About Me

photo of me

Hi there.

My name is Rachel Anne Williams. Welcome to Dollars Without Debt, a personal finance blog written for the discerning millennial. As a millennial myself, I find so much of the money advice written for our generation is overly simplified or condescending. On this blog, I will not assume you need your hand held.

However, this blog will also not assume you have all your shit together (yet), because I certainly don’t.

My enthusiasm for personal finance started when I made a series of horrible financial decisions back in grad school, which eventually led me to Chapter 7 bankruptcy and hitting financial rock bottom, an event that I am still feeling the repercussions of.

Now I know what you’re thinking: why should I take financial advice from someone who went bankrupt?

Well, for starters, I’m not gonna argue you should! I encourage everyone to think for themselves, especially when it comes to money.

However, what I can tell you is that my terrible financial mistakes necessitated me learning how to actually manage my money according to proven financial principles.

It hasn’t always been easy, and I have continued to make financial mistakes along the way.

Nobody is perfect and I certainly won’t judge you for your daily Starbucks habit.

However, this blog being a judgment free zone does not mean that all financial and life decisions are equally good relative to your particular desires and values.

Retiring a multi-millionnaire might not be how you define success in your life and that’s absolutely valid because personal finance is absolutely relative to your personal values.

However, assuming you actually do place a high value on retiring early and being financially independent, I do believe that some life decisions are more optimal than others. For example, investing in low-cost index funds is, in my opinion, a more sound financial strategy for long-term wealth growth than YOLOing your life savings into a meme stock.

With that said, everyone has a different learning experience with money, and no one can say one person’s aversion to risk is “wrong” relative to another person’s higher tolerance of risk. The question of which decision is optimal is completely relative to one’s values and desires, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we can discern no better or worse decisions.

A little bit more about myself. I spent over a decade in higher education pursuing the path of professional philosophy before abandoning academia. I’ve worked at Starbucks, delivered pizza, worked as a personal trainer, made minimum wage, accumulated debt (including both consumer and medical), gone through a bankruptcy, and made plenty of poor financial decisions.

But determined to improve my situation, I taught myself the fundamentals of web development and now I’m making six figures as a product manager in corporate America, slowly improving my financial situation and working towards true financial freedom.

As a 30-something, queer, nonbinary millennial who has worked minimum wage jobs, been up to my ears in debt, I offer two things to you dear reader: empathy and the knowledge of been there, done that.

I also bring to you an unwavering dedication to common sense and rationality, preferring long-term investment strategies and proven personal finance principles based on actual academic research instead of get-rich-quick schemes and short term day trading.

I hope you get some use out of this content.

My aim is to discuss the topic of personal finance from a broad, interdisciplinary perspective, drawing on my interest in everything ranging from cognitive science to macroeconomics. Although a millennial audience will likely relate to a lot of what I write, my advice is really aimed at anyone who is interested in taking a grounded, rational approach to money with zero tolerance for bullshit and schemes.

If you want to contact me, feel free to email me at:

dollarswithoutdebt [at] gmail [dot] com

or contact me on Twitter: @rach_a_williams