Welcome to PFGeeks (Personal Finance Geeks)!
Two years ago last month, my wife and I began our journey together as a married couple. People talk about marriage and their wedding day as this amazing new start–where the old is gone and you have this brand new foundation to start building on.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Our wedding day was one of the best days of my life, but it wasn’t a completely fresh start for either of us. We came into marriage with baggage, sin, and different expectations of what marriage would look like.
You see, while we had so much in common, we were completely different when it came to how money is handled.
I spent my entire life saving nearly every penny I came across. On the other hand, my wife could hardly keep a dollar in her purse for more than a week.
When we graduated college, I had about $12,000 to my name after paying cash for an engagement ring. On the other hand, she had a couple thousand saved after living at home with almost zero expenses for the three months in between college graduation and our wedding day. I was a finance major, she was psychology. I’d handle the numbers and she would handle the feelings. She was completely happy to let me handle the majority of our financial planning, but we still had monthly check-ins to make sure we were on the same page.
Here’s a chart from our first year of marriage.
Over the course of that year, with a combined income of $61,000 we managed to save roughly $4500… a whopping 7% of our income and a portion of that increase were investment gains! We were doing an awful job at saving money.
In our second year of marriage, we’ve been able to save 5x that and increase our savings rate to over 40%!
We want to help others do the same.
Again, we don’t have high-income, 6 figure jobs. She is a school receptionist and I’m a part-time youth pastor… There’s nothing fancy about what we do, but day after day, month after month, we’ve striven to execute our plan.
The path forward is a day by day grind to make more, spend less, and invest the rest.
Is Another Voice Really Needed?
Over the last year I’ve become immersed in the world of personal finance blogging. The writings of MrMoneyMustache, Millennial Money, and the ChooseFI Podcast have greatly helped my wife and I set and stick to a budget. We’ve realized that we can live on less than we thought necessary and we’ve been able to optimize our investing strategy.
While these websites are considered the “Mount Rushmore” of finance bloggers, they lacked the one thing most important to my life– Faith. This isn’t meant to be a dig against them, but one question has kept coming back to me…
Shouldn’t my belief in God and my relationship with Christ have some implications for how I view my finances?
These blogs have been great in helping us find ways to save money, live below our means, and even in rejecting consumerism, but they fell short to encourage me to give generously as I live out my faith in Jesus Christ. If anything, the opposite became more true. I would come away feeling more selfish and protective over the money we were making and saving.
I wanted to hold onto more and more of it for ourselves.
I’m not trying to take a “holier than thou” stance. If anything, I’m admitting my own weakness here.
I know there are others out there who probably feel the same way.
Maybe you’re sitting at home or in your office reading this and you’re where I was 6 months ago, “I know we need to be giving and I want to be generous with others. But how can we do that when we can barely take care of ourselves?”
There is a path forward for you. And I’d love to help light the way through PFGeeks.
We don’t have Silicon Valley, financial analyst, software developer type incomes that I see so often in much of the personal finance blogosphere. We’re low income earners with a few simple goals.
We dream of being able to provide for our family, partner with others in the Gospel through our giving, and retire comfortably someday. We don’t want to live under the weight and burden of debt or succumb to materialistic temptation. And we want to make a Kingdom-impact with our finances.
We want to earn more, spend less, and give generously.
We are still on this journey ourselves.
There are 4 dreams for creating this PFGeeks blog.
1. Dominate the Niche of “What you should’ve learned in school”
My dream for PFGeeks is to help as many people as possible get a rapid education in personal finances. The earlier you can get your financial life in order, the more of an impact it will have. There’s no doubt that high schools and colleges have failed (and still are failing) to educate people on simple things like how to balance a budget and pay off debt.
We want to bridge that gap.
My goal is to focus all of our research, study, and writing effort to help recent graduates and those about to graduate take control of their finances. All of our writing will be geared towards these groups, but anyone who is just starting to learn about personal finances will benefit.
2. Leadership at Scale
Over the last few months, I’ve had the chance to sit down with close friends and help them organize their life and finances. It’s something I love to do whenever I’m asked. I teach them how to set a budget, automate their savings, find fat to trim in their spending, and ultimately get them on a path towards financial freedom.
