5 Years as a Blogger – Is It Time for a Change?

5 Years as a Blogger - Is It Time for a Change?This week marks five years for me as a blogger.

For some that’s nothing – just ask J.D. Roth, Jim Wang, and ESI Money who are just a few personal finance bloggers who have been around for ages… and they’re all fantastic!

For others though, five years might seem like a lifetime. I’ve heard statistics that most blogs fail within 6 months or that 95-99% of blogs fail each year. I’m not going to link to any of these articles, however, because no one seems to have the data to back up those supposed stats.

Regardless, after being a part of the community for this long, I can tell you that a heckuva lot of blogs do fail. They come and go and seem to do so pretty quickly.

Even though I can’t give an exact number, I’m happy to say that Route to Retire has made it for a solid amount of time.

But after five years of being a blogger, I’m now starting to wonder if it’s time for a change. Let me break this down a little more and tell you what’s going on in my crazy mind…

 

Why did I become a blogger?

I started this blog in May of 2015 for a few reasons:

  1. To document my journey to financial independence
  2. To share with others the money knowledge I was learning
  3. To create a bridge of something to do once I reached retirement
  4. To make a little money on the side

Although the reasons were simple, Route to Retire has paid off exponentially (and not from blog income).

Being a blogger entrenched me in the community. To grow my own blog, I started reading other personal finance blogs and commenting on their posts. That strategy was good for my blog, of course, but it also forced me to grow my personal finance knowledge by reading all these posts. I was learning new tactics to get my money on track faster than ever.

As a side note, I’ve spent a lot of time replying to comments on my blog. I’m proud to say that I’ve responded to every single comment since this blog first started.

My blog also ended up making me feel accountable for my actions. As time went on, I felt like I owed it to my readers to show that reaching FIRE (financial independence / retire early) was indeed possible and that pushed me even harder.

And most importantly, I made so many new friends in the community both online and in-person (thanks, FinCon!). These friendships are real and ironically enough don’t even revolve around discussing anything to do with money.

 

The upward trend

Let’s start with the fun part. As a blogger, you have to enjoy what you do. Otherwise, you’re probably going to jump ship pretty fast.

However, it’s still nice to see more readers showing up and appreciating your content. Almost all bloggers are excited when they first start out and have a ton of ideas. They get their first post out there and then… crickets.

That’s likely a big reason why so many bloggers seem to disappear. That frustration of barely anyone coming to your site or commenting on your posts is kind of a letdown. It feels like nobody’s listening.

But here’s the cool and weird thing about the Internet. If you continue to consistently publish quality material (with an emphasis on “quality”!), traffic will slowly start to grow. Being a blogger is definitely a long-term game.

Here’s a look at the chart of my growth since the beginning…

5 Years as a Blogger - Is It Time for a Change? - WordPress Stats
Who doesn’t love a pretty upward trend?!

It’ll be interesting to see if 2020 will actually continue to grow beyond last year’s numbers. This pandemic seems to have killed a lot of traffic for bloggers in the FIRE spectrum. A lot of folks may be trying to figure out how they’re going to pay their bills right now and aren’t worried about financial independence.

 

My income as a blogger

We don’t rely on my income as a blogger. That said, it’s always nice to see something coming in for the work being done. I’m not bringing in a lot of money but I’m happy to see something coming in.

I’ll be honest – I was pretty sloppy at keeping track of my blog income as it started to grow. Now I’m using a spreadsheet and Wave Accounting (how can this awesomeness be free?!!) to ensure that I’m tracking everything correctly. Keeping everything separate with no comingling using a business checking account and business credit card has made life tremendously easier!

I didn’t really make jack in 2015 and 2016, but here’s how the other years have stacked up:

  • 2017: $2,062
  • 2018: $2,100
  • 2019: $1,891
  • 2020 (YTD): $276

Terrible, right?

I do have around $800 of income that should be posting to my business checking soon so that’ll bring this year up to just over $1,000 for these first 4 or 5 months. But when you think about how much work goes into being a blogger, even a couple grand a year amounts to just pennies per hour for your work.

I will say that 2018 and 2019 were not years I was focusing on monetization. I was a little preoccupied with closing in on leaving my job, selling everything we owned, and moving to Panama. Minor details, I know.

Even so, a few extra bucks from doing something I enjoy is a little bit of gravy for this early retirement life. If that helps us take even one additional vacation each year, that’s not too shabby.

