. It’s not my own money, or someone else’s money; it’s a person.
Joe is a little boy who just turned one year old. Just one year ago, I was sitting in a hospital holding him for the first time. As I’ve already mentioned on here, I was in some very serious debt at the time, and when I looked down at him, I realized that for the first time in my life, there is someone completely relying on me to take care of him, to make decisions for him, and to guide him from earliest childhood all the way well into his adulthood.
It scared me. It scares everyone, I think. The realization that you’re suddenly responsible for every aspect of this tiny baby is a truly life-altering experience. Most of his fundamental knowledge and understanding of the world will come from you; most of his fundamental behavior will be based on your example. The experience of seeing the baby for the first time and realizing this shakes everything you know and understand right to the core.
I started The Simple Dollar because I knew I had a lot to learn about personal finance, and if I continued my spending ways, not only would I be putting this child at financial risk, he would learn the same bad habits and poor planning that I had learned in my childhood. I already had a passion for writing (which I had earlier projected into a successful blog), reading, and learning new things, but personal finance seemed nebulous and frightening.
Much like the fear of being a new parent.
It was this realization – that I could do this, that I could be a parent, that I had to be a parent – that caused me to start turning my financial life around and, eventually, to start this blog to collect the lessons I’ve learned and hopefully give a boost to others who are trying to find their way. I soon found that, much like parenting, personal financial management seems quite scary before you start, but before long it can become a natural part of who you are.