Saving regret — and how to avoid it

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In November 2018, the National Bureau of Economic Research published a paper called “Saving Regret” [here’s the full PDF version]. Once you wade through the study’s academic language, there’s some interesting stuff here about why people do and don’t save for retirement.

Saving regret, the authors say, is “the wish in hindsight to have saved more earlier in life”.

Obviously, you can suffer from saving regret at any age. When I met 31-year-old Debbie for dinner last week, her issues boiled down to saving regret. She wishes she’d saved more when she was younger. But for the purposes of this paper, the authors turned their attention to folks aged 60 to 79, people of traditional retirement age.

The researchers found that two-thirds of those surveyed said they should have saved more when they were working: “66.6 percent said they would save more if they could re-do their earlier life.”

As you might expect, the authors found that high-wealth and high-income people experience less saving regret. (I’m pleased that the researchers recognize that there’s a difference between income and wealth.)

But what causes saving regret in the first place? Why don’t people save more? Let’s take a look at what the study found.

Saving Regret -- and How to Avoid It

Sources of Saving Regret

In their survey of 1590 people, the authors asked about education, personality, and what they term “positive and negative shocks”. (The latter is basically trying to to determine how unexpected events affect saving.)

After compiling the results, they reached these conclusions:

  • “We found only modest evidence for a relationship between our measures of procrastination and the desire to re-optimize saving.” Yes, procrastination is a factor in saving regret. But it’s not as big as you might expect.
  • Failure to anticipate negative shocks — underestimating their probability and effects — has a greater effect on saving regret.
  • Overall, “a substantial percentage of respondents view their economic preparation to be adequate, yet they nonetheless express saving regret.” In other words, as many GRS have experienced, even when you think you have enough saved, you often wish you had more.

“Saving regret is high at the time of or shortly before retirement but is much lower at older ages,” the authors write. They believe there are two reasons for this.

First, when people stop working, they’re faced with a lot of uncertainty. This uncertainty makes them long for a larger safety net, makes them wish that they’d saved more. In a sense, this is why I have been experiencing saving regret. When my life was settled, I was fine with my nest egg. But over the past couple of years, there’s been a lot of unexpected, unplanned spending. Things seem uncertain. Because of this, I wish I had more saved.

Whether or not there’s any actual increased risk to a person’s savings, if she feels like there’s increased risk, this leads to saving regret.

There’s another reason saving regret declines with age: Consumption patterns change. The older people get, the less they spend. This decreased spending leads to greater relief. It lessens the stress.

A Shock to the Savings

Saving regret was greatest among people who always settle for mediocre results (85.8% of these folks experienced regret) and people who always put off difficult things (88.2%), but this is a very small sample of the whole. Plus, these are personality traits that, with effort, can be changed.

Another huge factor — one that could affect anyone — is what the authors term “economic shocks”. A positive economic shock might be receiving an inheritance. A negative economic shock might be losing your job.

From the paper itself, here’s a table demonstrating the relationship between saving regret and economic shocks. (The number you want here is the “mean”. Convert this to a percentage to find out the relationship. For example, the 0.794 listed under mean for “Health limited work” indicates that 79.4% of those whose health affected their ability to work wish they had saved more.)

Saving Regret table

“Among those with saving regret,” the authors write, “66 percent reported experiencing a shock earlier in life leading to adverse economic consequences, compared with just 43 percent among those without saving regret.”

I found this tidbit interesting too: “Among those with regret, 38 percent reported that Social Security benefits were less than expected compared with just 26 percent among those without regret.” Perhaps it used to be difficult to anticipate Social Security benefits, but nowadays they should never come as a surprise. That info is easy to find.

In a lot of cases, it’s not the shock itself that causes the problem. It’s the failure to anticipate a possible shock. It’s poor preparation.

The authors believe that people tend to be over-optimistic. They “[expect] future outcomes that are better than reasonably likely”. They think they’re better than average and will achieve better than average results. Plus, they suffer from the “illusion of control”, an exaggerated belief in their ability to direct their destiny.