 

Why this blogger ain’t rollin’ in the dough

There are two big reasons why I think this blog isn’t throwing out as much money as it could be:

  1. Not enough content
  2. Not pushing every product/service on God’s green earth

Not enough content

To grow a blog quickly, in almost all cases, you need to be putting out a lot of content. Some bloggers publish posts daily or almost every day. Others do posts a few times a week.

It’s not so much of a secret in the blogging world to know that the more quality content you release, the faster your blog will likely grow. You have more content to be referred by Google and you have more readers excited to come back more often to see what you’ve got going on.

In my world though, I learned real fast that balancing the home and work life left little time for being a full-time blogger. My posts tend to be a little longer and unless I shunned my family, I wouldn’t have time to do a few posts every week. I’ve had some weeks where I’ve been able to squeeze in a second post but not many.

In fact, this is post #292 since the origin of Route to Retire five years ago. That includes 288 posts from me and 4 from Lisa. You can always see a list of all my posts here. Although a newer blogger or non-blogger might look at that number and think it’s pretty high, it’s really not that impressive for that amount of time.

I could open things up for guest posts, but I haven’t wanted to go down that path as of yet. My goal is to just continue to take my time and publish posts I think are worthwhile and not to throw out content otherwise. Others can churn out quality content faster, but it takes me about 6-8 hours to create a post.

Between that and spending a lot of time with my 9-year-old daughter, that doesn’t leave much room. Sometimes I get frustrated with the slow growth of the site, but it’s still a nice upward trend and that always makes me a little more content.

 

Not pushing every product/service on God’s green earth

If a blogger wants to make money, there are several ways to do it. Here’s a few of the more common:

  • Advertising
  • Sponsored posts
  • Selling a self-made course, book, etc.
  • Affiliate marketing

Advertising is the easiest to do. Slap a few pieces of code in place and you’re basically done. The more traffic you get, the higher the potential for advertising revenue is.

Sponsored posts are when another person or company publishes a post on your site usually revolving around subtly (or not so subtly) endorsing or selling a product or service they sell. You can make some pretty good money with these. I haven’t touched them though because I don’t want to confuse or mislead the reader in any way.

Selling a course or book is a fantastic way to make money. In fact, that could be the biggest money-maker for a lot of bloggers. The downside is that it takes a lot of work (like a real lot) to get it done. I can vouch for that in that I’ve written and published a couple of non-fiction books over the years (computer-related). I’d eventually like to write another book or two but we’ll see if they’ll be related to personal finance or not.

And then there’s affiliate marketing. That’s when you refer someone to a product or service and get paid a commission on it. That’s also the sweet spot for me right now. When I find something I believe in or use and feel you could too, then I’m happy to recommend it. Here are just a handful of examples:

  • Personal Capital – I use it and love it! How could you not?! It’s a free, easy, and awesome way to manage your finances.
  • How To Engineer Your Layoff (eBook) – I bought this book myself while I was still at my 9-5. It’s an expensive eBook but I picked up a lot of good information from it and thought it was worth it. I wrote about my thoughts on it in my post Get Paid to Get Laid Off – How to Engineer Your Layoff.
  • NordVPN – I signed up for this once we moved to Panama, but I probably would have even if we had stayed in the U.S. I’ll be writing about this soon, but using a VPN for security and privacy is something that should be in everyone’s arsenal.
  • Credit cards – We love travel rewards and have saved thousands over the past couple of years. If you’re considering signing up for a new credit card, please consider clicking through on my recommended credit cards page to do it.
  • Namecheap – Namecheap is now the registrar for all my domain names (e.g. routetoretire.com). Buying one is the same everywhere, so don’t waste your money elsewhere – Namecheap is about as inexpensive as it gets!
  • BigScoots – I switched to BigScoots in 2018 from a different web hosting provider and it was like night and day! Every website needs somewhere to live so be careful of just signing up for the cheapest – you’ll regret it later. Slow speeds and bad customer support plague a lot of the cheapos out there. BigScoots provides a fantastic value for a good price with great customer support.
  • Backblaze – If you’re not backing up the valuable data on your computer, you’ll inevitably regret it. Backblaze is fantastic, inexpensive, and just works in the background. I use it to back up our home theater PC (the rest of our computers are Chromebooks and don’t need to be backed up).
  • Money Academy – My daughter, Faith, is now trying this out and I’ll be doing a review on it, but so far, we’re enjoying it quite a bit. This is from Scott Alan Turner and consists of money courses broken up into age ranges from kids through adults: KIDZ Money, TEENZ Money, and BEST Money Academy.
  • Amazon – That’s right, anything you order from Amazon after clicking through on my link won’t cost you a penny but will shoot a commission our way to help support the site.

