Thank You Ninja & The Future of Punch Debt in the Face

Like many of you I have been reading Punch Debt in the Face for the better part of a decade, so when I saw his post about being done with Punch Debt in the Face I was completely bummed.  I actually found my first comment on the way back in 2010 in a post about optimism and stupidity.  So who am I? and why did I buy the site?

My name is Evan and I own and run MyJourneytoMillions an 8 year personal finance blog.  While I never gained the popularity or notoriety that Ninja did, I have always enjoyed blogging and couldn’t bear the thought of this becoming a landing page when the domain expired.

While I won’t be writing here that often I hope to share some other fantastic voices!  If you have a story to tell please contact me!

365 days of world domination!!!

No this isn’t some pathetic April Fools joke. One year ago today, I passed through the blogging birth canal and came in to existence. That’s right, it’s my blogging birthday! Does making it to the one year mark make me a legitimate blogger? Probably not, but who said I wanted to be established anyways?

It’s been a crazy fun year, and I have to admit, I’m kinda surprised I’m still here. I typically get really involved in random things but then lose interest after a couple months. I wasn’t really to sure what would come of PDITF, but I’m quite pleased with my creation. Let’s take a little trip down memory lane and look at some of the PDITF highlights over the last year….

Site Traffic: (Daily Visitors)

April 1st 2009: 2 (most likely myself and my mother)

August 15th 2009: 39 (making some progress)

November 9th 2009: 175 (booya triple digits)

Yesterday’s traffic: 525 (thoroughly enjoying the growth **that’s what she said**)

Here’s a graph of my site traffic over the last 12 months…

Google Adsense Earnings:

Lowest Single Day Earnings: $0.00

Most Earnings in Single Day: $13.13

Total Adsense Revenue to date: $222.35

Average Adsense earnings: $0.61/day

While I may not be able to pay my rent from blogging income, I’m not really gonna complain about bankin’ a coupe hundred over the last year. Heck I can’t believe I’m making ANY money for the crappy content I regurgitate on this blog 🙂

Random Factoids:

Total # of Blog posts: 308

Total # of Comments: 3,848 (thanks dudes and dudettes)

Some Google search terms that referred people to my blog:

  • unicorn punching
  • girlfriend never leaves me alone
  • operation sexi
  • how to punch your girlfriend
  • girlfriend getting fat has muffin top.

I’m really curious what the person thought after being referred to my blog for typing in “unicorn punching”. They were probably extremely disappointed, so in my quest to satisfy all PDITF readers, here ya go random person. This picture’s for you…

I seriously want to make babies with each any every one of you readers. I love you so much. In fact, I received a super encouraging email yesterday from a debt puncher that said…

Hi Ninja
1.  I totally dig your site!  I am thrilled that I found it a couple of months ago and I seriously read your posts daily.  Great job!
2.  Thanks to you, we are set to max out hubby’s Roth this year!  We were comfortable contributing $333 a month, but that left us with $1,004 to ‘find’ in our budget. I am happy to say that as of March 31st…we found that money.  So with the automatic contributions from April to Dec, we will be set.  Thank you for sharing your story and motivating us.

I’ve heard through the grape vine every time a PDITF reader maximizes their Roth IRA, an angel gets their wings. Seriously though, do you know how awesome I feel after getting an email like that? It gives me warm fuzzies inside (or maybe those fuzzies are just indigestion as I have been a little “gassy”).

I have no idea what the year ahead will hold. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll stick around to celebrate birthday number two 365 days from now, or maybe I’ll be a drug addict name Rufus that lives on the streets of Compton (just sayin’ it could happen).

I have a favor to ask, consider it a birthday present, would you do me a favor and respond to the following questions in the comments section below? It will help me learn more about my readers and hopefully I can take that knowledge and rule the world produce even better content.

  1. How long have you been reading PDITF?
  2. What’s your favorite thing about this blog?
  3. What’s one thing you would change, add, or like to see me do different? (This is the most important question)
  4. What’s your drink of choice?
  5. Does this picture of Chuck Norris make you proud to be (or want to be) an American?!

Thanks again!

p.s. If you want to subscribe to my blog to get updates automatically every day you can do so here. If you want to get me on twitter I’m @punchdebt

Net Worth: March 2010

I’ve got a crush on the last 30 days, because my NW soared. I want to fly like an eagle, I want to run through the halls of my high school, I want to shake my money maker (those are all song lyrics in case you didn’t catch on). My net worth is on the up and up, and daddy likes what he sees. I have a strong tutoring and blogging month to thank for the increase. Let’s take a look at the grizzaph…

Checking Accounts: $1,983, +$106. Made some transfers from checking to the good old INGdirect savings account. I love ING. They don’t pay me to say that, but I wouldn’t mind if they wanted to…you hear that ING… Give me your monies!!!!

