Being a Life-Long Student of Finance: Q&A with Kalen Bruce

By Andy Hayes

It’s time for another Q&A with our favorite personal finance bloggers.  Today we’re talking with Kalen Bruce from Money Mini Blog.  Don’t let the name fool you, there’s nothing ‘mini‘ about the positive impact the advice he’s doling out can have on your life.

When you combine a finance nerd with a productivity junkie, you get Kalen – who’s here to help you take control of your financial future and create positive wealth-building habits.  Let’s dive in…

You call yourself a “student of finances.”  Talk to us a bit more about that – what does it mean? Does one ever graduate from the school of finance?

I’m a big fan of being a life-learner.  I don’t think there is any area that we should stop learning in.  I’ve been reading finance books and getting financially educated ever since I got frustrated and decided to change my situation.  There will always be new information out there and there are always things we haven’t discovered yet.  I don’t think we ever officially graduate, unless we want to stop growing.

Speaking of school, you are in school, active duty military, have 4 children, and we are assuming you sleep and eat at some point like the rest of us.  Is this how you found that money & productivity are linked?  Give us some background.

Sure, it’s all about managing our minutes.  I find time for everything that’s important to me, because I create the time.  Prioritizing is the key.  For me, things like television, video games and social media aren’t a priority – they are time stealers.  My spiritual life, my family and serving my country are my top 3.  After that, I am extremely passionate about helping others become financially independent and more productive in every area of their life.  My time mimics my priorities.  I use my mornings to exercise and write.  My day is spent serving my country and my evenings are spent with my family.  I am blessed to have the ability to create a schedule that emphasizes what’s truly important to me.

One of your philosophies on investing is “pay yourself first.”  Can you explain this in a little more depth?

Paying yourself first is a way to eliminate procrastination and inaction.  We will always find a way to pay the bills and put food on the table, but if we don’t give and invest with our first fruits, we usually won’t ever get around to doing it.  I am a huge fan of automation, therefore, the first thing that automatically comes out of my pay is my giving, closely followed by all of my investments.  Then I’ll I have to do is live on what’s left over.

You’re at a dinner party, and the host mentions to the group that you run a blog about money.  Another guest (that you don’t know) asks you what’s the best piece of advice you’ve learned since you started blogging.  What do you tell them?

I started this as a finance blog and it has grown into a finance and productivity blog.  The first thing I would tell them is that money isn’t everything and that we shouldn’t let our productivity tactics trump what’s truly important.  At the end of our life, when we are on our deathbed, what will truly be important?  We are all trying to make more money and be more productive, but just remember why you’re doing it.

So the number one best piece of advice is this: focus on what’s truly important to you and apply everything you learn to it.  You have to start with the right priorities to know if you’re accurately focusing on them.  Money is great and so is productivity – and they are both extremely important, but if you don’t start with what matters most, it will all be for nothing.

For more great conversation about finance, connect with Kalen and his blog on Facebook


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