So why am I telling you this? Because there are also tons of other products and services out there that I could be selling through pretty easily and earning hefty commissions from that are garbage.

Yes, I could bring in a lot more money selling them, but that’s not what this blog is about. My goal is for you to see something I recommend and know you can trust that I do feel it’s worthwhile. Then if you want it, great – click through and I make a little money for the site. Otherwise, no harm no foul.

 

What’s the problem?

Being a consistent blogger in early retirement with a kid presents a few interesting challenges…

The feeling of a deadline

Even though I’m retired from my 9-5, Route to Retire makes me feel as if I have a deadline to keep. And in a way, that’s 100% true.

In five years, I’ve managed to not miss a single week of getting a post published. When I first started, I didn’t have a set day of the week, but now that day is every Tuesday morning… rain or shine!

That’s great for a blogger when your readers know your schedule and start to become accustomed to seeing that new post every Tuesday. It’s also good for me because that consistency makes it harder to fall off the wagon. Lisa, Faith, and I all know that I need to get a post written and ready to go for the next week. It’s just become part of our schedule.

The problem is that I don’t want a deadline. I’m retired now!

It’s not a matter of topics – I keep a running list of topics and thoughts I want to write about and that could keep me going for months. I just want to write when I feel like writing.

If we’re out playing or having fun, I don’t want to worry about getting back so I can work on a post. On the flip side, if Faith’s doing her own thing and the mood strikes, maybe I could crank out a couple of posts.

Selfish, right? But I’m allowed to be – blogger privilege! This isn’t a full-time career bringing in the bucks to put food on our table.

 

The excitement about money is well… losing some excitement

Here’s an odd little tidbit… once you reach early retirement, for some reason the subject of money doesn’t seem to be a topic you’re consumed by anymore. That’s not to say that it’s not important – it very well is. However, you knew where you needed to be and you’re now there.

I don’t listen to a ton of personal finance podcasts anymore. I do listen to every single daily episode of the Clark Howard Show because I seem to always pick up something useful from every episode. But otherwise, I rarely tune into podcasts as religiously as I used to.

I still have hundreds of personal finance blogs in my news feed, but I do a lot more skimming than reading nowadays.

It’s not that I don’t love and respect what everyone’s doing – there are some crazy smart and creative people out there. However, a lot of that has become less critical to me now.

That said, you’ll notice that a number of my posts now revolve around other aspects of personal finance, early retirement life being the most prevalent. Why? Because that’s what I’m living now and that’s what’s on my mind.

 

Time to try other things is finite

If you’re a regular reader of mine, you know that I tend to struggle with finding the right balance in life. And sometimes that leads to me to frustration or ticking off Lisa or Faith.

But recently, I realized that my expectations have been too high. As I talked about in “Early Retirement with Kids Is Wonderful… but Frustrating”, I figured out that I was trying to live the retired life of a guy without kids plus still spend tons of time with my family.

It’s not possible. I came to the conclusion that it’s not my time in life to try knocking out all these big ambitions in life. My main focus is on quality time with my daughter before she grows up. Once she’s done hanging with her dear old dad and eventually leaves the nest, then I can start looking at my ambitions more.

That wake-up call has helped kill a lot of my frustration. But that doesn’t mean I can’t try doing a few projects here and there. Maybe I can’t start writing new books or start a podcast with all the time involved, but why couldn’t I learn new things like a programming language, playing the harmonica, or martial arts?

Right now though I spend a chunk of my free time working out and learning Spanish. Throw in my time as a blogger and that free time quickly disappears.

So, if I want to do some other things, I need to cut back somewhere. Working out is what it is and learning Spanish will be ongoing for a while. So that leaves Route to Retire as something that might need to be pushed back a little bit.

 

So…

Don’t worry – I don’t plan on going anywhere soon. But I do think that you might see some of the strict structure start to soften around here.

The more you put into a blog, the more successful it’s likely to be. And although I love being a blogger here and enjoy my time writing, success doesn’t need to be the motivating factor.

