FINCON FOUNDER-PHILIP TAYLOR OF PT MONEY
Personal Finance Luminaries Series-Philip of PT Money
Welcome to in-depth interviews with the super stars of the on-line personal finance universe. These interviews educate and inform, offering a view into their successes and challenges. Gain insight into the world of successful online money bloggers. Get inspired by their wealth building strategies. Check out the entire series of Personal Finance Luminaries.
Philip Taylor of PT Money discloses that his personal finance philosophy comes from his own story. He got rid of debt, learned to live lean, saved a bunch of money, and eventually was able to leave his unsatisfying corporate career and pursue his entrepreneurial ventures full-time. Phil’s advice: Fix your finances so that they aren’t a burden in your life, and then build the life you want: whether it’s travelling more, early retirement, staying at home with your kids, or building a business like he did.
What are your 5 most important recommendations for those who want to build wealth?
1. Pay yourself first by automating your saving. Use separate accounts for short, intermediate, and long-term goals like retirement.
2. Practice conscious spending (i.e. spending on what brings true value to your life) and delayed gratification (i.e. avoid debt and lifestyle inflation).
3. Once you have spending under control, focus on creating more income to speed up your saving.
4. Purchase a term life insurance policy to protect your family if something happens to you along the way.
5. If you’re married, don’t forget to invest in your relationship. Divorce is a wealth killer. (Barb’s comment; I second this one, my marriage is counted by decades)
How would you advise your readers to best increase their income?
Game-changing income is only going to come from a winning business idea. So always be looking for opportunities where your skills can bring the most value to the most people. But more money can come from a variety of sources. If you have a job/career, I would look into raises, promotions, and higher playing employers. More education/certification/licensing can help in this area. Also, don’t neglect short-term income opportunities from gigs, side-hustles, or other quick ways to make extra money.
How are your family’s funds invested?
We invest almost 100% (Solo 401k and IRAs) in Vanguard’s 2040 Target Date Fund (VFORX). I love passive, low-cost investing. And I don’t want to bother with rebalancing or trading ETFs.
Your podcasts are educational and informative. What prompted you to start them and what are your goals for the podcasts?
Thanks! I started the Part-Time Money Podcast because I took a reader survey back in 2010 and readers told me they wanted to learn more about ways to make extra money on the side (part-time). My goal is to inspire others who want to start a business but might think they don’t have the time or money to do it. Most of my guests started their businesses or side-hustles with little or no money while holding down a full-time job elsewhere. It shows that it can be done, and in many different ways.
You are the founder of the hugely successful Personal Finance Blogging Conference, Fincon, walk us through the history from inception to implementation of this important conference. What are the new initiatives for Fincon 2013?
Before FinCon, the thing that got me most excited was getting together with other people doing what I was doing: blogging about personal finance. Every chance I got I would meetup with another blogger to talk shop. One day I decided it would be great if I could get everyone together all at once. So, in February of 2011 I launched the FinCon Blog and started getting feedback. I expected maybe 50 folks would want to come. To my surprise the idea grew very rapidly and before you knew it I had an email list of about 100 people ready to buy a ticket. I was nervous about taking on a lot of risk and so I opted to grow it organically. As the attendee list grew I invested more into meeting space, food, etc. By the Summer it was clear that we were going to have a 200+ person conference with big name speakers and sponsors. At that time I brought on Jessica, my administrator and now editor at PT Money, to help manage the event planning. She, along with a handful of friends/volunteers helped to make the first conference a success. The community loved the chance to meet face to face and I’ve loved seeing the growth that our little industry has experienced. Many bloggers from our ranks are quickly becoming the new stars of online financial media. (Barb’s comment; I’ve gotten lots of national media and many opportunities through this great event.)
For FinCon 2013, we’ve introduced a Blogger Bootcamp, a one and a half day intimate experience before the main conference for those who want more. We’re also expanding our exhibitors booths from tables in a foyer to a full blown exposition hall with over 40 booths. Additionally we’re going to put the content into experience-level tracks as well as integrate organized networking time.
