Based in Los Angeles, The Money Smiths is a blog comprised of thoughts related to personal finances, real estate investing, and musings on early retirement.

Who am I?

Who am I?

First and Foremost, my name is Dan and welcome to my blog!  I’m a 27 year old, born in 1991, that is obsessed with personal finances and money.  I grew up as the youngest of three children and a single mother in rural Vermont. Life wasn’t easy for us growing up, my mother always struggled with money, and constantly found herself working long hours just to make ends meet.  This was a just a fact of life for my family, and was something that I promised myself from an early age that I wouldn’t let myself get into when I was older.

Flash forward a few years into college where I studied Business Management at UMass Amherst.  I told myself that the reason I was going to college was to make as much money as possible. I’ve always been the type of person to get as much as I can for as little effort as possible, which is why I chose the Management major - I, like many of my peers, saw this degree as one that would instantly shoot me out of college into a manager position, whatever that was, and I would ride the easy life for the rest of my years just telling other people what to do, (college kids aren’t always very smart).

Flash forward again, I graduated college and moved to a city in Central Massachusetts - Worcester.  I told myself that moving to Boston was too big of a jump for myself, and frankly it was too far away from my then girlfriend, now wife (Mrs Money Smith), for me to feel comfortable.  The living situation that I found myself in is what sparked my deep interest in personal finances, and more specifically, real estate investing. I responded to a Craigslist posting for a room in a house with three other roommates, there were three other guys living there and after 30 minutes or so of checking the house out and meeting the roommates, I was sold.

Living in the house was relatively uneventful, but when I found out that one of my roommates was the actual owner of the house, I had to know more.  How could someone just a few years older than me, 21 at the time, afford to own an entire house on his own? Turns out that he was able to cover most of his mortgage payment with the help of his roommates!  Long story short, I was paying the mortgage for him. When I realized that was the case, I had to know more, and I had to figure out how to get someone to pay for a house for me as well.

It was then that I started researching real estate investing with pretty much all of my free time.  I read books, blogs, and forums and soaked in as much knowledge as I could on the subject. It turned out that there were many different ways to invest in real estate, all I had to do was save up money for my first loan.

Since these experiences, I’ve gotten married, purchased an investment property, invest other money in peer-to-peer lending, bought and sold items on Craigslist and Ebay, set up a system to track our net worth, and continue to research the latest and greatest ways to be financially secure.  I’m a big fan of the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement and I’ve been operating in a capacity that works well with those ideals since graduating college.

Enough about me for now, let talk about why I decided to get into blogging!

First and foremost, this website is to put my ideas down for myself.  We bought our first investment property about two and a half years ago, when that happened I recall so many formulas, so many thoughts, so many ideas that I analyzed to decide whether or not the deal made sense financially.  Well, 2.5 years is a long time and since I haven’t been analyzing deals as much I just plain forgot how to do it. So I figure if I can write down my thoughts with each venture I go down, I’ll be able to utilize this information in a well thought out manner that I can leverage.

Second, this blog is for my friends, and the people that I meet who are genuinely interested in what I do.  I have a lot of friends who are eager to talk to me about my real estate ideas, or my investing ideas, but the ideas can become so complex sometimes, that I think it would be better to have them written out.  This would mean that my friends could come back to these ideas, they might have questions after reading something for a second or third time and want to ask follow up questions that they might not have thought of in the moment.

Third, this actually relates to the first point - I want to be able to iterate on my ideas.  I know my first approach is never going to be the best, but I think it would be really interesting to look back at my line of thinking five years from now and understand what I was going through.

Lastly, I want to help educate the world on financial knowledge.  I am a prime example of growing up poor with no real hope for a future, and then finding the light at the end of the tunnel.  The information I talk about realistically applies to everyone. I will be the first one to admit that I am better off now in my current life than the average American, but that shouldn’t stop others from taking my ideas and using them in smaller doses to become something better.  A world without financial struggle is one that would be amazing to see.

If you’ve made it this far, you might be curious as to what you should expect out of my blog posts, so let’s talk about that for a minute.  I am happy to have a back and forth conversation about anything that I put on this site. I’m not 100% sure where the blog will go, but I see this starting as a place to put my thoughts and I welcome the thoughts of others.  I plan to talk about financial investments that I have made, investments that I plan to make, investments that I think are a bad idea, and anything in between. I am obsessed with money, arguably too obsessed, (if that’s a thing), so I am always looking to understand the past present and future of investment strategies.

I also want to talk about finances, not just investing, but the road that leads up to investing.  I realize that the average American is under a pile of debt and might not be in a spot to invest. In fact, Mrs Money Smith and I just hit a positive net worth two months ago!  I want to talk about the good and the bad of debt. I am a firm believer that not all debt is bad debt, I could talk forever about the strategies to bring yourself out of debt and what to tackle first, and I will certainly broach those topics in subsequent posts.

I plan to talk about other items that I haven’t listed as well.  Eventually this blog might actually get some followers, (hopefully), and if it does, I plan to be very open and candid about my finances, as well as about my thoughts on theirs.  I am happy to spend the time on education to make sure that those who truly want to become financially stable can do so.

In the spirit of transparency, I want to put my blog goals out there for the world:  I want to post once a week to start, I am dedicating a few hours of my weekends to write down my thoughts on current state happenings in my life.  I’m definitely new to writing as I’ve never blogged before, but I am not new to talking about myself. I think this first step is a big one for me.  From there, I hope to start writing about specific topics that I can turn into a library of my ideas. I would like to create a section of where I can label thoughts in my posts and see them grow. Mrs Money Smith will likely be the one to help me with this as she is a much more capable of technical work than I am!

My last goal is to just have fun with this.  I know there are a thousand articles on making money with a blog, in fact Mrs Money Smith and I were talking about that today, but that’s not what’s driving me to make this leap.  Would I love it if I actually use this site as a tool to make more money? Heck yes! But if this just ends up being another website that exists and only has a handful of people visit it a week, that’s fine too.

This feels like an intro that’s gone on for long enough, so I’m signing off, and I’ll see you next week!

-MrMoneySmith

How to Start Investing

How to Start Investing