It’s been more than a decade since I started this site because I had no other outlet to talk about financial independence. Talking about your money in public remains a mostly taboo topic. The idea of financial freedom through an aggressive saving rate remains a niche interest. I suppose the anonymous nature of the internet makes it the ideal place for like-minded people to share information and experiences.
Robo-allocator WealthSimple runs a series called Money Diaries, in which “interesting people tell the unvarnished truth about their financial lives”. I don’t really know if I would call it completely unvarnished (can it be if you have a publicist?), but at least they’re sharing something personal about money! It can be reassuring to hear other people talk about how their childhood experiences or other struggles with money have shaped their lives.
I’ve been gradually working my way through them. Here’s a sampling:
- Anthony Bourdain
Before he was the guy from Parts Unknown, he was 44, never had a savings account, hadn’t filed taxes in 10 years, and was AWOL on his AmEx bill.
[…] Since that time, I am fanatical about not owing anybody any money. I hate it. I don’t want to carry a balance, ever. I have a mortgage, but I despise the idea. That was my biggest objection to buying property, though I wasn’t in the position to pay cash.
- Spike Lee
Here’s what I’ve learned, though: It only takes one yes. No matter how many people say no, you only need that one yes and you’re off and running. You can’t let the nos defeat you. Because that’s all it takes—just one yes.
- Kylie Jenner
That’s not to say I don’t splurge from time to time. The money I spend is mostly on cars. I have six of them right now. Six is probably too many, I know. But my number one jam this summer is this cherry red Rolls Royce Wraith that I’ve been driving all over the place. What can I say? I love it.
- Jay Allison (NPR, All Things Considered)
I went into college as an Engineering Major and came out with a Theater degree. This was 1973. My family didn’t love me any less, but they clearly thought I was making a foolish choice. But I’d bought into a sort of ‘60s Peace Corps-style idealism. I wondered, “What does wealth have to do with personal fulfillment, with happiness, with a well-chosen path through life?”
- Brett Loudermilk (Professional Sword Swallower)
Here’s the thing: I know nothing about money. I just know how to monetize this weird thing I do. I often joke that I want to be making a living while doing the least amount of work possible. But it’s not really a joke—it’s a real thing. There are tons of people in the world who do very little work and make more money than I can ever imagine, and I want a piece of that. And the reason is, with my free time I want to create art and performances that will make people happy. I love gigs where I can do 15 minutes of work and make a ridiculous sum of money that I can live off of for six months while I explore my own passion projects and weird fanciful ideas.
- Maria Bamford (Comedian)
There’s so much shame attached to discussing finances. I don’t totally understand it. Why can’t we all know what everybody’s earning? When I get booked to do a stand-up show, I can gross $20,000 or more in a night. That’s my current market rate.
[…] That’s when I found a 12-step group dealing with money. L.A. is the 12-step capital of the world, so it wasn’t hard. I love 12-step programs—any kind. I started going to them when I was younger and struggling with eating issues. I think that there’s huge power in a group of humans coming together, getting out of isolation, and helping one another think of new ideas. It’s a weirdly miraculous thing. And there’s always free coffee!