My Road To Financial Wellness and Resources That Helped Me Along The Way

*This post may contain affiliate links, please see my disclosure

The following blog post is part of the The Road to Financial Wellness Blog Tour. Over a period of 30 days, the Phroogal team will go to 30 locations to raise awareness about financial empowerment. Today they will be in Seattle! Our goal is to help people learn about money by starting the conversation. We understand that local conversations can help bring about national awareness.

My man Jason over at Phroogal is doing something amazing. Wait, no, more than amazing, it’s ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! He’s traveling around the country on the open road, covering over 10,000 miles to meet in local communities and promote financial wellness. He’s also building an online and social media campaign to raise awareness. And the big idea is this; People need to learn more about money and how it works in their personal lives.

And as someone who shares this passion, I thought it would be fitting to list some of the places that I turned to when first learning about money, and where I turn to now to continue to grow in knowledge about how to master my money! So, in the spirit of Jason’s road trip, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and take a look at my financial journey and the resources that helped me get where I am today.

The Beginning

My money journey began when I was a kid. I would receive birthday cards with $5 in them (thanks grandma!), and would occasionally get some cash for chores or allowance. I knew pretty quickly that money was a big deal when I could just hand some over and get candy and baseball cards in return. THAT’S A BIG DEAL! But it wasn’t until I was about 10 years old that I really realized I that I could go out and EARN money.

So I did what all 10-year-olds do when they want more money. I started to mow lawns, weed gardens and anything else people would pay me money for. Of course, I could only do this in the summer, but I was able to earn like $50 one month! This blew my mind, and I realized something I had never known before. I had control over my money. I could work harder and earn more. I could spend it all and let it disappear. Or I could lock it up in a small lock box and shove it in my closet (which is what I did). But the point was, I was in the driver’s seat.

I recommend the first resource you should ever use for handling your money is good old-fashioned hard work. And along with that, put together a budget for your money to show it who’s boss! You can check out the sample budget I put together for a Family of Four and download the template at the end. You can also check out the list of downloadable templates my man J. Money put together HERE.

Dave Ramsey

I could never put together a list of resources without mentioning this man. He’s really the one who right-sided my sinking ship and showed me that money isn’t just something you earn to spend, but something that you can master. I’ve told the story countless times, but Dave Ramsey came into my life just before Michelle and I tied the knot. I had had jobs for a few years, but didn’t save much. I also didn’t really know how a budget worked. I listened the audio book version of My Total Money Makeover and learned that my money problems were actually ME problems, which was good news, because I had the ability to fix them!

You can find the book here (I recommend the audio CD!).

Also, something that really helped get me motivated to get a handle on our money was being part of an online community. I actually PAID MONEY to join the Dave Ramsey forums online. I was able to be inspired reading other people’s journey out of debt and was able to ask questions to seasoned money veterans on how to handle the day-to-day of managing our finances. You can preview the forums for FREE by using this link.

Bonus: There are some better FREE forums out there these days. I recommend checking out the Frugal Village forums of Mr. Money Mustache forums.

Mr. Money Mustache

Having gotten a hold of our finances, paid off a bunch of debt and bought a house, I felt we were well on our way to rockin’ our money until retirement. That was until this guy completely flipped the idea of traditional retirement on its head! I had started this blog and coaching people on their finances and was in search of new ideas and concepts to help people kick butt financially. I’m not sure how I ended up there, but I landed on www.mrmoneymustache.com, and it was like I was sucked into the financial awesomeness vortex.

I read a few posts, then ended up going back to the beginning to read through his archives. I think I emerged a few days later, I dunno, it’s a bit hazy. All I know is that my brain was now full of financial awesomeness, and I was ready to start building a plan that DOES NOT have me retire in any traditional way. I recommend going to the site and starting at the very first post to see what it’s all about, but be warned, it may change the way you think about money FOREVER!

