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Financial Uproar – Best of the Best Blogger Series

by on October 11, 2011

Financial Uproar - Best of the Best Blogger Series

In the 14th edition of our Best of the Best blogger series, we’re talking to Nelson Smith of

In a word, Nelson is, well … different.

Not in a “wow … that guy’s got a funny looking hat” kind of way, but more of like a “that guy’s got a very interesting perspective. I never really thought of it that way.”

Interestingly enough, Nelson’s a potato chip salesman (wait for it) in his late 20′s, a former mortgage broker and business owner with a decidedly blue-collar, working class background.

Nelson is refreshingly unapologetic about his trial and error career, but what’s remarkable about Nelson is his decidedly well-read and well-educated viewpoints on money and investing.

Shocking as it might sound, regular working class guys like Nelson are making incredibly useful contributions to everyday conversations about money and investing that are easy to understand. As a working class kid myself, I really appreciate what he’s bringing to the table for his readers.

We sat down with Nelson recently to talk about money, crystal meth, potato chip sales and world domination.

Q: I have a theory about personal finance bloggers. I believe that many personal financial bloggers harbor much larger, more grandiose visions about what they hope to accomplish in their blogging pursuits than they admit to their audience. That being said, what are your true goals in running Financial Uproar? A desire for vast riches? Better dating prospects? World domination?

A: Financial Uproar was started out of boredom. I was a mortgage broker with plenty of time on my hands since I wasn’t actually very good at being a mortgage broker. I read a lot of personal finance blogs, most of which were written for people drowning in debt. I figured I could do better, et al.

Anyway, my true goals. It’s all about the cash. I will gladly sell my soul to the highest bidder. Since I assume my readers are smart enough to avoid financial pitfalls like paying interest on credit cards or payday loans, I will gladly take their cash. Hell, I’d advertise for payday loans laced with crystal meth if the advertiser paid enough. There’s also plans to write a book at some point, along with maybe some other premium stuff. But first, I gotta build a greater readership.

If anything, I’m pretty sure having a personal finance blog has hurt my dating prospects. There’s pages and pages of evidence I’m a cheap bastard.

Q: You’ve formulated an investment strategy you’ve outlined that you call your “tenets of investing.” Tell us about how you came up with your investment philosophy?

A: Basically the tenets of investing is stolen from a Canadian investing newsletter called Contra The Heard. One of the very first books I read on investing was written by one of the authors of the newsletter. Everything in the book just kind of made sense. Plus, I’m the type of guy who kind of naturally goes against the grain, so contrarian investing appealed to me.

I never finished the tenets of investment series. They were incredibly unpopular. Nobody gave two craps about my investment tenets.

As an aside, if you’re the kind of investor who spends a lot of time researching potential stocks before buying, don’t start a blog. I spend too much time blogging and not enough time analyzing balance sheets.

Q: You spent a lot of time working at a grocery store as a young person. Now, you’re a potato chip salesman. How does one make the leap from potato chip salesman to personal finance blogger?

A: The interest in finance goes back many years. I’ve always been comfortable with numbers, and finance just made sense to me. During high school I’d come home during lunch and watch business TV while eating my sandwich, which is the first I can remember having a real interest in investing.

I want to become wealthy one day. And, boiled down to its essence, getting wealthy is essentially a math problem. All you need to do is spend less than what you earn, and do it over and over again. Then, just take that surplus and invest it. There, I just taught everyone how to become wealthy in two sentences. The beauty of becoming wealthy is there are many ways to do it, provided you just create yourself a surplus every month. So it doesn’t matter if I’m an entrepreneur or a potato chip salesman, anybody can do it.

And besides, I don’t pay for chips anymore. Meaning that, if things get really bad, I don’t have to pay for food.

Q: How do you generate topic ideas for Financial Uproar?

A: Generating decent post ideas is probably the thing I struggle with the most. There’s a lot of personal finance blogs that write about the most basic crap, usually in some sort of list form. I like to write about things that are a little more in depth, usually from a contrarian viewpoint. Often I’ll look at conventional financial wisdom and try to poke holes in it. Or I’ll just dress up some junk with some penis jokes.

Unlike a lot of other finance blogs, I often write about whatever the hell I want. My Saturday link roundups usually little to do with money. I’ve done NHL previews and posts making fun of camping.

Q: What’s surprised you the most about your blogging experience with Financial Uproar?

Firstly, I’m surprised I even have the small number of loyal readers I do. People are incredibly nice to me, probably because they pity me. Still, I’ll take it.

As for what surprised me the most, I’m going to go off the board a little bit. I just recently told my real life friends about the blog, even though it’s a year and a half old. The reason being that I wanted a level of success before I told people about it.

And, with just a couple of exceptions, nobody cares. They might ask me about it to be polite, but I can tell they don’t really care. My Dad listened about it for a whole minute before changing the subject. Unless people are in the business, they won’t really care about your blog. And hey, that’s cool. I don’t care about their football teams or the crappy books they read either.

Q: Lastly, what’s your personal opinion about credit cards? Are they good, bad or indifferent?

A: Credit cards have enabled people to use someone else’s money to buy stuff, interest free, as long as they pay it back before a specified date. They’ve enabled us to buy stuff online, which has saved us all money long term. Not only that, but in the 10 years I’ve had my credit card I’ve earned thousands of dollars in rewards and I’ve never paid a nickel in interest. Yeah, I think credit cards are pretty cool.

Of course, not everyone is as smart with their money as I am, so many people end up paying interest because they finance things they can’t afford. Is that the credit card’s fault? Or is it the borrower’s fault?

As for the high interest rates, borrowers can finance pretty much whatever they want using a credit card, down to smokes and cheeseburgers. That’s kind of risky for the company issuing the credit, hence the high interest rates. You can avoid these high rates with just a little bit of planning.
So yeah, I’m kind of pro credit card.

Our thanks, once again, goes out to Nelson Smith from

May the wind always be at your back … and people always stay hungry for potato chips.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Wendi October 12, 2011 at 7:26 am

Good interview Nelson!


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