How do you expect your readers to benefit from PT Money?
I expect them to be given the steps and inspiration to improve their finances and create freedom in their lives. I also hope they are entertained to avoid burnout, and informed about what’s going on in the world relevant to their money.
What is your personal finance niche and how do differentiate PT Money from all the other personal finance sites?
PT Money is quickly becoming the personal finance news and information site for new entrepreneurs, or at least people who want the freedom to do something like build a business. We’re different because of my voice and my success story.
What made you decide to leave your former position as a CPA and become a full time web entrepreneur?
I didn’t want to deal with clients or a boss anymore. Haha! Seriously, I’m thankful for my CPA education and career (it helps with PT Money), but I’m more naturally suited to have my own gig and work on the Interwebs. I enjoyed parts of my previous career (professionalism, travel, etc.), but I always knew/hoped it wasn’t where I would end up long-term.
What advice would you give to others looking to create a full-time income online?
I recommend starting with freelancing for others (writing, marketing, design, video, etc) and find out what you like doing. Then look for ways to scale that business or use those skills to create a valuable product or service that a bunch of people need. Making money online takes time and hard work just like making money offline. The only other thing I would say is the better your finances are (less debt, more savings, and lean expenses), the quicker you can live on a full-time online income.
What activities are you involved in now to create income? And what are your future income producing goals?
PT Money produces the vast majority of my income through affiliate marketing, as well as adsense and CPM ads. FinCon will bring in a small income. I also have a rental property that creates a small amount of cash flow. Most of my efforts are focused on growing the income from PT Money, but I do see potential with FinCon and possibly another rental property in the future.
Who are your role models and what have you learned from them?
My father is my biggest role model. He has a CPA practice and operates it with a great deal of integrity and honesty. He works hard to provide for his family and is building something to be proud of. I try to emulate that.
What is a typical day like for you?
I’ll typically get up around 9:30 am and go straight to work at the home office. I’ll write or edit for a couple of hours. Then I’ll break to take my youngest to swim lessons. After that I drive into my downtown office (3 miles away) and spend the afternoon handling emails, on-going projects, interviews, etc. I try to meet with a friend for lunch at least once a week, and to be home for dinner every night around 5:30 pm. After dinner I bathe the girls and read books before bed, or have a dance party or wrestling match if I’m feeling the energy. After that I try to watch the last bit of the Rangers game or a show with my wife, and then it’s back to work for a few hours. I’ll fall into bed around 1 am.
What are your most important initiatives and goals for your online business?
At PT Money my biggest goal is increasing traffic (direct, referral, and search). When traffic is up, everything else seems to fall into place. I’m trying to increase traffic by creating a large volume of quality personal finance content and then marketing that content across my established channels. My latest initiative is to offer up distinct styles of content to meet users where they are at. We have a weekly deals article, two fun money posts a week, two short news pieces each week, the podcast or link roundup, and of course our four feature length articles each week. Additionally we’re attempting to do at least one video post a month. It’s a lot of work, but I love producing it, and I think it’s the answer to growing the site into a more successful brand.
What are your top 3-5 tips for staying organized and focused?
1. Having a content calendar so that you make sure you cover all of your channels (i.e. categories), and so that writers know their assignments way ahead of time.
2. Turning emails into calendar items. When I get an email that requires some thought (like this one) or is dependent on something else, I put it on the calendar as a to do item. Setting aside time to get it done, means it’s more likely not to just sit in my inbox forever. Although I’m still terrible at promptly answering emails.
3. I suggest having a quiet place to go for writing/researching two to four hours at a time. That helps.
If you had a do-over, what would it be?
Hard to say since everything I’ve done has led me here, a pretty good place. I would just say doing things sooner in life (saving, getting rid of debt, starting a business, etc.).
Don’t forget to visit Philip’s website, PT Money, and sign up for his newsletter to get all the updates.
Check out the entire series of Personal Finance Luminaries.
Readers, what are your top initiatives and what are you doing to make them a reality?