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Welcome to another installment of the X-ray Beam series.
In this iteration, I am proud to present a blogger whose writing style and content make his website, Half Life Theory, one of my personal favorites.
I have just dimmed the lights, put on my protective lead, and have the patient prepped.
So without further ado, let us proceed:
1) First off, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to answer these questions. I love your moniker, Half Life Theory (makes me think of radioactive materials which, as part of our Nuclear Medicine department, I have to deal with constantly).
Can you tell me your “light bulb” moment on how this name came to be the one you chose for your blog?
I was watching a YouTube video about this guy who had recently quit his job.
He explained how the average lifespan of a man was 70 years old.
He had recently celebrated his 35th birthday.
So by that 70 year old lifespan threshold, he was at the halfway point of his life.
I just thought that concept was powerful.
Now we know the actual average lifespan of a man in the US is 78 years old, which would make 39 the average halfway point of a man in America.
Either way, I thought it was something we should consider more seriously.
For many of us in our 30’s, we have already lived about half our lives.
Half Life Theory is about taking control of the second half of your life without being compelled to HAVE to work at a job for money, to spend it doing things you actually love.
What were some of the other names you considered before going with this one?
Was actually such a strong consideration, I reserved the domain name as well.
2) When did you decide to pursue a career as an engineer? Were there any influential people or events that made you embark on this career path?
I can’t say there was much strong consideration to be honest.
Just a lot of strong coaching from my parents.
I did well in math and science so I knew I had a strong affinity for engineering since I was young.
But we basically settled on Mechanical Engineering because we thought it would lead to good career options.
3) If you had to do it all over again, would you choose the same career path?
Hmm, that’s a good question.
I don’t think so.
I know now that a career in Accounting and Finance would have probably led to more money, but I’ve always truly enjoyed learning how things work, which aligns well with engineering.
4) If you were not an engineer, what alternative career would you have gone into?
I would probably be working in a Bank somewhere.
Maybe helping people manage their money.
5) What spurred you to develop an interest in finance?
Being unemployed and broke, I can say I probably didn’t have much of a choice.
After we had our daughter, I got desperate.
I started reading books about personal development to help me get my life back on track.
Naturally that evolved into personal finance.
One of the first personal finance books I read was Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover.
The rest is history
6) Looking back, what are some of the biggest financial mistakes you have made?
Not buying Bitcoin at around $800 😉
We got our first two cars with high interest car loans due to poor credit.
Besides that, the biggest mistakes would probably be just not saving and investing enough when we first started working.
7) What inspired you to start a blog? Were there any surprises along the way? Any advice to individuals who may be contemplating starting one of their own?
I was inspired by other Bloggers to share my story.
I also felt like I had a slightly different perspective about money than a lot of people did.
And I wanted to share those ideas with the community.
My advice would be don’t be afraid to share your story, and most especially don’t be afraid to be different than others out there.
That is actually what will set you apart.
8) How has blogging provided a positive impact on your life?
It has given me an outlet to share ideas with like-minded people as well as a platform to not only share my thoughts, but to also meet with some awesome people in the last 5 months because of it.
9) Have you encountered any negative aspects of blogging that you wish to share?
It’s a lot of work, so that can be draining mentally, and also takes time away from other things you spent a lot of time on prior.
So having family that is supportive is so important.
I found myself getting drained earlier on.
I have had to learn balance to help me make it through.
10) Complete the following sentence: I would consider The Half Life Theory website to be a success when I achieve….
It’s already a success!
I have taken something out of it I never knew I had.
The ability to write and connect with others.
That is something that can never be taken away no matter what.
11) If you had a time machine and could go back to any point in time and change just one thing, what would it be?
I would have started investing in my very first job as a tutor in college.
If I had save even just $100 a month in those days over 12 years ago, maybe I’d be at FI now lol.
12) What is the non-financial achievement you are most proud of?
Everything she does makes me feel accomplished!
Her first words, when she took her first steps.
First day in Kindergarten…. Everything she does make me proud.
She’s the best thing I’ve done ever!
13) What is something you can reveal that most people would not have expected about you? It can be a special talent or some geeky fact about you.
I was part of a step team in college.
14) For a reader unfamiliar to your website, what are three posts you are most proud of that they can gain an insight about you and your philosophies?
You Believe You’re A Loser And So You Are
Are You Stuck In The Echo Chamber Of FIRE?
My Millionaire Older Brother Thinks FI Principles Are Dumb
15) Is there a book or books that have made a major impact in your financial well-being?
The Alchemist – Paolo Cohelo
About 5 years ago when I first started my journey I was completely broke, I didn’t have a job or job prospects.
I had no idea if we would be able to turn things around.
I heard Will Smith in an interview talk about how powerful this book was and how life changing it could be.
With absolutely nothing to lose, I decided to purchase a used copy and see what all the fuss was about.
This is probably the best $5 I have ever spent.
16) Can you name 5 things that had the greatest financial impact on you?
Career of Choice
Self-Education (reading books)
Mentorship (My father)
17) When you first started your blog you chose to remain anonymous. Very recently you have revealed your identity. Tell me your thought process during this very difficult decision.
