About

Hi – I'm Joel, and I'm glad you are here.

Below is a little about my background, how I got here, and how I hope to help you!

My early life

I had a pretty typical middle-class childhood growing up in a small Midwest town.

After high school, I decided to join the military.

I was accepted to college but didn't see how my family could afford it at the time.

So I enlisted in the Navy where I spent the next nine years of my life.

I had a lot of cool experiences in the Navy and was able to visit many exciting places I wouldn't have otherwise.

I also went to college and got my degree before getting out.

For the next five years I worked for the federal government.

I had gotten married and was traveling quite a bit for work.

After having twins, we decided to leave the government and moved to improve our work-life balance.

My boring office life

For most of the rest of my professional career, I've been stuck in a cubicle.

I had been very successful in different roles throughout that time.

But I never found myself excited about what I was doing.

I always desired more freedom.

Over the past 12 years or so, I've done various things on the side.

But I never really put the serious effort needed to make them more than just hobbies on the side.

I've built a few websites that failed, did some selling on eBay and Amazon, played around with print-on-demand services, and a few other things. 

For the most part, I have done well for myself and had a decent life.

But I have always had a desire to get away from a typical job, work for myself, and have more time to spend time with my family. And do the things I love.

And hopefully, help you do the same along the way.

Financial struggles

When I was younger and in the Navy, times were great.

I didn't make much money, but I felt more financially secure than when I was working and making good money later in my traditional career.

Credit card debt was never an issue until I became a homeowner and about the time I had kids.

I love being a father, as well as a homeowner, but they can create stresses financially. Especially when a couple of moves to new cities are involved as well.

I overcame having over $50,000 in credit card debt. Not once, but twice.

And I've vowed never to let that happen again.

Don't get me wrong; I use credit cards all the time. But I pay them off every month.

And best of all, I get rewarded for using them.

Financial recovery

While many people who blog about money matters discuss living frugally and saving everything to retire as early as possible, that is not my goal.

Well, the retirement one is, but not living frugally.

I respect their viewpoints and think they give great advice, and I discuss it at times on this site. It just isn't how I want to live my life.

Don't get me wrong; I believe in living within your means and saving money. But I also want to enjoy living.

You never know how long you have left.

After going through a divorce, I still have a decent-sized mortgage and a car payment. And two teenagers…

However, I am living within my means, and I save a lot at the same time.

In fact, I had saved enough to allow me to move on to a new phase of my life.

Taking control

The last couple of years in my office job became unbearable.

There were several rounds of layoffs. And, to put it nicely, the work environment was less than ideal.

I never thought I'd be laid off, but it was always a possibility.

I didn't get laid off, but a couple of my friends did.

As the rounds of layoffs continued, I realized it also made mobility throughout the company more difficult.

I was stuck!

I saved some money on the side, and when the next round of layoffs came around, they requested volunteers.

Instead of being laid off on someone else's terms, I decided I'd volunteer and put my future in my own hands.

I wasn't sure I'd get approved because it was geared towards people near retirement. But I did get approved, and I received a severance as well.

My savings, my severance, and having six months of health insurance covered as part of that severance gave me this opportunity.

I regret not starting my blogging career sooner. While I still had another income stream.

But, I also know that I was in a fortunate situation to be able to devote all of my time to start this new chapter in my life.

That allowed me to live life on my own terms. I knew that if I didn't take advantage of that opportunity, I'd likely regret it for the rest of my life.

Probably stuck in another cubicle…

Picture of Teton Mountains - From my old website's homepage.

I took this picture of the Tetons in Wyoming while on vacation with my kids the summer after leaving my job. It is the photo that was on the top of my old homepage when I restarted my blogging career.

If I was still working in my old job, I could have asked to take some vacation days, and we probably could have still gone there.

But guess what?

I didn't have to ask anyone to take time off. And we could take as much time as we wanted.

It was the first vacation that I remember since being a little kid, where I didn't have anywhere I had to get back to or where things weren't piling up without me there.

It felt like pure freedom. And it was wonderful!

My message to you

Don't wait for something to happen.

Are you stuck in a job you hate or fear the uncertainty of employment at will?

Or do you just want more financial freedom?

If your answer is yes, stop and TAKE ACTION NOW!

I've been fortunate in life. I was able to overcome a mountain of debt and learn from that experience.

I was also lucky when I was offered a severance package, and I was ready mentally and financially to take that leap.

And I took the leap!

It is much better when it is on your own terms.

But you have to do something about it if you want things to change.

The goal of this site

My goal is to share ways of creating passive income sources and overcoming debt to help you achieve freedom.

And maybe escape from traditional employment as well if that is what you are looking for.

Hopefully, this will allow you to be free to do what you want without being chained to a 9 to 5 job.

If you are interested in discussing methods outlined on this site, have ideas you'd like to share with me that might be helpful to others, have anything else you'd like to share/ask, or just want to say hi, please fill out the form on the Contact page. If you'd like to receive updates from Crafty Dollar, please fill out the form on this page.

Thanks for visiting and best wishes!

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