Freefincal turns 3!

Freefincal was born this week three years ago! A post to say 'thank you' to all readers and supporters who keep it alive and reflections on the journey so far.

Thank you

A blog cannot survive without readers, without interaction, feedback, appreciation, motivation and criticism.  I am more than confident that freefincal readers are some of the most intelligent people to have ever opened a personal finance blog. Not flattery, but fact. The content here is a bit more 'advanced' than what is found in a typical personal finance blog. I have the motivation to produce it and push the envelope only because of you.

I have no lofty notions associated with freefincal. I do not see it as an instrument "spreading financial literacy". It is an instrument to keep me away from depression via you the reader. Yes, I get depressed often. More like once a week. On every one of those days, every one of them, I would receive a comment, an email, a message or phone call from a reader that I have a made a difference to their lives. That keeps me going. That is the only reason the blog is alive today.

Thank you.

The journey so far

Now I would like to reflect on the past, the present and the future.  Kindly excuse the self-indulgence.

Freefincal was born out of the Excel sheets I made for myself.  Soon after I got my first tenured salary, my (late) father was diagnosed with cancer. So I became the 'man of the house' who found himself in steep debt because of medical expenses. The resolve to get out of debt and manage my money better took me to Subramoney and Jagoinvestor.

Soon followed a retirement calculator in which I wanted to incorporate  features not available in most online calculators.

I approached Manshu Verma who blogs at onemint.com  for a 'guest post'. My first retirement calculator  was published there on June 2011.

The response to the post electrified me! Readers reacted exactly the way I wanted them to! They appreciated the features, the open-source nature of the sheet and the fact that such content is not prevalent.

What Freefincal stands for today was born out of those responses.  Thanks to those who used the sheet at Onemint.

Most bloggers start a blog and worry about what their niche should be. I found my niche before I had any intention of starting a blog.

A blog in personal finance that is. I had earlier started a comic blog called 'grouchy comics'. Just as it was getting popular, I grew bored and aborted.

I soon realized that there was an area in personal finance which was unexplored: hands-on financial planning and analysis.

However, I was too lazy to start a blog on my own. As a subscriber to networkfp.com I saw an offer that acclipse.com was offering a free website for financial planners.

I applied for one and "MP financials" was born. It is still live. It was started as a repository for financial calculators. I soon realized that the search engine optimization of such services was pathetic.

I soon realized that the search engine optimization of such services was pathetic.  A blog is online for one reason: visibility. If there is a problem there, it will not survive.

Thankfully I knew from day one that content generation is only 50% of blogging. The rest is promotion.

So I soon moved to freefincal.wordpress.com.

In a bid to gain widespread exposure, I promoted like mad among the financial planning community.

I sent several emails to 100s of bloggers, IFAs and financial planners and personal messages via Facebook.

Subra was one of them! Not only did he review many of the sheets, he offered and continues to offer ideas for several calculators.  That sort of perspective thrusted upon you can lead to only one thing: learning and more learning.

I am indebted to Subra's generosity. He has repeatedly promoted me via his blog and facebook. Many, if not most freefincal regulars came via subramoney.com

That is when the investor community really took notice of the blog, used the calculators, shared it among their contacts and pushed me to create better content.

photo credit: Paul Downey (flickr)
photo credit: Paul Downey (flickr)

SEO

I became obsessed with optimizing the blog for improving speed and learnt about SEO basics. I do not however analyze google keywords to find out the words people use for searching.  I cannot bring myself to write crappy posts like, "Top 5, best mutual funds of 2015"; "Best claims settlement ratio ...", just because top and best is what people use for searching the most.

All the more reason why you are responsible for freefincal's 'success'. The blog today receives about 4000-5000 page views each day. Not spectacular, but more than decent.

Here are the main sources of traffic:

Via Google: ~52%

Email subscriptions: 25%

Facebook: ~ 12% (a good chunk of this from FB group Asan Ideas for Wealth)

If I want spectacular, I must write posts like, "features of Sukanya yojana", "Banks offering Pradhan Mantri yojana's", "Sukanya Yojana: 9.1% to 9.2% difference in corpus calculator".  Yuck!

Dismissive posts about such yojanas and 50,000 tax saving in NPS does not get you 'spectacular' visibility!

Who cares?! I am more than happy with 'decent'. That is my niche and many of you get that.

