Am I relevant?

January 5, 2011 · 61 comments

Have you noticed the title of my blog is Punch Debt In The Face? Have you also noticed that I’ve been debt free for about 8 months now? Does this mean I’m no longer relevant? I’ve had a few people tell me I’ve lost my blogging appeal (whatever that means) as I no longer write about my student loan. You wanna know what I have to say to those people? You smell like fart.

Yes, I was in debt, but I kicked, screamed, and worked my way out of it for 2.5 years. I shouldn’t have to stay in debt to tell people how to get out if it. Should I? Maybe that’s my problem. Maybe I need to change my blogs name from Punch Debt In The Face, to Punch People That Have Debt In The Face. Thoughts?

All I do on this here blog is write about things that are important and relevant in both my personal and financial life. For two years, paying down debt was my goal. Last year, the majority of my posts focused on engagment shennanigans. This year, I presume most articles will be centered around marriage, career development, and SAVING A TON OF FREAKING MONEY.

If you want to come along for the journey, I’d love to have you, but I will never, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, go back in to debt just to make a few of my readers feel like I’m relevant. Perhaps it’s time to start punching relevance in the face?

Have you felt like my blog has “lost touch” with its roots?

What topics, that I write about, do you find most interesting?

Did you know Chuck Norris can hear sign language?

{ 61 comments }

1 rachaek

Your blog is just as good, it is just evolving as it should

And of course Chuck Norris can hear sign language, he is just that good :P

2 Steph

Having just found this blog recently, I don’t know your whole back story but your site is pretty darn awesome… so screw the need for relevance. Do you and let people love you or leave it be!

3 Blue Shoe

Power to you, man.

4 Jake Stichler

Ahem… uhh… hum… hmm.

I’ll admit it, I’ve actually written about this very thing in comments on a couple of other blogs, particularly Fabulously Broke who was the last to bring the topic up. Actually, I’ll just copy and paste my comment from there, since I spent about 45 minutes on it:

———————————–
As far as the “discord” issue… I’ve often thought the same thing myself, about other PF bloggers making several times more money than me, but usually in terms of them trying to get out of debt, and then banging it out in under a year because they have so much discretionary income. And yeah, sometimes it bugs me to even see you, who makes as much money in a month as I make in a year, but ya know what? That’s life, get over it. I can ogle over your numbers as much as I want, but it isn’t going to change anything. Instead, it tells me “hey, why aren’t *I* making that much money, and what do I need to do so that I *can* make that much money?”

And while it bugs me, I don’t hold it against anyone personally – neither you, nor the ones that start debt blogs whilst having very secure, rather high paying jobs who of all things start debt blogs and then not even a year later are busy banking cash like crazy. Ahem. I’m thinking of someone in particular (but of course not telling who, because I like and respect that blogger as well).
———————————–

It might just be throwing myself a pity party, I don’t know. But it’s like… here I am making $10/hr, living with and pretty much mooching off of my grandfather because I almost ended up living in my truck, that’s how bad I had it (and now that things are well, he still won’t let me pay any bills), no car, no social life, and unable to afford even small luxuries if I want to get out of debt in any sensible amount of time, and then here are people like, well, you, who have *very* secure jobs, making three times as much money to tackle only half as much debt while still having a car, your own place to live, and honestly not having to pinch pennies much at all. When you compare the two… 3 times as much debt as yearly income versus half as much debt versus yearly income. It kind of cheapens things to make it look like you’re fighting your way out of debt when you have $10,000 in cash and ask your readers for advice on whether or not to save it or pay debt with it.

I love ya but I’m just being honest, man. And you know what? Some day I’ll be in the same boat – debt free and banking money. But then when I turn around and I’m honest with myself, I know that I’ll probably still be making $10/hr, and I know that it will still be a year or two *after* I get out of debt to even buy myself a decent used car (so, what, five years from now? Just for a car?). And that’s assuming I’m still not paying rent, utilities, groceries, etc., and I’ll still have to hold out on buying anything else for that time to do so.

5 Mel

You seem like you have determination. Can’t you find a way to change your course of life so that you can make more than $10 an hour? Don’t be satisfied with that – strive to do more!

6 Makky's Mom

I think the great thing about people with higher incomes and debt (even if they got out of debt quickly) is that it shows us that whether you make a lot or a little, you can live beyond your means. Sure, those that make a lot can change their circumstances more easily and quickly, but that doesn’t negate the effort they put forth to make that change. I feel sad for people in situations where there just isn’t enough money to make ends meet, even with a super tight budget… I ask though, what can you do to change your situation so that you do make more money?

