I’ve tried to keep some semblance of privacy around my life since the blog audience has grown but, for a brief moment in time, I’m going to suspend that rule and write to you like I would have circa 2009 when it was mostly just Aunt Donna and a few other readers.  Being so exposed makes me uncomfortable but I feel like you deserve it.  I’m not sure how long I’ll leave this publicly accessible.  For tonight, I’ll lift the veil, even if only a tiny bit.

Both of us are just now getting a chance to sit down and read through the comments you left since I posted about our home state of Missouri shocking everyone and announcing that it will recognize the fact Aaron and I are married.  We, and I’d wager the roughly 10,798 other people affected by the Attorney General’s decision to abide by the court ruling, are still in disbelief that it happened after all of these years.  It has been a long, expensive, and emotionally exhausting journey, with a lot of personal heartache and frustration, the extent of which we might, someday, share beyond this post.  A few of you already know the details, but it’s one of those things we rarely discuss, even among our closest friends, because it’s an area in life where the pain inflicted by others, including some of our own family members, is so deep, no level of rationality can stop the hurt; no amount of time will heal the rift.  Sometimes, things just suck – life doesn’t come with a guarantee it will be all sunshine and roses – so the only acceptable way to behave is to deal with the challenges, forge ahead, and do the best you can.

To each and every one of you who wrote, offering your congratulations and well-wishes, both of us want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  It’s hard to overstate what it means to us.

For those of you who didn’t realize we were married, I feel like I should apologize.  It never really crossed our minds a few of you didn’t know Aaron was my husband for the same reason I just assume you know I’m male, or white, or have brown hair, or speak English, or am from Kansas City.  While I try to keep a tight control on mentions of family after the “great purge” a few years ago when half of the site’s posts were put behind a protective wall following several events, including someone tracking down my grandmother at work and demanding she tell them how to get me on the phone as well as parking in front of our house and staring at us, we weren’t hiding it, at least not intentionally (those days are long behind us).  We’ve spoken with some of you in the comment section about the fact we were considering a move to California because the laws would make it easier for us to have biological children through surrogacy in the next 4-5 years since we’re ready to start a family.  Between that, the matching wedding rings, joint house, joint business holdings, joint investment accounts, middle-of-the-night cooking marathons, the same set of godchildren, the same sets of nieces and nephews, the Christmas mornings, Thanksgiving afternoons, birthday dinners, shopping excursions, and the outings with my in-laws, it’s so second nature it’s taken for granted.  Aaron’s story is my story.  Not only have neither of us ever even dated anybody else, we didn’t even really date each other.  It was like a Disney movie.  We met as teenagers, fell in love, and lived happily ever after.

For future reference to the handful of you who thought he was my brother, I have one brother and two sisters.  My brother’s name is Caleb, he was in the United States Air Force, earned a degree in biology, was recently accepted to medical school, and is married to a girl that went to high school with all of us named Tara, who is now a teacher.

A Gift of Awkward Teenage Photos of Teenage Josh & Aaron

To make up for any misunderstanding you may have had, Aaron and I offer a gesture of goodwill in the form of a Throwback Thursday post of awkward teenage pictures.  (I don’t want to go search through the albums so I’m using the first two I find of each of us.)

Joshua 15 Years Old

This is me, at 15 years old, in a far away land called the 1990’s, where bad haircuts and dial-up Internet reigned.  (The scar on my face, which has since faded, was one of 32 stitches I received a couple of weeks prior when I flew through an old, farm-style plate-glass window.  I’d like to blame the hair on the fact I had been immobilized on the couch with pain killers that the doctor warned me would make it dangerous to even attempt to operate a butter knife, but I don’t really remember them having that big of an influence on me so it was probably bad judgment.)

Aaron 18 Years Old

This was Aaron at 18 for a photo used in the music department once we were off at college.  I wish I had more pictures of our dorm room that year (this wasn’t it – this was one of the music offices).  It had no air conditioning, no cable, no Internet (we had to pay Verizon to manually hookup a DSL line, which was rare and expensive at the time but for which I took a tax deduction), and slept on this tiny, twin-mattress bed that made it impossible for either us to move all night.  We played Final Fantasy IX and X that year on this little 13″ or so television.  It was in that dorm room I wrote the first version of my balance sheet analysis guide, which needs to be updated again as it is now old, on a Dell notebook computer, with our desks pushed up against the other.

A Reflection on the Personal Side of the Marriage Battle

Though I’m only 32 years old, those of you who are younger can’t really appreciate how inconceivable this week has been for a lot of us.  Since the Missouri post, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals added 5 more states to the 11 states the Supreme Court effectively took care of earlier this week, making Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska among the newest places that will have marriage equality in short order.  There is a lesson here about what Charlie Munger often mentions for those building wealth – that you go for years plodding along, making progress, when suddenly the payoff comes in huge, short-term bursts that seem to appear out of nowhere.  It’s the nature of the universe.

