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Recently, I've become obsessed with personal finance. For no particular reason other than, I want to optimize my situation. Also I'd rather not be left out, when other's are smartly saving and investing for a rainy day.

Sound's boring right?

I thought so too, but things go from totally uninteresting to full-on obsession with me at the drop of dime. I have no idea why, but I follow these compulsive ideas as a signal that I'm on the right path.

Personal finance correlates well to blogging and artistic creation (of any kind). Seeing as how my readership is mostly 25-35 years old, you might be interested to know what I've discovered:

No personal investment will outperform a personal business

Typically, personal finance is about managing your existing money. But what about creating new wealth? Taking your passion or expertise, and selling it online is the most direct way of living the life you've imagined. I would highly encourage you to do this.

Just begin

The most important thing is to begin and make adjustments on the fly. Too many people sit in a perpetual state of thinking about what they want to do rather then just starting.

With personal finance, it's quite okay to start with a saving account. If you want to start a blog or business, just take the first steps to do so.

It's about your body of work

Your success doesn't depend so much on a single investment, but your total asset allocation. Meaning, it's about the big picture. Whether you're a photographer, musician, artist, or a creator of any kind -- you're not in this to be a one hit wonder.

My success with Intellimusica is spread across 200+ posts! Most of then are good, some of them are bad. But it's over 200 nonetheless.

Commit for the long haul

I personally know I guy who owned a little bicycle shop and retired at 44 years old. That's pretty young for retirement to say the least. Does a bicycle shop really earn that much? The answer is yes  and  no.

From the time this gentlemen was teenager, he imagined a lifestyle of relaxation and riding his mountain bike whenever he wanted. So, he decided at a young age to relentlessly pursue early-retirement from the age of 20.

His bike shop funded his bicycle lifestyle/culture, while he and his wife lived in an apartment above the store. They kept their living expenses very low, while smartly saving and investing everything they could. His final sale was to sell the store to one of his employees.

He committed for the long haul at and early age. The thing is: he committed to what he loved doing anyway, so it was hardly a sacrifice.

You can't time the market, or Google

I research search engine optimization (SEO) with the relentlessness of fund manager.  I'm pretty good, but no where near as good as Neil Patel. Just like a fund manager can be great, but no where near as good as Warren Buffet.

It is amazing to me how Google search is literally just like the stock market -- and a blog is like an individual retirement account. You create blog post after blog post, slowly but surely growing the size and volume of your blog. As you do so, your blog traffic begins to grow and compound.

Just when you think you've begun to get somewhere, a new Google search algorithm penalizes you for the transgressions of spammers, and your traffic plummets along with their's. This makes you scared, nervous, and ready to quit.

Many people do quit, but the thing is, your traffic didn't plummet all the way back down. You essentially took 4 steps forward and only two steps backwards. Also, the traffic crash cleared the deck of halfhearted bloggers who haven't committed for the long haul.

Your investment in your blog, comes back stronger and more robust every single time.

You must live extraordinarily, to live extraordinarily

I find it helpful to quote Fight Club's Tyler Durden in these matters

"The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after we've lost everything that we’re free to do anything. You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet."

A choice minimalist lifestyle is not about doing without. In fact, you should decide what you really want and get it. The idea is to discard anything you don't truly desire. For instance, if you hardly watch TV, then why are you paying for cable?

My friend (we'll call him Ryan), is single and likes having a brand new Audi S4 every 2 years. How does he afford it? He lives in a small apartment and has cut his immediate expenses to afford the gasoline and maintenance of his car, and motorcycles.

His lifestyle directly funds his desires and nothing else.

In my case, I'm a minimalist by nature, but my wife is not. I rationalize this by telling myself that I'm so cost free and low maintenance -- that I balance out my wife's spending behavior. However, I'll stop typing before I get myself into trouble...


(Note: Hemlock Grove is my premium content.)

How to play Nathan Barr's Hemlock Grove for guitar

One of my first blog posts (2011) was Nathan Barr's was Hairclip from True Blood. I'm horrified by the video sound, the guitar tabs, the post, everything. But, like saving and investing, you have to start somewhere. [Having said that, please judge me by me recent work.]

Hemlock Grove is very easy to play except for one chord at 0:20 of the video. That shape might give pause to some beginner guitar players. As a learning tool, a song like Hemlock Grove is great because it's short, relatively easy, but has one single chord shape that will push your ability a little. I also like this piece because the guitar tab is one single page long, played straight through.

Enjoy, the tab is available below:

Modern content for the practicing guitarist.

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Written by:

Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, short-film composer, creator of modern content for guitar.