7 Alex Work

Relevance deserves a slap. More Rick James, less Evander Holyfield.

8 TonyR

I’ve been reading your blog for a while but have never posted any comments. Doesn’t matter to me that you aren’t constantly posting only about getting out of debt, I find most things that you put up to be fairly interesting. Keep it up!

9 Mo D.

I’ve been a Ninja fan for the past few months (post almost daily) and find your blog VERY entertaining, informative and inspiring! I like the fact that not every single blog is about money, because life’s NOT just about money… it’s about relationships, decisions, challenges, etc. So I say keep doing what you’re doing! I must admit, I do get a little green with envy when you post about how many Benjamins you’ve got in the bank, but you PDITF and got out of it in record time… which is AWESOME… and I’m adult enough to give credit where credit is due! You should be proud of your accomplishments, and kuddos to Girl Ninja as well!

10 Larry

I think you should make a concerted effort to buy a 2000 sq.ft. house you can’t afford with no down payment, have a set of twins or better yet triplets (fraternal better than identical, ’cause then they can’t share clothes), buy new BMWs for you and GN, quit your job to protest Obamacare (or its repeal, depending on your politics), start grad school with a new student loan, come down with leukemia, and have the mailman slip on your front door and hit you with a $500K lawsuit after he winds up in the hospital for six months. That’ll get the blog moving again.

11 StackingCash

Oh ya, misery loves company. The funny thing is that even how outlandish your reply is, Larry, people tend to get into that predicament.

12 Eboo

Perhaps you are no longer relevant Ninja. At least your debt is no longer relevant. But some of us like to hear you blather on about Girl Ninja’s hair and all the other nonsense you spew. You make me laugh when I start thinking that our debt is killing us. So I guess you still have some usefulness.

13 MK

I enjoy reading your blog because my husband and I got married around the same time as you and Girl Ninja so I like hearing about the same kind of things I am going through (combining incomes, different spending priorities, etc.). My husband is open to the idea of a budget but will not sit down with me and work with me to create one that works for us. Part of the problem is the disparity in our incomes (he makes almost twice as much money as I do) so I feel like I can’t tell him what to do with his money when he is pretty much supporting me (I do pay my own personal bills and a smaller percentage of the rent). But he feeds me and if I need extra money for an emergency he can help me out.

Like Jake said above, there are some days I read your blog and want to punch YOU in the face because I know I won’t be able to pay off my student loans in 2.5 years because I don’t have as much discretionary income as you, but overall, I think you write about finance and life in a way that young adults can understand. And you have the same general priorities as other young adults, so it helps to make you relatable. I’d rather read about 401Ks and Roth IRAs from you than some stuffy CPA or banker who has a gazillion dollars in the bank and doesn’t remember what it’s like to be in an entry level position and just starting out in life.

14 Finding My Way to Debt Free

I love the catchy title of your blog. So you Punched Debt in the Face! Absolutely amazing! That doesn’t mean you don’t have financially relevant topics to be discussing on here, not to mention the idea of getting through married life and all of it’s financial trials.

You are the third blogger I’ve seen/read go through this, as their readers are jealous, envious, etc., about your success and move on to read about someone else in the same debt situation as they are, simply because you got yourself out and they haven’t yet done so. Regardless of the income you have, it is a process we all need to go through, or have gone through at one point.

I faced the same dilemma back when I was a blogger chronicling the quest to find a good man. I changed my blog title from The Quest to Find a Good Man, to The Quest To Be Financially Abundant. I still blog occasionally about the items that make me need to vent about my relationship, but mostly it’s driven by my quest to be out of my debt. I’ve set myself a lofty goal of $23,820 in one year, but if you don’t set your sights high, how will you ever know if you can be more?

I like the days when you change Debt out for something else. But I also like reading about life after debt! For me that’s the one most important thing that all of the Personal Finance Gurus (save maybe for Gail Vaz-oxlade) have left out of their advice. What do you do when you’ve gotten yourself out of debt? How do you set yourself up for financial success?

You are relevant, because it’s your blog. Maybe you’ll lose a little readership, maybe you’ll gain some new readership. It’s blog evolution Ninja! And the blog evolves as YOU do.

15 Mo D.

Gail Vax-Oxlade is awesome!! She tells it like it is, pulls no punches; a number of us agree that she should run from Prime Minster of Canada LOL!

16 psycharah

I would totally second the motion for Gail to be PM!

