How’d You Get Interested in Personal Finance?

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2008-02-1518

Here’s a great guest writeup from someone I’ve known for a while (he’s had this blog for exactly a year now!): Limeade from Fiscal Musings. Limeade truly enjoys personal finance and tells us today how he got started with it; and as I read his post, I can sense his passion for the subject. He’s one more engineer who loves to chat about money 🙂 . You can get his daily dose of musings by subscribing to his RSS feed.

Growing up we never really had a lot of money. I wasn’t aware of any of the specifics concerning the family finances, but I knew we didn’t have a lot of money to just throw around. As I grew older I remember telling myself that money wasn’t going to be an issue for me and that I wanted to be rich (whatever that meant at the time). While I was in college I remember still having this goal somewhere in the back of my mind, but I wasn’t doing anything about it. It wasn’t until the summer before my senior year of college (I was on the 5 year plan) that my mindset actually started changing, and I began working towards this goal that I had vaguely set years before.

The Internship

During this summer, I took an internship position with an Aerospace company as an Electrical Engineer since I figured it would be a good way to get my future career started. The internship was in another state and lasted for about 3 months give or take. Up until this point, everything I had learned in school was very theoretical and in the context of academia. On my internship I caught a glimpse of the “real world” and that products are engineered in order to sell them and make a profit. I also realized that there was more to life than just “what do I want to be when I grow up”.

I was also making more money on this internship than I had ever made before, and frankly didn’t need all of it. This got me to wondering what I should be doing with what I had left over. I went to the library and checked out all sorts of personal finance books, investing books, how to get rich books, and anything else that was remotely related. I didn’t read all of the books all of the way through since I was after the main content and not a plot-line or the experience. I was fascinated by everything that I read and just soaked up everything concerning 401k’s, savings, IRAs, the stock market, the bond market, and even a little about real estate (something I would learn about more a little later). I knew that I had a lot to learn and that not every source agreed with one another. It was a great learning experience and was sort of the springboard into personal finance.


Back To School

When I got back to college for my last year, I registered for a few business classes alongside my remaining engineering classes. I took an accounting class and sat in on a finance class. By far my favorite class was an Entrepreneurship Lecture Series where successful entrepreneurs would come in and talk about their experiences and how they did what they did. I absolutely loved the class and what I gained from their experiences. So, as an engineering graduate, my favorite class ended up being a business class… go figure.

I have since gone to work full-time for the same Aerospace company with whom I did my internship, and am looking forward to going back to school full-time to get my MBA since the business, investment and personal finance world thrills me. This is how I came to be so interested in personal finance and ultimately start a finance blog of my own. It wasn’t just one experience, but a collection of experiences that led me in this direction. So what was/is your experience? How did you develop an interest in the world of personal finance?

Copyright © 2008 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Adam February 15, 2008 at 10:17 am

I love numbers, although not always all those numbers the bank send me each month, usually with a minus sign in front of them!

when I was in my early 20’s, I got into horrific debt, which took a number of years to get out of. In hindsight it was one of the best things to happen to me as it meant that I learned the hard way about how to budget (amazing how you have to budget when none of the banks will give you another credit card!). I guess all those years of paying for everything with cash, and trying to get the debt down has made me almost anal about looking after my finances!

Personal finance fits in with my love of numbers, especially when you can use math to solve even fuzzy questions such as “Should I buy that?”. In a nutshell the equation is (want * need * investment) divided by 70, times how long you’ve wanted it, times your “spare” cashflow, divided by the cost of the thing you want! – I know it sounds mad, but it almost works! – I’ve even added a calculator to my web site to work it out for you! –

Silicon Valley Blogger February 15, 2008 at 10:27 am


It’s true that adversity is our biggest educator. I’ve found that those times when I’m backed into a corner are those times I find myself making the most significant changes in my life.

Those tough financial hurdles we face… well they often have a silver lining, as we (hopefully) take lessons from those experiences and parlay them into improvements and progress.