Savings Account: $22,765, +$1,700. I’m WHOREding (haha get it!) cash for the time being, until I get a better grasp on what lies ahead. I’ll be using about $4K of this shortly to pay for my upcoming honeymoon. Check back tomorrow to see why I’m willing to give up 4 grand for a vacay.

Roth IRA: $13,539 +$171. I have fully contributed to my Roth since my senior year of college. Right now my account balance is about $700 less than my total contributions. Hopefully soon, I will have actually made money from investing!!!!

TSP (401K): $12,313, +$554. The standard 5% contribution heads this direction each month. I also get that 5% fully matched. Can’t pass up free money now could I?

Student Loan: -$15,612, +$391. Yeah I know, some of you hate me for hanging on to my student loan debt, when I could pay it off. I’ve paid it down $13K in the last two years, that’s got to count for something though…right?

That put’s me at a net worth of….drumroll please….. $33,525!!! I’m up $3,291 from last month, which makes my heart smile. My next paycheck should have my increased salary in it, so I’m hoping for bigger and better things in the coming months!!!

**If you have wondered why the blue bar (debt) in the graph sometimes increases, it’s because my credit card balance gets taken in to account each month. Even though I pay the balance in full it still appears as a “liability” in Quicken. I just deduct this from my checking account balance to give myself an accurate net worth reading. This is why my actual NW increase, may not always necessarily match with the totals of each category, but I promise the overall total is REAL. I chose not to include possessions (including my car) in my NW calculations, which would probably increase my worth by about $8K.**

Have you no morals?

I tweeted on Saturday about an article I read over at The Motley Fool. I am pretty frustrated with the article and think it is worthy content to bring up today. If nothing else, it should at least stir a little bit of controversy in the comment section below. You can find the full article here, but here’s a quick excerpt…

For many of the underwater homeowners in today’s market, paying down their mortgage isn’t really in their best financial interest. Particularly in states like Arizona — where mortgages are nonrecourse, meaning the lender can’t go after any of the homeowner’s assets other than the property itself — it makes little sense to continue paying a large mortgage on a devalued house when comparable rental rates are far below the monthly mortgage payment.

This article made my blood boil. Have you ever seen a ninja’s blood boil? It’s not a pretty sight. I totally disagree with hate this article for a few reasons…

First, and most important, it’s totally immoral. So you may be $100K underwater on your house. But if you can still afford the mortgage, you have every MORAL obligation to keep paying. To be clear, I don’t have an issue with someone walking away from their house if they have no ability to pay their mortgage (i.e. can’t put food on the table, can’t afford gas to get to work, have become unemployed, etc), but to recommend that people walk away, even when they can comfortably afford the mortgage is ludicrous. Sure it may not be illegal to walk away, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Just because your home decreased in value, doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to back out of your end of the contract. Remember, when you purchase a home, you VOLUNTARILY accept the risk that comes with it.

Quite a few people that commented on the article made comments like… “Banks screw us all the time, this is just our chance to get back at them.” Ummm excuse me? If you think that is an acceptable reason to back out of your mortgage contract than please do me a favor, quit reading my blog, and go read Im-A-Big-Dumb-Head.com. Now I’m not saying banks aren’t shady, ’cause we all know they can be, but why does that suddenly give you the right to be an equally douchtastic individual? This is such a juvenile thought-process, I can’t even comprehend why someone thinks this is a reasonable excuse. Yes banks can be evil, but you walking away from your home, makes you just as terrible.

The third and final reason I can’t stand this article is because it would cause the end of the world, okay maybe not the end of the world, but the entire economy would collapse if people actually followed this advice. A commenter said it best….

so let me get this straight…the plan is for people seriously underwater to just walk away…

…. followed by a further decline in home values……then those people who WERE just slightly underwater become seriously underwater….. but thats OK they can just walk away too…..

causing another wave of declining values….eventually even those that have equity will be underwater too….but thats OK they can just walk away with the rest of em……..

If people follow the author’s advice, the amount of foreclosures would skyrocket, thus causing a downward spiral in home values nationwide. An increase in foreclosures is NO BUENO in my opinion.

I have so many other things I want to say about this article, but instead of rambling on, I’d rather hear what you all have to say. Does anyone else find this article concerning? What do you think would happen if people actually started taking this advice? What matters more, your “best” financial interest, or your morals? Is there anyone out there that can try and make sense of how this could possibly be a good thing for America? Ugh, this article makes me depressed with humanity.