I figured not being anonymous could allow the readers to get to know me more personally and, for some, I thought they would find me more relatable and easier to connect with.
Also in starting a podcast, I wanted to be as open as possible.
My main reason for starting out anonymous was work related, but after really thinking about it I felt it wouldn’t adversely affect me at my job.
Also we had a certain level of financial stability that I felt I could pursue this goal with the peace of mind that no matter what we’d be ok.
18) What are some of the positive impacts you have noticed since revealing your secret identity?
Definitely made a lot more connections since.
I think some people do find me to be more relatable now because of my background and where I’m coming from.
19) Has there been any fallout/negative impact now that you have taken off the anonymous blogging mask?
Your turn Doc! 😉
[I’m pretty sure I’m doing everyone a favor by keeping my visage hidden.
The main reason for me to try and maintain anonymity is the stuff I have written about the divorce, etc that I do not want my daughter stumbling onto until she is an adult.]
20) Do you have an annual retirement spending goal that you are aiming for? A target net worth? What would be your exit strategy after achieving these goals.
Not really, we are just going to take it step by step.
But our current spending is under $40K a year.
So by that model we only need $1MM in investments.
However I’d like to accumulate quite a bit more.
21) What is your greatest fear, if any, you have in retirement, and are there any ways you are addressing that now?
Hmmm, I really can’t think about any.
I guess a natural fear would be running out of money.
However with everything I know and have learned from this community, I find running out of money as a very unlikely scenario.
I’d probably do some kind of work to earn money if I see my portfolio headed in the wrong direction early in retirement.
Again thank you so much for your time answering these questions and being placed under the “X-ray beam.” I look forward to your continued posts and wish you much success.
If you are interested in checking out previous individuals that were brave enough to expose themselves to the beams of the X-ray, please check them out here.
If you are in search of financial help, please consider enlisting the service of any of the sponsors of this blog who I feel are part of the “good guys and gals of finance.”
Even a steadfast DIY’er can sometimes gain benefit from the occasional professional input.
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As my email subscriber list grows it validates my decision to start this blog and to continue to try and provide worthy content for your eyes.
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Loved getting the inside scoop! TJ, the way you speak about your daughter is so beautiful. She’s a lucky little lady! Also, STEP TEAM YES. Amazing.
Thanks for swinging by and reading about TJ. I too loved the step team response to my question (which was the first time I asked that line of questioning and liked the response so much I am going to add it to the lineup in future)
Hahaha, thank you… Those were the glory days lol. I haven’t stepped in years, though I reckon, I still “got it” ?
Another mathematical brain. Isn’t math awesome? When I read about half life theory, my heart was pumping for a physics or maths theorem. What I found was even better. Thanks for sharing your story. Current spending under 40k, lots of work to do here. We are already 60k without a house in Arkansas. .
Daughters are awesome. It shows you are an awesome parent.
Both you and 1/2 Life are the math experts in my blogging circle 🙂 Daughters are indeed awesome (but quite expensive $$$$. LOL ) 🙂
That’s what I heard. still 3 and 1 years old for now. I’ll start saving now.
Thanks so much man, I really appreciate it. We will see what the future holds as far as spending, I am certainly not opposed to bringing that number up…. it just needs to be intentional.
Math has always been my go-to… although I’m not certain i remember half of what I’ve learned as far as mathematics in my lifetime lol
Wow, so honored man. Thanks for sharing my story with your readers. Really awesome community you have going here brother!
I am glad you were happy with the end result. I am incredibly lucky to have found some great online friends in this blogging community which I consider you a close member of.
Thanks for being put under the X-ray beam 🙂
I’ve been rummaging through your blog since reading this, Half Life Theory. I’ve added you to my Feedly. Nice work you’re doing.
Thanks for stopping by Frogdancer. TJ from Half-life is one of the people I consider a wordsmith. He has some amazing posts published already and I look forward to seeing new content from him. Glad I could turn you on to him.
Thanks so much, I really appreciate it…. Seems like I have huge shoes to fill following after the like of Xrayvsn. Hope I don’t let you down ?
LOL. I would have said the same exact thing if she had done it the other way around 🙂
What a great guest volunteer to undergo the infamous X-Ray beam. Is TJ the first non-physician volunteer?
Anyway, great interview. TJ is and always has been one of my favorites. His ability to tell a compelling story is unrivaled.
I thought his comment on how is blog is already a success was wonderful . I think every blogger should think positively like this.
Wishing TJ continued success!
Very perceptive DMF. TJ is the first non-physician volunteer to have his body irradiated with X-ray beams. LOL I really enjoy his blog and figured since I don’t need preauthorization from anyone why not have some non-physician subjects 🙂 Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Thanks bro, you are always too kind. I think when the incentive for the blog isn’t only about money, it’s easy to find success early on.
The mistake is that most of us here these stories of people making a full-time income off their blog and we get the green eye. Simply enjoy the process, and let the other things come with time.
Very well said. Just like someone’s net worth you can’t just compare yourself to them (if you do you will never be content). Their journey is different from yours plus they have likely started far earlier than you (in blogging that is a key factor, time, which has more compounding effect in terms of traffic than any financial analogy)