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We started this blog in August 2017, but the idea to enter the money nerd arena entered our minds in 2015 during our honeymoon in South Africa. What took us so long? Well, we wanted it to feel right. We wanted our experiences and voices to be relevant. As expansive as these interwebs are, it can feel pretty small at times. It’s easy to convince yourself that your story isn’t meaningful or that someone has already told it; making your own rendition irrelevant somehow.
Given our work experience, we took our time building a strategic plan to make our voice one that was relevant in the hopes it would break through what feels like a jam-packed lobby of prolific, wildly intelligent, creative and charismatic people. We thought through our logo, our name, our tone of voice and what we wanted people to feel when they saw or heard from us.
We set short term goals, long term goals and jotted down our wildest visions for what we thought r&R could become if done well. We were careful in creating firm boundaries so that our core values wouldn’t be compromised if in fact our dreams did come true. All the while, in between many scheduled meetings, casual side-bar conversations and random eurekas over Pinot Noir, we had a few examples of excellence in mind. Anthony Bourdain was at or near the top.
Our choice to use illustrations instead of glossy high-definition photography was because of the image below. It felt interesting, intriguing, authentic.
We figured, in a world where everyone is taking high quality, staged photography straight outta Chapter 1 of the “How to look successful” book, we would opt to be different.
Our decision to name the site [rich & REGULAR] was also influenced by him. As a master storyteller, whether he was ranting about something gruesome, eloquently describing cheese or summarizing the ignored history of a nation, he made an effort to care deeply about his word choice. Similarly, we made a deliberate effort to capitalize the word REGULAR in our name and to keep the rich in lowercase. There’s a story there.
When we would explore the landscape of financial bloggers, we often felt like we were swimming in a sea of sameness. Same ideas, same schtick, same templates. Much like travel shows, there was and still is no shortage of cookie-cutter models out there. While there is a time, place and need for that, we knew that in order to win the hearts of the people we wanted to reach, we had to get up-close and we had to be fearless…like Bourdain. One of our goals was to be our favorite bloggers favorite blogger, much like Bourdain is highly respected by those in the know.
His shows were never just about food. His passion for culinary arts was merely the vessel he used to tell stories about places and people. In turn, he inspired you to think about the world in ways you wouldn’t on your own.
He gave us license and a model to follow. By observing his rise over the years, we knew that to inspire meaningful and long lasting change, it would require more than just talking about money. We needed to talk about our lives, our families, our successes and our struggles. Merely explaining the difference between a Roth and Traditional IRA wouldn’t motivate someone to seek financial independence nearly as much as showing you pictures of us on our first big family vacation, showing you our credit score, reflecting on the looming possibility of a layoff or sharing silly screwups that lead to overdrafts in our business account.
The morning we learned of his passing, we were both stunned. While we don’t talk about it much; travel is a key ingredient to our relationship and Bourdain played a role in several of our travel itineraries. To name a few, in recent years we’ve been to Panama, Puerto Rico, Italy, St. Maarten, Thailand, Peru, South Africa and Jamaica. All of these trips were influenced in some way by episodes of his shows. Furthermore, in a recent post about giving, we had JUST mentioned how critically important supporting mental health causes was to us. So naturally, losing one of our heroes to a mental health related issue was heart breaking.
Minutes after validating the breaking news social media was on fire, news outlets were on high and people in our offices were chiming in on his passing. One of the most disturbing and frequent reactions we’d observe was the notion that someone like him, who seemingly had it all would choose to take their own life. To quote a colleague “it just goes to show that money can’t buy you happiness”. To that, we say…it’s not that simple. To frame up suicide as a simple and selfish choice is not only insensitive; it’s short-sighted.
Just like poor people don’t simply CHOOSE to be poor, we don’t believe sick people simply CHOOSE to be sick or to end their lives. In fact, some studies have shown that suicidal acts are the result of an impairment of the part of the brain that regulates decision making. This would imply that suicide is a byproduct of feeling like you have no choice at all.
There’s no pretty ending to a post about suicide. The only silver lining is the likely increased awareness of mental health issues over the coming months.. But know this—to us…Bourdain represented the essence of rich & REGULAR; the idea that despite his privilege, he would likely choose a $2 bowl of noodles over a ten course meal at the French Laundry Click To Tweet
We can’t say that we wouldn’t do the same. So on that note, we’ll close with “we are rich & REGULAR. We work, we invest, we tell stories, and we’re hungry for freedom.
RIP Anthony Michael Bourdain