Want to Retire Rich? Prioritize Debt Repayment First

J.D. Roth says debt is the biggest threat to wealth.

There’s no get rich quick scheme available if you want financial advice from J.D. Roth. The founder of the blog Get Rich Slowly is an accidental personal finance expert, one who knows that in order to become rich, you can’t be swimming in debt. A regular guy who onceĀ found himself deep in debt, Roth decided to turn his life around by reading everything he could about money and finance, which eventually led him to write about his own finances. Now, he’s a top personal finance blogger and an expert in the subject.

In 2006, he started the award-winning website Get Rich Slowly, which Money Magazine named the web’s most inspiring personal finance blog. Over the past 12 years, Get Rich Slowly has grown into an active community in which thousands of readers every month share ideas on how to improve their financial lives. Roth is also the author of “Your Money: The Missing Manual” and has written for Entrepreneur, Time and Money.

Click to find out how he went from being in debt to retiring rich.

What is your money mantra?

Do what works for you.

Before achieving financial success, what was your biggest obstacle? How did you overcome it?

My biggest obstacle has always been myself. That was true back when I was deep in debt and struggling to make ends meet, but it’s also true today. From my experience, this is true for almost everyone: You are your own worst enemy. I often say that the math of smart personal finance isn’t difficult. It’s basic stuff. It’s the psychology that’s hard, and that has certainly been true in my case.

What advice would you give your younger self about money?

It’s funny because the financial advice I’d give my younger self actually seems non-financial at first glance. I’d say, “Figure out what you want in life, then make decisions based around this goal.” When I was younger, I didn’t have any grand plans. As a result, it didn’t matter what I spent on. Buy a bunch of comic books? Sure, why not? There was nothing else that I was saving for, after all. It was only once I got clear on what my larger aims were that I was able to make financial decisions that supported these goals.

Click through to read more about J.D. Roth’s website Get Rich Slowly.

What is the best thing you did to boost your retirement savings?

The biggest boost to my retirement savings came from starting a business. This allowed me to earn much more than I was before, and that in turn let me turbo-charge my retirement savings.

Is there a tool or tactic that has been the most valuable to you in your own retirement planning experience?

Things changed for me when I decided to manage my money as if I were managing a business. For years, I had struggled to manage my household finances. But at the same time, I had no trouble running profitable businesses. “What if,” I eventually asked myself, “I treated my personal finances like a small company? What if I did my best to earn a profit every month?” This one shift in mindset made a huge difference in my life. I stopped viewing saving as sacrifice. It wasn’t saving, it was profit. That profit was meant to help me build my “business” in the future. Changing my mindset made saving a pleasure instead of a pain.

Click to read more about the Best Money Experts.