This last point is important for me (and many GRS readers).

I am a vocal advocate of becoming proactive. I believe strongly that, to the extent possible, we should all work to manage those parts of our life that fall within our “locus of control”. Some things — the weather, the economy, the actions of other people — are outside of our control, and it’s foolish to spend our attention on them. But others — our attitudes, our relationships, our saving rates — are absolutely under our control, and it’s foolish to ignore them.

[Circle of Concern vs. Circle of Control]

When reading this article, I fretted at first that the authors were arguing that people like me believe we can control more our life than we actually do. I realized, however, that they’re actually saying something different: Those who experience saving regret mistakenly believe that people and events in their Circle of Concern actually fall in their Circle of Control.

Money bosses like you and me may not have perfect perceptions of what we can and cannot control, but I believe we have a better understanding than those who express saving regret. We recognize that many things are beyond our control, so we prepare for possibilities. We expect the unexpected.

Avoid Saving Regret

The authors of “Saving Regret” don’t delve deep into solutions. Their paper is informational, not prescriptive.

That said, I think the info provided in the paper suggests a handful of solutions to saving regret. If you want to save enough for retirement, do the following:

  • Forecast the future. I know it’s tough to tell where you’ll be in five or ten years. Sometimes, it’s impossible. All the same, it’s important to try. Having a plan reduces saving regret. The researchers found that “saving regret was highest among respondents who stated that they do not have a financial plan”. The longer a person’s planning horizon, the lower their levels of regret.
  • Plan for problems. You cannot predict when bad things are going to happen. You don’t know if (or when) you’re going to get cancer, a drunk is going to crash into your car, or a typhoon will wash away your beach home. You can, however, be relatively certain that something bad will happen sometime. Your best bet is to be prepared — just like a Boy Scout. Maintain an adequate emergency fund.
  • Be proactive! There is never ever a reason that your Social Security benefits should come as a shock. The Social Security Administration issues periodic statements about estimated benefits. Plus, it’s easy to look up projected benefits online. This is but one example of how you can take steps to prevent future surprises.
  • Master your money. “The relationship between saving regret and financial literacy is also strong,” the authors write. People with high levels of financial literacy experienced half as much regret as those at the lowest levels. To avoid disappointment later in life, learn everything you can about personal finance.
  • Save more. Yes, this is an obvious solution to saving regret. I get it. But let’s make this explicit: Your saving rate — the difference between what you earn and what you spend — is the most important number in your financial life. Saving rate isn’t just vital for money nerds who want to retire early. It’s a key factor for achieving any financial goal.

Nothing can guarantee your financial future. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune can wreak havoc on even the best-prepared people. But you can maximize the odds of positive results by taking smart steps now. You can decrease the likelihood that you will experience saving regret by taking action today.

Final Thoughts

If we knew when we were going to die, financial decisions would be much easier.

If I knew, for instance, that I would be mauled by a bear on, say, 04 July 2029, then it would be a simple matter to make sure my retirement nest egg lasted another ten years.

J.D. attacked by bear

On the other hand, if I knew that the fateful bear attack wouldn’t come until I was 120, then I could take appropriate steps so that I had enough money to last me seventy years.

But I don’t know when and how I’ll die. Neither do you. As a result, the best we can do is guess how long we’ll live and how much money we’ll need.

Very few people regret saving money. In fact, these researchers found that only 1.7% of respondents would have saved less if they could re-do their earlier life.

While 66.6% of respondents wished they had saved more when they were younger, about 10% of these folks say they could not have done so. There wasn’t any way they could have spent less. But that means 60.9% of those surveyed could have and should have increased their saving rate.

What do people wish they’d spent less on? Men wish they had spent less on cars. Women wish they had spent less on clothing. And as much as it pains me, everyone wishes they had spent less on vacation. I sure hope my own travel spending doesn’t come back to haunt me later in life.

