An Interview with J.D. Roth, Founder of Get Rich Slowly

 

Thanks for joining us at Club Thrifty! After your done reading our sweet post, be sure to check out Holly’s staff post today at Get Rich Slowly.

 

An Interview With J.D. RothWelcome back to Club Thrifty! Many of you may have noticed that we have some new digs here. We figured that there was no better way to celebrate our redesign than by interviewing the one and only J.D. Roth.

 

For those of you who may not know, J.D. Roth is a legend in the personal finance blogosphere. He is the founder of Get Rich Slowly and the author of Your Money the Missing Manual. He also writes about More Than Money at jdroth.com. So, without further delay, let’s get to the interview!

 

Club Thrifty: Hey J.D.! Thanks for joining us today. Let’s get right to it. Can you tell our readers what drew you to writing about personal finance?

 

J.D.: I started writing about personal finance as a way to chronicle my own adventures (or misadventures) with money. I was deep in debt and felt like I was drowning. I’d tried all sorts of things to turn things around, but all of my attempts were based on finding “magic bullet” solutions. That is, I tried to find ways to “get rich quick” or to take shortcuts to a debt-free life.

 

Eventually I hit rock bottom. It was then that a couple of friends approached me and each recommended a book for me to read. One book was “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. The other was “Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. I read these books and figured I’d give the authors a chance. They weren’t offering any shortcuts to wealth; they were saying that I’d have to do a lot of hard work and make some sacrifices, but if I did that, then I could be debt free. I could even get rich – slowly.

 

As I applied the advice in these books, I started reading other books and magazines (and websites). I also started documenting what I was doing so that other people could follow along.

 

CT: Well, people certainly took notice and connected with your stories. What do you find is the best way to build an audience? How do you best connect with readers?

 

J.D.: The best way to build and audience is to be open and honest, to be genuine. And to tell stories. I find that people connect well with reality. Instead of writing about theory, write about what’s actually happening in your life, both the good things and the bad. People don’t want to read about perfection. Perfect people aren’t appealing. They don’t seem real. Instead, share the good and the bad so that others can learn from your successes and mistakes.

 

CT: How long did it take you before you knew that you had something special?

 

J.D.: I think I realized that Get Rich Slowly was something special about a year into it. I’d had several small successes early on, but I didn’t appreciate what was happening until about month ten. It was then that I had about 12,000 subscribers and my income was beginning to approach the same income I’d earned at my day job. When that happened, I realized that maybe I could make a living at this.

 

CT: Now, for the question that everybody is wondering about: Who’s your favorite New Kid?

 

J.D.: Haha. To be honest, I never listened to them, and I don’t know their names. I’m too old! But wasn’t Donnie Wahlberg in the group? I like him as an actor. Since he’s the only one I know, that’s the answer.

 

CT: Now that you are officially retired from GRS, what are you up to these days?

 

J.D.: I spend a lot of my time organizing the World Domination Summit, an annual conference here in Portland, Oregon. This year, we’ll have 3000 people come to town to hear speakers like Gretchen Rubin and Donald Miller. I also write a column for Entrepreneur magazine and, in theory, one for the Time.com financial blog. (Though I’m terrible about  meeting my deadline.) My personal writing lives at my new blog, More Than Money, which can be found at jdroth.com.

 

Really, though, I spend most of my time right now focused on getting my life in order. I’ve spent much of the past few years in a state of transition. I’ve undergone a lot of changes. Things are starting to settle, but the past few months have still been filled with a lot of changes: travel, moving, and so on.

 

CT: I’m glad you mentioned traveling. For those of us who follow your blog, you chronicled a recent trip that you took to Turkey. Can you tell our readers a little bit about it?

 

J.D.: I learned to love travel in 2007 when my ex-wife and I accompanied her parents to England and Ireland. From that point, she and I started traveling the world: Belize, southern Africa, Italy, France, Peru, and so on. My cousin also likes to travel, and he suggested that he and I go to Turkey together. So we did.

 

The trip to Turkey was great fun, though I’ll admit Turkey is my least favorite country so far. This shocks a lot of people who love the place. But while I had a good time, I liked Bolivia and Botswana and all of the other places I’ve been better.

 

CT: Thanks for sharing that! Getting back to blogging, can you tell us about the biggest blogging mistake you have ever made?