The future

Here are some of my future objectives ( in no particular order):

1) Focus on stock analysis tools and techniques (started last December. So far so good)

2) Promote freefincal amongst the financial services community as the crazy blog which provides excel sheets but derides financial planners, IFAs, distributors etc. with some stupid talk about conflict of interest.

3) provide better investor workshops. Understanding investor psychology is not one of my strong points. Lots to learn here.

4) Engage in advanced, but accessible research on markets, mutual funds, bonds etc.

5) Encourage and promote  DIY investing, direct mutual fund investing and fee-only financial planners.

6) Try to go beyond excel. Hopefully online analysis tools.

7) Produce some 'how to' videos (don't like the medium but readers do)

8) Make more calculators

I require your support to pull his off.  Thank you.

Install Financial Freedom App! (Google Play Store)

Install Freefincal Retirement Planner App! (Google Play Store)

book-footer

Buy our New Book!

You Can Be Rich With Goal-based Investing A book by  P V Subramanyam (subramoney.com) & M Pattabiraman. Hard bound. Price: Rs. 399/- and Kindle Rs. 349/-. Read more about the book and pre-order now!
Practical advice + calculators for you to develop personalised investment solutions

Thank you for reading. You may also like

About Freefincal

Freefincal has open-source, comprehensive Excel spreadsheets, tools, analysis and unbiased, conflict of interest-free commentary on different aspects of personal finance and investing. If you find the content useful, please consider supporting us by (1) sharing our articles and (2) disabling ad-blockers for our site if you are using one. We do not accept sponsored posts, links or guest posts request from content writers and agencies.

Blog Comment Policy

Your thoughts are vital to the health of this blog and are the driving force behind the analysis and calculators that you see here. We welcome criticism and differing opinions. I will do my very best to respond to all comments asap. Please do not include hyperlinks or email ids in the comment body. Such comments will be moderated and I reserve the right to delete  the entire comment or remove the links before approving them.

122 thoughts on “Freefincal turns 3!

  1. Rajesh

    Congrats and thanks for the wonderful blog Pattu, ever since i land on your blog, i cannot stop reading.....

    Reply
  2. Rajesh

    Congrats and thanks for the wonderful blog Pattu, ever since i land on your blog, i cannot stop reading.....

    Reply
  3. Narayan

    I seriously made attempt to invest after reading your blog. Being a PSU employee, I was in a assumption that my retirement kitty is granted. Your calculators and your narration about your own journey to attain financial freedom from scratch opened my eyes. Today I am pushing maximum possible amount in to mutual funds. My policy towards mutual fund investment is MDBSC. Thanks a lot Mr.Pattu.

    Reply
  4. Narayan

    I seriously made attempt to invest after reading your blog. Being a PSU employee, I was in a assumption that my retirement kitty is granted. Your calculators and your narration about your own journey to attain financial freedom from scratch opened my eyes. Today I am pushing maximum possible amount in to mutual funds. My policy towards mutual fund investment is MDBSC. Thanks a lot Mr.Pattu.

    Reply
  5. Raghu Ramamurthy

    Pattu
    I always look forward for your post in my E Mail. As soon as I see one I click it and read.To say the least I learn more.May I see many many more such posts from you.

    Reply
  6. Raghu Ramamurthy

    Pattu
    I always look forward for your post in my E Mail. As soon as I see one I click it and read.To say the least I learn more.May I see many many more such posts from you.

    Reply
  7. GS Seda

    I came across your blog only recently, and have been extremely impressed with your lucid writing style, depth of research, and enthusiasm to share your knowledge so selflessly. Wish you all the very best so that you can continue to inspire your readers to become financially literate in a meaningful manner.

    Reply
  8. GS Seda

    I came across your blog only recently, and have been extremely impressed with your lucid writing style, depth of research, and enthusiasm to share your knowledge so selflessly. Wish you all the very best so that you can continue to inspire your readers to become financially literate in a meaningful manner.

    Reply
  9. Karthikeyan

    Congratulations Sir, you have accomplished so much in 3 years, your journey is really inspiring, I look forward to more posts in many more years to come.

    Reply
  10. Karthikeyan

    Congratulations Sir, you have accomplished so much in 3 years, your journey is really inspiring, I look forward to more posts in many more years to come.

