No Debt Plan is about getting and staying out of debt with a plan. Kevin, the author, is passionate about budgeting, saving for the future, and using goals to reach financial freedom. You can subscribe to his blog by RSS or email.
This interview is part of a new feature he’s developed called Subscriber Swap Saturday. The basic idea is to get the subscribers of one blog to subscribe to the other blog for at least a week, just to try it out. After a week if you don’t find that blogger’s content enticing, drop it. The hope is that over time you will find several writers that you weren’t familiar with who provide meaningful content to you. You can read more about Subscriber Swap Saturday at his get out of debt blog, as well as his interview with me
What’s No Debt Plan all about?
Kevin (NDP): Showing people how simple money and finances can be, how to get and stay out of debt, and that the average person really can save for retirement and live debt-free.
Why blogging? What got you started and what keeps you coming back?
I had tried blogging in the past and failed miserably. Originally I just thought hey, I like personal finance. Maybe I can blog on that. It was more of a challenge to myself to see if I could do it for a year.
I made it through the first year and the blog’s readership really started to grow. I discovered I really enjoyed writing and helping people understand some of the more complex financial issues we run into.
No debt plan – Is there such a thing as good debt and what differentiates it from bad debt?
Well I think there is definitely bad debt — high-interest credit cards, car loans (in general), etc. Is there good debt? I don’t know. I think most people point to mortgage loans as “good debt”, but I don’t think that’s really the case. Are they necessary? Sure. I don’t anyone that could pay cash for a home. I would argue there is bad debt and neutral debt. Not necessarily awful like the bad debt, but nothing something to strive for.
Why do you think personal finance is so difficult for many, not just to master, but to tackle in any form?
I think it’s really simple — a lack of education. Our society fails to teach the basic principles of money as we raise children into adults. No one understands how compound interest works (positive — saving, negative — loans). Sure you might blame regulations for allowing credit card companies to get college students into debt early, but at the end of the day it is the student using the card. They don’t have an understanding of what they’re getting into — that’s the real problem.
Money is also complex. Budgeting seems complex (it isn’t). Mortgages are pages full of documents with complicated wording. Without that education we get overwhelmed and close our eyes as we sign the papers, hoping everything will turn out okay.
There’s lots of talk lately about saving and leading a more frugal lifestyle. It took a pretty bad economy for this to become mainstream like it is. Do you think it will last once the economy recovers?
No. I still see a lot of SUVs being driven around. Maybe it is just the area of the country I live in, but I don’t see a dramatic swing in lifestyle. Remember our economy is based on consumer spending… so we kind of need people to not be frugal if we want “economic growth”. It’s a very complicated issue, but I still think people will go back to spending money without much thought once the economy rebounds.
The only way I can foresee a definite change would be if this recession turned into a depression and lasted a long time. That is the sort of event that people remember — it scars them. They remember being hungry, or out of work, or … well you get the idea. That’s why the “Greatest Generation” held close to their money after the Great Depression. They could remember the pain of the years before.
FFB – I have to agree with you. I think there will be some people who learn a lesson from this economy but I think many will go right back into spending while there are still many others who haven’t woken up yet to poor spending habits.
What do you think of the personal finance gurus out there? Are they valuable as a whole? Will Personal Finance blogs become the new PF gurus?
I think they have their place. At the end of the day we — gurus and bloggers — are all rehashing the same stuff and hoping it changes someone’s life. Gurus, experts, whatever you want to call them… all have their own agenda. And they have to take things to the extreme to get media attention. Dave Ramsey wants people to pay cash for a house. That’s great, but really, really unrealistic. But just saying that makes him stand out from the crowd.
What are some of your favorite articles on No Debt Plan?
There are a lot, but pretty much anything on my popular posts page.
Tell us about Kevin outside of No Debt Plan. What’s the rest of your time all about?
A I work in the IT staffing industry and love to spend time with my beautiful bride and our dog. I’m a big University of Tennessee fan and we live in an area surrounded by Alabama fans. Sports are a big part of my life, but the biggest is football so I’m not currently consumed with anything.
I’m also interested in entrepreneurship, both on and offline. I read Inc. magazine a lot.
Last good book you read not about personal finance.
Wow… I honestly don’t remember. It’s not that I read a ton of personal finance books, but I just haven’t sat down to sit and read a book for pleasure in a long time. I do most of my reading online or in magazines. This wasn’t recent, but a few years ago when I was a senior in college I read Good to Great by Jim Collins. Fascinating read — I love his stuff.
I’ll have to check that book out!
Thank you so much for the interview Kevin! It’s always great to hear about a fellow personal finance writer.
Now you, the reader – Do yourself a favor and subscribe to No Debt Plan’s RSS and check out his site!