17 youngandthrifty

I second that notion too! Gail V-O for Prime Minister! She is so no-nonsense- I love her in “til debt do us part”

18 Mel

Ninja,

I’ve read your blog for over a year now, and I’ve even been a guest poster before. I have a lot of PF blogs that I like to read through in a day, but the reality is that I”m a busy girl, and I don’t always have time to read through them all. That’s why PDITF is right at the top of the list! I love reading through your posts. I think your funny and whitty, and maybe because I elminated all non-mortgage debt a year ago I don’t really care if you’re not punching debt anymore, but writing about other stuff.
I would keep going the way that you’re going!! Good work!

19 Makky's Mom

I’ve been reading PDITF since a couple of months before Ninja got out of debt. I like your blog Ninja! I think it’s light and humourous at a time when life is particularly stressful. Keep talking about what’s on your mind. I’ve always enjoyed it!

20 Kevin @ Thousandaire.com

PDITF is my favorite blog. I love to hear about your marriage and your financial ideas. We have similar financial situations, which may be why I like it, but very simply, yours is the most entertaining blog I’ve found. I wouldn’t change a thing.

21 First Gen American

You have the right to write whatever you want. I too like when you punch turkeys or santa in the face..You should just change your banner monthly.

I personally don’t ever share nitty gritty details of my finances. There will always be someone that saves less than you do or makes less and I think that breeds resentment. I see how people might have felt they have had more camaraderie with you when you were still in debt. If you’re really looking for advice, my suggestion would be to ditch your net worth updates or genericize your savings goals (ie…I’m 18% of the way to saving for a house) It may alleviate a lot of these feelings. Bragging about how much money you have does have a different tone to it than being excited about putting a big dent in a loan balance.

Did someone actually suggest you go back into debt to make your blog more relevant. I really hope that was a joke.

I mostly come for the cartoons and your funny slang. On the other hand, I could easily live without the disturbing photos of guys in heels and ugly dogs.

22 CityFlips

I say leave it. I found your blog because I was looking for entertainment and encouragement. I still think it’s relevent and think the title is funny. So there you have my opinion…

23 Buck

Haters deserve a punch in the face! Congrats on getting out of debt in record time. You must be doing something right if you have people hating and questioning your relevancy. Keep doing what you’re doing, a honest, in your face, entertaining look at finances. That Facebook link is a little freaky, but have to say, you’re one of a kind!

24 Stephanie

I find that I read more PF blogs where people are out of debt (or really really really throwing everything AT debt) than people who are stumbling and trying to figure out where to go. It helps me put perspective on my debt…I even put together a spreadsheet of everything so I can SEE the numbers going down (or up, in the case of my savings). It makes me feel more in control, and the blogs give me little ideas as to what I should be looking at.

So what if you don’t have debt anymore…you still have finances, right? So you can keep talking about how you STAY out of debt and live below your means!

Or you can just pile up some more debt and show us how you pay it off. This is obviously the only way. =)

25 Monica

Change it to “Punched” Debt in the Face

26 momninja

DN, of course you are relevant! People are not always going to like everything you write but I will. Readers may come and go but Ninja’s are forever! Stay the course and stay out of debt to show others that it is possible.

27 Paul @ brokeforcollege

I certainly feel that continuing to spread what knowledge that you have obtained about managing debt is completely relevant. I only recently starting keeping track of this particular blog (as part of an overall collection of debt and finance blogs) but I keep coming back because its fun, informative, and amusingly written. I would love to collaborate with various debt blogs and set up a network of independent people on the internet committed to not only getting and staying out of debt but to helping other people do the same.

28 Jenna

I don’t think you have lost your touch at all. You still write about ways to save money and get out of debt as well as evolved to help other get out of debt and once they do you answer the “now what?” question. Plus, I like how you mix your life into the blog posts. Makes you seem more human.

29 krantcents

Although I am new to your blog, staying out of debt is a constant. Also, there are new people who get into debt everyday. Your audience is evolving and you may have to evolve with them.

30 Techbud

Still good as ever. Just think once you purchase a home and add a mortgage, you can change PDITF title to Kick Mortgage in the butt!

31 Den

LOVE your blog – don’t change a thing!!!

32 Cordelia

Don’t let a couple haters make you doubt what you’re doing. You lived your goal–you *did* punch debt in the face. Just because you’re not in the middle of it anymore doesn’t mean what you have to say is any less relevant. If anything, it just serves to show that you *can* get out of debt, and it gives people ideas on how to live their lives after that win.