    Reply
  11. Indra

    Congratulations Pattu. Your blog continues to provide awesome content that is thought provoking, original as well as entertaining. I love the way you have started exposing the calculators on interactive web and mobile. Wishing 30 more years for the blog and calculators.

    Reply
  12. Indra

    Congratulations Pattu. Your blog continues to provide awesome content that is thought provoking, original as well as entertaining. I love the way you have started exposing the calculators on interactive web and mobile. Wishing 30 more years for the blog and calculators.

    Reply
  13. Varun Patel

    congrats sir, your retirement planner is one of the most valued product I got from internet. wish you all the best for future. I am one of those 4000-5000 visitor of your blog.

    Reply
  14. Varun Patel

    congrats sir, your retirement planner is one of the most valued product I got from internet. wish you all the best for future. I am one of those 4000-5000 visitor of your blog.

    Reply
  15. Anand Balakrishnan

    Keep going Pattu. Always been a great fan of your calculators and your site. Freefincal is sure making improvements in the financial lives of many people that you should feel good about!

    Reply
  16. Anand Balakrishnan

    Keep going Pattu. Always been a great fan of your calculators and your site. Freefincal is sure making improvements in the financial lives of many people that you should feel good about!

    Reply
  17. Dilip Malpani

    Great Journey..though I joined Recently...Your sincere views are really Encouraging....I see this as Financial Engineering..All the Best...and Happy Financial Journey for Future..

    Reply
  18. Dilip Malpani

    Great Journey..though I joined Recently...Your sincere views are really Encouraging....I see this as Financial Engineering..All the Best...and Happy Financial Journey for Future..

    Reply
  19. Rohit Modi

    Hi..
    Many Congratulations.. Like everyone.. I also like this blog very much for various reasons..

    If you don't mind.. would u like to tell what is your actual source of Income.. if you don't get anything from this blog ???

    I also have bent of mind towards writing some good articles, but putting all the time and getting nothing is not the option that I would like to pursue.

    Basically, I want to quit my existing job and pursue this passion only if, at least my daily family needs get fulfilled.. so seeking your opinion from your experience..

    Reply
  20. Rohit Modi

    Hi..
    Many Congratulations.. Like everyone.. I also like this blog very much for various reasons..

    If you don't mind.. would u like to tell what is your actual source of Income.. if you don't get anything from this blog ???

    I also have bent of mind towards writing some good articles, but putting all the time and getting nothing is not the option that I would like to pursue.

    Basically, I want to quit my existing job and pursue this passion only if, at least my daily family needs get fulfilled.. so seeking your opinion from your experience..

    Reply
    1. freefincal

      Thank you. Earning from blogging can be quite tricky. You can consider getting yourself published via a publisher or sell your own books via a blog. These things will take time to evolve.

      Reply
      1. Rohit Modi

        Thanks for the reply, can u tell me any book one must read for SEO (to get more online visibility). I m a C.A. so i don't have much of I.T knowledge.
        Would appreciate if u can tell, material which one must study.

        Reply
        1. freefincal

          I you need to first decide on the content andc= convince yourself that people will read it. You can start with wordpress or blogger where you dont need to worry about SEO, gain some traffic and then focus on optimization.

          Reply
  21. pprasant

    Pattu sir, congratulations to freefincal for completing 3 years. Your generosity in sharing all the excel templates as well as hard hitting blogs have been a great source of inspiration for me. Here is wishing you and freefincal many more years of greatness.

    - Prasanth

    Reply
  22. pprasant

    Pattu sir, congratulations to freefincal for completing 3 years. Your generosity in sharing all the excel templates as well as hard hitting blogs have been a great source of inspiration for me. Here is wishing you and freefincal many more years of greatness.

    - Prasanth

    Reply
  23. Hina Shah

    congratulations to you. I have been reading your blogs and using.your calulators. Thank you for all that. I also forward yoir blags to some of my clients and friends. So.many like me have benefited from your blogs after reading your blogs I have also tried making my basic website and trying to improve would also like to start the blog but need time and courage I am sure will start soon

    Thanks again

    Hina shah.

    Reply
  24. Makarand

    Congrats Pattu. And Thanks for such a wonderful blog. Your blog really help us to measure our invenstment. It is engling saying that "You can't manage what you can't measure." I am using your calculator from last since 2 years.

    Reply
  25. moronbuffett

    Dr. Murari,

    Thank you and Congrats.