Growing up in the 1990’s, the world was so different it’s easy to forget if you weren’t the one trying to hide the secret, constantly being reminded that nobody can find out about you if you wanted to have any chance at a decent life.  That world, the one in which I spent my youth, was one in which large, publicly traded companies such as Cracker Barrel actively sought to purge gay employees from the ranks through mass firings.  The television stations and newspapers were filled with coverage of a college student out in Wyoming who had been tied to a fence, beaten until his brains were spilled onto the ground, and left to die for eighteen hours.  The United States military dishonorably discharged soldiers, stripping them of their pension and health benefits if they found evidence they were gay.  Religious leaders regularly preached sermons like this one, saying that gay people were drug-fueled rapists, sex addicts, and child predators possessed by the devil, hell-bent on ushering in the rise of the anti-Christ.  Parents threw their children out of the house, disowned them, and cut off support until they “chose” to be straight.

One of the most destructive cultural influences of the past century, James Dobson, used his non-profit Focus on the Family empire to wage a war on gay people, particularly young gay people, writing books about how they could be cured, fighting anti-discrimination laws, and constantly reminding parents they had to do everything they could from letting this “evil” enter their household.  (Some of the myths he pedaled decades ago have found their way into fundamentalist culture and survive even today; e.g., there are churches in Missouri that still pass out tracts like this one, which says that gay people are possessed by evil spirits that cause them to be infected by AIDs because they were molested as children.)

The message that being gay was the worst possible thing that could happen to a kid showed up even in the most unexpected of places.  During football practice in the elementary school league in which I participated, one of the drills the coach made us do – we were 10 year old children – was called “smear the queer”, in which the mock gay person had to sit on his knees and get tackled, one by one, by the entire team (because that’s what you did to someone if you found out they were gay – you beat the crap out of them).

Even the rich and powerful weren’t immune from the vitriol.  When Oprah Winfrey, arguably the best known and wealthiest person in media history, merely appeared as a guest star in the episode of Ellen in which the comedian’s character came out of the closet, she later confessed it caused her to receive the biggest avalanche of racist hate mail she had ever experienced in her entire career.  Ellen’s show was cancelled and she was blacklisted from Hollywood for several years.  Studio executives were sent death threats.  Chrysler pulled their ads off the air to avoid appearing to support “Ellen Degenerate”, as Jerry Falwell famously branded her.  Earlier, Ellen’s own family had kicked her out of the house and forbid her from having contact with her younger family members for fear they would “catch it”.  In a very real way, that woman stood on the front lines, completely alone, and took the bullets for the rest of us.

On a personal level, when Aaron and I met and fell in love as teenagers, our relationship was literally against the law in parts of Missouri, punishable by 1 year jail time and a $1,000 fine if anyone found out about it.  (When we flew home for Thanksgiving in 2001, I remember holding hands on the plane and having to put a jacket over the armrest in case anyone saw us.  Because we couldn’t risk saying, “I love you” out loud when others were around, we had a signal between us so even in a crowded room, if we had to go our opposite ways, we could say it before parting.  You cannot imagine the fear.)

That Missouri law remained in effect until the Supreme Court struck it down in a 2003 case called Lawrence v. Texas.  (Missouri wouldn’t remove it from the books until 2006, and even today, Kansas governor Sam Brownback will not recommend to the legislature they remove the non-enforceable criminal statute from its books, simply to send a message to gay people.)  In fact, around the time Aaron and I met and first became friends, being gay was a crime in Montana, Rhode Island, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona, Virginia, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kansas, Florida, and Alabama.

When Massachusetts began allowing gay couples to get married, it set off a panic.  In August of 2004, shortly before we left Missouri to return to New Jersey at the start of our junior year of college, 71% of the people around us – including our friends, our parents, and our siblings – went to the polls and passed an emergency constitutional amendment prohibiting gay people from getting married.  It was the first such constitutional amendment in the nation and sparked a chain reaction in nearly every other state.

By the time Aaron and I wanted to get married, we couldn’t as bans were in place in almost all 50 states of the Union.  The complexity it would have introduced to our personal and business lives had we traveled to one of the handful of states that permitted it would have been impossible to untangle, while providing us none of the benefits.  We were forced to watch many of our friends and family members get married, and though we were happy for them, it was bittersweet they took it for granted.

Finally, when the courts began to strike down the bans, we couldn’t wait anymore.  We went to get married and, in something that was unthinkable to us coming from the huge, close-knit family we do, several of our relatives didn’t attend the ceremony.  One went so far as to liken us to drug addicts on a binge; showing up would somehow be akin to us inviting them to watch us shooting up heroin, if I remember their analogy correctly.  Others said that “everyone has temptations” and insisted God expected us to marry women, anyway, even if we didn’t love them.  A few outright told us they thought we were lying because we didn’t “seem gay”.  One broke down in tears, saying she knew we had been together our entire lives but repeating, “Why do you have to get married?  Why do you have to make it official?”  A few didn’t even tell us they weren’t coming to our wedding.  They just didn’t show up.

The thing is, they were under the mistaken impression we were asking for their blessing.  In reality, we were inviting them to be part of our lives.

