Q&A with Barry Choi of MoneyWeHave.com

Barry Choi started out in the blogging realm originally by writing guest posts for other blogs. Based out of Toronto, where he was born and raised, he formally launched Moneywehave.com a little over a year ago.Barry is not a formally trained investor, and everything he know is self-taught. He does not blog full-time and during the day works as a Director at a television newsroom. His perspective on personal finance is both informative and distinctive, and he brings a unique topic to the table – personal finance budgeting for travel.

Why did you start Money We Have?

Barry Choi smiles into the camera

After realizing my financial “advisor” was taking advantage of me I decided to fire him and take control of my personal finances. I realized that there’s a lot of bad information out there and I didn’t want people to make the same mistakes I made.

What is the area of finance that your blog is particularly strong on (a particular demographic you focus on, etc)?How does your personal finance blog differ from others in the space?

I consider budget travel to be my niche. I’m not talking about staying at hostels, or finding pricing errors on flights; I like to share practical advice anyone can take advantage of. There’s this misconception that travel is expensive but simple things like budgeting and saving can go a long way.

The same principles apply to what I write about personal finance. Simple, practical tips that anyone can take advantage of.

I believe that my voice is what keeps people interested. I don’t tell people how to manage their money, I want to have a conversation with my audience and share practical advice.

How do you generate ideas and choose what you want to write about on a daily basis/what helps you generate materials on a consistent basis?

A majority of my story ideas come from the conversations I have with people every day. What people are talking about inspires me to write content that can help them now. I also pay attention to current events and try to write content that is timely and topical.

I also have a calendar of general topics I plan on writing about, but if something comes up I’ll shift my schedule around. Without having a focused message and consistency your readers won’t come back.

What are the biggest struggles you have and what is your personal financial goal (both short term and long term)?

One big struggle for me right now is the cost of home ownership in Canada. It doesn’t matter how much you have saved, the prices are ridiculous. I’m perfectly fine renting for now and I don’t let other people’s perceptions affect my decision making.

What do you see as the biggest impediment to most people achieving their personal finance goals?

Not caring. Many of us just don’t take money seriously, we assume that things will work themselves out or our governments will take care of us. This is ridiculous, no one will care more about your money than you.

What are some steps that readers can take tomorrow to begin improving their financial situation?

Read a book! I have a list of the best Canadian personal finance books but if you’re American I really like Farnoosh Torabi’s stuff. Honestly if you read just one book on personal finance, you’ll probably know more about money than 70% of the population.

What tools or resources do you rely on to keep your own personal finances in order?

Good old excel does the trick for me. I created a budget with it years ago and I just modify it as needed. I also use the MoneyWise app to keep track of my daily spending. If you’re looking for something more detailed, I really like the look and use of You Need A Budget.

Do you think there is an area of personal finance that there aren't enough resources on?

There needs to be more disclosure about fees and compensation. A lot of people out there don’t realize how much they’re being charged in fees. In Canada this is being addressed with the client relationship model – phase 2.

What other websites or blogs do you read regularly?

A couple of my favourite sites include Boomer and Echo, My Own Advisor, Our Big Fat Wallet, Budgets are Sexy, and Budget and the Beach.

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