    Your life experiences and authenticity shine through all your posts which are seldom seen in personal finance blogosphere.

    We enjoy reading your posts and hope you continually enjoy posting.

    Reply
  26. Rohit Desai

    This is one the finest personal finance website around. I had been a secret follower for last couple of months but occasion like should not be missed to Congratulate as say Thank you very much for all free calculators and awareness for people like us !!!

    Reply
  27. A.Sundaram

    Congratulations,dear Pattu!May God give you the strength and good health to achieve your laudable dreams.I shall pray for the same.

    Reply
  28. Saibhuvi bhaavik

    Congratulations Pattu Sir, Keep going and really you made a difference in my personal finance and your excel sheets are helpful... thanks a lot for sharing your precious time and work.

    Wishing you most and more and keep going....

    Reply
  29. Meena Shivram

    Hi Pattu, Congratulations on completing 3 years of your blog. Although a recent entrant (about 6 months back) to your blog, I have benefited tremendously by reading your articles and using the calculators like Retirement calculators, PPF calculator tracker, Finance walk monthly planner and MF portfolio tracker. I really like the idea of moving from different excel sheets to online tool. If it is possible to consolidate all these calculators into one online tool to generate a meaningful snapshot of your financial goals and plans, it will be awesome!!!

    Keep up the good work, Sir!

    Reply
  30. Bharani

    You have indeed created a niche - precise facts-based suggestions, which is not found anywhere else, if you ask me. Would like to see many more years of this blog! Thank you for the selfless service Sir!

    Reply
  31. Loyit Mathew

    Congrats.....Great social service you are doing by educating financial through your blog.
    Keep it up....Great..

    Reply
  32. Gopalakrishnan

    Thank you Pattu for your relentless service to the society. Keep up the good work. Congratulations on the 3rd anniversary!

    Reply
  33. Lakshmanan

    Dear Mr. P. Murali,

    Hearty Congratulation. I can imagine the efforts and emotions that you would have lived over the last 3 years. You have delivered an excellent baby and are indeed shaping it well for the future. May god bless everyone associated with this blog and I have no doubt that this endeavour of yours is only going to expand.

    Here is my tool ( 2 cents!) if I may, for why I say so:

    WB says "price is what we pay and value is what we get". One just needs to apply this to your blog. The result about your blog being invaluable is not far to see.

    John Templeton's avowed adage institutionalises your efforts: "Investment in knowledge yields the best return". Your
    body of work is an asset class too. No wonder why your readers allocate resources towards to it and rightly so.

    Regards
    Lakshmanan

    Reply
  34. RVSKUMAR

    Congratulation Pattu Sir. Last one month back only I visited your site (Thanks to basuvinesh) and reading one by one as much as possible and learnt a lot. Thank you so much for your great service and all our readers to sharing the knowledge.

    Regards.
    Saravana,
    Abu Dhabi

    Reply
  35. Supreeth

    This is one the best personal finance blog I have come across(Not that I have come across many!). Pattu sir, you doing a very good job by educating amateur investors like me. Please keep up the good work. Wishing you and the blog many such anniversaries in future.

    Reply
  36. dr prasoon Orthopedic consultant , JAMSHEDPUR

    Many Congratulations!
    Recently , i got introduced to your blog through Subramoney ( i am a regular follower of him since 3 years ) .
    Within no time , i am becoming addicted to your blog . The informations and articles are very thought provoking .
    Please keep it up and my Best Wishes for you and all members and readers of this fantastic blog .

    Regards
    Dr Prasoon

    Reply
  37. Dilip Kumar

    Congratulations on completing third year on your journey.

    I wish, all your desired goal are fulfills in days to come. I hope you might have (internal ) target date for completion of all of them - to be SMART goal.

    I am visiting and likes your all posts in particulars to the excel calculators are favourite and top of all.

    Thanks a lot for all your selfless activity.

    Reply
  38. Dr Prabhat Tandon

    Congrats Pattu sir !! Really a great journey ! You changed my views about investing . No more guess work only some sincere calculations !

    Reply
  39. JD(Bharuch)

    I must say thank you to You. I was reader of another financial blog and somehow i started as action for financial planning. One of my query on other blog got reply from you and then it was a just a precious moment that i got thought to check about you and i ended with this FreeFinCal.