Learning To Invest

I’ll admit, I like to keep it simple when it comes to investing. With budgets, I’ll create the most elaborate scenarios, super details spreadsheets and forecast years out. But with investing, I like to make sure I completely understand what is happening at all times, and don’t want to overcomplicate things.

I read a book that really opened my eyes to the dangers of wasting money on fees and expensive brokers (like Edward Jones). It also showed me a simple way of investing that saved me money and outperformed most managed funds. It’s called passive investing, and I wish I had known about it 10 years ago, when I first opened my Roth IRA. If you want to learn about investing in an easy-to-digest, readable book, I recommend checking out the book, Millionaire Teacher.

I also came across a blog called www.jlcollinsnh.com. He’s a guy who’s been retired since like 1989, and has really thought out how to invest and practically how it works when you’re saving, as well as when you are in retirement. I recommend reading through his Stock Series, it’s one of the best resources I’ve ever come across for investing.


Jason is in Seattle today talking to people about financial wellness. He has chosen #theroad to talk about his road trip around the U.S. I think it’s also a great metaphor of how finances are a journey spanning your entire life. You can choose to sit in the passenger seat and let your money drive itself, leaving you wondering how you ended up where you are. Or you can hop in the driver’s seat, make a U-Turn and get your money back on track using the above resources. You have the power to choose.

So, what’s it going to be?

photo credit: Dusty Road via photopin (license)

Disclaimer: There are some affiliate links in this post, and if you purchase using them, I am compensated. Thanks for the support, and I hope you enjoy these resources as much as I did!

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade has been a nationally-recognized personal finance expert for the past decade. He has written professionally for The Balance, The Spruce, LendingTree, Investing Answers, and other widely-followed sites. 
He’s also been a featured expert on CBS News, MSN Money, Forbes, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, Go Banking Rates, and AOL Finance.

In 2018, Jacob quit his job and his family decided to sell everything (including their home) to take off on an adventure. They traveled the country in an RV for nearly 3 years, visiting over 38 states, 20+ national parks and eventually settling in the sunshine state!

10 thoughts on “My Road To Financial Wellness and Resources That Helped Me Along The Way”

  1. Thanks for the love, brotha! I hope you were able to meet up with Jason & crew! I wasn’t able to so had to watch from the interwebs 🙂 Always love hearing your backstory with $$$ – much more exciting than mine, haha…

  2. Great story and I think the mission behind the road trip is awesome. So many people feel so trapped by their money and bad habits and sometimes just need someone to let them know they can live a more profitable life. Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. We had a blast working with Jason and the crew on their Chicago stop!

    Dave Ramsey was a big factor for our financial freedom as well. We thought we were pretty good at this money thing until we ran into Dave’s teachings back in 2008 and that changed the game for us.

    I guess it’s time to start digging into these Mr. Money Mustache philosophies to see what’s that’s all about.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • I wish I could have made it out, glad you were able to meet with him! And yes, have fun checking out MMM, it’s a great place to learn how to mentally master your money.

  4. hi,
    Brand new reader here. Very nice blog. I look forward to perusing and catching up on your material.
    On the subject matter above I want to weight to say that Dave Ramsey speaks directly to the immediate need of more than half of all Americans – how to get control of one’s personal finances and get out of soul-crushing debt. While one doesn’t need to follow every bit of his advice to achieve financial stability, his guidelines are a very good start. In fact, I basically used his principles back in 1998 without knowing who he was, and I recovered from a financially devastating divorce and climbed completely out of debt ($32k) within two years while working as a 1stLt in the Marine Corps – not a huge salary for those who don’t know. Having become a qualified investor over the last 16 years through the cautious and deliberate leveraging of debt in real estate investing, I part with Mr. Ramsey his restrictions against all debt when it comes to building wealth, but that is not really his mission. For the vast majority who need his message, he is a great resource.
    Again, really enjoying the blog so far.

    • Thanks for stopping by Shaun. Yes, Dave Ramsey was my catalyst for getting control of my finances. Glad to hear you’ve got almost a few decades of great money management under you belt, puts you in a great financial position 🙂


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