One of the clearest memories of my life is on the night of our wedding, after the guests had left, the lights were off, and the doors were locked.  Standing in our bedroom, the weight of being let down in a way so profound by those who had claimed to love us most finally hitting us with full force, Aaron began to cry, which made me start to cry.  I took his face in my hands, looked into his eyes, and realized, in that moment, I had just made the single best decision of my life.  If spending the rest of my time on Earth with him meant losing everyone I cared about, it was a bargain.  He would win every single time.

Sometimes, I wonder if going through all of this is what made both of us want financial independence so strongly.  In my case, my parents losing everything, and the desire to avoid poverty, was the primary catalyst but as I got older, I think that changed.  It became an equal part wanting to not have to do anything so I could spend my time how I saw fit and an equal part defense mechanism.  You can’t evict us if we own the building.  You can’t cut off our income if the stock certificates and bonds are registered in our names.  In a way, every dollar bought us more freedom.  For those of us raised during this time, achieving financial independence was like getting your hands on the red ring in the original Legend of Zelda.  It was hard, but once you had it, it took a lot more effort for the enemy to take you down because your defenses were higher.

Would I change anything?  It’s hard to say.  I love my life.  We hit the jackpot in so many other ways, and have been so blessed otherwise, at this point, it’s part of our story.

Update: My reaction to the Supreme Court legalizing marriage equality.

  • SF

    Adorable pictures! Congrats and continued success in your personal and professional endeavors.

  • Jay Tank

    What an amazing story. I, like many others here, didn’t put two and two together, despite being a reader of this blog for a few years (and probably having read most, if not all, blog posts more than once). Having said that, I’m so happy for you guys, and I wish nothing but the best in your lives.

  • SB

    Joshua, I am an immigrant in US (first arrived in 2001) and just became a citizen last year. The world always see US as one of the most free and accepting country. It’s really heartbreaking that things were this bad for you till just few years back. I am really happy for you and Aaron. I hope you both have lot of joy in life and keep up your good work and sharing your financial wisdom with us. I have learned so much from your writing.

  • Eke Urum

    Man. I am incredibly glad you shared this story. I’m a conservative, young African, and straight myself. I believe in people’s fundamental right to pursue their own happiness. But recent events in my home country (Nigeria) have really disturbed me. I have a gay cousin. I have gay friends. Most of them were just declared illegal by our government. I hope one day, they can tell the kind of story you just told.
    Congrats to you both. I always assumed you guys were married while reading the blog because of all the stuff you did and owned together. Glad to see I was right. Great story. God bless you both.

  • Austin from TX

    Hey Josh, I had long suspected this but didn’t really care either way. I’m just glad you are happy and things are changing here in the US. Congratulations!

    PS- Jeez, I think I’m one of the earliest readers on your site from 2009-10. So much has changed for me since I started reading back then. Looking forward to the next 5 years.

  • Krystine M. Santos

    Thank you for sharing such a special part of your life I’m this post. I am so happy for both of you

  • TexasTrader

    Thank you for sharing! I’ve been an avid reader for a while now and can honestly say you changed my life. I originally stumbled upon a post you shared about how a majority of the states that voted Republican are the same states that fought against freeing the slaves (wish I could link it to this post). I fell in love with your style of writing because you made such a complex subject seem so simple to understand! A few clicks here and there and I realized I had spent hours flipping through your posts and that’s when I decided I needed to make that move and become financially independent. Nowadays, I’m an “investor” with a diversified retirement portfolio in place and am in the midst of starting my first business.

    I never assumed that you and Aaron were together (not that it even matters) but I always admired how you stood up for gay rights, especially since my best friend recently came out to me. I decided I had to comment on this to send my best wishes to both of you and a HUGE “Thank Y’all” (I’m Texan) for sharing your wisdom, experience and changing my life.

  • joespr

    Thank you for writing this. And for being so forthright.

  • sonnyr

    Too many ideas and words are overwhelming me so I will keep it short. Thank you for your blog. Thank you for your courage. I have seen too many friends have to deal with this and am happy that the law is finally coming around. Congrats to you and Aaron!

  • Erik

    Again, thank you so much for posting this. I have been reading daily for a while now, and over time you have become one of my greatest role models. Your posts have helped me to see the world in new and better ways, and I think you have significantly changed my future path. I am younger than you and grew up in a much more accepting world, but one that still had a long way to go. I am very very happy for you both!

  • Leonie

    Bless you. Thank you for sharing this. I can’t even imagine the pain you both have been through. I’m so glad things are changing, for you and your love, and everyone else out there who is discriminated against so wrongly.

  • Kandice

    Thank you for this one. It’s nice to hear the story of Joshua and Aaron. If only everyone could experience such unconditional love and grace. We all have those who end up disappointing and hurting us. The challenge is to channel those feelings in a positive way, as opposed to becoming filled with bitterness. Seeking financial independence may be a defense mechanism for your specific feelings, but so it is for everyone else– just substitute the applicable facts/motivations. Keep up the amazing work here on this blog. Your readers support you. Unconditionally.