Mrs. Micah February 15, 2008 at 11:20 am

I think it was a personal finance class I took for an easy A combined with knowing that my fiance had a mountain of student loans. I began to find it interesting and just stuck with it.

In retrospect I would like to have taken more business classes. Unfortunately, you only figure out what’s really valuable by your senior year. And I had two senior projects so not much extra time. :-/ Maybe I’ll take more someday.

Frugal Dad February 15, 2008 at 11:36 am

My parents and grandparents didn’t have much money, but I hung around with friends who received boosts from their parents along the way (help with a downpayments, bought their first cars, big weddings, nice honeymoons, etc., etc.). I decided when I started a family I would be different. I wanted to get my kids off on the right foot – no student loans, safe first car, help them into their first home, etc. I started soaking up everything I could related to PF, including money magazines, books and watching financial programming on television.

Rich Money Million February 15, 2008 at 1:02 pm

I didn’t really pay much attention to financial matters until I got into a bit of debt and decided to educate myself on the details of money and the market. I think most people saw this also; they work, get paid, and spend it, slowly sinking into debt. It’s easier now with the internet and the volume of information that is available to people at different knowledge-levels. Money isn’t really a subject that many people talk about with their kids, family, friends, co-workers, and it’s created a society where people had to learn it on their own, like I had to.

Silicon Valley Blogger February 15, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Rich Money Million,

You said “Money isn’t really a subject that many people talk about with their kids, family, friends, co-workers, and it’s created a society where people had to learn it on their own, like I had to.”

This is precisely why blogs are great. There are lots of us out there who are unable to share this type of discussion with our own circles. It’s a taboo subject for many families and sometimes, it’s also a cultural thing.

I love how we can compare notes with others through blogging and reading blogs.

Bret Frohlich February 15, 2008 at 11:40 pm

I read “The Richest Man in Babylon” when I was 19 years old and it inspired me to save and invest for my future.

Steph Stanton February 16, 2008 at 1:24 pm

I applaud you for all your research. There’s so many resources available to us, and an internship is one of the best resources to get practical experience for your career.
My interest in personal finance blossomed after I’d already gotten myself into quite a bit of credit card debt (dumb!) and wanted to find a way to climb out of that hole!
After realizing that a regular job was not providing the income I needed to get back in the black, I signed up for James Brausch’s intern program. You don’t start out making big bucks, but he teaches you everything he knows, even providing you with all of his SEO programs for free. So many of his interns have gone on to have successful internet businesses. That’s what I was looking for–someone to teach me how to do it, not just blow smoke about how easy/fun/carefree it is.
I’m still going through his intern program, but I know that everything I’m learning works!
I’m happy to hear you also benefited from an internship program.

MossySF February 16, 2008 at 9:59 pm

When my mom was pregnant with me, aliens kidnapped her and subjected her to all sorts of experiments. One of them was to broadcast personal finance textbooks right into my still developing brain.

Silicon Valley Blogger February 16, 2008 at 10:41 pm


I have to give you the “most creative reply” award for your alien abduction story. Lol. You must be a natural with money!

RacerX February 17, 2008 at 1:25 am

First…Fiscal is one of my favorite Blogs. Great insight and a must read.

OK SVB that was a challenge to me at least.

Before I was born my mom was visited by the Governor of California. He destroyed our whole house, while yelling, “I’ll be back” at us…weirdo

When I was 12, Mom told me the truth…I was to save the future…Using the Power of Compounding. I had to earn every penny I could and invest wisely, as we would need the money to fight the machines…Oh sorry, that wasn’t was John Connor…I just grew up poor 🙂

No Debt Plan February 25, 2008 at 6:15 am

I read Money magazine in college (Thanks to my parents getting me a subscription).

I saw the numbers and said wow, I need to learn more.

The rest is truly history! 🙂

the energy egg February 2, 2012 at 2:03 am

This is where learning really starts, thank you.

Leave a Comment