PVF – What’s in a Name?

Polaris Star Trails

Present Value Finance?  

I guess this is something of an origin story: how I came to start writing a blog about personal finance.  I guess it starts way back in the 80’s when a certain sperm and egg came together, and became, well, me.

As I was growing up, I tended to gravitate towards the math and science end of the spectrum, which fit well with my pretty analytical bent.  I liked solving puzzles, figuring out how things worked and why things worked.  I wasn’t afraid of math and came to see a certain elegance in how it could be used to describe the world around us.  In other words, I was a nerd.

So how did I end up in finance vs. STEM?  I watched the Thomas Crown Affair.  No, seriously.  This was peak Pierce Brosnan – James Bond running amok on Wall Street – and I said “I want to do that!”  I went to college to study finance, graduated, and then gave the better part of my 20s to investment banking.  It was challenging (and lucrative), but it was really starting to wear on me.  The birth of my son was really the tipping point for me to evaluate where I go from here.

So last year, my family uprooted from the big city and moved to a not-so-big city for a change of pace.  We ran the numbers and decided that could make it work.  I still work in finance, just not as cut-throat.  So that’s me.  A mid-30s husband and father with a house in the suburbs.  We both have good, stable jobs and are well on our way to being financially independent.

So Why Write a Blog about Personal Finance?

There’s an awful lot of personal finance blogs out there, and I regularly read a number of them.  What could I possibly add to the mix?  My hope is, quite a lot.  I’m trying to write for people who seem themselves in some or all of my bio above.

We all know that we should “spend less than we earn” and “pay off highest interest debt first,” but what about slightly more advanced concepts?  I’m going to try to avoid the well travelled advice.  I want to help people who are aiming to optimize their financial lives to help achieve financial independence.  At the same time, I want to give a new perspective on finance topics too.

How Did We “Make It” Financially?

Three things: hard work, discipline, and a ton of luck.  I’ve worked really hard and sacrificed a lot along the way.  I’ve had more 80+ hour work weeks than I’d like to admit and was tethered 24 hours to a Blackberry for many more.  It was painful, but I was blessed that I made it through without major damage to mind or body.  I know a lot who can’t say the same.

We were also disciplined and used our good fortune to invest for the future.  Yes, I was paid very well, but instead of blowing it on expensive cars or watches, we saved it.  We were able to have nice things and some great experiences, but we also paid for them out of the excess.  Savings for ourselves came first. As a result, we were able to step away from the crazy life from a position of strength, with a nest egg to fall back on.

Lastly, I know that I’m just lucky.  I was blessed to grow up in the a good home with a roof over my head, supportive parents, and food in my belly.  I had a big leg up in that regard, and anyone who tells you they did it all on their own is kidding themselves.  A ton of people work hard and are disciplined, but for whatever reason just can’t get over the hump.  That isn’t an excuse to never try to do better (financially or otherwise), but rather to recognize when you’ve already got it pretty good.

In Conclusion…

So there you have it.  My inaugural post in an increasingly crowded personal finance blogging universe.  Thank you for joining me on the journey.  I hope we all can learn something and improve our financial lives together.

John started Present Value Finance in 2017 to share his experiences and insights on personal finance to help people make better decisions and take control of their financial lives.  

He achieved financial independence in 2016 by walking away from the high stress world of corporate finance to focus on his family. He’s a husband, father, family CFO, and all around finance geek.


  1. Glad to have you in the space! Keen to hear more about the optimizations and analysis over the coming months and years. What’s interesting to me is that your life currently describes what I’m planning my life to look like in a few years. Granted, I did go in to STEM but other than that the story reads the same so far. Fun to peer into potential futures sometimes!

    1. I’m glad to be here! I just can’t help myself when it comes to analysis. Guess that’s the quant side of me peeking through.

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