  • Joel

    Congratulations Joshua, I am so happy for you. You and Aaron deserve happiness. You have been compounding goodwill from your readers for a very long time, and I feel certain that this will come back to you. Best, from New Zealand. Joel

  • Chris Falkner

    That was a great story, thank you for sharing. Congratulations to the both of you. I Also grew up in the 90’s but I’m from Arkansas so I remember as well what it was like during those times for gay people. Luckily I never understood that way of thinking and know have several gay friends whom I’m close to. I hope the two of you find happiness wherever you move. I wish Aaron and you all the best.

  • Matt

    Congrats to both of you! Being from California, I can only imagine what it would be like in a conservative state like Missouri. Although I figured it out a while ago, I was surprised when you seemed to loosen on your privacy policy to give some not-so-subtle hints in the past few months. I’m glad you shared this story and can now be open about it. Best of luck in all your endeavors.

  • Russell Kuo

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am the occasional reader to your site and the rare poster. But I appreciate all the useful information you have churned out over the years and am constantly amazed by the rate at which you stamp out responses (it’s almost intimidating how prolific you are at this).

    My home is in Chino Hills and I wanted to comment during your posts about your trip in southern California that one of your pictures on Grand Blvd was just a few blocks away from my house. Though it seems like you and Aaron will be staying in your state, I hope you one day give California another look. It’s hard to beat the weather and the culture out here!

  • Chris

    Congrats, Joshua! I pieced it together that you two had been official, but like the typical American, I was glad to receive the instant gratification to have you say it. Really proud of you both for making big strides both professionally and personally.

  • Mayank Sharma

    It is a very touching Post Buddy !!!

    Your writings on Synthetic Equity and Investing are great but this one beats them all

    Congratulations & Stay Blessed

  • innerscorecard

    Wow, just wow. This post was incredibly moving. I wouldn’t blame you if you took it down. It is just so personal and emotional. I, like most of your readers, have never met you and don’t “really” know you, but I think I’ve read most every post on this site, and this one really ties so much that was under the surface over many years together in such an intense way. I’m really grateful to have had the chance to share, though reading this perhaps ephemeral post, in your happiness and you guys’ journey so far.

    It was also very moving to me to read all the comments on this post and the other one from earlier this week, to see the amount of lives that have been influenced and changed in positive ways by you and this blog. Thank you again for taking on the burden of making so much public.

  • Muhammad Rahim

    Joshua, im sure you realize from seeing my name that im a Muslim and im sure your aware of the views Islam holds on same sex relationships HOWEVER i personally have never taken the time to actually study things in detail as im at a stage in life where my top priority is to get financially independent (concept i picked of you). Im pretty much obsessed with my financial future so much so tht if something does not have to do with business and finance i hardly spend time with it. that includes religion. however what im here to tell you is that i could personally never wish you or any of your loved ones any harm no matter what i read anywhere……its a personal decision in everyone’s life and i just dont see myself hurting anyone for thier personal preferences….as long as they stay with in the bounds of law…..i want you to know that you gave me direction in my life when i was clueless……your writing motivated me and inspired me and from what ive read so far i think you are a pretty decent guy whos concerned about other peoples well being……that makes me respect you … a lot…..keep up the good work and keep writing ………..you have changed many lives for the better including mine……..wishing you and Aaron a happy and successful life together.
    P.S: i always had a very strong gutt feeling that you and Arron were together but never really had any prof to show….u sneaky bugger…. 🙂

  • Wow thanks for sharing this. I had no idea, and feel like a dummy for missing it. But congrats!

  • jeb

    Like you I’m often up working at weird hours and often check your site, sometimes in between your late posts and edits when you’ve felt you’ve let too much personal info out. I think I started following right after a lady sent you a complaint yelling at you for being too tight with your money (Your response was awesome!) so I completely understand and respect your privacy. Thanks for being you!

    • Haha, then you’ve seen the good stuff, eh? Those middle of the night edits … yeah, sometimes it’s me re-reading an article and deciding, as you say, that I Iet out too much personal info or was too candid, other times, it might be a member of my family who has moderation privileges over content and comments taking something down because they have a veto card after the great purge since they can be more impartial about it.

      Very rarely do I override them, even if they seem too zealous; e.g., this post from 2012, which is now hidden. My niece wanted to come over and spend the day watching Disney movies with us and baking “a pink cake” (how she got the idea for this, we don’t know, only that she was adamant we had to bake a cake and it absolutely must be as pink as possible). It was just pictures of Aaron and me hanging out with her and watching Tangled like in the attached screenshot. But they shut it down no sooner than I had hit the publish button. Stuff like that happens fairly often so those up during my odd hours and when they decide to take it down tend to get a much better glimpse into our lives.

  • Someone

    thanks for sharing your story and including us in your lives through this website. have a wonderful life together. 🙂

  • Kat

    Congratulations! I am not an American so I did not really understand what it meant that your marriage is now accepted in your home state (or at least, they are not going to contest out-of-state marriages anymore). I also did not know what growing up gay in Missouri would be like. Thank you for this post and sharing your story.

  • Smear the queer. This got to me more than anything else. Even going to a somewhat socially liberal private school, we absolutely played this at recess, and I am pretty sure at least a handful of times as an officially sanctioned activity during gym class. For me, someone who didn’t have any personal or social experience with gay people (at least not any that I knew about then), this was just one of those totally innocuous activities that you would play from time to time. It didn’t even occur to me then that there was any deep-seated hatred behind the game. After you mentioned it, I suddenly realized I was inadvertently making a few people in my class miserable way back when. It is just fascinating to me that something like a children’s game can be experienced so differently by different people. I had literally almost forgotten smear the queer was a thing.

