About Foldedspace

Welcome! My name is J.D. Roth. 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. This site is about more than money; it’s a personal playground where I share big thoughts and small details from my daily life.

I posted my first web site in the summer of 1994. I bought foldedspace.org 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.)

I’m best known for founding Get Rich Slowly, a blog about smart personal finance. I owned the site for three years, from 15 April 2006 to 01 April 2009. After selling GRS, I stuck around for another three years as editor and primary author. Since 2012, I’ve dabbled in a variety of projects, including my recently-launched Get Rich Slowly course. (You should check it out!)

But the Get Rich Slowly course!

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.

Get Rich Slowly

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.


My talk about personal transformation from World Domination Summit 2012

Kris and I divorced in 2011 but remain on good terms. I help her with computers, and she gives me canned goods. We have lunch together regularly. For the past few years, 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.

Were you the host of television’s Fun House? The voice of Johnny Quest? The producer of The Biggest Loser?

No. That’s a different J.D. Roth, trying to ride on the coattails of my success. I really wish he’d drop me a line. I feel two J.D. Roths could get into much mischief. Plus, I’ve got a bunch of fan e-mail for him.

What is Foldedspace?

My 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 entries fall 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. Here is an extended discussion on truth vs. fact in weblogs (in particular, how it affects Foldedspace.)

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. Recently, for kicks, she and I collaborated to create a print based on my summary of how to be happy. It looks like this:

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.