I’m willing to bet…

…very few of you PDITF readers work in the financial sector. I sure as heck don’t! People often think that I must have some type of financial credentials (business degree, work in financial sector, etc) to write about money. In reality, all of my “financial wisdom” (or lack thereof) comes from observation and personal finance books/blogs.

Wanna know a little secret? I began college an accounting major, and after taking my first economics course, realized I would be absolutely miserable being a business man (no offense to you business minded folks). If you’ve been following me for a while, you know my degree is in Psychology, which last time I checked, was not at all related to finances in any way, shape, or form.

Not only does my degree have NOTHING to do with finances, but my work is also far from it. People often ask if I have any desire to become a financial adviser. Wanna know the truth? Hell to the No. There is a difference between a hobby and a career. I’m a Special Agent by day, blogger by night 🙂

Yes, I do enjoy learning about personal finances. Heck, I even enjoy sharing with other people (you included) my opinions on how financial success can best be achieved. But let me be clear… I have ABSOLUTELY no desire to earn an income by managing people’s money for them.

I’m a huge advocate of personal responsibility. I like to encourage people, and remind them that they can manage their money on their own, often without third party help. In fact, I like to pretend my lack of financial education or career, motivates people like you to get your money issues worked out. I’m hoping you can relate to my story and become equally motivated!

So I took a gamble and bet the majority of you have no “expertise” in a financially related field. Am I wrong? What is your degree in and what field do you work in? Why do you come to my site and read my stuff knowing I have no credentials? Is it for my crazy drawings, or do you actually learn something every now and again?

Quasi-anonymous blogging.

Screen shot 2009-12-16 at Dec 16, 2009, 11.23.10 PMWhen I first started PDITF, I made the decision to go rogue and write under the alias Ninja. I know you may have actually thought my first name was Debt and my last name was Ninja, but it’s not, sorry to break it to ya. I may be anonymous to you, but for a select few, my true identity has been revealed. Being a quasi-anonymous blogger is the second most awkward thing in the world, platypuses (platypi?) being the first.

Screen shot 2009-12-16 at Dec 16, 2009, 10.55.28 PMSome people know who I am out of sheer stupidity on my part. I frequently email back and forth with various PF bloggers. I use Mac mail on my computer so I receive my personal email and blog email all in the mail client. Every once in a while I will accidentally send a PF related email out to someone from my personal email. Whoops. To the three PF bloggers that know my true identity, a warning: I will hunt you down and call you a doo-doo face if you share my information with others.

My family knows I blog (Hi family!) and a few of my close friends. Outside of those closest to me, I try to keep my nerdy side on the down-low. It doesn’t bother me if strangers/best friends/family know my financial DNA, but I get really uncomfortable when casual acquaintances discover my hidden hobby.

There is something weird to me about friends of friends reading my net worth updates and my spending habits. The other night, I was hanging out at a close friends house (who is aware of my blog) when he referenced an article I wrote to one of his friends (who I have only met once before). The mention in and of it self would not have been that awkward. It got weird when they decided to hop on a nearby laptop and scour my blog in my presence. I mean come on people, I’m standing right here, do you really need to read it now? This situation was uncomforatble for two reasons….

1) Everyone in the room was pretty much obligated to pretend my blog was really cool. None of them would be bold enough to tell me they thought my blog was lame. It would be like if an acquaintance told me they reached the highest level in World of Warcraft. I would say “No way that’s awesome man!”, but in my head I would be thinking “Maybe it’s time to get a girlfriend dude”. Personal finance is not the sexiest of topics, and contrary to what we all may think, blogging is still perceived as “dorky” by many. There were 5 people in the room that all gave me compliments after browsing PDITF, three of which I’m convinced did so just to be nice. Ya hear that casual friends, I know your web of lies!

2) Even more awkward than receiving half-hearted blog compliments, knowing people that don’t know me very well, now suddenly know a lot more about me (was that wording confusing?). I thought having a positive net worth would be the most aweseomest thing in the world, but I’m quickly learning it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, I almost like it less. Now that I am hovering around a NW of $30K, I find myself even more self-conscious than when I had a -$30K worth two years ago. I had no problem sharing my negative net worth with anyone that wanted to know about it, but when it comes to positive territories I clam up because I fear people will think I’m bragging. Sure enough, one of the 5 casual friends that browsed PDITF, saw my NW posted in the top left corner. He then said “You’re net worth is $27K?!” I didn’t really know what to say to that. I think all I managed to get out was “Uh, yeah.” I suddenly felt like that persons perception of me was changed. It probably wasn’t, but it still felt that way.

I made the choice to blog quasi-anonymously and I’m glad I did, but it does have some downfalls. Do any of you readers think blogging anonymously is lame? Do you fellow anonymous bloggers, share your website with any family of friends?