Howdy. My name is J.D. Roth. I’m a writer from Corvallis, Oregon.

I founded Get Rich Slowly, wrote Your Money: The Missing Manual, created the year-long “Get Rich Slowly” course, and contributed the monthly “Your Money” column to Entrepreneur magazine.

Foldedspace is about more than money. It’s a personal playground where I share big thoughts and small details from my daily life.

Here are a few of the things I’ve done over the decades…

Audible In 2020, I wrote and recorded a 10-part (five-hour) audio-only course on financial indepence and early retirement for Audible and The Great Courses: How to Achieve Financial Independence and Retire Early.
Get Rich Slowly In 2017, I re-purchased Get Rich Slowly. I maintained the site for five years before admitting I had no heart for it. In 2023, I turned GRS over to my business partner.
Money Boss In 2015, I launched Money Boss, a personal-finance website aimed at helping people take control of their money — and their lives. (Money Boss has since folded into Get Rich Slowly.)
Kim and J.D. at Horeshoe Bend From March 2015 to June 2016, my girlfriend and I drove an RV across the United States. We covered 34,968 miles, visited 38 states, and drank so much beer. It was the best experience of my life (so far).
GRS Course In 2014, I launched the Get Rich Slowly course, which was produced in conjunction with Chris Guillebeau’s “Unconventional Guides” brand. The course is no longer available.
Entrepreneur magazine From 2011 to 2014, I wrote the “Your Money” personal-finance column for Entrepreneur magazine.
Your Money: The Missing Manual In 2010, I published Your Money: The Missing Manual with O’Reilly. I’m proud of the book but it’s dated. I should do a revision.
Get Rich Slowly In 2006, I founded Get Rich Slowly, a blog about sensible personal finance. Much to my surprise, it grew quickly. I sold the site in 2009, but stuck around until 2012 to act as editor in chief.
Custom Box Service From 1992 to 2008, I sold corrugated packaging for my family’s business, Custom Box Service. I was the worst salesman ever.
Willamette University From 1987 to 1991, I attended Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. I studied psychology, English literature, and speech communication. It was here that I met the remarkable Kris Gates, whom I married in 1993 (and divorced in 2012).
Canby Union High School Before 1987, I was born and raised in the small farming community of Canby, Oregon. In high school, I was active in drama, soccer, journalism, and Future Business Leaders of America.

Who is J.D. Roth?

I was born and raised in Canby, Oregon. As was my father before me. As was his father before him. I attended Canby Union High School before spending four years at college in Salem, where I attended Willamette University. I earned a bachelor of arts in psychology with a minor in English (writing emphasis). I also took a lot of public speaking classes.

At Willamette, I met the remarkable Kris Gates. We were married soon after graduation. Against all odds, Kris got a job teaching chemistry and physics at Canby High School, so we moved back to my hometown and I went to work for the family business, Custom Box Service. We lived in Canby for over a decade, raising our cats, tending our garden, reading our books. Then we stumbled upon our hundred-year-old dream house in Oak Grove, so we packed up and moved closer to Portland.

After starting Get Rich Slowly in 2006, the site grew quickly from a hobby to a business. Soon I had repaid over $35,000 in consumer debt and quit my day job to write full time. I wrote a book. I contributed a column to Entrepreneur magazine. I spoke at conferences.

Kris and I divorced in 2012 but remain on good terms. I help her with computers, and she gives me canned goods. We see each other regularly. Since 2012, I’ve been dating the delightful Kim Edwards. Her warmth and enthusiasm bring sunshine to even the darkest days.

I love to learn. I love to travel. I love to meet new people and hear their stories.

I read a lot. I write a lot. I surf the web a lot. I dabble in photography. I enjoy playing games. I like to watch soccer. Though I claim friends aren’t important, I have many with whom I enjoy spending time.

I believe everybody is important and has something interesting to say. I believe that when we share our stories with other, we make the world a better place.

I also believe — strongly — that although we all should be working to make our world a better, more equitable place, the only one who can actually change your life is you. No matter what your circumstances, you have the greatest control over your destiny.

Were you the host of television’s Fun House?

Were you the voice of Johnny Quest?

Were you she producer of The Biggest Loser?

No. That’s a different J.D. Roth. In 2016, I (at long last) has an opportunity to interview the other J.D. Roth. Although it sounds silly, this was a dream come true haha.

What is Foldedspace?

I published my first web site in the summer of 1994. I bought on 26 June 2000, and started my weblog on 16 March 2001. (I’d experimented with on-line journals of various sorts as far back as 1997, but nothing ever stuck.)

This weblog is a forum for my thoughts and interests, and an opportunity to share my daily life with friends and family. To the extent a weblog can represent a person, mine represents who I am. Sometimes I swear. Sometimes I rant against religion, etiquette, and assorted bozos. If these things offend you, I apologize: there are other sites that might be of greater interest to you.

My writing here falls into several broad categories.

  • There are the personal history entries, which tend to be long, rhapsodic remembrances of my past.
  • My entries on daily life are similar, but more detail-oriented, and generally the kind of thing that people despise in a weblog.
  • I often write about books and reading. I rave about computers and music. I babble about my hobbies: photography, comic books, computer games, soccer, etc. I have a lot of interests, though I tend to obsess about only one or two at a time, often for several weeks or months.

Though I try not to write about politics, sometimes I can’t help it. I’m a small-I independent (though some feel I’m a small-L libertarian). I hate the two-party system. For a time, I was mildly active in local politics, but that died a slow death when I found I could affect little change. (Though I did fight for funding for the historical society!)

Disclaimer: Everything here is True, but not everything here is true. Sometimes — not often — I will alter a fact, will compress time, will composite characters. I will, in short, alter the little truths in order that a larger Truth might be more visible. This isn’t a common occurrence, but it does happen.

I’ve been reading and writing about money for nearly a decade. I’ve been reading and writing about happiness for nearly as long. The subjects are deeply intertwined. Based on my research and experience, I’ve developed not only a philosophy of well-being, but a short summary of the research into how to be happy. This hundred-word piece is a sort of personal roadmap; whenever I sense I’m drifting off course, I re-read it, and I find my way again.

My friend Lisa is a graphic designer. For kicks, she and I collaborated to create a print based on my summary of how to be happy. It looks like this:

I based this project on Greg Glassman’s 2002 summary of the CrossFit philosophy: World-Class Fitness in 100 Words.How to be happy

That’s dozens of books about meaning and happiness compressed into one hundred words. Notice that none of this advice involves waiting for someone or something to make you happy. All of it requires intentional activity on your part to increase your well-being. Happiness isn’t something that just happens; happiness is a byproduct of the the things you think and say and do.

New to Foldedspace? Start here. Old? Check out the archives.

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