The 10 Best Things I Wrote in 2018

Photo by Stanley Dai on Unsplash

2018 was the first year I started writing. I published my first article in May and have published 5 articles per week since that time. I’ve had some hits and I've had some flubs but overall, I am extremely proud of the quality of content I have been able to consistently produce.

If you are not familiar with my work, I write about personal finance and economics. Two subjects I have an odd level of passion for.

Here are my 10 best articles of 2018.

10. From Broke and In Debt to Successful Financial Planner

What this story is about: Joe was like many of us in his younger days. He spent more than he made, he had loads of debt and did not have a strong understanding of how money worked. One day his car died on the side of the road because he did not have enough money to fill up the tank.

From that day one, Joe dedicated to learning everything he could about money, eventually becoming a successful financial planner and teaching other people how to turn their financial situation around.

What I like most about this story: If there is a moral of this story is that how you start means nothing. How you end means everything. If Joe can go from money zero to money guru, then we can all have hope that we can learn to master our own money.

9. We Live “Double Lives” When It Comes To Money

What this story is about: Despite the fronts we put up to friend and family, especially on social media, many of us are struggling with money. Those struggles are having severe impacts on our mental well being.

52% of Americans admit to having cried over money problems.

What I like most about this story: This story presents an honest assessment of the impact our finances are having on our mental health. But ultimately it is a hopeful story.

In a survey, the public was very clear about the areas of their finances they need help in and are willing to pay for. They are as follows;

  • Knowing if they’re paid fairly,
  • Maximizing their salary at their current job,
  • Planning career moves that earn them more money,
  • Monthly budgeting, right-sizing their debt,
  • Planning affordable vacations,
  • Having someone to talk to holistically about their financial life and;
  • Dealing with the spending pressures that status anxiety exerts.

All of these are topics I will focus on in 2019.

8. FIRE is not About Retirement, It’s About Empowerment

What this story is about: How the financial crisis changed the rules of the game. Working hard and getting a college education no longer guaranteed a 40-year career with a pension waiting for you at the end. The Financial Independence, Retire Early movement was born from the ashes of the financial crisis.

What I like most about this story: The clear line drawn between Financial Independence (FI) and Early Retirement (RE). FI is about building a moat around your finances. RE is not about retirement, it’s about pursuing your passions.

7. What is the Rule of 72?

What this story is about: The rule of 72 answers the question “how long will it take for my money to double?”

What I like most about this story: The most value per word of any article on this list. This is one of my first articles, its less than a 3-minute read and touches on concepts of compound interest and inflation in an easy to understand way.

Bonus Video on the Rule of 72

6. The Boring Way to Become A Millionaire

What this story is about: How to properly use your 401(k) to become a millionaire by retirement.

What I like most about this story: In an age where everyone is peddling ideas of how to “get rich quick” its refreshing to go back to basics and learn how to “get rich slowly” (but surely).

5. Want to Retire in 10 Years? Here is What You Need to do

What this story is about: Using the math of “financial independence” to explain what you need to do to quit your 9–5 job in the next 10 years.

What I like most about this story: This was my first story that really began to take off. This story is a clear milestone for me when I really began to find my voice as a personal finance writer.

Plus, who doesn’t want to learn how to retire in the next 10 years?

4.From $10,000 In Credit Card Debt to Retired in 5 Years

What this story is about: Joel and his wife started out making classic money mistakes. Buying too much house, buying fancy furniture for that house, buying crap they did not need from Best Buy and Target. They were on the track to working well into their 70’s.

Then they started reading Mr. Money Mustache and other personal finance bloggers and did a complete 180 with their finances and achieving Financial Independence within 5 years.

What I like most about this story: Fun fact this was my most “popular” story of 2018. It’s been viewed 6,000 times.

I think the reason this story resonated with so many people is that they seem themselves where Joel and his wife started their journey. Seeing a real-life story of people who turned their finances around so quickly is inspiring. It gives us hope that what is possible for one is possible for us.

3. The Best and Worst City To Rent

What this story is about: The cities in America where most of your salary goes to paying rent. Also, the cities where the least of your salary goes to paying rent.

What I like most about this story: I love this story for several reasons. The first is that the results genuinely surprised me. Some of the more expensive cities ranked lower on the list and some of the cities with the lowest rents ranked the highest.

The reason? More important than rent, is the average income in each of these cities. The highest rent cities also had the highest average salaries. The lowest rent cities also had high unemployment and low salaries.

Paying $500 per month in rent might sound amazing, but only if you can find a job.

2. How to Cut Your Grocery Bill In Half

What this story is about: Through a combination of weekly planning and digital couponing, you can slash your grocery bill in half.

What I like most about this story: This might be the most “practical” story I have ever written. There are actionable tips in here that you can use to start saving money today.

1. You are Going Broke Because You are too Lazy to Cook

What this story is about: Detailing how much money we are throwing away by eating out at restaurants and ordering food delivery kits.

What I like most about this story: If I have a major criticism of my own writing it’s that I hold back too much. I lean too far on the side of not wanting to offend people. I talk about a lot of personal issues after all.

But sometimes, it helps to give people some tough love. In a country where most people are living paycheck to paycheck, they are paying 5 times the amount they need to be paying for food by going to restaurants rather than buying and cooking their own food.

If you have a balance on your credit card at the end of the month, what are you doing eating at restaurants? Find one of the 10,000 free cooking videos on YouTube and use what you learned in article #2 to buy and cook your own groceries!

So that’s it, my top 10 stories of 2018. I want to thank anyone who has read even one story I wrote this year. There is no better feeling in the world than feeling like words you have written are connecting with people in a meaningful way.

I can’t wait for 2019.

PS: Stay tuned, next week I will list my 10 worst stories of 2018.