 

J.D.: Interesting question. I’m not sure I have an answer. I guess my biggest blogging mistakes have always come by not assuming somebody would read what I’ve written. As a result, I’ve developed a two-part mantra.

 

First, never assume anyone reads what you write online. That is, when you meet somebody (even a friend or family member), don’t assume that they know what you’re writing about. Maybe they don’t read your blog and have no interest.

 

On the other hand, I say that you have to always assume that everyone reads your blog. If you do this, it’ll influence what you write and how you write it. It’ll keep you from saying something dumb that you regret later. I’ve heard many stories of people who thought they were completely anonymous who write things online that they come to regret because they’re not nearly as anonymous as they think they are. I know somebody who got fired this way, and I know somebody who ended up with a divorce this way.

 

I know these are two contradictory ideas, but you have to assume them both at once. If you do that, it’ll keep you from making big mistakes.

 

CT: That is great advice. What other advice would you give to bloggers, particularly those who are just starting their own personal finance blog?

 

J.D.: Don’t do what everyone else is doing. There are tons of personal finance blogs out there. The surest way to get your voice lost in the chorus is to just do the same as everyone else. Instead, do your own thing. That may mean not even reading what other folks are writing. It surely means writing from your own experience and telling your own story.

 

CT: You’ve made the leap from Get Rich Slowly and have started another new blog. What are your plans for More than Money?

 

J.D.: That’s a great question. I wish I had a great answer. I fully intend to write there several times a week, but so far I’ve only managed several times a month. I’d love to explore more advanced financial topics at More Than Money, but I’d also like to write about self-improvement. I’d like to write about animal intelligence and old-time radio and comic books and more. Really, though, it’ll be a place for me to explore the person I’m becoming.

 

CT: Thanks again for joining us J.D.! Any parting words of wisdom?

 

J.D.: Enjoy life! You create your own reality, so make it a good one. Don’t assume the worst about anyone or anything, but assume the best. Don’t create drama. Instead, be happy and healthy and present in the moment. Life is beautiful, but only if you take the time to enjoy it.

 

 

Thanks again to J.D. Roth for agreeing to do this interview! We truly appreciate it. Again, you can check out his new blog More Than Money at jdroth.com.

 

 

 
About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. Congratulations on your new blog design! It`s very clean, and has a bright and optimistic feeling about it! Love it! And such an interesting reading! I didn`t know it was J.Roth who started Get Rich Slowly. Such an inspirational person. Along with you guys of course ;-)
    The Norwegian Girl recently posted..(re)discover your neighbourhoodMy Profile

  2. I also like your new design! And this was a nice interview, full of encouraging things!
    Mike recently posted..The iPad Mini Phone: Yes, I’m Serious…My Profile

  3. JD Roth truly is a legend, and I definitely enjoyed this interview. My absolute favorite thing he said was “Don’t do what everyone else is doing. There are tons of personal finance blogs out there. The surest way to get your voice lost in the chorus is to just do the same as everyone else. Instead, do your own thing.” So many pf blogs are all the same…there is a little bit of difference between them, but ultimately it seems people are writing about the same topics (which will happen when there are thousands of posts a day) and I think people are scared to do something different in case it “won’t work.” Something I need to constantly remind myself is that when I “do my own thing” it usually has better results.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..Why your income and passion should alignMy Profile

  4. Good interview, Holly. I especially like the parting thoughts. “Don’t create drama.”
    AverageJoe recently posted..Dow Reaches All-Time High: Is Now The Time To Invest?My Profile

  5. Love the design guys! It’s very clean & bright. Great interview as well! There were many things I could touch on, but I totally agree on being genuine. People, generally, want to read personal stories. Tips posts are fine and have their place, but adding personality to it will liven up most topics.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..4 Simple Ways to Make Filing Taxes Easier Every YearMy Profile

  6. Great interview! I agree with being genuine as well. That’s one of the reasons I like your blog: two perspectives and personal stories as well as great advice! The new design really works!

  7. Very sweet that you got an interview with JD and the redesign does indeed look awesome!
    Lance @ Money Life and More recently posted..Finding a Frugal Venue for Wedding Ceremonies and ReceptionsMy Profile

  8. I love the final paragraph in this sentence, and totally agree with it! Great interview.
    Jordann @ My Alternate Life recently posted..Are You Suited to Being an Entrepreneur?My Profile

  9. The advice to assume no one and everyone is reading is great. Thanks for sharing your talk with JD Roth!
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..PoP Balance Sheet – February 2013My Profile

  10. Your website looks awesome! I’m so in love. Did you design it yourselves? I have a redesign in the works and it’ll be completed within the next couple of weeks! WOOHOO!

