No Debt Plan is about getting and staying out of debt with a plan. Kevin, the author, is passionate about budgeting, saving for the future, and using goals to reach financial freedom. You can subscribe to his blog by RSS or email.
This interview is part of a new feature he’s developed called Subscriber Swap Saturday. The basic idea is to get the subscribers of one blog to subscribe to the other blog for at least a week, just to try it out. After a week if you don’t find that blogger’s content enticing, drop it. The hope is that over time you will find several writers that you weren’t familiar with who provide meaningful content to you. You can read more about Subscriber Swap Saturday at his get out of debt blog, as well as his interview with me.
And now, Kevin answers some questions I shot at him about his life, his finances, and his site:
You just hit the quarter-century mark this week. Any words of wisdom you’d care to share with us youngins?
Kevin: Ah, nothing like feeling old. 🙂 Just the same old same old — spend less than you earn, do something you love, and live on a budget. Contribute to your 401(K) and, if your 401(K) investment options have high expenses (or are not varied) open up a Roth IRA instead.
Were you good about your money and finances in college, or was that something that you developed after you graduated?
Kevin: I handled money great in college. I’m not so sure about when I learned it, I suppose it was over time. My first few years I lived on campus and didn’t go off campus a lot so there wasn’t a lot of ways for me to spend money anyways. But handling money in college is (or should be!) something on a small scale… I had a small part-time, on-campus job. There wasn’t a lot of money to spend in the first place. The major finance issues pop up once you suddenly have a real income coming in every month.
I’ve been following your blog (in its various forms) pretty much since I started my own blog! How have things changed for you since you started blogging?
Kevin: I was going to mention that as well! I first started out blogging on a domain associated with my name. But that didn’t rank very well for search engine terms associated with my content. That’s when I decided to switch to nodebtplan.net and use that domain to rank better in search engines.
I also made the switch from posting whenever I felt like it to deciding on a schedule (posting once daily) and sticking to it. When I first started I had a lot of topics to cover. When you write an article every day for a year and then some, you have to really start to dig in on some topics. That’s been pretty difficult.
Your blog focuses on something called the “No Debt Plan.” What is that, and how can 20-somethings make the No Debt Plan work for them?
Kevin: The No Debt Plan is essentially a summary of the advice I find myself giving to friends and co-workers time and time again. It’s similar to Dave Ramsey’s plan — you walk through the steps and it will show you how to setup a budget, how to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, and how to pay off your debt effectively.
To make it work, just read it. I tried to write it so that it didn’t come across convoluted and too complex to understand. I think personal finance writers often make the mistake of getting too far into the nitty gritty of the numbers. Those are good, but for a series of posts like that I tried to back off the numbers a bit. (Although it did sneak in there every once and a while.) Let me also say that the plan isn’t complete… I’ve still got a few more posts up my sleeve.
How about some quick-fire, often-debated personal finance topics:
Credit cards for college student, yay or nay?
If they have an income and can manage it responsibly, yay. Otherwise, nay.
Emergency fund or aggressive debt payoff first?
It depends. If your debt is credit card debt then technically if you had an emergency you could rely on that to pay for living expenses. I prefer for folks to have an emergency fund that works for them (whether $500 or $2,000) and then focus on the highest-interest rate debt first.
Should parents foot the bill for college for their kids?
Not at the expense of retirement savings. I am fine with parents paying for education (my parents and scholarships paid for mine). I think kids really need to try and get as many grants and scholarships as possible — there is a lot of money out there to apply for.
Even though I know your answer to this, it’s the most-hotly-debated: Debt snowball by remaining balance or by interest rate?
Interest rate. Interest rate. Interest rate. The math is clear cut. I do buy the part psychology argument of Dave Ramsey’s plan. But when you run the math and you could save thousands in interest… hey… get your motivation from somewhere else.
And finally, what do you see in the future for Kevin and No Debt Plan? (Tell us all of your secret plans!)
Kevin: Ah if I could only see into the future. I plan to continue blogging and would love to get to the point that I could blog full time. I have a few new blog ideas (as in new, separate blogs), but I just don’t have the extra time to develop them. I’ll finish my MBA in August and I am considering getting my Certified Financial Planner certification.
All that and keeping the dog worn out. 🙂
It was a really exciting opportunity for me to exchange these interviews with Kevin. As I said in this interview, the two of us have been tracking each other’s sites pretty much the whole time so far! I consider Kevin one of my “old friends” of blogging, and I would definitely appreciate it if you gave his site a chance. Subscribe to his site by RSS or email. And don’t forget to check out my answers to his interview questions!