I love being a blogger – I enjoy writing each and every post. If I didn’t, I would have packed up and called it a day years ago.

I really thought I’d post more often once retired (and still may one day), but right now, I don’t want to take away any more time that I could be spending with my daughter.

Maybe it’s time to ease up a little on hard deadlines and stop feeling so obligated to get a post out every single Tuesday. Now that’s easy to say that, but let’s see if my Type A personality will allow that to happen! 😉

 

What do you think? Am I being a selfish blogger by wanting to loosen up my schedule?

 

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

63 thoughts on “5 Years as a Blogger – Is It Time for a Change?”

  1. Wow happy 5 year anniversary dude. When I read that this was your 292nd post I quickly went over to my WordPress data to see how many I have, and I kid you not, the post I put out today is number 292 on my blog as well! What a crazy coincidence!

    Like you I have been very regimented, I post every Tuesday and Friday. And for a while in 2018 I was adding a third post sometimes which is why I have so many. Being that I’m only semi-retired and still work a W-2 job for 20 hours a week it does take a lot of work to do two posts a week. But part of me likes the regiment and schedule of it to keep me accountable. I can say for sure that if I had a kid there’s no way in hell I would be keeping up two posts a week.

    Sounds to me like if the blog income is not a major focus for you, which it doesn’t seem to be, you should just post when you feel inspired to. That’s what retirement is all about right?

    1. That really is a crazy coincidence! You’ve been crushing it, my friend!

      So true on keeping a schedule – I think that’s part of what I’m a little nervous about. If I don’t have a schedule, I tend to let things slip. Yes, I’m retired, but I don’t want this blog to just wither away either. But yeah, the kid factor does make the balance tougher… and that’s more true while we’re all trapped in our condo together 24×7! 😉

  2. Jim, not at all, though we haven’t hit FI yet, the statement not wanting a deadline always plays into why I am pursuing this so hard. Also I really feel and know that I’m doing this for unrestricted, endless time with my two daughters. That endless time will only dwindle as they grow older and think Im less coll to hang out with until it eventually will dwindle down to a day a week =). So I plan on picking up something at that point to take us across the finish line. I love the blog, one of my favorites since I was able to pick up early on the journey so it has helped us a lot. Keep it up if you can, if not no hard feelings, hopefully one day we can meet maybe in Lima Peru. If you have not been after this Covid thing is all up you and fam should really head down there. Thats where we are thinking of moving to, but trying to figure out a way around the visa restrictions. Anyways, seems like homeschooling is going well keep it up.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Nadeem. I hope to keep things going close to what I’m doing now but if an occasional week gets skipped, so be it. You nailed it with talking about wanting that time with your kids and how it will start to decrease as they get older. Spending so much time doing things like this blog can always be ramped up once kids move on.

      I’ve heard some good things about Peru, but have never been there – maybe someday! Good luck with making the move happen!

  3. Jim, I think there’s a reason most FIRE bloggers end up blogging less in retirement, even though most expected to be blogging more. I’m with you on the challenge of making a self-imposed deadline. So…don’t. We’re heading out camping today for the next week, so I decided not to post this week. It’s within your control. But it’s really hard to do. Good luck as you sort it out, I 100% empathize with the struggle.

    1. I like to hear that you sometimes miss a week – that makes me feel less guilty since we’re like brothers from another mother! Have a blast camping – we miss that a lot and hope we’ll be able to fit in some tent camping when we visit the US in June (another hopefully!!). 🙂

  4. Hi Jim!
    Been a reader of your blog for a couple years now….enjoyed your stories of moving to Panama! Good stuff! Please don’t get discouraged on your views going downward this year. The pandemic has affected many things!
    My thoughts are: 1. If you do it for income only….then you are right in trying a different side job.
    2. If you think deeply and reflect, do you have the same passion to continue? Maybe even ask another blogger like Fritz if he has ever wavered in his passion level?
    3. What do you want to fill your time with otherwise? Maybe volunteer at a Boquette charity of your choosing once the restrictions lift?
    4. Ask your wife and child for help in your decision. They are there for love….and support!

    Carol and I volunteer with Habitat for Humanity building homes in various states and love it! The passion for helping others has not declined. Our hearts are better for it.

