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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Rags to Recovery - a personal finance site

"Ten years ago I had it all - the big house, the fat bank account, and the game plan for world domination. Then, almost overnight, my income dropped to next-to-nothing, and I watched it all disappear over the course of a couple years..."

Hello world.

Those famous words which tell the internet you've started a new blog. They carry excitement, passion, potential greatness. And for first-time bloggers a deception about just how much time and energy are about to be usurped from one's daily schedule.

For me, on this site, they'll carry responsibility, education, and dedication to an important lifelong process. They'll also carry the weight of the past and the opportunities of the future.

I'm not a first timer, you see. I've been writing online since 2006 in one form or another. I currently write on real estate and health & fitness. I also have a site discussing living with autism, although it's been dormant for a couple years now. And those don't count the other dozen or so projects and experiments along the way which weren't permanent or didn't stand the test of time.

But let's talk about this site. Why personal finance, and why Rags to Recovery?

For me, personally, I can make a good blog when certain aspects are present:

1.) Important Subject.

Is this a subject that matters? Is it something I care about personally, and is it important to the population in general? Does the subject drive me, where I think about it often enough that there will be plenty of topics to write about?

2.) Skill and Aptitude.

Is this a subject I'm pretty good at? Do I know enough about it that I have something to teach? And do I have something to learn as well? (because I'm certainly far from perfect..)

3.) Does the internet need this site?

I've read a lot of personal-finance type websites over the years, but I feel like something is missing. Most of them tend to either have an "arms race" feel, where each reader/comment talks about how they are better than the last at saving-budgeting-investing, or the sites have a "preachy" feel, where they make you feel guilty for spending any money. Life isn't all about saving every penny - if it was there wouldn't be any reasons for vacations, entertainment, or service industries.

I want to take a more common-sense, middle-ground approach, where there isn't a winner/loser in every discussion. I have a full life; super busy family with dozens of reasons to open my wallet at any given time, while also trying to save for retirement, college, braces, vacations, and all the other upcoming expenses of life. I want to live my life with my family to the fullest, but I also want to be smart about money. Every situation isn't a win-loss, but there are always choices to be made and alternatives to be considered. Personal finance should be about saving and planning, while also living the lifestyle and creating the memories you choose.

Why Rags to Recovery?

Because the Great Recession sucked.

Ten years ago I had it all - the big house, the fat bank account, and the game plan for world domination. Then, almost overnight, my income dropped to next-to-nothing, and I watched it all disappear over the course of a couple years. Rags.

It's a bad feeling, believe me. It's all the negative emotions you can imagine and then some: guilt, frustration, anger, depression - the whole package.

With all that, however, it could have been worse. My family was fortunate, as we were able to get back on our feet. We had to start over, yes, but we're back on an upward path. We have a shorter timeline than we had in our 20s, but we also have a wealth of knowledge and experience that we didn't have back then. I feel good about our chances, finally. Recovery.

I don't plan on sharing every nitty-bitty detail of my personal life online, but I will reference some of what we've gone through from time to time. It can be helpful to others to give hope and advice to those going through the same thing, or to let others learn from our mistakes before making them personally!

Anyway - it's a long story, and this is just the first chapter. I'm happy you found this site, and (if you've read this far) I really appreciate it. Hopefully you'll continue the journey with me.

Thank you for reading,

- Chris Butterworth

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