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Get Rich Slowly

My junior high soccer teammate and high school poetry friend, JD, has been having great success with his personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly. JD and I come from the same side of the tracks, I guess you could say. We definitely came from families where money was tight and poorly managed, where personal finance was not something we learned from our parents or had any idea about. JD has always been a passionate fellow, always throwing himself headlong into one thing or another (photography, comic books, animal intelligence…) and I’m so glad that his personal quest to right his finances has evolved into Get Rich Slowly and taken off!

JD and his lovely wife are currently away on a European vacation with her parents. In preparation for his trip, JD asked around to get people lined up to contribute essays for Get Rich Slowly for the duration of his absence. He asked me if I might have something to contribute but I felt I had to say no. It’s the busiest time of the year for us and I didn’t feel I could give a contribution the thoughtfulness it deserved. An essay for Get Rich Slowly felt like a lot more pressure than something similar for my own tiny blog.

Another thing has been holding me back from taking JD up on his offers to participate on his blog and its associated forums. I’m not sure I’m cut out for “getting rich” (no matter how slowly) in the manner that his most avid readers are likely to appreciate. I want to live fully, I want to live in a manner aligned with my beliefs, and I am not always appreciative of the supposed “savings” trumpeted by many of the converts to frugality who are so excited about the “savings” they experience by shopping at Wal*Mart or switching to generic diapers.

JD’s site stays away from ethics and values when addressing personal finance. In fact, JD specifically stated “I’ve intentionally kept my political and religious leanings obscure at Get Rich Slowly — they have no bearing on personal finance.” One of his guest essayists took the opportunity to disagree and laid out why his Christian beliefs affect his approach to personal finances, which (although applying a different set of rules) has much in common with my feelings on reconciling ethics/values and money.

For example, I have posted several times this year about my feelings on big agribusiness and irresponsible corporate farming practices (check my post on Corn, for example). So when someone gives me advice to save money on food by watching for sales or using coupons at big national chain stores that exclusively offer meat that’s been treated with growth hormones and antibiotics, fed industrial waste and by-products, and born/bred/slaughtered in ways that I consider to be suspect if not outright inhumane… well, that “savings” doesn’t seem like something I want. Other things that I’ve done (such as my love affair with Flexcar and my lack of car ownership lo these last three and a half years) are not universally practical and of limited use to recommend to people who are more interested in saving a few bucks on generic disposable diapers than in giving up disposable diapers in favor of reusable (but “less convenient”) cloth.

I go round and round with myself, wondering where I can or should draw the lines of my personal beliefs. Most of the time, I end up thinking of this awesome Cat and Girl cartoon, which is how I find myself feeling more often than I’d like:

I figure that’s probably not the subject for an essay at a personal finance site, especially when the owner is out of the country and wouldn’t like to come home to find the place burned to the ground.

44 comments to Get Rich Slowly

  • Your ideals (and mine, of course) are luxuries. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hold onto them with both hands. Once when living in Seattle I bought a bunch of hamburgers and started handing them out to homeless people. One, a young woman, said, “no thank you, I don’t eat meat.” Living on the street, refusing offered food because it conflicted with her morals.

  • Your ideals (and mine, of course) are luxuries. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hold onto them with both hands. Once when living in Seattle I bought a bunch of hamburgers and started handing them out to homeless people. One, a young woman, said, “no thank you, I don’t eat meat.” Living on the street, refusing offered food because it conflicted with her morals.

  • Your ideals (and mine, of course) are luxuries. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hold onto them with both hands. Once when living in Seattle I bought a bunch of hamburgers and started handing them out to homeless people. One, a young woman, said, “no thank you, I don’t eat meat.” Living on the street, refusing offered food because it conflicted with her morals.

  • Your ideals (and mine, of course) are luxuries. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hold onto them with both hands. Once when living in Seattle I bought a bunch of hamburgers and started handing them out to homeless people. One, a young woman, said, “no thank you, I don’t eat meat.” Living on the street, refusing offered food because it conflicted with her morals.

  • Your ideals (and mine, of course) are luxuries. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hold onto them with both hands. Once when living in Seattle I bought a bunch of hamburgers and started handing them out to homeless people. One, a young woman, said, “no thank you, I don’t eat meat.” Living on the street, refusing offered food because it conflicted with her morals.

  • Another “What a Small World” moment—I’ve already been reading JD’s blog, because it does have good tidbits.

    Since cars traditionally account for the 2nd biggest budget item, I think it would be good to post about Flexcar — how not having a car and instead using Flexcar works for you. While not everyone is near the Flexcar equivalent, they can still rent a regular car when they need it, which is what I did when I was in MKE and Wolf had our car in Seattle. Same principle as the Flexcar.

    I also don’t think that everyone who reads/writes the personal finance blogs is all about money as the bottom line. Most people I read emphasize value, which includes moral values like environmentally friendly options. So I say GO FOR IT!

    • I was stopped by people or overhead people commenting to each other about our Flexcar last weekend when we took it to Orcas Island, and I’ve spent more than one party singing the praises of the program. Maybe I will write it up in terms of personal finance.