    I am 61 and will tell you honestly that the end of my time “chasing dollars” was the best decision of my life! I feel free. If that makes sense. Once you decide “you have enough”, it lifts you up in many ways! I feel I am only a steward of our dollars and enjoy giving back to society. Good luck with your decision Jim.
    God speed, Steve and Carol

    1. Thanks for the great comment, Steven! At $2k-3k/yr, it’s definitely not about the money! 😉

      I actually did talk to Lisa and Faith a few weeks ago and they wanted me to keep pushing forward. I’m going to keep at it for sure, but there might be a week that gets skipped periodically (kind of like Fritz mentioned in his comment on here).

      I love that you guys are volunteering at Habitat for Humanity. Right now, my plate is full, but when I figure out the right cause down the line, I’ll likely start to cut back even further. For now, I want to enjoy every minute I can with my family and even sprinkle in trying some new small hobbies here and there.

      Love what you’re doing out there!

  5. Hey Jim, so what if you’re being selfish. It’s not like you actually owe us a blog every week. I think the structure loosening will be just fine. I also think your mix of what you blog about is great. I’m learning about Panama, where you put your money for investing, what services you use and don’t. It’s a good mix. So, do as you please, we will be happy whenever the post comes out.

    P.S. I watched you and the fam on the househunter show and it was great to see you guys in action. Yes, you did come off as a cheapskate. Ha! At the end my wife says ” I knew he’d get his way.”
    Have a great week, Rick

    1. Haha, I’m not too far off from being a cheapskate but that came off a little excessive. 😉

      I appreciate the nice words and I definitely like the feedback on the content. Sometimes I wonder if people roll their eyes with the mix. I think loosening the schedule up will be a burden lifted and I’ll just continue to mix it up.

      Thanks for the helpful comment, Rick!

  6. Congrats on your 5 year blogging
    anniversary and for the steady growth each year. You are right, most retired people don’t have deadlines anymore and they don’t like feeling they have deadlines each week either. Hopefully you’ll find the right balance between your blog, family life & retirement. Keep up the good work even if you post less often. I always look forward to them!

  7. Hi Jim,
    I got to meet you last November, at the hotel bar across from your condo. At the time, I was taking the Panama Relocation Tour, which I probably wouldn’t have even heard of, were it not for your blog. I told you that I look forward to your blog every Tuesday morning with my first cup of coffee. I am fortunate enough to have retired three years ago at the age of 56. I really learned a great deal from your site, about Panama, the tour, travel credit cards, WhatsApp, and NordVPN. I’d hate to see you give up the blog, but I can definitely understand steering it more away from being strictly finance oriented. I hope in the future you can talk a little more about Panama, since that is where I am hoping to locate myself during the summers. I also want to hear more about what your family thinks about your Year One trial period there. Are you planning on staying there? It’s different now with the Coronavirus, but if you stay, do you plan on having Faith attend school, or just continue home schooling her? Please don’t give up on your site. I do understand wanting to cut back though, after all you are retired. Stay safe, stay healthy.

    1. Of course, I remember having a couple beers together when you were here, Mike – that was great to get together with you and the others. No worries about me giving up on the site, but I’m likely going to periodically skip a week here and there. Thanks for the feedback about the posts as well. I’ll probably continue to rotate things out as I always have with what’s on my mind.

      I like the questions you have, too. Lisa happened to mention the other day that she wants to write another post about the progress of homeschooling so that should help in that area. You read my mind on the Year One trial… I’m saving that one until we hit the end of the year in August! 😉 In the meantime, I have a couple posts coming up that you’ll probably enjoy, too.

      Stay safe, my friend!

  8. Congratulations on 5 years of blogging. For what it’s worth I don’t think you’re being selfish at all. Your family should always come first and it makes this Mother/Grandmother very happy to see that that is your priority. I love reading your blog and don’t want it to go away so was very happy to see that wasn’t going to happen. You have to do what’s best for you and your family. I also really enjoyed watching y’all’s episode of House Hunters International. This reader will keep reading whenever you post.

    1. Thanks, Kathi – I appreciated the kind words! I’ll be continuing on, but probably just skipping a week here and there. Once Faith is grown, I’m sure time will free up to spend more time on it and maybe even ramp it up more if it makes sense. 🙂

  9. I’ve had similar thoughts. I blog as a hobby. Not retired but I’m running into issues of it being harder to get excited to write new content after four years and almost 400 posts.

    In my case I’ve got a moderate size backlog of posts. I’ve decided to work my way through that backlog while writing as I feel the drive. When that backlog goes away I’ll reevaluate. A hobby shouldn’t feel like a chore, even if it makes you a few dollars. In my case we shall see.

