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The most important choice you can make to change your life is who you choose to spend time with.
Growing up in a small town, I knew all of my classmates by name. Heck, I knew pretty much everyone in the grades above and below me too. For the most part I got along with everyone and considered pretty much everyone as a friend.
In 4th grade though, my parents sat me down to have an important conversation. I was caught off guard because we didn’t do a lot of family talks like this. I felt a little nervous and started thinking of all the ways I could’ve gotten in trouble without realizing it. You know, typical kid thinking. If I thought of it before they told me, maybe I could come up with an excuse to get out of trouble, haha.
The reason my parents wanted to chat had little to do with me, but a lot to do with who I was choosing to be friends with. My parents noticed that I was hanging out with different friends than my normal group, and they were worried that my new found friends were a bad influence.
I was relieved I wasn’t in trouble, but remember getting mad at them for trying to tell me who I could be friends with.
I didn’t see what was wrong with hanging out with my friends. Yes, they got into a little trouble and could be rude to teachers, but we were in 4th grade, almost everyone got into trouble at some point.
Mom and Dad Really Do Know Best
I didn’t understand the powerful lesson my parents were trying to teach 10 year old me. They knew something I didn’t. They knew that the more time you spend with people, the more you start to become like them. You take on their habits, their mannerisms, and it shapes the way you think and act.
As I got older, I drifted away from these friends and found a really great group of people that I’m still close with today. The friends my parents warned me about went on to make more poor decisions and got into more trouble in high school. It was the exact path my parents wanted me to avoid, and thankfully I did.
Today I’m going to talk about the importance of surrounding yourself with people who are like the person you want to be. Your friends, both online and in person, will impact your life more than you know. The people you talk to, hang out with, and learn from can change your life.
The Surprising Reason We Became So Passionate About Fixing Our Finances
When we started paying off our student loans, I taught myself how to make a budget spreadsheet to track my spending. From there, I found ways to lower my expenses and save money, so I could get out of debt faster.
Nobody I knew in my personal life was really doing this, at least not that I knew about. So I turned to the internet for guidance. Google, show me the way!
I found a handful of personal finance blogs and read them ALL THE TIME! I consumed everything I could get my hands on. Once I started down the rabbit hole, I knew there was no going back. The Griffins were going to get out of debt and nothing was going to stop us.
The first major blog I stumbled on was Millennial Money Man, run by Bobby Hoyt. I related so much to his story. He’s a former teacher who paid off $40,000 of debt in 18 months. I finally found someone who had done what I wanted to do who could teach me how to be debt free. I signed up for his newsletter so I didn’t miss a single article. His experiences gave us the tools and motivation to change our finances and get out of debt.
But I didn’t stop there. I found more bloggers like Bobby who paid off massive amounts of debt and learned from them too. The internet is full of amazing writers that want to help people like you and me reach our money goals. That’s the reason I started Mr. Jamie Griffin. I want to share our story and help families who struggled just like me get out of debt.
Being debt free is life changing and I want everyone to experience the freedom of living on a budget without debt.
My Online “Friends” are the Community that Changed My Life
The most important choice you can make is who to spend your time with. The friends I have in real life are incredible. They’re caring, kind, and invest time and energy into growing our friendships. But since most people don’t talk about money, it continually went back to the internet to hang out with my blogger “friends”.
I use the quotations because it’s seriously hard to be friends with people solely over the internet. But at the same time, I began investing more time and energy into learning from them and getting to know them. It felt like they were talking right to me.
Then once I started my own blog, I had a story to share too and got on Twitter. Let me tell you one thing about the personal finance community on Twitter. It’s AMAZING!!! Whether you have a blog or not, I highly suggest joining this community.
If you don’t have people in your real life who are talking about money and how to get out of debt, you’ll find hundreds of people on Twitter who freely share their story and want to help YOU become debt free.
The more I read personal finance blogs and chatted on Twitter, the more my thinking shifted. I saw budgeting, frugal living, and tips to save money as ways to improve my own life.
I took the advice and suggestions and applied what worked. When I saw positive changes, I worked to turn it into a natural habit. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the people I was talking to and “hanging out” with online were changing my life for the better.
Without these interactions, encouragement, and wisdom from people who were winning with money, there’s a good chance we’d still be paying off our student loans. I associated with people who were where I wanted to be and it had a profound impact.
It goes back to who you choose to spend time with. I spent time with people who wanted to win with money, who were working hard to build a financial future without debt. The time I spent with them gave me access to their thought process, habits, and perspectives on money that very few of my friends and family possessed.
The People You Choose to Spend Time With Will Change Your Life: FinCon 2018 Here I Come!
