Hello! My name is Brent Esplin, author of the Micawber Principle personal finance blog. One of my favorite things to do with my children when they were small was read to them, and one of our favorite books was Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne. At the start of the book Pooh is introduced to the world like this:
“Here is [Winnie-the-Pooh] coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t.”
Have you ever felt like Winnie-the-Pooh? I have. Several years ago we were in a difficult financial situation. I had quit my job to go back to school and get a master’s degree in accounting. Then, 3 years after graduating I found myself unemployed for over 6 months.
I obtained a new job with good long-term prospects, but starting out I was barely making enough to provide necessities, make the mortgage, and pay my student loans. Sometimes I felt like Pooh being dragged down the financial stairs of life, bumping my head on each one and thinking there had to be another way, but I couldn’t stop bumping long enough to think of it.
At that point I started seriously studying personal finance and investing. I read everything on the topic I could get my hands on. What I discovered is that there really is a better way, and the better way is not that difficult to learn.
We started applying the things I was learning and our situation gradually improved. It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen. Before long we were in a much better situation and the prospects ahead looked bright instead of hopeless.
As our situation improved I started noticing others bumping their heads on the same financial stairs that had given us problems. Having learned the better way Pooh dreamed of I wanted to help others avoid the pain of bumping down the financial staircase, and the Micawber Principle Blog was born.
What’s In It for You?
Like death and taxes, managing your money is inevitable. You cannot choose whether to negotiate life’s financial staircase, but you can choose whether to do it walking confidently, with your head held high, or being dragged, Pooh-style, bumping your head on each stair. The key to descending the financial staircase on your feet is knowledge, and that’s where my blog comes in.
I am still reading everything I can get my hands on about personal finance, and over the years I have collected a lot of great material to pass on to you. I know your time is valuable, so I have done all the studying for you, and I only pass on the best stories, ideas and strategies.
I try and keep my posts short, easy to understand, interesting, and fun. The tagline for my blog is “Helping you rewrite your financial story,” with the key word being story. I believe strongly in the teaching power of stories, and I always try to include a memorable story to illustrate the topics I write about.
I also believe that personal finance should be simple. One of my favorite financial quotes is by Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Samuelson, who said, “The prudent way is also the easy way.” Samuelson was speaking specifically about investing, but the same principle also applies to other personal finance topics.
Those in the financial industry trying to make money off you will make things appear more complicated than they are. Don’t believe them. The prudent, simple, time-tested principles of personal finance I will teach you are really all you need to know.
The topics I write about include:
- Taxes, and
Here are links to some of my more popular Posts:
- The Micawber principle: Living the Fundamental Law of Personal Finance
- Everything You Need to Know About Investing on One Page
- Comparing Ourselves to Others Leads to Foolish Financial Choices
- The Power of Thrift: A Penny Saved Is…
- Calculating Your Personal Savings Rate
- Sometimes You Should Eat the Marshmallow
- What Do Credit Cards and Mosquitoes Have in Common?
- The Four Laws of Success and Probablilty
- Money is a Game of Probability: Top Ten Ways to Increase Your Odds of Success
- Cars are the Great Middle Class Wealth Destroyer
I write once a week and I promise that if you read my posts regularly, over time you will gain the knowledge to avoid some painful head-bumps. However, you will have to read my posts every week, and not just occasionally, to gain the knowledge you need.
The only way to ensure this is to sign up for my blog so you will get new posts emailed to you as soon as I write them. Just enter your email address in the box on the top right-hand side of any page on my website to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the great personal finance ideas, strategies, and stories I write about.
Why You Should Listen to Me
My formal qualifications for writing a personal finance blog include:
- A master’s degree in accounting from the Marriott School at Brigham Young University
- I am a licensed CPA
- I had three years’ experience doing complicated personal tax returns at Ernst & Young, one of the “Big Four” international accounting firms, and
- Ten plus years’ experience doing tax returns and providing financial advice for family and friends
While my formal credentials provide some credibility I consider my informal education much more important. My informal education started young. I was raised by parents who lived through the Great Depression and practiced the old-fashioned values of spending less than they earned, avoiding debt, saving for the future, and sharing their excess with others. I learned a great deal from them.
I have always enjoyed personal finance, but the last several years I have passionately studied the topic. I read 40-50 books a year, many about personal finance, and I collect the best ideas to pass on to you. Much of what I read is not directly related to personal finance which allows me to find unique stories, make connections, and offer a different perspective as I teach financial principles.
My day job is working for the U.S Government doing audits for the Department of Defense. As a government employee I have never made a ton of money. I write my blog not from the perspective of someone who has arrived, but as someone who is in the thick of the battle and is forced to make difficult financial decisions every day. This has taught me a lot of lessons that I believe will help you as you fight the same battle.
I would be honored if you would accept me as your partner as you strive to rewrite your financial story and walk confidently down life’s financial staircase. If you do so I firmly believe our time together will be the most financially rewarding few minutes you spend each week.