I’ve developed spreadsheets, shared ideas, and even written detailed instructions to teach friends of mine how to take control of their finances.
One of my favorite bloggers, James Clear, shared a post a few years back titled “Leadership at Scale (Why I Write)”. He describes how he sat down two days a week for over 16 months to write and publish post after post.
After over 130 articles, he reflected back on this process of writing and he came to realize that writing was the best form of leadership he had. He was able to share his writings about habits and human potential on a massive scale. At this time he has over 400,000 people subscribed to his weekly newsletter!
I hope this blog will inspire others to take control of their finances, get on track to financial freedom, and find ways to give generously.
I recognize that at the outset this blog may be no different than me standing in an empty room teaching a non-existent audience. My hope is that over time the room would start to fill up with incredible people who want to do more than hoard and save, but want to live more meaningful lives.
I hope to share stories of people who are making an impact with how they steward their finances.
I pray that this blog will help people hold the tension between their faith and their finances.
3. Promote a Biblical Worldview on Money
As a youth pastor, my prayer for the students I lead is that by the time they graduate from high school, they will have developed a biblical worldview. We want to teach them and guide them to create a framework of ideas and beliefs through the way they interpret the world and interact with it. We want them to make decisions on their careers, marriages, and lifestyle choices based on the commands of Scripture and their personal relationship with God.
At PF Geeks, my dream is to promote and help others create a framework through which they see their finances–to create a biblical worldview on money.
I want this blog to be known as a place where faith meets finance. I want to influence generations of Christians to be close-handed in the way the spend, but open-handed in the way they give. This small idea has revolutionized our marriage.
Yesterday I got a text from a friend who is raising support as he prepares to go overseas to the Middle East as a missionary. It took my wife and I about 16 seconds of conversation to agree that we would support him financially.
There’s no question that this conversation would have looked drastically different a year ago when our finances were in shambles, but over the last year we’ve been able to cut over $1,000 in our monthly spending and at the same time we’ve seen our monthly income rise by $1,000.
Right now we’re running a surplus each month of $2,000! A year ago we were running a small negative each month and now we’re able to give more than we ever have.
That’s the driving force behind this blog.
We want to teach people practical ways to:
- Slash their spending
- Increase their income
- Get out of debt
- Optimize their investments
- Partner in Gospel efforts
So that others might be able to generously give to people, churches, and organizations so that love of Jesus might be shared.
4. Share Our Journey Along the Way
Over the past year my wife and I have had a sort of financial revolution in our marriage. We have made huge steps towards financial freedom and we have learned a ton along the way. There’s no doubt that we have many more steps to climb and weaknesses to perfect, but we hope to share our journey and advice along the way.
Over the last few years I’ve had the chances to preach and teach the Word of God to middle and high school students. Over time I’ve realized that the more I know and have personally applied the passage of Scripture I’m teaching, the better I am able to communicate the truths of the Bible. It’s a time of forced learning for me each week as I spend 8-10 hours preparing a sermon.
This blog will be no different! It’s one thing to understand a concept, but it is a whole different thing to be able to teach it and communicate it in a way that moves people to action. As we dig deeper on our own path to financial independence, we hope to share all that we discover to help you along the way.
Who Do I Hope to Reach?
I will be unapologetically Gospel-centered.
My first love and passion is Jesus Christ. As a pastor, I don’t believe there is anything more worthy of my time than to make Him known. I believe that every believer should use their gifts, talents, and work to give God glory. A key part of that is doing an excellent job in all that we do. God has gifted me with a passion for finances, a desire to learn, and the ability to do so.
If you love Jesus and want to do a better job stewarding the resources you have, then I hope you join me on this journey. This isn’t about finding prosperity and riches by “naming and claiming it”. The name Jesus won’t be a flag I wave when it is beneficial to do so, but His name and truth will be made known.
I can only hope to have the opportunity to serve as a guide, maybe a coach, but above all, a friend you can trust.
I get that it can be tough to ask questions about your finances to those closest to you who you see every week. We’d love the opportunity to help you in any way we can. Let us be the person you go to when you don’t know what to do next.
Ask us the finance questions you’ve always wondered.