In this interview Khaleef gives us a little personal background, shares his passion about how to handle finances biblically, and talks about how teens might be able to make money blogging in addition to some financial advice for teens. Here goes! Me: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Khaleef: I’m 34 years old. Married (7 years now) with no children. Although, many people tell me that I’m too young, I am a retired musician. I was born and raised in New Jersey, and I have never lived in another state, and I honestly can’t see myself moving away.
It was probably 7 or 8 years ago that I dreamed of having a website where I could upload articles teaching people about various aspects of personal finance and also economics – both based on the bible. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I got started and about a year into blogging, I realized that it was possible to earn income from doing it. I see so many people who are now managing websites (and doing other freelance blog-related things) full time, so I know it’s very possible. Yes, I work as a Business Manager at a large research University.
My thought was that if someone comes to me with a question that involves a detailed answer, I would just direct them to the appropriate section of my website, where many of their questions could be answered. Me: What do you focus on at Faithful With a Few (or your other websites)?
I want to show people how to apply biblical principles to their finances, so that we can all please God with how we handle our money. No matter what God has given us, we are to be faithful to Him with how we manage it. We are just stewards who have the responsibility of managing God’s money in alignment to His will, character, and commands. If we can prove faithful in managing God’s provision today, then He will bless us with great spiritual riches, and even a larger provision to manage in many cases! The great thing is that if we all were to apply these principles, even those who are not Christians would greatly benefit! So even though I don’t use scripture in all (or even most) of my articles, I do make sure that everything I write is in line with the bible. I also love to talk about big concepts concerning money. So, you may not read a post about how to find the best interest rate when purchasing a new home, but you may instead find posts challenging the importance of “owning” a home or even questioning the sustainability of the current housing market. My goal is to get people to think, examine their decisions/motivations, and to not simply fall in line with what the rest of society is doing based on conventional wisdom. At Fat Guy, Skinny Wallet, I talk specifically about my journey to pay off over $100k in debt and to lose over 100lbs! The posts are much more personal, light, and I try to add humor. I try to be as open as possible with my struggles, so that someone else could relate to them. I also have a YouTube channel connected with this site, and that is actually where I have the most engagement with those who support my goals.
I definitely think blogging is a great way for teens to earn extra money. With social media being such a large part of most teenagers’ lives, it should be a very easy jump to write blog posts (they can just be considered “extended status updates” lol) that are funny/witty, personable, engaging, and even thought-provoking. This makes it easier to manage a blog without it taking over their lives or becoming a distraction from other priorities. With the extensive use of social media many teens already have a large network that can help to promote their posts! Having a strong reader base is a large part of earning money with a blog, so they would have a great advantage over many.
I think that getting involved in something that really causes you to evaluate things and become a critical thinker. Many people think they are, but I feel that very few actually possess that skill. I actually feel that what is missing from most people 50 and under is the ability to take control of our skills and develop businesses or at least ways to make side income. Most of us just sit around and wait for someone to give us a job, then we hope not to lose it. So I think that shadowing small business owners and really focusing on developing, focusing, and streamlining current skills and passions should be something that most teens try to do as much as possible.
We focused much more on spending time together and having frugal fun, so I never had the desire to be rich or even chase easy money as I grew up into an adult.
I think that is part of the reason why I never wanted anything new, flashy, or expensive growing up. I didn’t care at all about having name brand clothing, or anything else that other kids drooled over. I think it was because I knew the burden that it would cause if my parents tried to get those things (and the grief it may cause for them to know that they couldn’t provide those things).
This causes them to easily take on debt as they get older, and also fail to save, always assuming that prosperity is just around the corner.
My biggest failure was that I did not try to consistently earn money earlier. I played sports and let that be the focus of my spare time, rather than earning money (or at least a mix of the two). I was not prepared to support myself when the time came.
I probably held between 15-20 jobs before going back to school in my mid-20s!
Save, invest, give, and educate yourself now and you’ll have an advantage over nearly everyone else in your peer group for the rest of your life!