It’s been an amazing first year writing here on Minafi. Technically, I started the blog in August of 2016, but it took a while for me to understand what I was doing. Here are my top 10 favorite posts from 2017. These aren’t necessarily the top 10 most popular, or most commented on, or most revenue generating – but these are the top 10 posts from the year that I’m the proudest.
Imagine a calculator, a choose-your-own-adventure book, a series of interviews & a guide to early retirement and financial independence all rolled into one! This post was a lot of fun to write. I collaborated with dozens of people for interviews, I had a beta process for it, talked about it on podcasts, wrote guests post about it and more. I was even able to use some of the technology behind it in other recent posts.
This post was lucky enough to be featured on Rockstar Finance, spent a day atop /r/financialindependence on Reddit, included in the YNAB mailing list, and featured in a number of roundups including Physician on Fire. Did I mention the next day we were hit by Hurricane Irma in Orlando?
Some of the beta readers for the interactive guide were completely new to the topic of FI and investing. Some of the feedback I got from them was that they didn’t know how to get started investing – and that was a core part of becoming financially independent. I took that advice to heart and added an opt-in to my free minimal investor course. This is a free 10-week email course going over the following topics:
- Week 1: Getting Your Accounts in Order
- Week 2: Understanding Diversification
- Week 3: All About Fees
- Week 4: Tax-Efficient Fund Placement
- Week 5: Making an Investment
- Week 6: Tracking Your Investments
- Week 7: Pay Yourself First Mindset
- Week 8: Tax Implications
- Week 9: Rebalancing Your Portfolio
- Week 10: Create Your Own Rules For Investing
When I added the form for people to signup for this course, I hadn’t even written the first post! I told myself if people signed up I’d write it. The entire course ended up being over 55,000 words long (that’s about a 200-page manuscript book). For now, I’m giving this away for free. In 2018 I’m hoping to refine this content into a book. If you’d like to sign up for the course now while it’s free, I’d love your feedback on it. You’ll get one email each week for 10 weeks – that’s it.
Readers have said some amazing things about this course already:
I just finished binge reading all the 10 emails from your course. I am 24 years old, moved from Venezuela 3 years ago to the US, and went to a very prestigious business school in Texas. I can confidently say that although I ‘aced’ all my Finance classes, I didn’t have any idea on what to actually do with my real 1st paycheck money, thanks to you I actually know now what I can do!
I’ll admit, I was riding high on that feedback for a while. 🙂
I’ve been thinking about this post for a while but hadn’t figured out a good way to write about the topic. There are many articles about calculating fire numbers, but one area that always seemed fuzzy to me was about how to incorporate a sense of uncertainty. This post was an attempt at to use some of the same formulas for FI as for professional software development. I woke up and saw this post featured on Rockstar Finance too! That really helped me get my groove back after our move out west.
Over 10,000 people have provided anonymous data using the interactive guide. That’s a lot of data to mine! One of the very first statistics that stood out to me was just how low peoples financial independence dates were. For millennials (the broad 18-35 range), the mean number of years they’d need to work to be FI crazy low. This data and graph-heavy post shows some of my initial takeaways from that data.
I was adding my numbers to my spreadsheet one day and realized how erratic my savings rate was when tracked monthly. I tried making a rolling 12 month average for SR and plotted that line along with my existing monthly line. Simple idea, but it was surprisingly effective for helping understand my overall trendline. This post was linked to on Rockstar Finance (my first) which resulted in me violently shaking Mrs. Minafi with happiness when looking at my stats.
Give. Earn Live. was running a contest on How to invest $1 Million, and reached out asking if I’d be up for contributing a portfolio. I thought this would be an awesome topic for a blog post, especially since my total investments at the time were almost exactly $1 million. It was a great opportunity to share my strategy and get feedback on it. As an added bonus, I got 2nd place in the contest and won a small payout! That ended up being my largest single financial event in 2017 for Minafi!
Similar to The Minimal Investor Course, this post is an attempt to show people what’s involved in investing. The 3-fund portfolio is a very simple core concept for diversification, and this post walks through what it is, why it’s useful and how to set it up at Vanguard. When I read The Bogleheads Guide to Investing, this concept was a major takeaway for me, and I’m glad a number of people have found value in it.
Like many people in the personal finance world, I track a lot of financial data. Spending, savings rates, stock holding, investment progress and more. I like the quarterly cadence of this for personal evaluation. Seeing stats as quarterly also makes comparisons far more useful than monthly to me. You’ll be seeing a Q4 Investment Report in the new year too!
On November 1st, I wrote about how it was going to be a tough month for me. During the month of November, we fixed up our house, listed it for sale, had it under contract, said goodbyes to friends and moved out (drove!) from Orlando to Salt Lake City. Between these two posts, there is a full account of this life experience for us.
When I published this article Bitcoin was at $3,604 each. Now it’s above $14,000. This post was all about dollar cost averaging bitcoin since it’s been a wild ride. I’ve been doing this since July, and it’s paid off handsomely, to the tune of over 250%+ growth. I feel that makes me lucky much more than smart. It’s not going to be as amazing as if I invested at the best possible time, but it’s also far better than investing at the peak. I’ve been using Coinbase to buy Bitcoin which makes it easy.
Bonus) Why I Don’t Blog Anonymously
When I first started Minafi (in 2016), the plan was to be anonymous. That would allow me to talk numbers and not worry about how it might impact my private or work life. After restarting writing in June of this year, I realized that was a false façade. I would still hold myself back from talking about these same topics because of the worry that my identity would leak out. When I realized that, things started to click and it became easier to find my voice.
What were your favorite posts from this year? Either that you read, or that you wrote? Feel free to link to yours in the comments (yes really! I’d love to see what your favorites were).