Poorer people have greater saving regret. The authors write: “Among those in the highest wealth quartile, 38.9 percent expressed saving regret; among those in the lowest wealth quartile, 71.9 percent did so.”

It’s tough to trace cause and effect here, of course, but I don’t think it matters. The message is clear. The poorer your personal economic situation, the more important it is for you to save!

Wading through the jargon, there’s a lot of interesting stuff about aging and aging in this paper. I’ve touched only on the main points. Some of the background info and asides are equally fascinating. (How do researchers predict how people will make future decisions? How do they model saving habits? What do they think of self-determination?)

But the bottom line is obvious: To avoid regrets when you’re older, save more now.

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How I Get Over 100,000 Visitors a Month With Top List Articles

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Traffic to me is the simplest thing on the planet. It is so easy to get! All you have to do is provide people with a solution to their problem and they will come, read it and they will share it with their friends!

I have created over 100 ‘top list’ type posts which have been viewed by millions. They are so popular and well received that they have been featured on Reddit Homepage, New York Times, Yahoo News & one even became a Trending Topic on Twitter! The best part… I can get these types of posts created for just $25. Let me teach you how.

Why Creating Lists Will Drastically Increase Your Traffic

When you Google, think what you are typing in, let’s say you are looking for a cure for a health problem. Just for example, you are going to type in Cure Acid Reflux. That’s a big search term. Firstly you would be surprised how many people don’t name the article what people are searching for in Google. This blows my mind. Why are you calling your article something fancy and using words people don’t ever use, just to make yourself look smart. No one is typing that in Google, so you shouldn’t be naming your posts that.

I’m no SEO expert, there I said it. But I do get around 200,000 visitors a month from Google alone so it’s kind of a big deal for me.

Here’s what I believe: Google ranks sites which are naturally awesome. Forget everything about buying links and social love. Just imagine that your posts are so cool, people spend ages on your site and people love to share your stuff. That’s what GOOGLE wants! Great content because they are in the content industry. There job is to provide users with the right content and the best possible option, if yours is not that, then you don’t rank so well.

Back to my health post, I will call it :

10 Ways To Cure Acid Reflux

Somewhere I heard that odd numbers work better for open rates and marketing so I often will change the 10 for 7, 11, 13, 17 basically any odd number that looks good. I will decide how many I want before I even create the post. Ofcourse, it sometimes changes as I’m writing the post.

What you don’t want to do is call your article something like:

Surefire Ways To Eradicate Acid Reflux

I’m sure someone will type in Eradicate Acid Reflux every month or two but Surefire Ways? No Way!

You think this is an extreme example? Heck no, this is a nice example.

Tip 1. Name Your Posts Something People Search For!

Here’s where top lists dominate:

  • Firstly, they are quite long so people tend to spend a while reading them.
  • Each part is in section, for example, our Cure Acid Reflux post, its 7 cures, so we have 7 headlines with each option. Because of this, people can quickly decide YES, there’s something here I am willing to do, so I will read it all. I think a lot of articles don’t do well because people are not prepared to commit time to read a page if they don’t think it’s going to help them.
  • The title says exactly what you get, so you know what you are getting into.
  • When shared on social media, again, people know what they are about to get. Often people will retweet and share blog posts just because of the title, not even knowing if the article is good or not.

