Hey hey fellow money geeks!  I’m thrilled to be here hosting Best of the Web.  Thanks for the opportunity, Michael!

I’m PFI, the blogger behind PrincipalFI.com. I’ve been blogging for just over 6 months and on the path to financial independence for a couple years.

How did I get here, you ask?  Even if you didn’t – I’m about to tell you.

Growing up poor, I came out of high school obsessed with money. I originally planned to get a graduate degree in economics but that was derailed by life circumstances.  By the time I got back on track, I’d realized I wanted to make a difference in education.

From economics to elementary school teaching – quite the shift.  After seeing other teachers struggle with money, and working myself into leadership roles that I don’t love, I discovered financial independence.  Now, my wife and I are getting our finances in order to give ourselves the freedom to do the work we love without the pressure to earn.

Then, I thought I’d start a blog linking education and finance.  I love to write and to teach. The combination works – I think?

Now, thanks to Michael I get to expose you to a few posts I loved this week.  You’ll note a heavy dose of numbers, visualization, and analysis. I love stories and inspiration, but give me statistics and examples if you really want me to learn.  Deeper understanding gives you a better ability to adjust and improve on something.

 Posts I am Digging 

Visualizing the Impact that Active Income Has On The Journey to Financial Independence

Zach’s work is a combination of inspiration and analysis. He does a great job with simplifying examples through data visualization.  In this one, he follows up on an earlier post and shows the concept of financial independence through blocks.

Better though – the point of the post is to include the concept of active income into how we think about FI. Sure, you can grind for several years to get 25x and then use passive income to stop working completely.

OR, you could step away earlier and earn some active income on your own terms.  You don’t have to grind as long and you get to do some intentional life design. This resonated with me, because both TFI and I want to work in education for a long time. But, probably not in our current roles.


How to Lie With Personal Finance

How can I not share a post that is so geeky it begins with the suggestion that the book How to Lie With Statistics is an “inexpensive and fun gift for a young student.”

Big ERN is of course well known and deserves to be.  His deeply analytical, well written, and beautifully reasoned posts are among my favorite.  This one doesn’t disappoint.

He lays out 4 ways that finance writers commonly misuse numbers to overstate returns.  I walked away with an even better understanding of all the factors that go into measuring returns over given time periods.  

Oh, and he takes a pretty hard shot at Dave Ramsey too, if that’s your thing.


Reflections of a First Year Econ Teacher

If you weren’t aware, there are lots of educators writing about personal finance.  I had to include one in this lineup.  The truth is, they’re producing lots of great content so it isn’t hard to find one – it’s hard to choose only one.

There are so many things I love about this post!  

First, great teachers relentlessly analyze their practice.  EconTeach is not satisfied with what she’s accomplished this year.  She reviews it and talks about how she’ll be better next year. I love education geekery!

Second, we often hear/read some version of “they don’t teach this stuff in school!”  Well, she is. These students are getting a combination of personal and systemic finance.  It will make a difference in their lives.

How can you not want to read about that?!


18 Income Producing Assets to Generate Serious Passive Income

I’ve looked, and it just might be the most detailed list of income-producing assets on the internet. If you’re interested in creating passive income, you’ve got to check this one out. I promise you’ll walk away with at least one new investment idea.


A Principal FI Post To Check Out

Pros and Cons of Downsizing Your Home

Over the past few years, TFI and I have built our financial plan and tried to reverse the lifestyle creep we’d suffered during a decade of not paying attention.  We’ve refused to give up the large home in a HCOL area.

We recently decided to downsize, and I’m writing about the experience. In this post, I share the analysis that led us to finally pull the trigger on selling a too-large home we love. It was close – but we decided to do it!


A Geeky Fact about Me

What, picking two data posts and another by an economics teacher didn’t establish my geek cred? What about the fact that I once competed in a national laser tag tournament?  

Yep, during that college break I mentioned I managed a small business for a friend.  (I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was living a FI life. 45 years old and retired, just starting a small business for fun.)  It was a laser tag business. People paid to use the equipment and the “arena.”

There were two types of customers – little kids that came in to play for birthday parties, etc.  And, serious players that would participate in leagues and tournaments. I got involved. And I tend to get obsessive about things…

Eventually, we ended up fielding a site based team and competing against other sites.  We went all the way to a national competition. (Okay, partly because it happened to be hosted in Las Vegas.)  

Our team made it to the final three in the team comp, and I even made it to the finals in the solo competition.  I didn’t win any trophies, but it was fun. And definitely geeky.

About the Author

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Michael launched Your Money Geek to make personal fun and accessible. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.

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