Q&A with Peter Anderson of BibleMoneyMatters.com

Peter Anderson, founder of BibleMoneyMatters.com, is a blogger well-known in the personal finance industry and has been making a buzz since he started in January of 2008. Peter started blogging around the same time he was taking a financial management class by Dave Ramsey. He was learning a lot about how to manage money, and decided to share some of the things he was learning online. Based out of Minnesota, his advice and words of wisdom have a much farther reach than just the suburbs.

What is your professional background? Do you make blogging a full-time career?

Peter Anderson smiles into the camera

While blogging is not my full-time career, I like to call it my second full-time job. I have a degree in communications, and my day job is in advertising and marketing. I work for a local advertising agency here in the Twin Cities, MN area.

Why did you start BibleMoneyMatters.com?

I started my blog for a couple of reasons. First, I was going through the FPU class as I mentioned above, and I truly wanted to share some of the things I was learning, and hopefully help people who were in similar situations.Second, I wanted to turn my blog into a bit of a second income for my family. My wife and I were planning on starting a family at the time - and she wanted to stay home with our children. I saw the blog as a way to replace her income, while allowing her to be with our son full time.

What is the area of finance that your blog is particularly strong on? How does your personal finance blog differ from others in the space?

I tend to focus most on investing and retirement topics as it's an area that I've focused on in my personal life as well. I also write quite a bit on ways to save money through technology, and finding ways to make extra income for your family.One thing that sets my site apart is the fact that my site operates in the Christian personal finance niche. I talk openly about my faith on my site, and explore how it affects my life and finances. I believe the Bible has a lot to say about how Christians (and non-Christians) should manage their money, and it's got a lot of common sense wisdom.

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

I find ideas for content all over the place. I find inspiration in the topics I'm reading in traditional media, through books I'm reading and through topics that I'm reading on other personal finance sites. Mostly, however, I find inspiration to write through the topics that I'm struggling with in my own personal life. I find something I'm interested in or I'm having to deal with, I research it, and then I write about. I always hear others talk about how they can't come up with anything to write about. For me the struggle is just finding the time to write all of the posts I've got bouncing around in my head.

In your blog you talk about either time or money being currencies of love, but do you think that having a combination of the two is a good/healthy strategy?

Another one of the writers on my site actually wrote that post, but being familiar with the article I do think that having a healthy balance can be a good strategy. For me I think it can be unhealthy when you go to extremes in a lot of things. If you're spending too much money on your kids, it can have an adverse effect on your pocketbook, and on their development as people. If you're spending too much time with them and not getting ahead financially because of it, that can be unhealthy as well. For me it comes down to showing your kids you love them in healthy ways, while still displaying a healthy work ethic and showing them what it means to work hard.

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

The biggest struggles I have are probably pretty similar to a lot of folks. While I may have some areas of my financial life tied up with a pretty bow, I still have to deal with the day to day struggles of having a family with significant health issues and health care costs, finding ways to finance my son's education while still saving for retirement and more. So my short term goals include making sure my family is saving for immediate needs and savings goals, while still finding ways to enjoy life. For the long term I'm focused on planning for and saving for my retirement, while still being able to give generously to things we believe in.

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

I think the biggest impediment to people getting ahead financially is themselves. I think most people are content to sort of just drift through life without thinking about their finances. As long as there is enough money in the account to go out for drinks or to a movie, they're happy to keep on living that way. The problem is, if you don't care about your money, no one else will. In the long run you're going to end up broke. So for people to succeed, they have to have the will to succeed and get ahead.

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

Start tracking your finances with a software like You Need a Budget, Mint, or Personal Capital. Figure out where your money is going. You might be shocked. Once you start to figure out what your regular expenses are, and where you're overspending on discretionary items (like cable TV) in your budget, you'll be able to sit down, start a budget and make a plan to get ahead.

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

I use a whole host of tools to keep my finances in order. My main go-to tools, however, are currently:

  • You Need A Budget: Budgeting software and app, highly recommended
  • Personal Capital: a great financial aggregator that gives you an overall view of your bank accounts and investments

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

I think there could be more easy-to-understand resources out there for people who are just getting started investing. Resources that explain in easy to understand terms how it works, what are the best ways for folks to invest who don't want to spend a lot of time on it, and resources explaining things that should be avoided.

What other websites or blogs do you read regularly?

I don't read a ton of other blogs, but when I do some of my favorites include:

  • StackingBenjamins.com: Great content, and amazingly well produced podcast
  • MoneyMastermindShow.com: A roundtable personal finance podcast that I'm involved with (shameless plug!). My co-hosts on the show write plenty of good content at the site as well
  • FinancialMentor.com: Todd has been on our podcast a couple of times, and he's one of the smartest financial people I know online. Great content on his site

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