Step 1. To Dominating Any Industry

Post a large amount of amazing articles. That’s what I do, I show up in dozens of industry’s and just do the same old top list posts but for different industry’s. Here’s some examples:

Blogging/Make Money Industry

  • Top 30 Most Influential People In Blogger
  • 10 Reasons Why It Rocks To Be a Internet Entrepreneur
  • 10 Christmas Gifts For Entrepreneurs
  • 17 Tips To Cure Bloggers Block
  • 20 Bloggers To Follow on Facebook

Photography Industry

  • Top 30 Most Influential People In Photography
  • 10 Reasons Why It Rocks To be a Photographer
  • 10 Christmas Gifts For Photographers
  • 17 Tips To Fix Bad Photos
  • 20 Photographers To Follow on Facebook

Health Industry

  • Top 30 Most Influential People in Natural Health
  • 10 Reasons Why It Rocks To Be Healthy
  • 10 Christmas Gifts for Super Healthy People
  • 17 Tips To Cure Acid Reflux
  • 20 Health Experts To Follow on Facebook

Young Entrepreneur Industry

  • Top 30 Most Influential Young Entrepreneurs
  • 10 Reasons Why It Rocks To Be a Young Entrepreneur
  • 10 Christmas Gifts For Young Entrepreneurs
  • 17 Tips To Stop People Treating You Different Because Of Your Age
  • 20 Young Entrepreneurs To Follow On Facebook

See how easy it is?

And it doesn’t stop there. Each post can be done in so many other ways. For example:

10 Reasons Why It Rocks To Be a Photographer… you could flip this on it’s head and do 10 Reasons Why It Sucks…

Tip 2. Turn One Top List Into a Series of Top Lists

Remember our post suggestion: 20 Bloggers To Follow on Facebook

How about doing that with every social network:

  • 20 Bloggers To Follow on Twitter
  • 20 Bloggers To Follow on Youtube
  • 20 Bloggers To Follow on Pinterest
  • 20 Bloggers To Follow on Google+

Instead of doing a post such as “20 Ways To Improve Your Website” – you could split it into a series and niche each one down, so for example:

  • 10 Ways To Improve Your Websites Load Time
  • 10 Ways To Improve Your Websites Usability
  • 10 Ways To Improve Your Websites Blog Layout
  • 10 Ways To Improve your Websites Conversion Rate

Step 2. Getting Articles Created (20 at a time)

So in order to achieve a lot of success with our blogs, we need a lot of content… by doing basically no actual work. This is important because as a business owner we can’t be doing everything ourselves, so we need to outsource what other people can do for us.

The great thing about top list articles, is they are more or less just research. Almost anyone can write them. The first article I ever outsourced was way back in 2009 and since then, has recieved over 1,000,000 visitors. All I had to do is hire someone and pay them $50. Still to do this day, I get thousands of visitors to my website every month because of that blog post. So don’t just think about how much traffic you will get today from a post but how much traffic you can get in the future.

Right now, one of the easiest places to hire a writer is Fiverr. They have a huge selection of writers and you can get your post written in under 24 hours. So if you want to test this strategy out, click here to hire someone to write your articles for you!

Tip 3. Be Specific With What You Want

If you want great articles, you have to give great guidelines. When you hire someone, I always include instructions so they know what I expect from them. This is what I send them:

Guidelines For Writing Awesome Articles For My Website

The majority of people who write articles for us, will go on to write many more. Please follow my article outline and guidelines to ensure your article is well received and accepted. Failure to do so will result in your article being declined.

All posts should be well researched.

If the article is numbered, please number it 1. 2. 3. etc (not #1 #2 #3 or 1 – 2 – 3 -)

If the title is broad, for example, 50 Places to Visit in 50 States of America, then please give a broad selection of choice. So for example, don’t make all 50 places landmarks, split it up so their is variety, for example, Landmarks, Famous Restaurants, Bars, Theme Parks, Extreme Things To Do and so on.

Be consistent with how you lay your article out, for example, I sometimes see people write post titles with the attraction first, followed by location. Then there will be 1 or 2 titles without a location. Each title needs to be in the same format.

Below is an example of how I like articles to be laid out:


Introduction to post. (This needs to be informative and make them want to carry on reading.)

Subheadline, in h2 tags. <h2>Your Subheadline</h2>

<h3>Item 1</h3>


Information why you should do what this title suggestions.

<h3>Item 2</h3>


And continue.

[There should be one line between each element.]


