What is CatholicPF.com?

CatholicPF.com is a website designed to serve as an educational resource that covers a broad range of Personal Finance issues and topics.  These topics will be grounded in a Catholic perspective that emphasizes the central message of CatholicPFSpend Right, Give Right, Save Right and Live Right!    

What can I expect from CatholicPF.com? 

CatholicPF.com will address a diverse range of Personal Finance topics in an effort to help educate and inform individuals about money – how we spend, waste, save, track, make, invest, and work our financial resources.  More importantly, I hope readers and their families will learn how to make wiser decisions that will promote personal and financial security.  Topics addressed on this site will include:

Budgeting & Debt Elimination

Saving & Investing

Credit & Spending

Home Ownership & Living Expenses

Family, Faith & Frugal Living

About me?

My name is Daniel and I’m a 52 year old happily married husband and father of four.  While I’m certainly not what you would call a Personal Finance expert or guru in the traditional sense of the word, I think the groundwork for this website has been firmly rooted in my personal and financial experiences – experiences that were frequently the by-product of two completely different approaches and philosophies that were often at odds with each other. 

While I have spent my entire life as a member of the Catholic Church, it has been a membership that has seen peaks and valleys in terms of my relationship with the Church.  From my Baptism, to my days as a server at a Catholic grade school and high school, from my conspicuous absence from the Church during college and much of my 20’s, to my marriage in the Church, putting my own children though Catholic education, and my current Sunday Services and Church functions – through all of this I have attempted (oftentimes successfully, occasionally not) to live my personal life in a manner consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

That said, in my twenties and early thirties my personal and financial decisions were grounded upon two completely different sets of principles.  While my personal life was largely guided by traditional Catholic teachings regarding faith, family, and conservative principles, my financial life was largely directed by ignorance, greed, impatience, irresponsibility and short-sightedness. 

Then a dramatic change occurred.  I was visiting my brother in Austin, Texas for a long weekend in the summer of 1992 and we attended a Church service together.  The priest that Sunday morning spoke about a group of Church-goers he liked to refer to as “Convenient Catholics”.  These folks were a group of people that he poked fun of as “Baptised, Married, Easter and Christmas Catholics” … a reference to the fact that these were the only times you might see a majority of Catholics ‘practicing’ their faith.  Sure, these “Convenient Catholics” might pray before dinner, check the “Catholic” box on the Census, say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”, attend the occasional Friday Fish Fry and perform a host of other ‘observances’.  But when it came to the day- to-day things in life – how we perform our jobs, how we interact with others, how we care for ourselves and our family, and how we handle our finances – the priest suggested that many Catholics were just going through the motions! 

And that was me – just going through the motions – particularly when it came to my personal finances.  I had spent the first 30+ years of my life compartmentalizing – my faith belonged in one silo and my finances belonged in another.  I was still paying off student loans one minimum monthly payment at a time, I had $30,000+ in credit card debt, a car payment with an obscene interest rate, my wife and I were living in an apartment well above our means, we had no emergency fund, were living paycheck to paycheck, and had $2200 in our retirement account. .  For some reason, I hadn’t been willing to view my finances through the same faith based conservative prism that I did many other areas of my life.  Something had to change. 

And it was that weekend, on a flight home after my visit to Austin, that I made the conscious decision to stop being a “Convenient Catholic”, turn my family’s personal finances around, and invest the time and energy necessary to bridge the gap between the lessons I had been raised with as a Catholic and the woefully inadequate personal finance education I had received.  

My success – and how I hope to help visitors to this site – came when my personal and financial goals were BOTH based on the principles and teachings of the Church.   Financially speaking, here’s a sample of what bridging that gap has allowed me to:

  • Have $0 consumer debt
  • Own four homes (one that is my primary residence and three multi-family residential investment properties).  Two of these residences are fully paid for.
  • Build a liquid emergency fund of $75,000
  • $1.2MM in investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds)
  • Give 20% of my annual income to the Church and other causes my wife and I support
  • Help each of my four children with their college educations

But in reality, the numbers are NOT what are important.  Sure, I appreciate the situation my wife and I have created for ourselves … but even more than that, I have appreciated the journey.  My wife and I have not had a ‘money’ argument in nearly 20 years – instead our marriage has thrived as we have learned to control our money and not let our money control us.  Living frugally, spending less than we make, and making the daily decision to live in a financially responsible manner has taught our family the value of relationships and faith over ‘things’ and ‘stuff’.  

What CatholicPF is NOT

CatholicPF is NOT the gospel – in matters of faith OR personal finance.  I am neither a professional financial expert, religious scholar, nor a Catholic theologian.  That said, I personally do not pretend to have all the answers, nor do I claim to have ‘it’ all figured out.  And most importantly, this website is NOT intended to provide professional financial advice – it is a platform designed to share my experiences (grounded in Catholicism and conservative thinking), hopefully hear some of your financial and personal success and challenges, and  provide an arena for like minded individuals to find, exchange and discuss information regarding personal finance.   

So what now? How can CatholicPF help?

Some of you might be able to relate to my story – in part or in whole.  Others might have figured things out – personal and financial – much earlier than me.  Regardless of your individual or family situation, my hope for this site is that it can serve as a platform to promote, exchange, and share personal finance information that can serve as a launching pad and resource center for individuals looking to achieve personal and financial balance and security in their lives and the lives of their families. 

And for that to happen, I am going to need your help.  I’m going to need you to visit this site, share it with your friends and family, tell me when I’ve got it wrong, and when I’ve got it right. 

I’m also going to need visitors to CatholicPF to share their own stories, their own success, and their own failures.  The mission of this site – to Spend Right, Give Right, Save Right, Live Right – and its success will largely depend on your contributions, engagement and commitment to helping promote personal and financial decisions grounded in Faith! 

Thank you for visiting and God Bless You! 

Daniel

8 Responses to “About”

  1. Patrick says:

    Daniel,
    Great site. I’m looking for good resources to add to my “comrades” on my blog. I am adding you to my blogroll.

    I’ll check in often (and probably throw some questions towards you!)
    Pat

    • admin says:

      Pat –
      Thank you very much – glad you found your way to CatholicPF. I look forward to visiting your site and please do check back in on occassion.
      – Daniel

  2. Kira says:

    Hello,
    You have a very informative catholicpf website and would like to work with you!
    I would like to know if you accept pre-written blog post with links! Could you please give me the general rates?
    I hope to hear from you soon!
    Kind Regards,
    Kira!

  3. Mary says:

    Hello Daniel,

    I wanted to request a reprint of one of your entries. Could you please respond to my e-mail address?

    Thank you. Praise the Lord!

  4. Michelle Martin says:

    Hello, Daniel-
    I’m working on a story for Our Sunday Visitor about budgeting for Catholic families, and I’d love to talk to you. Please respond to my email, and we can come up with a time to talk.
    Thanks!
    Michelle

  5. Daniel, I am a best-selling Catholic author and speaker, on the subject of personal finances and faith. I will be a featured speaker at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September (the Pope is attending). It may be beneficial for us both, to correspond. I think we have much in common. I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks and God bless!

    Thomas

  6. Hi, just sending a reminder in case you missed my last 2 emails. Please let me know if you would like to participate on this experts round I plan to publish?

    Thanks,
    Kostas Chiotis

  7. Kostas Chiotis says:

    Hi,

    I am just giving you a heads-up on the upcoming round-up!

    Thanks,
    Kostas Chiotis

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