Well Heeled Blog – Best of the Best Blogger Series

Well Heeled Blog - Best of The Best Blogger SeriesNext up, in the 47th edition of our very popular Best of the Best Blogger series, I was thrilled for the opportunity to speak with the owner of Well Heeled Blog (blogging anonymously as WellHeeled).

What’s so utterly refreshing about WellHeeled (WH), as one of the more notable personal finance bloggers in the category, is her unapologetic joie de vivre. Passion seems to be the underpinning of WellHeeled’s life, permeating throughout her writing and topic coverage and coloring her personality in an undeniable way. She actually started WellHeeled as a lifestyle blog but quickly decided that she wanted a broader canvas with which she could write, talk and share her life.

Folding in coverage of personal finance was far from difficult for her because the topic spoke perfectly to the “inner nerd” in her. She enjoys writing on “just about anything” and her eclectic topic coverage includes everything from retirement planning to cooking, eating, consumer behavior, shoes … and even the Argentine tango!. In fact, the blog was actually named after her weakness for high quality shoes and her desire to be Well-Heeled or financially independent, whichever comes first.

As a 20-something college graduate, WH continues to navigate her first “quarterlife” with passion, enthusiasm and a restless curiosity that makes her an utterly fascinating character to know and to follow. A few of my favorite posts from WH include Do We Need a Prenup?, What Losing Money Taught Me About Saving Money and Income, Goals and What’s “Enough”?.

We sat down recently with WH to talk about personal finance, moral judgment, Christian Loboutin shoes and Dancing with the Stars.

Well Heeled Blog

One of your motto’s “experience, not stuff” is very interesting. Tell me a little bit about that philosophy and where it came from.

One day I just looked around my apartment and realized I had so much STUFF that I didn’t need or use or even liked all that much. I’m not a minimalist, but I want to become a more conscious consumer. And the perks of buying less stuff is I can buy NICER stuff (real leather vs. faux, better, lined wool pants instead of polyester, etc.) and I can spend more money on experiences. Like 95% of personal finance bloggers out there, I love to travel. So whatever money I don’t spend on stuff I can use towards epic vacations.

Having said that, I think many times there’s a moral judgment on buying things vs. paying for travel (the former is bad and stupid, the latter is encouraged), but I don’t think getting a pair of Christian Louboutins is a morally inferior choice to jetting to Paris. It just depends on what will make you the happiest.

What’s the most impactful personal financial experience that you’ve had in your first “quarterlife”?

Hmmm … I’d have to say it’s

  1. Maxing out my Roth IRA every year, and
  2. Encouraging my fiance to max out his Roth IRA every year.

We are in our mid-late 20s, and we have $100,000 in retirement funds between the two of us. I was really surprised when I did that calculation, but our consistency in saving really helped us there. When I was in college, I didn’t even know what a Roth IRA was, so I think I’ve came a pretty long way.

Where did the shoe obsession come from? Is your interest in personal finance and expensive shoes related in any way?

I just love shoes. My interest in personal finance and expensive shoes are only related in that former tells me I cannot afford the latter!

What’s the single greatest gift that you’re blogging experience with your Well Heeled Blog has given you?

Thanks to the blog, I’ve met a few of my very good friends and mentors. In fact, two of my blog-friends-turned-real-life-friends will be at my wedding, and I am going to be the bridesmaid of one of those girls at HER wedding. One of my mentors is a Harvard Business School graduate who is now a personal finance expert, and last year she took an entire hour out of her busy schedule to coach me on how to negotiate a raise. The kindness and friendship of these folks never fail to amaze me. Long after the blog is gone, I’m still going to have those valuable relationships I’ve built.

What’s your stance on non-mortgage related revolving debt, otherwise known as credit cards. (For the record, it’s perfectly OK to say “credit cards are evil” if that’s how you feel. You just have to tell me why.)

I LOVE credit cards, actually. At the end of the day, a credit card is a tool. And just like any tool, you have to use it responsibly or else you can get hurt. The way I look at credit cards is that it’s a METHOD of payment, not a SOURCE of cash. So I always pay off my credit cards in full and on time, and then I get to enjoy all the perks that come with my cards: frequent flyer miles, hotel points, cash back, etc. In fact, I am paying for half of my honeymoon from points alone.

I’d like to hear a little bit about your other passion … the Argentine tango. Why the Argentine tango instead of the ballroom tango?

Both dances are beautiful, but I think the Argentine tango is really like NO other dance out there. The Argentine tango is strictly improvisational, so I never know what steps I’m doing 2 seconds before I do them. That might sound stressful, but I find dancing the tango incredibly relaxing. It’s also a very intellectual, very technical dance. You can study the tango – heck, you can study the tango walk – for years and there will still be more to learn and more refinement to achieve. It’s a lifelong process. And on the superficial side, have you seen the shoes and dresses that people wear in Argentine tango? Gorgeous!

Given your affinity for the tango, that begs the most important question … who’s your pick for Season 14 on Dancing with the Stars?

Hahha. I actually haven’t watched Dancing with the Stars for several seasons now. My favorite dancer from the past seasons would be Shawn Johnson the Olympic gymnast and Kristy Yamaguchi the Olympic figure skater. They both look great on the dance floor (and they both won their seasons!).

I’d like to think my Well-Heeled friend for taking the time with me. It took us a little while to connect and make the interview happen but it was enlightening and thoroughly enjoyable.

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