Why start this blog? That is a question I’ve been asked by my friends and family. Truth be told, there are countless other financial literacy blogs on the web and a lot of them offer great advice. So what makes this blog different from the rest? It boils down to wanting to empower people; to give them confidence over their finances, and to make a positive difference in people’s lives that I feel that other blogs are lacking. Some give generic advice, while others give the wrong advice. I feel that this blog is different because everything I write about is things I have personally used or experienced and I am not being influenced by companies to make a buck.
You may notice that I focus a lot on side hustles for example. My view is that there is only so much someone can cut back on before their expenses before it affects our quality of life, but there is no limit on how much a person can make on the side. My main areas of expertise are the stock market, real estate, financial planning, side hustles, debt, and reframing how we look at money and how we can be happier while spending money on what we value most. This blog is not about saving every dollar like Ebenezer Scrooge. It’s about how to maximize your life’s potential and being financially free is one aspect to get you there.
This blog is meant to be a supplement to my book, Kicking Financial Ass, meaning you will find that I expand on topics found in the book and write a lot of new content that is not included. My ultimate vision with Money Sensei is to expand to a podcast, financial coaching, more books, online e-courses, and keep pumping out quality content that you cannot find anywhere else, becoming the ultimate all-in-one stop shop for everything personal finance related.
Why the Japanese theme?
From a young age I found myself drawn to Japanese culture and when I finally got to visit Japan for the first time in 2016, I fell in love. There’s something to be said about a hard work ethic, and striving to improve every day that I relate to, along with the many Japanese cultural references found in North American society today that I find endearing. Combine that with my love of finance and hence Money Sensei was born.
What’s your story?
While I don’t come from the perfect background, this blog isn’t so much about me as it is about teaching others what I learned along the way. However, I feel it is important for you to know where I came from and how I got to where I am today.
Growing up I did not have a lot. I grew up with a single mom along with my brother and we lived on less than $30,000 a year. That alone taught me an important lesson on how to budget when as a family we were literally living below the poverty line. While I can go into the details of the sacrifices we made to get by, I believe the lessons learned can be applied universally to people of all backgrounds.
From here my story goes, I went to the local university so I could live at home rent-free even though the commute was almost an hour and a half each way taking the bus. I worked in the summers and pinched my pennies working at sales jobs so with the help of a few scholarships I graduated with no debt (it also helps to be in Canada where our education is heavily subsidized). I finally graduated in 2010 and got my first real job making a whopping $40,000 a year, and continued to live at home and take the bus to and from work because on that salary I couldn’t justify having a car.
Fast forward a few years and I decided to go back to do my MBA in 2013. Only this time, tuition was substantially higher, and I decided to move to Toronto, one of the most expensive cities in Canada to live in, increasing my living costs. When it was all said and done, I had over $50,000 in student loan debt by the end of the program. That seemed almost insurmountable to me at the time. Fortunately, I then got a great job opportunity and moved to Calgary, Alberta for work. Not one to get easily discouraged, and using the lessons I learned growing up (and a lot of trial and error), I kept my expenses low and was saving over $3,000 per month that I was applying directly to my debt. Add in my employer matching, and automatic retirement account savings, I was saving nearly $50,000 per year. I should mention I was living in a basement suite with a roommate over an hour away from where I worked, driving my 2007 Honda Civic to and from the office each day using the park and ride at the train station to save on parking and additional fuel costs.
Now, having moved on up in the corporate world, eventually completing my CFA charter and continuing to read and learn everything there is to know on financial literacy I created this blog and wrote a book. While my circumstances may seem a bit extreme, everyone has their own values and savings goals and my mission is to teach you how to reach them in the most effective way possible. If you follow this blog and my advice, you will be able to hit them in far less time than you may think imaginable. If you feel like you don’t know where to start, fear not. Browse around on my blog to see if there is anything that may apply to your specific situation. My goal is to post at least once a week so given enough time most topics will be covered. With that said, it’s time for you to get out there and start kicking financial ass!
Legal Disclaimer: The views expressed by Mr. Dumont on Money Sensei are solely his and not intended as investment advice nor a guarantee of any financial return. Mr. Dumont is not an investment or tax professional, so the information contained on the blog is not a substitute for professional advice. The contents of this blog are accurate to the best of his knowledge at the time of posting, but rules and laws are ever-changing. Please do your research to confirm that you have the current information.