I have now been writing this blog for about nine months and in that time the blog has garnered a grand total of eleven comments. A full two of those comments are from people who are either not me or not married to me.
In order to better understand the secrets behind this incredible run of non-success I sent out a survey to a nationally representative sample of people who claim to read blogs to get their take on why this blog is boldly going where no other blog really wants to go anyway.
After combing through mountains of data and doing lots of analytical type stuff I present to you in no particular order the top responses I received followed by my thoughts on each.
1. Author hasn’t actually achieved any of the blog’s stated goals.
Damn, this is kind of rough isn’t it? I mean, yes, it’s true I haven’t actually achieved any of my long-term financial goals so far but I do at least have some goals, I think. And the tagline does clearly say that this is a mid-life journey to financial independence and not a mid-life arrival at financial independence.
2. Blog doesn’t have all the answers.
Jeezum, tough crowd here. But again, true, I don’t have all the answers. Hell, I’m still trying to figure out what my own contribution is to the greater good. Once I figure that out I’ll be back with at least some, if not all, of the answers for everyone else.
3. Sometimes gripes about owning a vacation cabin, which makes author sound like an ungrateful jerk that normal people can’t relate to.
Ok, this is a legitimate beef. I get it, most people don’t have a second home and those who do made a choice to own one. Certainly we made that choice. And if one is in a position to make that choice then you really don’t have anything to complain about. All valid points and I accept each one of them.
Two additional things I will say on this:
- In discussing our vacillations over how the cabin fits with our goal to reach financial independence I guess I’ve been trying to pass on a cautionary tale. On various FI-related blogs and forums I’ve heard a surprising number of people mention that owning/building a cabin has been a dream. It was certainly a dream of mine as well. The cautionary part of my tale is simply that once a dream is fulfilled it is no longer a dream, it is part of your new reality. As humans we become accustomed to whatever our reality is. Once a dream is realized we can be prone to thinking, “ok, that’s done, what’s next?” So if you are contemplating a second home, think about how you’ll prepare yourself for the mindset shift that will likely come at some point after your dream becomes a reality.
- All the above being said, I recognize that I have work to do when it comes to being grateful and expressing gratitude. This will be a focus for me in 2018. I’ve heard a few people suggest that every night you should write down three things you’re grateful for. I probably need to do this.
4. The site’s Word Press theme sucks.
Another legit response. I agree the theme is lame. I had to change to the current theme because my previous one (Mad Hat in case you were wondering) would not work with RSS feeds. But the RSS thingy does work with the new theme as you can see by the little RSS symbol next to my Blogger Profile on Rockstar Finance.
5. Not enough pictures of office posters with inspirational content.
Oh please. Here you go:
6. Talks about “excess checking account funds.” WTF are those?
I have abbreviated this response in the interest of brevity and family-friendliness.
All I can say is that once we started disentangling ourselves from unnecessary spending and generally paying more attention to where our money went we simply had more money at our disposal to use towards things that actually matter.
Have you ever had the experience of making lots of little expenditures and then not being sure where all your money went? I certainly have. But I can tell you from experience that there is a mirror image to this phenomenon.
If you cut out this and that little unnecessary expense and save a little here and there on regular monthly bills you’ll wind up with excess checking account funds. It doesn’t happen overnight, you have to have some patience, but the impact on your checking account is very real.
7. Author is a frugal fraud. The wife is the real force for frugality in the relationship.
Possible valid point here.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I was not born frugal. I come from a long line of notoriously indiscriminate spenders and only know that you can’t buy happiness due to all of my failed attempts. But I have turned things around – honest.
It is also true that my wife was born frugal. She comes from good and hearty New England stock so it only makes sense that she was endowed with Yankee thrift.
To illustrate my point about our natural proclivities I share this anecdote:
When building our house our builder took us to her preferred appliance shop and the salesman fell upon us like a vulture at a carcass party.
He regaled us on the virtues of a dual fuel range and within seconds I was in a slack-jawed, hypnotic state of wonderment over something I had previously never cared about. As my head involuntarily nodded in agreement with his every word my wife sliced through his wizardry with a simple, “We don’t need that.”
It was as if I had brought Watto with me to the appliance store, only my wife is smokin’ hot* and looks nothing like a Toydarian.
I inconspicuously wiped away the drool from one corner of my mouth, looked at the salesman and said, “I’m with her” as we walked away.
8. Lacks SEO Optimization
I tried to pursue this but it costs money and when I got to the automated teller machine machine I realized I had forgotten my personal identification number number. Whutevs, I can barely spell SEO.
9. Author claims getting off facebook was a good thing so it’s his own damn fault if the blog fails.
I’m sorry, but I have become addicted to not being on facebook and I don’t ever want to give that up. And besides, this blog is my new distraction and I’m enjoying reading all the non-comments I receive.
Anytime I feel a slight urge to look at facebook all I have to do is play back the tapes in my head of my mother and her husband looking at their respective phones and narrating the content of their facebook feeds to each other. Doing this replaces the urge to look at facebook with the urge to shove a fully-sharpened #2 Dixon Ticonderoga into each ear. Problem solved.
And from what I’m now hearing Twitter is better than facebook anyway. I now have a Twitter account and one day I’ll know how to work it.
10. Author claims to be the envy of his neighbors, but we’ve heard they actually think he’s a conceited tool.
Wait, I did not actually make the claim of being the envy of my neighbors, I simply said that our power company was telling us it was true. Perhaps they are not to be believed? We certainly never got the pizza party that I demanded when all this “envy of your neighbors” business came out.
What I don’t get is how the survey respondents even know who our neighbors are. This whole thing was supposed to be anonymous.
I will concede that my neighbors may find me to be somewhat eccentric and possibly weird. Personally, I prefer the term, detail-oriented.
A Final Thought
Well, there you have it, the blunt truth as to why this blog is going nowhere fast.
One last thing to add. The questionnaire I sent out included space for respondents to share any additional thoughts on the site and why they think it’s going nowhere. Out of the thousands of survey responses I received only one person provided an additional thought:
Simple fact is this blog is not funny.
The response was signed:
Your former friend,
*You don’t have to take my word for it, just ask the bagger who tried to get her digits while she was grocery shopping at Walmart. True story.