Examples of successful posts written:



As you can see in the final part of this post, I guide writers through exactly what I want. Even giving them examples of writers who have already followed our guidelines. This is key to having success with outsourcing article writing.

So just to recap what you need to do:

  1. Download our 110 top list headline templates, it’s FREE!
  2. Go through our headlines and decide on the 10 that you think will be most successful on your blog.
  3. Go to Fiverr and hire a writer or several writers to create this content for you.
  4. Publish content on your website and enjoy the benefits of top list articles.
  5. Repeat the first 4 steps over and over again.

That’s all there is to our top list strategy. It works for us and it’s worked for thousands of other IncomeDiary readers as well, so why not give it a try?

The post How I Get Over 100,000 Visitors a Month With Top List Articles appeared first on How To Make Money Online.

What is money for? An evening with Vicki Robin

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Your Money or Your LifeWhen I was a boy, my heroes were athletes and astronauts. I dreamed of playing pro football one day. Or, better yet, walking on the moon.

As an adult, my heroes are more mundane. They’re the people who make personal finance accessible to average people. Long-time readers know that billionaire investor Warren Buffett is one of my heroes. So too is Dave Ramsey, who has helped countless people — including me — get out of debt.

But perhaps my biggest hero is an unassuming 73-year-old woman in cat-eye glasses who lives on Whidbey Island in Washington’s Puget Sound.

In 1992, Vicki Robin (and her partner, Joe Dominguez) published Your Money or Your Life, a book designed to help readers transform their relationship with money. In 2004, the book transformed my relationship with money. It rocked my world. It inspired me to seek financial independence, which the book defines as “no longer having to work for money”.

Fast-forward fifteen years.

Today, in 2019, I’m awe-struck to actually be exchanging email with Vicki Robin, discussing the past, present, and future of financial independence. And this week, when she came to Portland, I not only got to hear her speak in person, but also got to treat her to dinner.

Your Money or Your Life

Last night, Douglas Tsoi, founder of the Portland Underground Graduate School and the School of Financial Freedom, hosted a talk from Vicki Robin. A few dozen money nerds — including some GRS readers (Hi, Scott! Hi, Brandon!) — gathered to hear Robin’s thoughts about financial independence.

For the sake of clarity, I’ve taken some liberties in what follows. I haven’t changed any of Robin’s ideas, but I’ve shifted some topics and quotes in order to create a smoother, more coherent flow for the blog. I’ve treated Robin’s Q&A responses, for instance, as if they’re part of the main talk. A real journalist would be mortified. I am not a real journalist.

Some folks in the audience were unfamiliar with Your Money or Your Life, so Robin started by briefly recapping the book’s message.

The goal of Your Money or Your Life, Robin says, is to transform your relationship with money in order to liberate your most precious resource, time. The book’s nine-step program is meant to help readers track the flow of money and stuff in their lives, guided by both self-interest (“does it work for me?”) and higher values (“does it work for the world?”).

It’s natural that we act in our own self-interest. If we aren’t right with ourselves, it’s tough be of service to others. But Robin worries that too many people get stuck in the self-interest side of things and never move beyond that, never see how achieving financial independence gives them the freedom to leave a lasting, positive impression on the world.

Like me, she wants people to “live on purpose”.

After Robin’s talk, a GRS reader named Brandon introduced himself to me. “Thanks for the work you do,” he said. “Especially what you share about mission and purpose.”

“Has that been useful for you?” I asked. “I feel it’s important, but sometimes I feel like I’m writing into a vacuum. I don’t know if it actually helps anybody.”

“Yes, absolutely,” Brandon said. “My wife and I have both done your personal mission statement exercise. It’s helped to give our lives direction. It’s very useful.”

A Story of Money

“In the western world, we live in a story of money,” Robin says. “On a personal level, this usually means that more is better. Whatever you have, a little bit more is better.” Our society is built around this narrative, which is pushed on us from all sides. (Even minimalism turns out to be about having more: “I have more less.”)