      • I do know that early on in my time in Chicago I calculated exactly how many taxi rides it would take to equal one month of car ownership, and was dumfounded.

        I love cars, mind you, but in Chicago, for me anyhow, they definitely count as a luxury good. My pal has an iGo account, which gets our grocery shopping taken care of.

  • Another “What a Small World” moment—I’ve already been reading JD’s blog, because it does have good tidbits.

    Since cars traditionally account for the 2nd biggest budget item, I think it would be good to post about Flexcar — how not having a car and instead using Flexcar works for you. While not everyone is near the Flexcar equivalent, they can still rent a regular car when they need it, which is what I did when I was in MKE and Wolf had our car in Seattle. Same principle as the Flexcar.

    I also don’t think that everyone who reads/writes the personal finance blogs is all about money as the bottom line. Most people I read emphasize value, which includes moral values like environmentally friendly options. So I say GO FOR IT!

    • I was stopped by people or overhead people commenting to each other about our Flexcar last weekend when we took it to Orcas Island, and I’ve spent more than one party singing the praises of the program. Maybe I will write it up in terms of personal finance.

      • I do know that early on in my time in Chicago I calculated exactly how many taxi rides it would take to equal one month of car ownership, and was dumfounded.

        I love cars, mind you, but in Chicago, for me anyhow, they definitely count as a luxury good. My pal has an iGo account, which gets our grocery shopping taken care of.

      • I do know that early on in my time in Chicago I calculated exactly how many taxi rides it would take to equal one month of car ownership, and was dumfounded.

        I love cars, mind you, but in Chicago, for me anyhow, they definitely count as a luxury good. My pal has an iGo account, which gets our grocery shopping taken care of.

    • I was stopped by people or overhead people commenting to each other about our Flexcar last weekend when we took it to Orcas Island, and I’ve spent more than one party singing the praises of the program. Maybe I will write it up in terms of personal finance.

  • Another “What a Small World” moment—I’ve already been reading JD’s blog, because it does have good tidbits.

    Since cars traditionally account for the 2nd biggest budget item, I think it would be good to post about Flexcar — how not having a car and instead using Flexcar works for you. While not everyone is near the Flexcar equivalent, they can still rent a regular car when they need it, which is what I did when I was in MKE and Wolf had our car in Seattle. Same principle as the Flexcar.

    I also don’t think that everyone who reads/writes the personal finance blogs is all about money as the bottom line. Most people I read emphasize value, which includes moral values like environmentally friendly options. So I say GO FOR IT!

  • Another “What a Small World” moment—I’ve already been reading JD’s blog, because it does have good tidbits.

    Since cars traditionally account for the 2nd biggest budget item, I think it would be good to post about Flexcar — how not having a car and instead using Flexcar works for you. While not everyone is near the Flexcar equivalent, they can still rent a regular car when they need it, which is what I did when I was in MKE and Wolf had our car in Seattle. Same principle as the Flexcar.

    I also don’t think that everyone who reads/writes the personal finance blogs is all about money as the bottom line. Most people I read emphasize value, which includes moral values like environmentally friendly options. So I say GO FOR IT!

    • I was stopped by people or overhead people commenting to each other about our Flexcar last weekend when we took it to Orcas Island, and I’ve spent more than one party singing the praises of the program. Maybe I will write it up in terms of personal finance.

      • I do know that early on in my time in Chicago I calculated exactly how many taxi rides it would take to equal one month of car ownership, and was dumfounded.

        I love cars, mind you, but in Chicago, for me anyhow, they definitely count as a luxury good. My pal has an iGo account, which gets our grocery shopping taken care of.

  • Another “What a Small World” moment—I’ve already been reading JD’s blog, because it does have good tidbits.

    Since cars traditionally account for the 2nd biggest budget item, I think it would be good to post about Flexcar — how not having a car and instead using Flexcar works for you. While not everyone is near the Flexcar equivalent, they can still rent a regular car when they need it, which is what I did when I was in MKE and Wolf had our car in Seattle. Same principle as the Flexcar.

    I also don’t think that everyone who reads/writes the personal finance blogs is all about money as the bottom line. Most people I read emphasize value, which includes moral values like environmentally friendly options. So I say GO FOR IT!

  • Back when I lived in Boston (Jamaica Plain) I used to hand out oranges. I figured they could use the Vitamin C.

  • You are ruthlessly practical. I like that about you.

  • I was stopped by people or overhead people commenting to each other about our Flexcar last weekend when we took it to Orcas Island, and I’ve spent more than one party singing the praises of the program. Maybe I will write it up in terms of personal finance.

  • Off topic, but it appears that one of my cats is in your icon. :)

    Boots

  • Don’t try to trick me, mister! :) My icon is my boy Malachi, who doesn’t have any white on his chin. Still, Boots is a handsome cat. ;)

    Puttin on the ritz….

  • I do know that early on in my time in Chicago I calculated exactly how many taxi rides it would take to equal one month of car ownership, and was dumfounded.

    I love cars, mind you, but in Chicago, for me anyhow, they definitely count as a luxury good. My pal has an iGo account, which gets our grocery shopping taken care of.