    I have to keep my server for other purposes so like you at least disappearing is unlikely.

    1. Wow, nice job on so many posts! I don’t know if you’re like I was, but I figured I’d run out of things to talk about after a year or two… guess that’s not true! But yeah, the excitement about certain topics does have its highs and lows.

      I like your idea about working the backlog, especially if you’re not feeling inspired. I’ll be curious to see how the re-evaluation goes down the line. I have a feeling though that this pandemic is causing a lack of motivation for a lot of us. Maybe once this passes or loosens up, the drive will come back for us as well? 🙂

      1. Very similar expectations, and yet here we are. It’s very possible after Covid lifts the posts will come. After all if it’s impacting readers it also has to be impacting us. Anyway happy 5 years!

  10. Just look at it this way: with 292 posts you’ve already put out 3x the amount of The Mad Fientist. :p I’m at 217 so Not too far off.

    It is funny how a weekly cadence once seemed like so little, but now after RE it seems like a lot for me too. I think part of it is trying to write 1 awesome article vs 3 shorter ones. Your articles seem to cover a topic in full, which i enjoy!

    Also: backblaze is awesome! I’ve used the, for years. I had a HD fail and ended up buying a 4tb hd loaded with my data from them. Easy process!

    1. Haha, never thought about it that way, Adam – I’m sure the Mad Fientist is drawing a lot more readers than I am total even putting out a lot fewer posts! 😉

      That’s interesting about the posting seeming like a lot for you as well. I like to hear the different perspectives of those with kids vs without. Is it because you have so many other things you feel like you could be doing, lack of motivation, or something else?

      I’ve never had to do a full restore through Backblaze yet, but being able to just get the whole thing shipped to you is a huge benefit and time-saver!

      1. > Is it because you have so many other things you feel like you could be doing, lack of motivation, or something else?

        Pretty much. It’s mostly about not trying to define my life by my blog – and instead having it be just another hobby. If it’s a higher priority than relationships, health or other things than I realize something is off. It’s possible to have lofty goals for a blog and still have it take a backseat – it just means you’ll need a lot more time.

  11. Congratulations! Nice job sticking with it.
    I think it’s fine to loosen up your schedule so you have more time for other stuff.
    Having a strict schedule is really good at the beginning. It keeps you going. Having a deadline gives you more structure at the beginning. Good luck!

    1. I’m no OG like you, Joe! If I remember correctly, you started in 2010, right?

      Yeah, I tend to do better with schedules, otherwise, things start to slip. I’ll probably just keep going but try not to stress or feel guilty if I miss a week (easier said than done!). 🙂

    1. That’s a lot of exclamation marks, Jim, so you must be serious! 😉 But you’re absolutely right – you only get one life. Being in a position to be able to make these kinds of choices is a real blessing and I don’t plan to waste it.

      When did you start blogging, Jim? Was Bargaineering.com back in 2005 or around that time?

  12. Here is my 2 cents.
    1. No you’re not selfish.
    2. You can always shorten up the posts so you don’t have to spend so much time on them, they don’t have to be a literary masterpiece. I only read a few blogs and listen to more podcasts. Personally I listen to and prefer the podcasts that are the shortest (and usually listen at 2x speed) to get through more different topics/information. I listen to Clark Howard all the time too!

    1. 1) Thanks!
      2) Yeah, I usually don’t aim to have longer posts, but they just tend to end up that way. I feel like I just need to get all my thoughts out on a subject and before you know it… 2500-3000 words! 🙂 Even when I really try to write a shorter post, it seems like they end up being 1500-2000 words. Such is life, I guess.

      Clark Howard is fantastic! Even though he doesn’t dig too deep into a subject, I feel like I get more value out of his show than any other.

      Thanks, Scott!

  13. I have been following your story for about 3 years and it has been very inspiring and insightful. Because you HAVE shared quite a bit on your journey, it has allowed me to live vicariously through you. We are older parents (early 50s) with 2 young kids (12 and 10) and struggle with working and spending time with them.

    I think that if your ambition is to have work-life balance and you are not dependent on your blog income in retirement, then just post 1-2 times a month and keep us updated. If something really funny or exciting happens, then blog about it. I think once a week is kind of a lot. I follow a few FIRE guys and it can fill up my email quickly.