    As a side note, my phone keyboard doesn’t even recognise ‘queer’ as a word, along with most swears. I know it is just this tiny little thing, but I feel that it speaks volumes about where we are today versus where we were only 10 years ago.

  • lauren

    You have a remarkably intriguing writing style; parts of this just made me say “…aww”.

    I’m not gay, but I’m the same age as you and I definitely remember the 90s -era stigma around all things gay. Middle school kids threw it around as an insult, even though I’m sure half of them didn’t even know what it meant.

    Also, I love it when you throw back to your childhood memories. My brother and I spent hundreds of hours playing The Legend of Zelda as kids. The Internet has made video gaming so much different– back then we had to buy a Special Edition Nintendo Magazine from the Phar-Mor if we wanted to see a map of the labyrinth, or a cheat code, or find where to bomb to get the extra heart cases. We used to hand-draw our own maps while navigating the dungeons. (It took us FOREVER to figure out that you have to drop bombs in the triceratops’ mouth to beat the one level…) These days everything can be Googled.

    Best of luck in starting your family, in whichever state you choose to do it in.

    • MarkM

      To a 55 year old guy married recently to my partner of 19 years–I can say you have the greatest life story I could imagine. You met your partner as a teenager….WOW!! Those opportunities were for the most part not there in the late 70’s in rural Montgomery County Kansas (if they were I didn’t see them). It was a much tougher world. My job out of college was as a loan officer and I could not stomach the racial & gender (never mind the gay) vitriol. I knew gay guys who got married to women to fit in the bank culture discrimination at the Bank. The point is much energy was spend dealing with seemingly ordinary life experiences. Fundamentally societies expectations and prejudices affect our own expectations for ourselves. I lowered my expectations for myself and that was a mistake. I read your column to focus on creating a good financial future for ourselves. Congratulations. I’m very happy for you.

      • As tough as it was for my generation, I can’t even imagine that. There was still pressure to pass as straight during the early part of my lifetime but both Aaron and I were fundamentally incapable of that sort of deception, which led to many awkward situations given our youth, inexperience, and inability to state the reason we weren’t interested without committing social suicide … like the time one of his friends confessed she had been deeply in love with him for years, finally gathering the courage to pour out her feelings. He panicked and ran away. Literally bolted in the other direction without a word. (He described it to me later as if a giant fire had erupted in his chest and he had to get to the exit as quickly as possible.) Or the time I found myself at a movie theater one night in high school with a girl, sharing a popcorn, and realizing in horror that she thought this was a date and had been trying to get me to ask her out all this time. I can’t even remember what movie we saw because my brain was going into overdrive trying to figure out how to extricate myself from the situation without 1.) hurting her feelings, 2.) having to kiss her goodnight (I was too much of a hopeless romantic even then – I can’t fake it and I certainly wasn’t going to kiss someone for whom I didn’t have feelings).

        In prior generations, think about the damage that oppression did not just to the gay people but their straight spouses, too! I’ve witnessed it happen several times now in my own family’s circle of acquaintances among the older set.

        One true-life case: One of my many uncles and aunts, who are in their mid-to-late 50’s and very religious, had a married couple they were close with throughout their lives. They worked together in the church, had Bible studies together, the whole nine yards. In both cases, as society began to change, the guy couldn’t take living a lie anymore and left his wife and children. Understandably, he didn’t want to die without knowing what it was like to fall in love and seeing the rest of the world move on was too much to handle as he approached middle age.

        Now, you have this situation where not only has he wasted most of his life, his straight spouse is abandoned after having the marriage vow broken, no longer in prime form to find another person to marry as the best years of her life were stolen, and she’s raising children! The kids now have two different households in which they are being raised. And it was all preventable.

        The most interesting thing, to me, is the response people like my aunt and uncle who are otherwise good people. They still blame the guy, to the point of tears, for giving in to “the homosexual lifestyle” (what does that even mean?), not the fact it was people like them who forced him into a marriage that never should have occurred in the first place. They are literally blind to their own guilt and role in the destruction.

        • innerscorecard

          For privacy’s sake, I won’t dare to ask for your thoughts or experiences on religion and especially Christianity (it’s been mentioned obliquely on this site many times before I know) more directly in light of these issues, but I just wanted to say that it’s a big source of struggle for me and many others despite it not being as personal an issue for us, and so just thinking about your personal past struggles in this arena is overwhelming.

      • innerscorecard

        Happens a lot in China. Gay males and females getting married and having babies because of the overwhelming pressure from family. I can’t imagine what it’s like growing up with parents like that who are basically married in name only (and seeing other people on the side).

    • Sometimes, I long for those days because gaming was a very different experience. I remember coming home from kindergarten and my mom was excitingly waiting to tell me that she had figured out how to get to Death Mountain through the forest maze once you were in it; up, left, down, left. Like you said, there was no Google. We either had to use Nintendo Power or figure it out ourselves and so there was a sense of accomplishment. Some of those early games, if you even touched an enemy you died. There were no save files! Kid Niki Radical Ninja comes to mind.