A couple weeks ago, I was in Orlando, Fl for FinCon 2018. FinCon is a conference for money nerds to get together and learn how to be better bloggers, podcasters, writers, speakers, and entrepreneurs. For 5 days, I was surrounded by people who are passionate about money and helping people fix their finances.
As a personal finance blogger, I’m always looking for opportunities to learn more and grow so I can help more families get out of debt. The more I know, the more people I can help. Plus, budgeting requires continually learning and adapting, so why not talk to other personal finance nerds like myself for a week. 🙂
Pretty much all of the people I’ve been talking with the last few years were there. The bloggers I read and podcasters I listened to, plus all my Twitter friends, were getting together in one place to learn from each other and grow.
These are the people I chose to “hang out” with over the years and helped me change my life forever. I got to meet all of them in real life and continue to grow our friendships, plus make a bunch of new friends.
It’s an amazing group of people and I’ve never experienced a community quite like it.
Everyone I met was happy to talk about their story and share their tips for growing finances. I could literally talk to anyone about money for hours. It was amazing!
FinCon was the ultimate gathering of business owners, budgeters, frugal livers, and money nerds. For a week we shared ideas, supported each other’s projects, and learned a ton of ways to improve our own thinking and businesses.
The relationships I built there will launch my blog and business forward in ways I couldn’t imagine. It’s a community I want to spend time with because they’re just awesome human beings.
Word of Caution: Be a Friend, Not a Leach
I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m just hanging out with other personal finance bloggers for selfish reasons. Yes, I want to grow my blog and business and yes other bloggers can help me do that. BUT, I’m pursuing real friendships with them.
Everything else just sort of happens naturally. I made an intentional effort to talk with them and build a good relationship. I wanted to be friends with these amazing writers who were doing things with money I’d never heard of. I wanted to hear their stories because they were fascinating and inspirational.
You’d be amazed at how much friendships can change your life. Put yourself around the right people and be a genuinely kind, caring person. Investing in good friendships is so enriching and worth it.
Do You Have People in Your Life Who Are Where You Want to Be?
What do you want your life to be like 5, 10, 15 years from now? What goals do you want to accomplish?
If you want to be debt free, surround yourself with people who have similar goals, or are already debt free. If you don’t know anybody in your personal life that is pursuing financial freedom, you can find them online. You don’t need to have a blog or podcast to interact with the online personal finance community.
The best place I’ve found to talk with other money nerds chasing their financial goals is Twitter. Plus, a lot of them have blogs or podcasts you can connect with and learn from. Not to mention, they’re just really awesome people.
If you’re intimidated by Twitter, you don’t even have to say anything. I spend a lot of time just reading what other people talk about and then check out their blogs for inspiration and budgeting tips.
Here are a few people I’ve connected with that have incredible stories and share good money wisdom. I grouped them by topics so you can easily find what you’re looking for. To be honest, they’re all great and cover a variety of money topics so you can’t go wrong.
Find actionable steps that you can apply to your own money situation and get to work. Learn from people that not only really want to help you, but have done a lot of crazy awesome things with money.
Getting Out Of Debt:
- Atypical Finance: Free eBook to Pay Off Debt
- She Picks Up Pennies: Living a More Purposeful Life One Cent at a Time
Building an Online Business:
- NinjaBudgeter: Get Your Family Finances on Track
- High Five Dad: Adventures of Being a Dad, Budget/Finance Tips, Funny Dad Stories
Find Your Community and Change Your Life
It might feel intimidating to reach out to people and talk about money, but it’s seriously one of the best ways to improve your finances. Associate with people who are where you want to be and learn anything you can from them.
Personal finance is very personal, but it doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.
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What are your goals with money? How can I help you reach them?
Our budget and goals changed our lives and it can change yours too.
Our budget and goals changed our lives and it can change yours too.
As an Educator and Personal Finance Blogger, Jamie has helped hundreds of families learn how to budget, save money, and pay off debt (go here to subscribe and start your debt free journey). Read our debt free story, “How We Paid Off $73,000 of Debt in Less Than Four Years”.
Great reminder about finding a supportive crowd, online or not, that aligns with your goals and values. I’ve found that to be true for fitness goals, career goals, even travel goals or other hobbies. When we finally got serious about real estate, we found an online community of other real estate investors and just hearing the stories provided inspiration, encouragement, ideas and solid information. The amorphous became more clear. The out of reach seemed attainable. I’m glad you had a great experience at FinCon!
It’s amazing how much people around us can influence us. Finding the right group of people can launch you so far forward in your goals. It’s cool to hear you’ve plugged into so many great communities!
Ps. Fincon was seriously awesome.
So much truth to the idea that you become like the people you spend the most time with. Surrounding yourself with people who are where you’d like to be will help you get there!