Momentum Series Interview: Your Money Geek – Michael Dinich
This feature marks #11 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 Blogger Interview is with Michael Dinich of Your Money Geek.
Michael is a financial advisor and the founder of Your Money Geek. In terms of his website, the blog has seen huge growth, hitting 50K sessions in May after only 4 months of publishing. In this interview we chat about financial advising, Michael’s financial journey, blogging and more.
If you want to connect with Michael of Your Money Geek:
Ladies and gentlemen please welcome Michael! Let’s get started with Momentum Series Interview: Your Money Geek – Michael Dinich.
I’m Michael Dinich, I founded Your Money Geek LLC where I help people retire early. I live in rural Pennsylvania with my wife and two children and too many animals.
I also do this blogging thing on the side.
I went to Mansfield University and was a dual major in Economics and Psychology.
I joined the Army Reserves to pay for college. Initially, I was a combat medic and had planned to continue in the military and in medicine.
I missed the first semester of college due to military training running longer than expected, so I ended up home working odd jobs until the spring semester.
My father approached me about going into retirement planning like him and invited me to a conference. I immediately fell in love with the finance industry and have been doing planning ever since.
What is the biggest misconception about financial advisors from the general public or from other personal finance bloggers?
I think there is a myth that advisors just want to make a commission or a fee and don’t really do anything to add value.
This myth gets spread on two fronts. Obviously the direct to consumer discount firms want to convince the public that advisors are not worth the money. Secondly, financial bloggers, many of whom make their money off of ads to, you guessed it, discount firms and robot advisors want to perpetuate the myth.
The truth is advisors want the same things for their clients as journalists, bloggers, and podcasters want for their audience. They want them to reach their financial goals and live happy and rewarding lives. The only difference is advisors do it through a one on one relationship.
What is your biggest pet peeve that fellow financial advisors do?
That’s a loaded question! I hate when advisors make the industry look bad.
Most advisors are wonderful. However, there are some bad advisors that are self serving, greedy, provide little to no value and use questionable sales tactics.
Is there a common thread of mistakes you see young professionals making with their money that is hindering their financial future?
Not planning for taxes! I talk about this all the time so I’m sorry it you heard it before. It just drives me nuts, the media will go on an on about subscription boxes, lattes or cutting cable and no one is talking about tax planning.
Taxes can take 15 to 30 percent of your money. If you want a 15 to 30 percent raise we have to focus on tax planning. We have to do tax planning during the year; if you wait until tax season (mid-Jan to April 15th) there’s very little I can do you.
Let’s assume there is a 24 year old that has just graduated from university with $40,000 in student loan debt. They’re entering their professional career at a starting salary of $50,000 (based on the industry they’re in it would likely take 10 years to reach six figures annually). What advice would you give to them to best set themselves up for financial success?
- Avoid lifestyle creep
- Engage in tax planning
- Develop a financial disaster preparedness plan
- Buy good quality permanent life insurance.
Life insurance is the Swiss army knife of financial planning; it can be used for retirement income, debt cancellation, estate planning, business financing, etc.
What are some of the resources you would recommend to individuals looking to improve their money mindset and management?
- Millionaire Next Door: it’s a classic for a reason
Apps or Service(s)
I have lots of blogs I follow. I have been enjoying Camp FIRE Finance. It’s geared more to becoming financial independent and retiring early. They scour the internet looking for the best blog posts and I am always finding something new on the site.
As you’ve progressed in your financial life, what have you changed or implemented to set yourself up for the most success?
We invested heavily in reducing costs. I feel it’s easier to save money than make money. So we installed solar and focused our energy towards efficiency and self sufficiency.
Also I’d rather invest in my own business than the stock of another company. So we have a few side hustles such as the blog and our hobby farm.
Is there an area or area(s) of your own personal finances that you’re still looking to better master and improve?
There’s always room for improvement, I want to develop more sources of income.
Where do you plan to be in 5 years with your money and life? How does that change if you shift t10-year outlook?
I have a 7 year plan to reach from financial independence. Hopefully in 5 years I’m still on track.
In 10 years my oldest will just be old enough to join the business. Hopefully she will choose to and I can move into a support role.
When did you first start blogging? Was there a specific launching off point or what influenced you to go down that path?
The blog started as a bit of an accident. I hired a company to do some branding and I was not happy with what they were posting and decided to write my own post.
I started doing some research about blogs and next thing you know I’m blogging. I started making connections on social media and some people showed up on the blog and I thought ”maybe I can make this a business”.
Is there a mission statement or underlying purpose to what you intend to accomplish with Your Money Geek?
Everything happens so fast I never really sat down to create a plan. All I knew is I want to make personal finance fun, and provide a safe, judgment free space for people to improve their finances.
I think the personal finance industry has a bit of a compassion problem so I’m not beyond calling the industry of other bloggers out on their nonsense.
What was the that first “big win” on your blogging journey that kept you motivated and reinforced your belief?
My Financial Wisdom of Grand Admiral Thrawn post. I love Star Wars and wanted to do the ultimate Star Wars financial lessons list.
I collaborated with other bloggers and it was a huge success.
Do you have any specific goals with your blog(s) over the next 12 months?
I want to hit 100k session in a month and I want to get some Google traffic. Right now it’s been all social media and I can’t grow much past we’re I’m at without some Google love.
What are the strategies for success you’re putting into action to accomplish these goals?
Increasing post frequency. I’m posting once a day now. I plan on stepping that up further to two posts a day during on certain days.
If you could recommend 3 of your blog posts for Making Momentum readers to check out, what would those be?
Any final pieces of advice or recommendations?
My father told me when I was a child ”there is always going to be someone with more God-given talent, better connections or a better name, the only thing you can do about it is be willing to outwork them.”
I think about it every day, and it’s been the key to any success I have enjoyed.
Any special shoutouts?
- My wife Liz: she’s my biggest fan and retweets all my posts and puts up with me.
- ESI Money: because he took a chance on me and answers my questions (I send him so many questions).
- Melissa Blevins: as she helps me with social media. In particular, she’s a Pinterest genius.