We’re all living this story together.

While the definition of financial independence in Your Money or Your Life is “no longer having to work for money”, Robin stresses that being FI isn’t about not working. Financial independence doesn’t mean leaving your job. It doesn’t mean seeking a life of idleness. Financial independence is about being independent from consumer culture, from the default ideology of the western world.

“There’s an ongoing campaign to convince people that they need more than they have. We’ve been persuaded we need more stuff. We’re constantly bombarded by messages of more.”

Robin isn’t immune to these messages. She recently considered buying a laptop case for when she travels.

“A useful question for me when I’m in the presence of something I must have is: Who wins if I buy this? Do I win? Or does somebody else win? Maybe I win a teeny bit by getting a computer case, but the company that sells it is the real winner.”

She smiled. “Besides, I’d probably just misplace the new case in my office. I’d be better off wrapping my computer in a towel!”

A New Story

Your Money or Your Life is meant to help readers see the world through different eyes. It’s meant to help people escape Plato’s Cave, to free themselves from the Matrix. When you reject the standard narrative, you’re able to define what’s valuable to you, what is enough for you.

“Moderating your consumption is resisting the dominant narrative,” Robin says. “It’s a sort of independence, a sort of freedom. It’s opting out of the idea that growth is good.”

When Robin and Dominguez wrote Your Money or Your Life, their aim was to help readers “liberate their life energy” so that they could use that energy to pursue what brings them (and the world around them) value.

“If everyone could do what they’re called to do, the world would be a better place,” Robin says.

Robin thinks it’s time for society to create a new shared narrative. She believes it’s time to set aside the story of money, to adopt a story that works toward the common good, not just the individual good.

How do we do this? She’s been thinking about this for years (and it’s the subject of her next book). Her advice reminds me of Action Girl’s guide to living, which I shared in 2006 when Get Rich Slowly was a baby blog.

In short:

  • Find others who are doing work of value. Work with them.
  • Help them bring forth something the makes life better for everybody.
  • Allow them to help you.

Financial independence isn’t an ultimate purpose. It’s a means to an end. It allows us to put ourselves in a position to contribute to society, to take care of others (children, elders, whomever).

What Is Money For?

Vicki RobinIn 1989, when they started writing the book, Robin and Dominguez had been teaching their financial freedom workshop for ten years. They’d seen that, on average, attendees were able to decrease their spending between 20% and 25%. What’s more, folks were happier. And they were consuming less.

When they decided to write Your Money or Your Life, they had two objectives.

  • They wanted to liberate people to be of service.
  • They wanted to liberate the planet from consumerism.

When Robin updated the book 25 years later, she felt discouraged. Instead of a reduction in consumerism, it seemed like the world had “gone further down the path of degradation”. Her goal with her revisions was to reach a new generation of readers.

As she worked on the new edition, she was pleased and humbled to discover that — unbeknownst to her — she’d helped inspire an entire movement: the FIRE movement. (FIRE is a clumsy acronym for Financial Independence and Early Retirement.)

But she was saddened to see that many of the folks pursuing financial independence were motivated purely by self-interest. They had no desire to be of service. They weren’t pursuing a higher aim.

“People are using FIRE as a way to escape something,” Robin says, “not as a way to pursue something bigger.” She wishes more folks would use financial independence as a platform to pursue large goals, to change their communities — and the world.

“What is freedom for?” she asked the audience last night. “What is FIRE for? Once money is no longer your story, what is your story? Who am I? What makes my life worth living? Who are my people?”

Life After Work

Robin says we don’t talk about these ideas as a society. We don’t talk about what a post-work “story” would look like. “If money is our religion,” Robin says, “then our jobs are the central rituals. Work is what we do from the time we’re born until the time we die.”

She believes we’re all meant for more than work. We want to apply our life energy to things that we think are valuable.