    Since then i am a continous reader of this blog where i learned lot and try to share knowledge to the newbie also.

    THANK U Once Again .

    Jug Jug Jiyoooo....with same tempo and excellent health.

    nJoy Guru

    JD

    Reply
  40. vignesh

    Pattu sir

    I am one of the great beneficiary of freefincal, and learning continuously.

    Seriously Your passion for doing investing workshops , and so many thought Provoking calculators (everything for free) . that s remarkable.

    I am lucky to get to know very early in my life.

    thank you so much.

    I pray to the god to bestow you with good health

    Wishing you all the very best for all the future goals:)

    congrats for turning 3!

    Reply
  41. Vijay

    Congrats Pattu and best wishes for the continuous good work. Keep it going and looking forward for the new things in pipeline.

    Reply
  42. Neville

    Congratulations Pattu.
    I have been a regular reader for about a year. Even a million thanks will be insufficient for your selfless work.

    Just wondering if you have thought about donationware for downloading your calculators. I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will contribute. While at the same time it will be free to those who cannot afford it.

    May God bless you and your family.

    Thanks Pattu

    Reply
  43. Devadatta

    Thanks a lot Pattu sir! Keep on writing what you are writing. I love the way you write and explain. Simplicity is the best policy.

    Reply
  44. ashalanshu

    Congratulations for turning 3. The readers' response for this post itself is an indication, how much people care for a serious content on personal finance. Keep providing such wonderful calculators and content to all of us.

    Thanks

    Ashal

    Reply
  45. Kirit Joshi

    Dear Sir,
    Congratulations for completing three years here and thanks for your information sharing. I am your reader since less than a year but I liked the content and excel calculators, though I am not using them much. I am still learning. It seems that you are more into initiating people to DIY. Would not it more convinient to all newbees like me if we get some funds analysis/recommendations from you?

    Reply
  46. Asish

    google was started a decade ago just like freefincal. I wish that freefincal emulate google in its journey. Thank you pattu sir for sharing your knowledge with us and enlightening us.

    Reply
  47. Nithin

    Dear Pattu Sir,

    Congratulations !!!
    Ever since I have subscribed to your blog, I am educated every time you make a post. Thank you for both : your selfless efforts and as well as the impeccable quality of your articles.

    Reply
  48. Debojyoti Das

    Congratulations Pattu. Thank you very much for en-lighting many readers like me and given a motivation to learn personal finance on own (DIY). Out of few persons I admire, You are one of them who were a great inspiration for me. Great to discuss and share personal finance views last few years with you. I thank Jagoinvestor forum and Manish for providing beautiful platform which landed me to you and Ashal. I am confident that I am more informed investor now. Thank you for all your excel sheets which are the main weapons/backbone of Freefincal. The journey to this website from earlier site was amazing. I salute your continue work on improving people's life. Keep going!!!

    Reply
  49. Anit Singh

    Dear Pattabiraman Sir,

    I have started my financial planning, investments and gain lots of financial knowledge because of you Pattu Sir.A big thanks to you for this blog.It will help user like me.
    Again a big thanks to you sir.

    Reply
  50. Subhash

    Congratulations pattu sir, and thank you very much for creating such a beautiful blog. I believe I am taking much informed decisions than before in investing, because of your blog.

    Reply
  51. Anil

    Congratualtions and Thank you very much. I am very happy i found this blog recently. Best wishes for its future as well.

    Reply
  52. Ayyappan

    Dear Pattu Sir,

    Thanks. The knowledge I gained from your website is immense. I am now able to manage MF portfolio and take corrective action, if any, from time to time with the help of your website / excel only.

    I am a strong follower of your videos as it helps in understanding the concept very clearly on the given topic.

    All the best in the years to come.

    Thank you once again

    Reply
  53. Vishnu

    Hello Pattu,

    Congratz for the milestone. Wishing your blog a happy birthday. 🙂

    I came to know about this blog being a regular reader of subramoney. But, off late, I am a regular reader of your posts as well.

    Reply
  54. Tim

    I had quite a bit of money and was sitting on it because I did not understand the indian financial landscape and how to start. Your blog and posts encouraged and taught me how to start, and now most of that money is invested, followed now by regular monthly investments. I do not agree with everything you say, but I read each of your posts and benefit from your opinions. Thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge in this manner and making investing accessible. God bless you.

    Reply

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