      That and the multi-player aspect. Have you seen this Dorkly comic? It seems to hit pretty close to home.

  • Pablo

    Thanks again for sharing your story. It was very uplifting to read it. 🙂

  • John Tate

    That was a great post. But I’m sorry….I’m….I’m not sure I can take your writing seriously anymore after seeing that hair…..hair…..Oh god I can’t unsee it now!

    • You think that’s something? I am about 99.9% positive that at some, brief point between between 1987 and 1989, I sported what you would call a mullet. Being so fashionable and in touch with the zeitgeist was tough, but a burden I was determined to bear, haha!

      It could have been so much worse. Do you know what the clothes looked like in the 1990’s? Take a trip down memory land courtesy of this Saved by the Bell case study …

  • Adrian Burns

    Thanks for this post, Joshua!

    I understand the privacy issues, but I always bristle when you suggest that we’re not getting the raw, unadulterated, 100% uncut version of that mind and heart of yours.

    Reading posts like this and the one re-posted in: http://www.joshuakennon.com/mail-bag-disappearing-blog-posts-com/
    is a GIFT (in every sense of the word). The passion, eloquence, the insight into YOU are just too precious to ever censor.

    So, again, thanks for this post and I hope you continue being candid…as if it was 2009.

  • Aditya

    I’m very happy for both of you, congratulations!

  • Gilberto

    Ante todo mi respeto y admiration para ustedes dos!! Deseo para ustedes toda la felicidad del Mundo y que puedas ver realizados todos sus suenos. Dicho esto, creo que todos los lectores les debemos una inmensa gratitud por mostrarnos el camino hacia la independencia financiera. Para mi es irrelevante sus preferencias sexuales, solo a ustedes debe importar, siempre que sean buenas personas lo Demas es secondario. No soy gay, y estoy feliz de estar Casado, y pienso que todo ser humano tiene el derecho de vivir como mejor le parezca…

    Muchas gracias a ustedes nuevamente por la inmensa ayuda que now Brindan cada dia…

    Escribo en espanol porque es mi primera lengua, y te Leo por Google translation…

    Agradezco donde ustedes


  • jonnymack

    Wow, thanks so much for sharing. I appreciate that you don’t want all this out there as it’s really that kind of blog but the occasional treat like this is really cool. I hope that America is on the path to realizing marriage is for two people….period. Gay shouldn’t matter. I do feel the younger generation mostly gets it but bigotry takes time to be eliminated. Congrats on everything and I wish you nothing but happiness for all your years together. Get ready though….kids change EVERYTHING (3 boys 6, 4, 8 months) but in a really cool way.

  • Kevin

    Great post. It’s a lot to go through at a young age, I can’t even really imagine what it must have been like (although as a fellow 32 year old, I totally understand the pain of terrible 1990s haircuts). Glad you’re both happy now – and I suppose you know which of your friends and family are really worth having around in your life. Hopefully one day, people will read stories like this, and it will seem as far removed from the life they know as witchcraft trials and such like seem to us.

    Also, this: “including someone tracking down my grandmother at work and demanding she tell them how to get me on the phone” is really weird. Easy to understand why you like to keep things a bit more private now! Some strange people out there.

  • Kevin

    Incredible story. Congratulations to both of you, at long last

  • jss027

    Thanks for sharing your story…I am thankful for the higher education I receive on this site and your site on about.com.

  • Tim in Chicago

    Joshua- THANK YOU very much for your forthrightness, openness and sharing.

    Let me say that I’ve been a regular reader of this outstanding blog for probably the better part of 2 years– Joshua, your body of work is nothing short of world-class. THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge, experience and many insights with us– not only with regard to finance, but also on so very many other life-levels. I draw upon the vast treasure trove of information here on a regular basis. What’s more, I’d love it if you ran for President (although I know you’re too smart to get into politics– I say that wryly but in all seriousness)– with someone like you in charge, this country could very possibly be a much, much better place.

    Just for the record, I am straight and married to a woman (not that it’s relevant to
    this post, but I only mention it so that you know who’s talking). I, too, never did put 2 and 2 together before your last post, either. It does make sense now, looking back, as I have noticed the “slants” the blog has taken on things. I’m glad you decided to share this with us, Joshua. I’ve always respected you and, prior to discovering this blog, I’d like to believe that, like you, I’ve usually (if not always) been one to “check my assumptions” with respect to the formulation of my inherent belief systems. Your postings have influenced me greatly and in many ways has refined the way I think about things. Again, thanks for sharing this, as I’m interested in Joshua Kennon THE PERSON since you’ve had such a great influence on me.. i have the utmost respect for you, and your orientation, for me, does not factor into that at all.

    Truth be told, i consider you a mentor of mine whom I’ve never actually spoken with. I am a small business owner who’s had to fight to stay afloat in the wake of the recession, and your insights (financial and otherwise) and methodology have aided me greatly. You are WITHOUT PEER as a financial educator and writer, and then, on an entirely different level, you have the unique ability to tap into your own insatiable curiosity about life’s nuances, and subsequently “put a pen to paper” and lay it out there in the most thought-provoking ways I’ve ever seen.