“We are born to contribute,” she says. We’re born to be useful, to be a meaningful part of our communities. “To say that work is only to get income is to befuddle the mind. I’ve left paid employment but I haven’t left work.”

Now, she works on improving herself and on improving society. “I work for the benefit of all every moment of my life.”

Robin spent some time talking about the difference between work and play. She says: “I aspire, as I do my work in the world, to do it with a spirit of play. To do it with a spirit of curiosity. To not make anybody an enemy. I think that’s something to aspire to.” I agree whole-heartedly!

Robin’s talk — and the Q&A that followed — was dense with information. I’ve only summarized the main points. For my own reference (and the reference of those who attended), here are are two interesting concepts that she referred to in passing:

Robin concluded her talk by sharing some of the new ideas she’s been exploring over the past few years. “What if we could have financial independence for everyone?” she asked. What would that look like? Is it even possible?

She’s still hashing out these ideas as she writes her next book.

Dinner with Vicki Robin

As much as I enjoyed Robin’s talk last night, I enjoyed taking her to Thai food on Monday even more.

Sometimes when we meet our heroes, we’re disappointed. I was not disappointed. I was impressed with Robin’s quick mind. I also liked how she’d ask questions without hesitation, trying to dig deeper into my motives and meaning.

For example, I shared how I struggle when I’m put in a position of authority. I don’t like being treated like a money expert because I don’t feel like a money expert. As a result, I’m reluctant to speak in front of large audiences. And I’m dragging my feet when it comes to setting up the Get Rich Slowly channel on YouTube.

On the other hand, I love meeting people one on one. I enjoy talking with readers about their financial situations, asking questions about their choices, trying to find solutions to their problems.

After listening for a few moments, Robin cut to the core: “You’re preferred mode is relational,” she said, “not informational.”

It was a simple statement, but it made a big impression on me. She’s right. (My therapist once told me I’m a “relationship guy”.) I need to consider this when choosing how to proceed with projects. Maybe I’m struggling with the YouTube channel because I don’t want to be a talking head. Maybe instead I need to film myself in conversation with others.

“Maybe you should let people pay you to do coaching calls,” Robin suggested. “And you might want to consider doing more partnerships. You should work with Douglas Tsoi on his School of Financial Freedom.” I think she’s right.

Anyhow, the past couple of days have made me feel like a boy again. But instead of dreaming about my heroes, I actually got to meet and talk with one. Isn’t life crazy? (And I have high hopes that I’ll get to meet and talk with Vicki Robin again in the not-so-distant future.)

The post What is money for? An evening with Vicki Robin appeared first on Get Rich Slowly.

OptiMonk Review – The Best PopUp Software For Getting Email Subscribers!

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Almost every website uses some form of popup software.

Which means, if you are blogger and you are reading this post, you most likely already have popup software on your website. Or at the very least, you are considering adding one!

Popup software drastically increase conversions, brings you more traffic and makes you more money.

But which Popup Software should you use?

Back in 2010, we were one of the first blogs to add a popup to our website.

The single addition of Popup Software brought us more conversions and more subscribers than anything else we had ever done before.

And it remains the case until today.

As you can see from the screenshot of our Aweber account, popups accounted for 63.9% of all new subscribers to this blog!

OptiMonk Review

Recently we reviewed the various Popup Software alternatives available.

What we had was working well, but could there be some other alternative that would squeeze a few more percentage points when it came to conversions?

After all, there are always improvements to be made!

We began by looking at all the popular popup software alternatives, reading reviews etc – going from one sales page to the other.

In the end the deciding factor was not functionality, frankly most of them all do more or less the same thing.

Instead, what we focused on as the popup software that gave us the best design options. Our experience is that design is the single biggest contributory factor in the success of a Popup.

From a short list of three we finally settled on OptiMonk.

This is a tool I have seen a few times over the years – it is not as popular as some but it had always came across as a higher end product.

If you are already happy with your popup software and won’t be convinced to change to a new tool, skip to the part of the post where we share with you our affiliate redirect popup strategy.

