How Do You Eat An Elephant?

I went to a financial bloggers conference last week.  Yep, betcha didn’t know such a thing exists.  Well, it does.  It is called FINCON, it has been going on for 7 years and one of the taglines is “Where Money Nerds Unite”.  Gotta love that!  Now, I have a t-shirt that says it!

My goal for the conference was to learn how to get more eyes on my blog.  I want to help more people.

1199 young, smart, driven folks were in attendance.  And me.

In the very first presentation, which was for first time attendees, I learned the average age of attendees was 32. OK, so I could be their mother.  I’m accustomed to being amongst the youngest of my friends so this was a big switch for me right out of the gate.  A friend checked in with me during the conference and I texted her that I felt old and tall.

I later went to a presentation that told me if I wanted to be successful I HAVE to be in about eight places.  Ok, Facebook, I know what that is but am not quite sure how to use it in this context.  Twitter – yep I’ve had a twitter account for about a week @mslizmoneymattr TWEET ME!  Again, not quite sure how to use it.  AND SIX OTHER LOGO’S THAT I’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE IN MY LIFE!

So it isn’t enough to write, hopefully interesting and helpful, articles.  You need to be a technical genius or hire others who are.  The fortunate bloggers are the ones whose partners master the technical aspects.  My husband assured me he was not suited for that role so I’m on my own.

I’ve gone from working as an expert in a very narrow field to knowing nothing about a field that seems very broad.  The accounting game doesn’t change much–the tools do but what you’re doing doesn’t.  Debits are on the left . . .

In the blogging world, Google changes their algorithm and the entire game changes. The way you communicate to the world is constantly changing–I thought Pinterest was an electronic scrapbook, now it is a way to generate traffic to your site–but only if your pins are pretty.  What is a pin and how do you make it pretty???

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This is the shadow of our house on our back yard hill.  See that little square of light?  That’s the window I was doing my stretching in front of this morning.  I feel like I know the equivalent of that little square of light and need to know the entire shadow.

What gives me hope is that the people in this personal finance space are incredibly generous and helpful.  Even the superstars (yes, I assure you, there are superstars).  I got some great advice from J. Money who is just as real in person as he is on line (and he’s a hugger!) and from the lovely Mrs. Frugalwoods who crafted a very broad reach without mastering all of the social media pieces initially.

So now I’m going to get back to work because how do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

Then I realized some of my readers may be looking at all of this personal finance stuff how I’m looking at blogging.  It can seem so daunting, what do we do first?  What if we don’t do it right?

But really, you just need to do something–take just one bite.  The first bite I’d recommend is to calculate your net worth:

  • What I own
  • minus
  • What I owe
  • Keep it simple, include things like real estate and cars but do not include clothing, electronics, jewelry, etc.

Unless you know where you are, you won’t be able figure out where you are going.

  • What you Own:
    • Pull up your current balance of any bank accounts and investment accounts including your retirement accounts.  Write down the balances.
    • If you own a home, pull up Zillow.com and get an Zestimate of your home’s value–if it doesn’t seem right then check local listings.  Write down the value.
    • If you own a car, pull up Edmunds.com and click on what’s my car worth.  Write down the value.
    • If you own anything else of significant value, estimate the amount you could sell it for today.
    • Total all of these assets
  • What you Owe:
    • Pull up the current balance of all credit cards and consumer debt (furniture, jewelry, etc.). Write down the balances.
    • Pull up the balance of your home mortgage.  Write it down.
    • Pull up the balance on your car loan.  Write it down.
    • Pull up the balance on each student loan.  Write it down.
    • Write down the balance on any other amounts you owe to others.
    • Total all of these liabilities
  • Subtract What you Owe from What you Own.
    • Is it a positive number?  That’s fantastic!
    • Is it a negative number?  Don’t despair!  Rockstar Finance tracks the net worth of all bloggers who publish their net worth.  Right now, it ranges from -$532,304 to +$3,399,120.  And these are bloggers–people who write about personal finance.
  • Repeat.
    • Calculate your net worth monthly.  If you want to speed up the calculation, you need only update your home value annually and vehicle values quarterly (every three months).

What you pay attention to improves. So if you only pay attention to your net worth, you’ll find yourself making better decisions about your money.

Once you have this net worth thing down, take the next bite.  Figure out your why by crafting your mission statement.

Once you figure out your why, take the next bite.  Layout your S-M-A-R-T goals and the steps that will get you there.

Remember, one bite at a time.

No matter where you are on your financial journey, at least you are on the journey–making progress–taking one bite at a time.

So I’m going to figure out what the hell a pin is and how to make it pretty–if anyone out there knows TWEET me! @mslizmoneymattr

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Author: Ms. Liz

A CPA, I retired at 51 and I am helping people create their fantastic futures!

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