    Please don’t ever take this blog down.In my opinion, it’s an essential resource for quality-of-life enhancement on this planet. I wish both of you godspeed and all the best, moving forward, and I’ll continue to be a regular reader.

  • Bryan

    Joshua, it sounds like you have been truly blessed to find each other. If only everyone could find such happiness… the world would be a much better place.

    Thank you for the insight into your life. Best of luck and happiness for the future. Our state needs more people like you!

  • Congrats to both of you :), I just wish you guys a happy life together. I have also been a regular reader of this blog for long time now, Actually the way I found this blog was through your articles on About.com. that’s how I first started learning about finance and investing, and after that I have spend many hours on your blog for months and many other blogs, but I have to say this blog remains my favorite and I check it everyday to see if you have posted anything new. I also have never commented before on the blog and I know there are many other readers like me know continue to be amazed and inspired by your writings but never comment. But today after reading this I wanted to take time to say THANK YOU.

  • dave nestle(keep going lower!)

    Oh My god!
    What a story!

    A perfect example of why I let people prove themselves to me first, and they don’t get the benefit of the doubt that they are good people. Also an example of why you(Joshua) are one in a million for sharing what you know with the world.

    You know, 15 years ago I got married. My wife at the time came from a jewish family(I am catholic)(notice the lower case letters). A few years before we met, my wife converted to be a catholic with her old boyfriend. Her parents were the only ones to know and they never told the rest of the family. Then, when we told everyone that we were getting married in a catholic church, it was like we were the biggest disgraces on earth. Oh my god, the comments!!

    We tried a few things to appease everyone(who thought it was I who “made” her convert. Like having a priest and a rabbi do the service together. Any of you hard core catholics or jews will know how that went. haha.

    So, also being half Italian (notice the capital I), I didn’t invite anyone who had even the slightest negative thing to say about us.(that was most of my wife’s family). I told them “you are all dead to us”. Even her grandmother, who said she was going to come and sit there with a big coat on in protest, went to her grave not being invited to her granddaughter’s wedding. In the end, grandmama knew that I was better than all of her grandsons by marriage. I accomplished more, even with my couple failures, than any of her family ever did. My wife is treated as as much of a princess that I can make her be at this point in our lives. To this day, most of her family is still dead to us, even though they break thru with tiny “reach outs” to us, probably out of guilt, but never with an apology. Take care I say, cause life moves forward!

    I’m not trying to say that my story is anywhere close to what the gay marriage, etc. issue is for people. It’s a disgrace how people had to live in fear here in America as little as ten to twenty years ago. I am only commenting on the questionable human quality of many people. Sorry if that sounds too cynical or harsh.

    But thank god that here on this blog the intelligence level and demographics(as noted on a prior post) are much higher than the rest of the internet.

    Ok, now let me get out of Italian mode for the rest of the day. Peace!

    • Someone

      Thanks for sharing that. When my grandmother (a Lutheran) married my step-grandfather (a Catholic) in the early 1970s, they married in the Lutheran church because the Catholic church would not recognize their marriage. My step-grandfather remained Cathrolic and still attended Mass, but he was not allowed to take Communion. This state of affairs persisted until the mid-1990s, when the Catholic church relented and conducted another marriage ceremony in _their_ church, thereby permitting my step-grandfather to take Communion again. My grandmother told me that when the priest said the customary, “You are now married” or whatever, my grandmother was thinking, but did not say out loud, “We already have been for decades, you ********.”

      Nowadays, hardly anyone seems to bat an eye when Protestant and Catholic faiths intermarry. But I did attend a wedding in 2008 where a Morman man and a Catholic woman married in a Catholic ceremony, causing obvious discomfort to the priest. But they did conduct the ceremony.

      Interesting, isn’t it?

      • This brings up memories. One of my grandmothers wanted to marry a man ten or so years ago. They were both in their 70’s at the time. She had been divorced for twenty years and her second husband had died years prior due to a heart condition. He (the would-be third husband) was Catholic. At this point, from her first husband (my grandfather) she had six grown adult children, dozens of grandchildren, and even, I think, maybe a couple of great grandchildren though I don’t entirely remember if they had been born, yet.

        Anyway, the priest insisted that she had to annul her first marriage from a quarter-century ago, the one that lasted around 40 years and produced the entire family tree, pretending like it never happened. She looked at him like he was crazy and said something like, “Do you really think God is so stupid as to not know about those 40 years? You want me to lie and say they didn’t happen?”

        They ended up “living in sin”, I suppose you could say, until he passed away because he didn’t want to get married outside of the Church and she refused to lie about her life as it felt immoral to her.

        • TheLonelyHumanist

          One of these days it will be my turn to come out. And I won’t be a Lonely Humanist, I will be a proud atheist. For now it’s as low profile as I can keep it. It’s a kind of betrayal. I was raised on Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, to KNOW wisdom. And during my studies, I found the answers. But when I came home. I was rejected for achieving the very mission I was groomed for.