    Your situation is unique in that you are quite young going into FIRE and live in Panama. This way, it will continue to inspire those of us who are still not quite ready to quit.

    1. Thanks, PGM – I appreciate the thoughtful words! As I read your words about struggling between working and spending time with your kids, it resonates a lot with me. That’s such a hard thing to work out that right balance. Best of luck!

      Balance has always a tough thing for me. If I don’t do something on a regular basis and make it a regular, I somehow find a way to let it drift away. That’s why blogging once a week has always been a good thing for me. Plus it gives me something fun to do on the side. I just need to cut myself a little slack without feeling guilty about missing a week here and there. 😉

  14. Excellent article love reading your blog hope you keep going! Btw how are the Spanish lessons going? Would be good to get some advice on what has worked and not worked for you.

    1. Much appreciated! The Spanish is going well… sort of. 🙂 The learning has been going great – I haven’t missed a day in 418 days of doing the free versions of Drops, Duolingo, and Memrise. I’m also more than halfway done with the video course, Learning Spanish: How to Understand and Speak a New Language, which I’m doing for free through the library. All of that has been very helpful.

      However, the biggest way to learn this stuff is to actually use it. Unfortunately, with us in lockdown, it’s been extremely rare to talk to someone in Spanish. Once this lifts though (soon), I’ll be able to get back to talking to folks in Spanish at stores, restaurants, taxi drivers, librarians, etc.

      I’m hoping to write a post to go into this a little deeper on the pros and cons of everything. Good luck!

  15. I hear you! I started out gung ho blogging in the early days (7 years ago!) and slowly decreased my blog efforts. Currently doing just a monthly update with very few “original” posts in the mix. Some travel updates but that’s about it. Still a fun way to keep in touch with people and see what others are doing. I’ve sent several people looking for the expat life toward your blog, for example.

    But at the end of the day you are right. Life is finite so do whatever brings you the most value.

  16. Congratulations Jim on your five year anniversary and 292nd post!
    That’s impressive and appreciate how well you explained the rational behind your blog. I believe the “why” is most the most important factor that keeps us going.

    In retirement, we have the option of doing whatever we want – whenever we want. For my wife and myself, starting our blog has provided a “sense of purpose” and accomplishment.

    The key is maintaining balance and living each day to the fullest. Your daughter will grow up far too quickly and is a priority. If that means relaxing your publishing schedule, so be it. Hey we only live once.

  17. Happy anniversary Jim! I’m so glad to know you IRL! And we’re still going to crash your pad one day when the world opens back up, especially now that I’m a Spanish teacher and would love to know more about Panamanian culture.

    Ok, para que practiques tu español–felicitaciones por tu aniversario numero cinco. ¡Es realmente increíble! Yo no gano mucho dinero de mi blog por las mismas razones que tú, pero me encanta escribir. Me sostiene de una manera importante. Y, igual que tú, las finanzas no me interesan tanto como antes. Estoy un poco obsesionada con YNAB ahora, pero aparte de eso, nada.

    Saludos a la familia, y muchos cariños les mando desde EE.UU.

    1. Haha, I tried my best to read through your Spanish but I’m still not there yet (though I did figure out quite a bit!). I cheated and pasted it into Google Translate! 😉

      Glad you’re still loving writing – there’s something about it that’s almost soothing in a way. I hope you and your family are well, Laurie – let me know when you’re coming to visit!

  18. Happy 5 years Jim! Being that I haven’t posted a blog post in many months and sadly lost my writing routine for WOW, I totally understand. I thought I would write way more when we were traveling and now that we are back. I have a ton of ideas, but no motivation to sit down and write. I’ve also had other endeavors that have taken up my mental energy in the past year or so. And so with that I say, you do you Jim. If you want to write, write. If you don’t want to, don’t. Your loyal readers will stick around bc they want to know what you are up to, regardless if it is weekly, monthly or once a year. Hope you are doing well.

    1. Thanks, Mrs. Wow! That makes me wonder – how have your numbers reflected you writing less? Did your traffic drop like a rock or is it less than you thought it would be?

      Things are good for us (well, as good as they can be during this pandemic!). Hope you guys are doing well, too!

  19. Congrats on hitting 5 years Jim. That’s a huge accomplishment in blogging world. No, I don’t think you’re selfish. Quality over quantity, that’s for certain.

