Sofa Surfer to Millionaire

martinis and your money

Sofa Surfer to Millionaire

I don’t know about you, but I love a good rags to riches or comeback story and my friend, Harlan Landes, is certainly one of those. If you don’t know Harlan (aka Luke), he is literally one of the grandfathers of personal finance blogging. He started his blog, Consumerism Commentary, in 2003 before personal finance blogs were even cool; and the main reason why he started the blog was a series of unfortunate events that led him to living on his divorced dad’s new girlfriend’s sofa.

the jerk

I find Harlan’s story fascinating and inspiring and I hope you will as well.

What are we drinking?

Harlan – Strawberry Martini (from The Melting Pot aka “The Love Martini”)

Shannon – Pomegranate Martini

Podcast Notes

  • Harlan studied music education in college and planned to be a music teacher
  • He worked in a non-profit after college
  • In a short period of time, he lost his job, his girlfriend, his car and had to move into his dad’s girlfriend’s basement
  • The internet came out while Harlan was in college and he decided he needed to have a website
  • Harlan talks about some of the earlier blogs he started like “Jog Blog”
  • During four months of living in the basement, Harlan started researching smarter money choices
  • Because of his financial mess, Harlan decided to start a blog about his journey
  • July 2003, Harlan started Consumerism Commentary
  • The recession in 2008 started driving more traffic to personal finance blogs
  • Harlan discusses what made him decide to sell the site. His decision to sell came much earlier than the actual sale.
  • The final offer was more than 10 times the initial offer from the same company
  • Harlan saw risks of diversification to his site which was why he wanted to sell sooner than later
  • Harlan discusses what he thinks about the future of other bloggers replicating his trajectory and success
  • Harlan talks about what made him decide to start a foundation
  • Harlan talks about being a band geek and his latest musical adventure

Random 3 Questions Harlan Answered

  1. If you were to write another type of blog, what would it be and why?
  2. If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only bring one book, what would it be and why?
  3. Describe and ideal or perfect date for you?

Gif Source: Giphy

What was your lowest personal moment? Do you think blogs can sell for millions like they used to?

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.


  1. Wow I can’t wait to listen to this one! “The final offer was more than 10 times the initial offer from the same company.” That’s pretty incredible. I nearly sold my site this year but decided against it because I thought I could greatly increase the amount I sell it for. Great to hear Harlan got 10 times as much as the first offer!

  2. Hooray for music geeks! I’m sad to know that the music teacher dreams didn’t work out — especially since our kids need MORE time for music and art in school, not less! But super awesome that Harlan was able to turn his hardship into a PF blog that made him money, and then go on to be a force for good in the PF blogosphere. Awesome!

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