Oh, and Chuck Norris doesn’t need sign language, or any kind of language, for that matter. His fists are his language. :D

33 Ryan@TheFinancialStudent

I always thought the root theme of your blog was kicking ass…financially speaking. You definitely don’t have to be in debt to do that!

Haterz gonna hate. http://www.blogcdn.com/www.urlesque.com/media/2010/05/haterafrican.jpg

34 krystalatwork

Once I got myself out of debt, I had a lot of people write or comment to say that they didn’t find my blog as appealing anymore because I’m not talking about debt, getting out of debt, or finding ways to reduce debt. It’s like they were unhappy that I finally dug myself out of that hole.

Personal finance blogs evolve. We achieve goals, we have set backs, but we never stay the same. Our lives change, our money situation changes, and therefore our writing changes. People need to get a grip. If they don’t like what you’re writing about, they can move along.

35 Samantha

Well…I personally LOVE that you punched debt in the face! I think the key thing is this: people (especially those in our age group) CHANGE and evolve so much in a short period of time. Your blog should be a reflection of you–as you experience life changes, your blog is going to follow suit. So do blog readers–as my financial position has changed, I no longer read some PF blogs that I used to read daily. That is just how it is. So if these readers feel the need to go, let them go.

Oh-and I like Monica’s suggestion. Maybe change it to “Punched” :)

36 Red

Honestly, I wonder the same things about my own blog sometimes. Will I still be relevant when I’m out of debt? I’ll have other money goals, for sure, but I won’t be making my own laundry detergent to save up an emergency fund. (Or will I? That’s another thing I wonder – will I be as frugal once I’m out of debt or will I lapse back into my old habits?)

And to be really honest, you’re the only blogger who is out of debt that I read. That has to tell you something 1) about how I feel about no-debt blogs and 2) how much I like PDITF. You’re hilarious, and I love reading about your married finances, especially since I recently got married. I don’t think it’s a jealousy thing. I think people are drawn to bloggers who are going through situations similar to their own. Once you’re out of debt, your situation is no longer similar to mine. If you got out of debt and started posting investment advice every day of the week, I probably would stop reading because that stuff doesn’t apply to my own life yet. Just my two cents! I say keep doing what you’re doing. :)

37 Stephanie

Well, Fabulously Broke in the City is now just plain fabulous, as she kicked her debt in the balls a few years ago and hasn’t looked back since. It’s still a catchy title, and people know you as that.

You could always change your name to “Elbow “having less than $1 million in the bank” in the neck” or “Karate Chop “financial insecurity, fears about the future, and other worries” in the stomach”.

But in the mean time, PDITF works fine for me. I think people start blogging with one way, and usually, those blogs help them improve, so then they’re not the people they started as. That’s hopefully how it works. Much better than starting a blog because you’re loaded and eventually spending all your dough on triple cheeseburgers and hot fudge sundaes and becoming broke and fat.

That’s all I’ve got for you.

38 Jessie's Money

I wouldn’t change a thing – sure you kicked debt in the face for now – but you will have debt again (future vehicles, mortgage, kids, ect). Personal finance blogs are just that, personal. They are about your roller coaster of up and downs with money – and if your one of the ones who has made some awesome choices combined with great opportunity and are moving up, up, up – well that’s great. It’s motivating.

39 Bridget

I just started reading your blog within the past few months, so I guess that’s after you’ve killed the debt monster but I still find your posts relevant & entertaining!

I didn’t evern start my own blog until I had paid off my consumer debt, and while I have student loans, I don’t blog about them because I actually don’t have to look at them yet because I’m still a student. I don’t think that means I have less to blog about.

Debt is a small part of personal finance. People think it’s big because it gets in the way of everything else, but I feel like we should talk just as much about building net worth, investing, saving for retirement, making an emergency fund, meeting goals etc as we do about debt. All about debt is boring and NOT relevant — at least not to me.

40 Sara

I didn’t start reading your blog until you were already out of debt, so I don’t know what to compare it to, but I do love it the way it is! We’re pretty much the same age, live in the same city, and are in similar financial situations, so it’s nice to read your experiences. Plus your blog is amusing as all hell, which is more than I can say for some of the other PF blogs I read. I also cut down my list recently and yours was one of the few I still read.

41 jane

Of course you’re still relevant to lots of people. There are no set in stone rules for a blog but one thing you’re sure of is that whatever your situation is in life, somebody else will be in the same position and will always appreciate someone like you to “talk” through the issues with. You’re a young ambitious guy, just married, looking to take your career to the next level with future plans for 2.5 baby ninjas and a rocking but affordable place of abode all while trying to keep yourself out of unnecessary debts. Now tell me, isn’t that the dream of all little boys and girls? – if it isn’t it should be. I think your readership is set for a take off , not a drop off. I’m sure glad you’re here, you’re mr daily fix so dont you think of going nowhere.