  20. Hi Jim! I give you full permission to write on other topics. I mean, heck, you got the money part down and retired early, now we’d like to hear what retirement life is like! And if that means we don’t hear from you cus you are living life, we get that too 🙂

  21. I have really enjoyed reading your blog recently and watching your house hunters episode! It’s cool to see and read about your journey down to Panama. Family first! Enjoy your time with them. I’ll still be reading!

  22. Congrats Jim on 5 years! That’s a strong accomplishment.

    For some reason, I haven’t burned out yet. There’s just so much going on to talk about. And with quarantine, I have even more time to write.

    Since you highlighted Jim Wang as one of your favorites, why not do what he does and hire staff writers to write affiliate posts for you to make money? Look at his latest posts:

    * Alliant Credit Union Review
    * Best Free Online Streaming Services for 2020
    * Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card Review: $150 Cash Rewards Bonus and 1.5% Cash Back

    Those type of posts can not only make you money, it can also win you a Plutus Award and win fans such as yourself! A win-win-win.

    I plan on giving in and finally hiring staff writers to write affiliate posts as well. I think it’s what readers want, so it’s up to us to give it to them.

    Let’s do it!

    Best,

    Sam

    1. I’ve noticed that Sam – you’ve been writing some great financial posts lately!

      Although I love Jim’s blog, I can tell he’s treating it like a business and I’m sure it’s paying off handsomely because of that. Although I do enjoy seeing some money rolling in on mine, I actually like the idea that the posts are all mine and I think my readers like that too. Maybe down the line that could change, but I don’t anticipate it, at least for now.

      Just curious, what’s the reasoning for thinking that your readers want more affiliate posts?

      1. Regarding readers wanting more affiliate posts, I think it’s just reality. You just have to ask yourself why you love Jim’s site so much to mention it? Affiliate posts, of course! Loving a blog is all about loving the content.

        I used to find affiliate posts boring and hard to write. I didn’t think readers would like them, but it’s clear the most popular websites that get the most accolades are very heavy affiliate post focused.

        Hence, why not do what the popular sites do and just write or have someone write affiliate posts too? Can’t fight reality! Just have to adapt.

        Sam

  23. Hi Jim! Congrats on 5yrs! And by all means, enjoy any direction your inner voice takes you while being proud of all of the content you’ve made. Your statement that resonates with me is “focus is on quality time with my daughter before she grows up. Once she’s done hanging with her dear old dad and eventually leaves the nest, then I can start looking at my ambitions more” Same here as stay-at-home dad (not blogger), but especially now with the virus and everything virtual, it’s kind of a delicate balance not to “smother her” Good to try and maintain other hobbies/interests, plus researching stuff relating to those future “ambitions” Take care and stay safe!

    1. Thanks, Jim – sounds like you and I are on the same page of trying to balance time with the fam without being too in the way. It’s a one-time chance so why not make the most of it, right?

  24. Another vote for taking it easy on the posting schedule. As bloggers, I think we put more pressure on a regular schedule than even our readers do.

    I saw it put an interesting way recently… If Will Smith doesn’t make a movie for 3 years, are you sitting around wondering what Will Smith is up to? Probably not.

    No clue who said that, but there’s a lot of truth in there. There’s also plenty of examples of successful blogs with erratic publishing schedules, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

    PS – congrats on 5 years!

    1. This might be weird, but I’m always wondering what Will Smith is up to! 😉

      No, I get it and that’s a good point. We probably do put more pressure on ourselves than our readers would even care about.

      Thanks, Money Wizard!

  25. Congrats on 5 years Jim…I guess that means I’m coming up on 5 years soon too!

    I totally get it about getting burned out too… there are days when I want to quit also. But I reduce the number of posts when I’ve got other stuff going on, and of course I make the blog useful to me — not just the audience.

    A lot of the posts I write are about me trying to make investment or money decisions. My feeling is that if I put in the effort to do a write-up I’ll think through the decision more thoroughly.

    Sure, it’s not a big money maker, but if it still has utility to me, then I have a reason to keep writing.

    1. If I remember right, you created your site as kind of document to pass along to your kids – is that right or did I just make that up? Anyway, if so, I think that mission is fantastic motivation in and of itself.

      Regardless, you and I are similar in that we’re not out to make a cool million on the blog (though I don’t think either of us would turn it down). Instead, while we do write about the money side of things, we also write about what’s on our minds and some life in general stuff. I think that’s why I enjoy reading your site so much!

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