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Your Money Geek - interview with founder Michael Dinich

Michael Dinich runs the blog, it’s a personal finance blog he created by accident. He had no experience with blogging and was talked into launching the site. Just one year into blogging he left his full time job to blog full time. He combines personal finance and pop culture. We have conduced an interview with him.

What motivated you to start to blog about personal finance in the first place?

The blog, Your Money Geek, started as an accident. I was talked in to launching a blog by a marketing company that I hired to help promote my planning practice. I had no idea what a blog really was or how to even run a blog, so I was reluctant. However, they said they would run everything, and I didn’t need to do anything, so I agreed. We agreed that I would approve everything they wanted to publish. As they started sending me topics and posts, I wasn’t thrilled with the content or quality. I immediately fired them and took over running the site.

Having no idea what I was doing, I wrote a few posts to little fanfare and decided to pause to learn about blogging. I searched online for information about blogging and joined some blogging forums and Facebook groups.

The first month or so, I just took everything in and learned as much as I could. I read all these really cool stories about bloggers making money on the side and decided I wanted to try and make my blog legitimate side hustle.

Armed with a mission to make my blog a legitimate business, I created a plan to get 25k monthly visitors in May of 2018. I planned to publish extra posts and pretty much not sleep until I hit 25k Sessions. I hit 25k in the first two weeks and decided to double my goal to 50k. When May ended, I was at 56k sessions, and the damage was done, I was hooked on blogging. 😊

Nearly a year later, I left my day job to run the blog full-time.

How did you determine your niche? How did 'pop culture' come into the picture?

I have worked in personal finance for nearly 20 years, so it made sense to share my experience. When I was an advisor, clients would always send me incorrect or misleading information they read online.
So, when I started the blog, I thought I would focus on discussing the “other side of the story.” So, some of my earlier posts talk about how to find advice that works for YOUR situation and who to trust.

As my audience grew, and my writing improved, I started to move away from the original style of posts. Leaving the world of financial planning allowed me the freedom to cover money in a much more personal and fun way.

Getting into pop culture on the blog was another happy accident. As I mentioned, I had a plan to hit 25k sessions in May, and May 4th is a popular day in the Star Wars fandom. (May the 4th be with you)

Since I am a huge Star Wars fan, I decided I should write a post about money lessons from Star Wars. I figured the post might get shared a few times on Twitter, and it would help me reach my goal for the month.

They are several articles online about money lessons and Star Wars, and I wanted mine to be unique. So instead of quoting Yoda or Obi-Won, I decided to do money lessons from Grand Admiral Thrawn. The post was a lot of fun, and some fellow bloggers all contributed to it.

The post ended up doing much better than I could have imagined, and we received over 19 thousand views just on that one post for May. Since the post did so well, I decided to do more pop culture style posts.

Since then, we have covered from the apocalypse to zombies. We have a whole section on the blog dedicated to geek culture, such as movies, games, books, and tech reviews. I like to think a little bit of entertainment and fun provides a necessary break from focusing too much on making and saving money.

What do you foresee for personal financial field, let's say in 5 years?

I have not been blogging very long; however, I have noticed a few radical changes just in a short time.

Google has become much smarter about how it displays data, and Google is now focusing on the authority of the author. Google really wants to see who the author behind a published piece is and if they are a credible source.

In other words, Google doesn’t want random strangers giving bad or misleading advice online. This is great from a transparency perspective, as several so-called “Gurus’ online turned out to be fake.

However, it does make it harder for bloggers who wish to share their insights and may not want to be publicly outed due to family or work. Google's new initiatives tend to favor larger websites, and large publishers tend not to be as innovative or creative as smaller blogs.

The result is blogging as an art form suffers in favor of low-cost, mass-produced content. Several innovative personal finance websites have recently been purchased by large investors and publishers, which may contribute further to the loss of originality.

I think the trend is that smaller sites will be squeezed out of business by Google's author authority initiatives, and larger websites will be acquired by larger firms looking for market share.

What are the top three 'hot topics' in relation to personal finance?

Readers seem to be most interested in making money, passive income, and early retirement.

When I started working in personal finance, the model was you worked for an employer and saved money so you can eventually retire. Today the model is sifting, and savers are taking a more proactive role in creating their retirement.

Young savers today are looking for ways to make extra money and redefining what early retirement looks like. So instead of working for an employer until they are 60 plus, savers are launching their businesses.

There, some debate is leaving the labor force to run your own business, or side hustle is “retirement’ or not. However, whatever you call, it is exciting and empowering to see people take charge of their financial destiny.

Instead of the corporate grind, savers are working to make money in a fun and rewarding ways.

What is your audience most commonly asked question about 'early retirement'? How do you address them in your blog posts?

The two biggest questions people have regarding early retire are;
• How can I make more money so I can save?
• How much money do I need to save for retirement?
On the blog, we help readers with both questions.

First, we have a whole section on the blog geared to making money. We discuss side hurtles, money hacks, and even career advice. Additionally, we interview business leaders, celebrities, and influencers on what it takes to be successful and more productive.

Second, the hardest part of determining how much money you need to save is forecasting what your expenses will be in retirement. Most people know how much money they need to spend next month, but what about 20 years down the road?

We spend quite a bit of time talking about ways to plan for expenses and emergencies in retirement. Having a plan for the curveball’s life might toss at you in retirement makes it easy to retire and with less money.

What are your plans and wishes?

The plan is to keep growing the blog, and we would love to help more readers improve their finances and have some fun in the process. Currently, we average just shy of 250k monthly readers, and I would like to see the site grow to million-plus readers a month.

So, if any of your readers have an interest in pop culture or improving their finances, send them our way. 😉

Your Money Geek - interview with founder Michael Dinich Reviewed by JaamZIN on 7:50:00 AM Rating: 5
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