Momentum Series Interview – Time In The Market: Long-Term Investing To Wealth
This marks feature #32 in the Momentum Series – an interview series to share the stories of bloggers from across the personal finance community.
The goal is to showcase their story, the wins, the losses and the actionable advice that others can take value from and insights about their blogging journey. Whether that be conquering debt, maximizing career earnings, the road to financial independence or other strategies for financial and blogging success.
This week’s Momentum Series Interview is with J from the personal finance and investing blog Time In The Market.
On his blog, J shares his journey on the path to financial independence. The content he produces covers long-term investing strategies, dividend investing, recommendations on financial resources to help you on your own path and much more.
If you want to connect with Time In The Market:
Ladies and gentlemen please enjoy the Momentum Series Interview – Time In The Market: Long Term Investing To Wealth.
Hey, it’s J and I’m 34 years old. My name isn’t really J but I keep it secret, keep it safe(LOTR reference!) for personal reasons. I recently got married to an awesome lady and I live in an apartment with her, our goldendoodle and rabbit.
I blog over at Time in the Market, a blog about long term investing and other random crap I happen to write about.
I have a BS in Finance. I chose not to BS my way into the world of finance because it wasn’t for me so I give advice away for free online.
I’m an underwriter for an insurance company. It’s a real snoozefest out here.
Has taking control of your money and mastering your personal finances always been your mindset as an adult? Can you share the coles notes version of your financial journey?
I had to google what coles notes meant and it sounds like cliff’s notes to my generation.
I grew up in Poland back when it was still under the red curtain(Russian Communism) so my first experiences in life were defined by scarcity. You can read a little bit about that here if you’d like in my introduction series which I have to continue.
I got used to not having much and not expecting much and that continued even after we moved to America. I was lucky in that my parents always provided for us the best they could and that was enough for me. America was certainly a big change from Poland but even after I had some money, I had come to be comfortable with the life I was living. I didn’t really need all these other things to be happy.
I always found finance interesting so I studied that in school and enjoyed it.
Once I got my first job, I kind of had the same frugal mindset that I developed as a young kid and now had some extra money. I read some books, used my school learning and started saving. I never made a ton of money nor do I make a lot now and I’ve broadened some of my expenses as I got older but I’m still saving a lot and keeping it in the market for the long term.
I saw that my parents worked hard as hell back in Poland and to get us here and I wanted things to be easier and the best way to do that is to limit expenses and have flexibility with your finances.
I find that in life and in investing, most of the best things are simple. Don’t spend too much and when you do, make sure it’s on things that matter and save for the long term. That’s my strategy and I’m sticking to it.
I think this turned out too long for Cole.
What strategies and tactics have you implemented in your to life to best set you up for financial success?
Save early, save regularly and don’t spend money on silly things.
That first 100k is hard but then things really get going as compound interest takes over. Combine that with additional continual investing and things will look good.
Have you made any major financial mistakes? If so, what was the outcome and what did you learn from these mistakes?
I’ve done some options investing here and there. It’s definitely an easy way to lose $1000 in a flash.
I’m glad I never really went at it in a big way as I quickly learned my lesson that options and short term trading in general is more gambling than investing. These days I stick to long term plays and ignore the day to day market movements.
Is there an area or area(s) of your own personal finances that you’re still looking to better master and improve?
I think I can always control my spending. Now that I’m earning a decent amount and have a good nest egg, it’s easy to just say eh, whatever and buy something.
However, most times I know that those things will end up bringing me little value as I’m not a person who finds things all that awesome so I make sure that when I spend money, it’s a high quality item that I’ll get a lot of use out of and one that will last a while.
If you could send a memo to every 18-22 year old in North America about better managing their finances and understanding money but it could only be 3 sentences long, what would that memo be?
Compound interest is awesome so put 10% of the income from your first job into your 401k and increase it every year! Don’t be a dumbass and think about your college and major choices because debt sucks. Take care of your body because it has to be with you for another 60 years and things start to hurt as you get older; also floss.
What are some of the most influential resources that have shaped your money mindset or financial situation?
My favorite book is the bogleheads guide to investing. It’s enough for most investors and I love how simple it makes investing. I have a few other books that I think beginner investors should read that I loved and these have helped me immensely in my journey as an investor.
I really like Masters in Business as it’s always great to hear from people who are so successful and driven at what they do. Barry Ritholtz gives a great interview and has a wide variety of guests.
