Gwen Merz on Fiery Millennials, financial independence and saving $200k by age 30 – MAF193

On the show this week, I chat to Gwen, the founder of Fiery Millennials, a blog side dedicated to making sense of finances for young people.

We talk about how Gwen saved $200,000 whilst in her twenties  and how she built her blog to help others achieve financial independence.

Welcome to episode 193 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Gwen Merz on Fiery Millennials, financial independence and saving $200 by age 30 - MAF193

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How Gwen saved rather than spent her money
  • Why Gwen set up the Fiery Millennials blog
  • How she built her website by not following “the rules”
  • Making financial advice less complicated
  • How to make financial services an enticing career option
  • Gwen’s advice to millennials seeking financial independence

Who is Gwen Merz?

Gwen started her blog three and a half years ago after finding a ‘Financially Independent Retiring Early’ (FIRE) community during college. While it provided value, there was no-one young, female and starting out on their financial journey to relate to.

Realising that most bloggers were at a different life stage, Gwen created the blog she wanted to read. It helps her make connections, find new ideas and understand how others live. She worked for a large, globally recognised corporation and intended to retire at 35. By age 27 she’d saved $200,000, which over the next 30 years will compound to $1.5m without additional contributions.

Summary of our chat

Gwen prioritised saving over spending, always putting that first. She divided her paycheck into tax deferred accounts first and she spent the remainder. Gwen graduated debt-free and went straight into a well-paying job. She disliked working and not having freedom to do what she wanted, so did everything possible to get out of office life.

Creating Fiery Millennials to help others achieve what she has, Gwen now finds her story is inspiring people. The blog shows the steps Gwen’s taken and gives her audience ideas for entrepreneurial adventures.

She’s experimented with property management, selling printable downloads, freelance writing and stained-glass making.

Gwen didn’t do any market research before launching Fiery Millennials, because there wasn’t anyone creating what she was looking for. She created her blog to talk about her career, her life and to share tips on what not to do. The blog has attracted an audience of engaged, like-minded people she feels strongly connected to.

Financial advisers need to make their products easier to understand, which is what Gwen does for her audience. This takes away the mystery and overwhelm and encourages them to try things themselves. She offers clear steps to follow and avoids using the confusing jargon that traditional advisers use.

Gwen isn’t trained in classic financial services, but says there’s a level of mistrust around the industry and an assumption advisers promote things they make money from. It needs to be a more attractive career option. Reframing it as a way to help people rather than about raking in commissions would be a positive. Gwen recommends tracking your spending to monitor your finances. Doing this helps you find places where you can make savings in your daily life. Decide what kind of budget would suit you and prioritise saving. Putting money aside first and then spending allows you to hit your goals.

A marketing campaign or product which grabbed Gwen’s attention

Gwen says Amazon have done an amazing job of promoting Amazon Prime Day. Although she has no intention of participating in it, she knows when it is because she’s bombarded with adverts everywhere on the internet.

Recommended business book

Gwen recommends Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfil Your Potential by Dr Carol Dweck, saying it will help you to change your mindset into a growth mindset.






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