42 SS4BC

I think you should just punch relevance in the face!

43 retirebyforty

Oh yeah! You lost your juju.
Like someone said up above, you should get yourselves a nice big fat mortgage so you can work on it. :)

44 Amy Nievera

What assholes to dictate what you should write in your own blog, that you pay for and spend time on! I only started reading your blog a month or so ago, well after you conquered your debt, but I still find it full of good advice and interesting points about personal finance. I say keep going!

45 This Guy

I think your blog is fine. If you never had debt, your relevance would be questionable…but that isn’t the case.

I say punch people with debt in the face. Saving and working towards higher income, a home, and extra “what to do” loot is a treat way to take the blog, because that is just as relevant.

46 StackingCash

I also agree that your blog is still good. Like others have said before, personal finance is personal. People can relate or not.

I for one am anxious to hear how you will decide on your future career and home options.

47 MyMoneyMess

Whose advice would you want on how to paint a house? A professional house painter or a home owner who has just finished a high-quality DIY painting project on his own house or a guy who has been “working on painting his house” for the last two years?

I’ll take the guy that finished the DIY project.

48 Linda

Personally, I love your blog! I follow it almost daily at work, I’ve told my friends about your blog. It’s just a source of entertainment, why are people getting so uptight about it? I felt your pain when Sallie Mae dragged around, but now she’s gone and it even felt awesome for ME to see that she’s gone! It’s a great name for a blog, it’s the reason I clicked on your blogs out of a whole blog roll… Keep doing what you do, because it’s workin. I love hearing stories about how you are adapting to the married life with Girl Ninja and everything else you talk about!

49 mary m

we like you, we really like you.

50 twentysomethingmoney

I like reading your blog because its both funny and informative… Plus, who else tells you you smell like a fart? haha!

51 D*Rockafeller

I love Chuck Norris! Go with that!

52 Jess

Keep on with your bad self, Ninja…your blog was the inspiration I needed to finally decide to attack my debt (the bulk of which is made up of student loans). You make personal finance fun, and to those that say you have lost your appeal or whatever, let them find a new blog (there are plenty of us still in debt if that’s what they feed on).

I’m interested in hearing what new adventures you and Girl Ninja are going to have and how you’ll handle them. This is one reader you def don’t have to worry about losing! :)

53 Pumpkin

I just found your blog recently (after you paid off the debt). Personally I don’t want to read blogs about getting out of debt. I have no debt myself so a how to get out of debt blog is really not relevant to me. I want to see how other people close to my age who are money savvy find the right balance between saving money and using money now to enjoy life. Not that you have to spend a lot of money to enjoy life but scrimping to the point of being miserable is not good either.

54 Trina

Been reading for a year and stil love it:) Besides the financial posts and wedding/marriage posts, I like your perspective pieces. I say, keep doing what you are doing.

55 Romeo

I wouldn’t shrug them all per se’, being that your readership is key to having a successful blog, but I will say to my readers that in the end, getting out of debt only needs on blog post.

Actually, it only needs one rant of instruction:
live below one’s means and use whay is not used to pay down debt. If one needs to do so faster, find a way to earn extra money, and they apply that money to the debt. Done.

So do yourself a favor and reflect on whatever is on your mind. There are pleny of other bloggers in debt if that’s what they want to hear about.

56 Kiki

I didn’t know that about Chuck Norris but I do know one thing. I love Ninjas!!!

57 The Passive Income Earner

It’s your journey! Your readers have to roll with the punches (pun intended).

Now that you’ll be rolling in dough … Are you going to punch low interest rates down and invest for higher returns? I’d be curious to hear your plans to make your money work for you now that you save some.

By the way, congrats on clearing your student loans quickly.

58 Kiki

LOL!

59 youngandthrifty

I love your drawings, your creativity, and your posts. Don’t stop what you’re doing!

Who cares about relevance? You’ll probably end up getting a nice big fat mortgage (like me) and will have to punch debt in the face again!

60 Maggie

I personally enjoy everything you post! You put a amusing spin on everything and I love it. I think the other people who don’t like your blog should just stop reading. It’s not like you’re forcing them to stay/read. Keep up the goodness! =)

61 Sandy @ yesiamcheap

I want to hear more from Mom Ninja…and Wife Ninja.

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