I really love blogs take a deep, deep dive into a subject or a stock. I’m a investing geek at heart and blogs like Stratechery really hit the spot.
Apps or Services
I’ve been really digging M1 Finance recently after doing a review of it. It’s a cool way to get exposure to some stocks I wouldn’t normally invest in but think have good upside.
At the end of the day, I’m still a long term indexer but I do own and like some individual stocks here and there.
Can you share your overall philosophy and strategy on investing?
I’m a long term investor with a specific asset allocation in mind. I buy and hold for the long term with at least a 10 year outlook.
My asset allocation right now is:
- 42.5% US Large Cap
- 10% US Mid Cap
- 10% US Small Cap
- 10% US REIT
- 15% International Developed
- 5% International Emerging
- 7.5% US Bonds
I do a portfolio review every month on my blog and just buy whatever is under allocated. That way I’m always buying whatever is out of favor and likely has better potential for long term returns. Recently that’s been international stocks.
How has that shifted with time? Have the market gains or dips since you’ve been investing caused you to change that strategy?
It really hasn’t changed. I picked that strategy when I started investing in 2008 and have stuck with it to good results.
I do an review every year and last time I checked, it was working well.
What are the common mistakes you see others making in their investing journeys? Is there a specific thing that people at the start of their investing timeline should concentrate on?
I think people generally need to just set it and forget it. Unless you love micro managing your portfolio like I do then you’re better off just putting your money in and letting it do it’s thing for years and years.
The worst thing you can do for long term returns is sell at the wrong time or think things are too expensive to buy.
I talked about that in a recent post about an unlucky investor and I totally believe that. Sure, there’s always a chance of the market crashing and never recovering but at that point, I’ll probably be more worried about what’s going on with the world and how to survive than how my portfolio is doing.
You’ve mentioned trying to minimize stress and effort while maximizing returns. How do you best achieve that balance?
That is one of the things I mention on my about page and I think it’s key in investing. I want my money to be a source of comfort, not a source of stress.
I think the key to that is having an asset allocation you’re comfortable with and knowing the potential risks. The long term timeline certainly helps too.
I like the set it and forget it approach to investing; just like the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie (old infomercial reference!).
When did you first start blogging? Was there a specific launching off point or what influenced you to go down that path?
I think my first post was in 2016 maybe but at that point I was on blogger and really not doing much.
I moved my blog to wordpress about a year ago and that’s really when Time in the Market was born. I initially started the blog as a way to track my progress and motivate myself but found I enjoyed writing and wanted to more of it.
I still don’t produce as much content as I’d like due to my inherent laziness but I’ll get over that eventually.
Is there a mission statement or underlying purpose to what you intend to accomplish with Time In The Market?
The old adage of time in the market beats timing the market is true and my goal is to show that through a long term investing approach.
Do you have any specific goals with your blog(s) over the next 12 months? What tactics are you planning to leverage to accomplish these?
I don’t have too many specific goals. I guess personally I’d like to write more and have more content on the website as I’ve been lacking there. I have some months where I pump stuff out and other months where I have no good ideas. The idea is not to just churn and burn but to actually put out stuff people want to read.
I don’t do this as a business or plan to make a ton of money on it. In fact one of my missions is to donate at least 50% of any profits I make(I’ve yet to make 0) to charity so maybe I can make a donation in the next 12 months!
Honestly, I’m mediocre at promoting my blog but I think stuff like this can help!
If you could recommend 3 of your blog posts for Making Momentum readers to check out, what would those be?
Here’s one on my dividend employee Steve. He’s a cool dude and every investor has his own Steve too!
I already linked this one above but I totally believe these three books are all you need to be a good investor.
Here’s some thoughts on my insurance job if you want to check it out. I mentioned it was boring earlier in the interview and this will give you some more insight. Update to this post is that I still work in insurance but got that manager job I mentioned in there. Go me!
Any final pieces of advice or recommendations?
In the great words of Red, don’t be a dumbass. It applies to investing as well.
Any special shoutouts?
I’ll hit up my dude OthalaFehu who was the reason I moved my blog to WordPress and actually got a few views. He saw one of my posts on reddit, said my content is all right but blogger sucks and got my butt into gear to move it.
Also, my wife because she’s awesome and my dog and bunny cause they’re awesome too.