How I Want To Use PopUps On IncomeDiary

As popups have been around for quite some time, they have become less well received. A lot of people close them without even thinking. So I wanted the popups to compliment a users experience, rather than focus all my attention on getting someone to subscribe. Here are the 4 main popups I will be using on this website:

Main Exit PopUp

This popup will be used to promote our free Traffic Domination report.


You need to ask users to read and accept your privacy policy. This popup takes care of that. Most websites choose to display a bar all the way across the footer of their site. Read our GDPR guide.

Onclick Subscribe PopUp

Sometimes users will close a popup and decide they want to subscribe later. In the footer of IncomeDiary, I wanted to link to a popup so that you can subscribe any time you like.

Followup Sales PopUp

I wanted a popup that could be shown after the main popup has been seen twice and won’t be shown again. This popup, instead of using it to get subscribers, will be used to redirect users to a sales page or monetized blog post.

Getting Started With OptiMonk PopUp Tool

To begin with, I took their two week free trial, which comes with 40,000 free views. I didn’t need a credit card and it took a few seconds to get started.

Before you get started, you need to let them know what domain the popup will appear on (you can choose two websites) and you need to add some code to your website so your popup can be displayed. I did this by using their free wordpress plugin. This took me less than 30 seconds.

OptiMonk Review – Create Your First PopUp Using OptiMonk

This is where the real fun starts and I was surprised by how far software has come in the last few years since I had last reviewed different solutions. It was almost as if I didn’t have to think at all, it really was a breeze going through their popup builder.

I began by scrolling through their popup designs.

I ended up choosing their Oxford design because I wanted to include an eCover image and I could already see how it would look.

Next, I went ahead and started customizing it so that it fitted in with my current blog design.

I used the same orange and green from my blog. After a couple minutes of editing, the popup looks like it was custom designed for my website. This was important to me. I like consistency and want everything on my website to match.

In this second popup I created, I was able to drag and drop check-boxes for GDPR.

Once you have finalized your design, you need to choose when to show your popup. I decided to have it appear when someone is about to leave the website. (Exit Popup) I felt this was the least intrusive way of displaying popups.

After that I had to decide on the conditions for displaying my popup. I chose their default settings which was to show the popup twice, with at least 1 hour between each view.

I thought this was an interesting feature. One that would not only give a better user experience but increase the chances of getting someone to subscribe. A lot of website visitors will come and visit the site, then leave and will never return. This is why it’s important to try get them to subscribe, so you can get them to come back.

However, most people don’t want to subscribe for another email list… not at least without spending more time on your website first. So most people will decline the first offer. But those who remain, or come back to your site, are far more likely to subscribe.

So with this conditioning, you are able to have two chances at convincing someone. Those who only visit once, as well as those who decline your popup because they haven’t had enough time yet to realise they like your website.


And there you have it, the popup is live!

Within minutes I already had my first few subscribers!

They also include something they call Nanobars, which is a bar across the top of your page. Great for GDPR.

As well as, sidebar opt-in boxes.

Using OptiMonk To Boost Affiliate Sales

Now that I have OptiMonk setup the way I want it, I have started creating redirect exit popups to boost affiliate sales. When someone visits a review on IncomeDiary, as they exit the page, a popup appears letting them know about a free trial offer. A couple examples of the popups I created can be seen below:

The results of these new popups have been well above the typical conversion rate we see for our standard email popup. This is because the popups are more targeted to the content which results in not only higher conversions for us but a better experience for the user. Take a look for yourself below:

OptiMonk Review – Getting Started Right Now

Here’s what we use:

  • Aweber to collect, store and send emails.
  • OptiMonk connected with Aweber to display popups on our blog.
  • TermsFeed for our privacy policy template.

Further reading:

The post OptiMonk Review – The Best PopUp Software For Getting Email Subscribers! appeared first on How To Make Money Online.

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