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Abandoned Cubicle – Know Your Blogger Series

Know Your Blogger Series

Abandoned Cubicle

Ditch the corporate life and make your cubicle abandoned with this interview from the blog, Abandoned Cubicle.
Each week at Personal Finance Blogs, we publish interviews from amazing bloggers from the personal finance space. This week, we are featuring the blog, Abandoned Cubicle.
During these weekly features, we are hoping to provide a way for you to interact and learn more about different blogs in the personal finance space.
Below, you can read more about the story behind Abandoned Cubicle, learn about the author, and learn personal finance tips from Abandoned Cubicle to help you improve your financial situation.
A big thanks for Abandoned Cubicle for this interview! Now, we will turn it over to the author for this interview.

Tell Us About Abandoned Cubicle

Abandoned Cubicle started in September of 2016. The mission of the blog is to generate a cheering section of sorts, in order to convince myself to retire early.
At the very least, I’ve been able to commit a few thousand dollars over the past couple of years to Children’s Heartlink via scant blog revenues. That means a lot to me, even if the blog hasn’t “taken off” like some others in this crowded space.
The name “Abandoned Cubicle” came about from brainstorming between me and my wife. She deserves most of the credit, as I think the best name I could think of was “Cubicle Confidential” or something lame and uninspired like that…

What makes you and your blog unique?

I’m not certain there’s a whole heckuva lot that makes Abandoned Cubicle (and its author) different. You’re reading about a middle-aged, college educated white dude after all.
I’ve led a pretty fortunate life and took advantage of being “smart enough” to get educated coming out of a middle-middle class Rust-belt USA childhood. If there’s one thing that maybe sets me apart, it’s that I’m all over the map with my interests and whims on the blog. One minute I’ll be posting hell-bent on early retirement, the next, I’m advising kids to stay in their cubes.
For some, I suppose that could be entertaining to read about.

What does “being good with your personal finances” mean to you?

It means controlling your impulses.
Most of us suffer from pangs of spendthriftery (as J. Money puts it). We want the newest iPhone or Tesla Model 3. We want our homes to look like Joanna Gaines spend a fortnight revamping the joint.
Being good with personal finance means keeping everything in a constant state of moderation. Severely limit what you spend on the big things (houses, cars, tuition) so you can spend a bit more freely on a few nice things or fun trips.
I’m not a hyper-frugalist but I don’t want to have a cloud of guilt hanging over my head for spending too much money on things that ultimately don’t make me happy.

What are some habits you practice to keep your personal finances in order?

The main thing I do is keep track of our balance sheet. A simple spreadsheet in excel captures our monthly expenses and income. On separate tabs I’ll track miscellaneous expenses that are irregular or discretionary (insurance payments, home improvement materials, etc.)
I’ve found that the simple act of checking in a couple of times of week and logging expenses, gauging net worth gains and losses… it all helps give me the sense of control.
The other key habit is to talk about money subjects with your spouse or partner. Eliminate any and all surprises! It takes work to build harmony with shared budgets in a household, and you need to maintain that harmony with intent.

What are your three articles people should read to get to know you and your message better on your site?

For someone looking to improve their financial situation, what’s your best advice?

My best advice is to first take an inventory of where your money is being spent: mortgage, rent, auto, shopping, travel, etc.
Next, have productive and open conversations with your spouse about where you can reasonably scale-back in order to achieve your personal ideal financial situation.
For some, that means a smaller house and used cars replacing large homes, a Ford F150 and a Lexus. Everyone’s situation is unique, but if achieving financial independence is something you want to attain, there’s generally a combination of living small and income improvement that needs to happen.
Also, consider exploring careers that pay well and might offer a rewarding enough work experience. You may need to take on debt to acquire a degree, trade, or license, but the increase in pay could make the investment well worth it (especially for careers in technology and healthcare).
Finally, geoarbitrage is worth considering. If you aren’t averse to leaving behind extended family and friends and can easily pull up stakes, research other states and towns that offer more affordable housing and job prospects. Just don’t sacrifice too much in the process.

In your opinion, what’s better? Renting a place or buying a house to live?

It all depends on your stage of life and where you live.
In your 20’s, renting is always smart. You never know what life events or career changes could pop up, so stay mobile.
Also, if you live in a part of the country with super high real estate costs, renting wins there too. (Think, L.A., NYC, San Francisco, etc.)

In your opinion, what should you do first? Pay down debt, or invest?

Both. Pay down high interest debts approaching 10% or higher, while you’re putting at least the amount needed for employer match in a 401k.

In your opinion, what’s better? Focusing on increasing your income, or focusing on decreasing your expenses?

Increasing your income, hands down. Sure, decreasing expenses helps in the immediate term, but an increased income can really ratchet up your financial independence game. If your career has limited income ceilings and you have a passion for the work, consider some side-gig businesses. This is where real estate rentals and having an Airbnb hospitality business have helped augment our income.

What is your favorite investment class and why? (stocks, private business, bonds, real estate, crypto, precious metals, etc.)

I like real estate above all else. Steady growth, favorable tax treatment, and income from rents make real estate an excellent cornerstone in one’s portfolio.

If you received a $5,000,000 windfall tomorrow, what would you do with the money?

What a wonderfully fun question! We’d probably buy a bigger house closer to nature (Ha! So much for living small??) Then, after paying off our remaining debts (rental mortgages and student loans), I suspect we’d try to mimic a small scale version of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It’d be great fun (and extraordinarily challenging of course) to explore new technology and policy solutions to address the biggest problems our global society faces.
That’s my Early Retirement ideal.

How You Can Contact Abandoned Cubicle for More Information

You can learn more about Abandoned Cubicle at https://www.abandonedcubicle.com/, like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cubertAC/, and follow them on Twitter at @cubertAC.

Thank you for reading this interview, and thank you, Abandoned Cubicle, for providing us with some great personal finance tips!

About the Know Your Blogger Series

Each week, Personal Finance Blogs features a personal finance blogger for you to learn more about who is behind the different blogs in the personal finance space.

These interviews also provide different viewpoints and tips for improving your financial situation. Check out a couple other recent interviews below, or see them all of the past blogger features here.

Have Your Dollars Make Sense
Come read about the great personal finance blog, Have Your Dollars Make Sense.
Financial Freedom Countdown
Come read about the great personal finance blog, Financial Freedom Countdown.

June 1st Features

 

 

 

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