    Awesome interview. I am a huge GRS and JD fan :)

    • We paid someone to do the logo and header but Greg did the rest of our redesign himself. I think we paid less than $100 for outside help with the redesign!

  11. I enjoyed this interview. I have always enjoyed J.D’s wisdom and writing style. I also enjoyed reading the interview on the new site. Well done!
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..Tax Rebates for College Students and Their ParentsMy Profile

  12. I like the idea of not assuming anyone will read, but also everyone. I do something similar since there is my full name out there, although I don’t share with family and friends that I blog. Thanks for sharing!
    pauline recently posted..Buy my method, not my lifestyleMy Profile

  13. That’s amazing that you guys were able to score an interview with JD. If anyone hasn’t read Your Money or Your Life, you absolutely have to!
    Johnny Moneyseed recently posted..Reducing the cost of commuting by movingMy Profile

  14. Love the site design and thanks for doing this interview. Gotta love the two-part mantra -”Never assume anyone reads…Always assume everyone reads.” I’m filing that one away in my mental blog notes.
    Brian @ Luke1428 recently posted..I’m Turning 40 – Now What?My Profile

  15. Nice – Get Rich Slowly was one of the first blogs I ever started reading!
    cat recently posted..An evening with Gail Vaz-OxladeMy Profile

  16. Nick @ ayoungpro.com says:

    Thanks for posting this! I’ve been following GRS for years and it was a great help when I was getting out of debt. It was great to get some insights from JD as I work on starting my own blog, he is one of the reasons I wanted to try my hand at blogging.
    Nick @ ayoungpro.com recently posted..Why You Can’t Get an InterviewMy Profile

  17. I love the new design! That’s an awesome interview with J.D. Roth, as well – I really liked his story and how he overcame his debt, so he’s an inspiring role model. But really, Donnie? It’s all about Team Jordan! ;)
    anna recently posted..Lake Tahoe, CaliforniaMy Profile

    • LeRainDrop says:

      While it’s true that Donnie is in acting now, maybe when JD said, “I like him as an actor,” he was confusing Donnie with his brother, “Marky” Mark Wahlberg, haha!

      • Really? That’s funny! I really don’t remember the New Kids all that well. I mostly remember Joey and that annoying song “Please don’t go girlllllllllll……………….” Hahaha Well, now we know that J.D. would suck at New Kids trivia.

        • LeRainDrop says:

          Oh no, JD was right that Donnie was the one in NKOTB, but Mark is the one who’s a really good actor. Until more recently, Donnie’s acting fame was of playing Bruce Willis’s former patient who had killed himself in The Sixth Sense.

          • Oh!!! Wow. I need to get my facts straight! I thought the NKOTB Wahlberg singer and the actor were the same person. =/

  18. What a great interview! He had some great tips, and I always like to hear why a person started blogging.

    Also, I love your new design :)
    Mackenzie recently posted..Movin’ On UpMy Profile

  19. LeRainDrop says:

    Thanks for the great interview! I followed JD at Get Rich Slowly beginning less than a year after he started writing, and continue with him now at More Than Money. He had it exactly right, when he said, “The best way to build an audience is to be open and honest, to be genuine. And to tell stories.” This is the formula that really drew me to his writing — even when the topics weren’t necessarily applicable to me, I still found them engaging. I think Club Thrifty has a similar, yet unique, appeal.

  20. Wow, pretty awesome interview with a cool guy. I totally agree with being your own voice in the blogging world. The part about Turkey is a little sad since I am going there in a few weeks, LOL. I understand though, I heard some of the guys there are pretty tenacious. I think it’s not the actual residents, but more the sales people who come from other places.
    Melinda Gonzalez recently posted..Beer Stock Exchange and Frugal VacationMy Profile

  21. Awesome interview guys! Talking with the man that seemed to start it all, very good to get inside his head a bit now that he’s a bit removed from the financial blogging world. very cool opportunity, and thanks for sharing your conversation with us!
    Jacob @ iHeartBudgets recently posted..Redecorate For Free: Family Room ProjectMy Profile

  22. Great interview! Thank you for sharing this with us. As a new blogger, I take such inspiration from others who are successful and willing to share their knowledge. I noticed your new design yesterday and meant to mention but it looks great. Upbeat – a good representation of you two. :)
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..Meet Shannon Ryan: Financial Literacy AdvocateMy Profile

  23. Awesome interview Holly. Nothing like digging into one of the great minds of a personal finance blogger. Also I like the logo and header graphic it fits the site very well.

  24. Nice interview! I often wonder how successful people think.
    krantcents recently posted..I Am Broke!My Profile

  25. What a legend he is!! Congrats on getting the airtime ;)

    You guys have reminded me how much I want to go to WDS!
    Savvy Scot recently posted..What’s On Your House Hunting Checklist?My Profile

  26. PS Love the new design

  27. Great Interview,
    The one thing I could sense through it all was his “positive” attitude and his focus on his “own”personal experiences which I think is great. I also enjoyed what I pasted below which he says because I always say we only live once, make the best of it.I like the new look!! Very welcoming!

    “Enjoy life! You create your own reality, so make it a good one. Don’t assume the worst about anyone or anything, but assume the best. Don’t create drama. Instead, be happy and healthy and present in the moment. Life is beautiful, but only if you take the time to enjoy it.”
    Canadian Budget Binder recently posted..Net Worth Update CBB February 2013-Move or Stay?My Profile

  28. I would have to agree; I love the site redesign! It gives off a lightness and accessibility. Congrats on the good interview with J.D. Roth.
    K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks! recently posted..Giving Feels GoodMy Profile

  29. Great interview. GRS was the first PF blog that I ever found. And I love the assume everyone and no one reads what you are writing. It keeps you from saying too much and yet becoming arrogant.
    BTW, love the new theme. It fits with the strides that you have taken.
    Justin@TheFrugalPath recently posted..My 2013 Income ChallengeMy Profile

  30. Nice new site and awesome interview! So inspiring for us new bloggers. I learned a lot and am so inspired by him. Keep up the good work!
    Do or Debt recently posted..Where did you learn about money?My Profile

  31. Great interview. Club Thrifty is moving on up for sure. Maybe Greg should get into the design business!
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Sequestration: Has the US Government Cried Wolf Too Many Times?My Profile

  32. Cool new design, I dig it! Get Rich Slowly was one of the 1st PF blogs I stumbled across back in 2007 when I started blogging – glad to hear JD started a new blog and is doing well. I’ll have to check it out for sure.
    Kyle | Rather-Be-Shopping.com recently posted..7 Tips for Financially Savvy MomsMy Profile

  33. Love your design and what a great interview! I like jd a lot. He’s really down to earth and humble.
    Kathleen recently posted..Checking in On My 2013 Love ListMy Profile

  34. Love the new look. Your site is really taking off. I am very happy for you two. I think you will be the next GRS in due time.
    Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter recently posted..Friday Links – Vacation EditionMy Profile

  35. Great post and interview. So true about learning as much, if not more, from people’s mistakes than their successes. Thanks for this!

  36. Awesome interview Holly, thanks for doing this. JD Roth is a legend and it’s good to hear his thoughts in the form on an inteview, very interesting stuff.

    @JD Roth, thanks for doing the interview and good luck with your new blog, I’m off to check it out now.
    Julian Hearn recently posted..Is Apple ripping off everyone in the World apart from Americans? Average iPhone 5 mark-up 29.5%, Samsung S3 -17.5%My Profile

  37. Great interview. JD has always been an inspiration because of his persistence and great writing style. Always interested to learn more about his advice and experiences.
    Ryan @ Digital Photography Hobbyist recently posted..101 Ideas for Photo Booth PosesMy Profile

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  1. [...] Interview with JD Roth, Founder of Get Rich Slowly – Club Thrifty [...]

  2. [...] An Interview With J.D. Roth – Founder of Get Rich Slowly at Club Thrifty [...]

  3. [...] I’m not some complete tree-hugging, pot smoking, Oregonian. I don’t walk around in Birkenstocks in 3 feet of snow. I’ve never worn a tie-dyed [...]

  4. […] and Holly at Club Thrifty had the opportunity to conduct An Interview with J.D. Roth, Founder of Get Rich Slowly. A must […]

  5. […] without having a professional background in the field. (Get Rich Slowly is a great example. See this interview with J.D. Roth about how and why he started the blog.) These blogs may not have the most specific and technical […]

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