          Some months back, when all the Chik-fil-A shenanigans were on, my Dad called me up and offered to pay for my family to eat lunch there.
          “It’s the only way to fight the queers.” he explained.
          I grew up in a cult. I don’t want to alienate my children from my parents. I LOVE my parents. They are good people. But they are also dark proof to me that evil lies not in intention but in consequence.

        • Elizabeth Van Horn

          Hello LonelyHumanist. When you do decide to ‘come out’, you won’t be alone. I’ve been an atheist since 5th grade, and told several of my fellow 5th graders way-back then. (to their shock! ; ) Through the decades, it’s been rough, as I live in the Midwest, and not too many people here are atheists or agnostics. As an adult, with adult children of my own, I can’t imagine hiding the fact that I don’t think a popular mythos, is ‘reality’. It’s easier with time, and there’s such a wonderful feeling that comes from being true to one’s self.

          Cheers! *smiles*

    • Thank you for sharing your story. Both Aaron and I appreciate it a lot. As terrible as it sounds, it does make it easier to know others experienced the same heartache (though I’d prefer none of us had to) .

      On a much lighter note, I feel like you are sitting on sitcom gold with this setup … a blended Italian Catholic and Jewish family. Think of the characters and scenarios you could write with that premise! The fight scenes alone would make millions in syndication. It could be bigger than Seinfeld, haha!

      • Deena

        As someone who is the by-product of a Jewish father and Italian Catholic mother (who have been married for over 40 years) I can absolutely affirm that all the sterotypes are true. Also, Italian Catholic guilt TRUMPS Jewish guilt any day.

  • Edward

    I just want to say thank you for sharing your life on this blog. Reading your website has completely changed my life for the better on many levels. I’ve been a lurker here for awhile but just had to respond to this post. I grew up during the same period of time and honestly never said anything against the discrimination although I couldn’t condone it. It is easy to think these are someone else’s problems. I got my own taste of this marrying a woman of different ethnicity although it pales in comparison to what you experienced.

    • Thanks for emerging from the shadows and for the sentiments/sharing a bit of your background; I appreciate it very much! One of the coolest, unexpected side-effects of this posts is getting to meet people (even if only virtually) who have been part of the community for a long time but do so in silence.

  • Brendan

    Just by reading your post, I can sense the weight having been lifted off your collective shoulders; getting state recognition is huge! I’m very happy for you and Aaron. My wife and I have been married for 5 years now, and neither of us could ever have accomplished what we’ve been able to do together, if we were on our own. I think that part of it is that no matter what the result of our efforts in daily life, we both know we have someone who’s there for us regardless, pass or fail, hired or fired, happy or sad, etc. I wish you two many happy years together.

  • mikecrosby

    Tears in my eyes Joshua. Makes me think back to Gov Wallace and his speech “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”. And how those black children entering the schools were treated with vicious hate. How wrong we were.

    Thank you for opening up your life and allowing me to understand.

  • Allen Jarboe

    I’m happy for both you and Aaron. As a couple year reader, I sometimes feel like that I actually know you, and had known this story had to have been going on in the background for quite awhile. It takes a lot of personal bravery to share such intimate details about your life to the world, which I greatly respect you for. Your blog is a very unique and special place on the internet, with unmatched quality across the board. I wish nothing but success and happiness for both of you as you continue on life’s journey 🙂

  • Felipe

    A heartbreaking story but with a happy ending. I am glad my children and yours will be growing up in a much different world.

  • manofonezerg

    Thank you for sharing something this personal Joshua. Yours is a deeply moving story, and I’m glad there’s a happy ending for you and Aaron. Keep up the great work. I’m an avid reader and look forward to many more years of Joshua Kennon-Green’s insight 🙂

  • I’m really happy for both of you. This post of yours seems weird to me because, living in the UK, we’re not nearly as anti-gay as some parts of the US are (or were). It’s hard to comprehend that some people can be so hate-filled in response to seeing two people in love. You and Aaron must have a fantastic relationship if you can get through all of that. I wish you two all the best.

    • M Harrison

      I lived in the UK for half of my life (in the Southwest) and on the East Coast and West Coast of the US and I’m inclined to agree with you in general. It’s been my experience that many people who aren’t openly opposed to same-sex marriages can be indifferent or on the fence about it and have a “it’s not my problem attitude” until they find out someone close to them is in a same-sex relationship. When you see love (even only through a screen) it just goes straight to the core of your humanity regardless of your particular stance on the legality of same-sex marriages. You just can’t deny or ignore it.

      I’ve actually never commented on this blog before this article (I first arrived here via About.com a couple of years ago), but reading Joshua describe in intimate detail the fear of having a relationship discovered as though it were an unnatural secret suddenly brought back early memories of racism and xenophobia and being the victim of others’ hatred and fears. I absolutely agree that they stick in your mind and heart and can be the greatest catalysts for deciding to become successful, financially and in all other ways.

      I first came here for the finance and investing articles and became enticed and had to read everything else. Anyway, I hope we get to the continual benefit of these exceptional articles, thoughts and experiences to analyse, digest and cogitate, including the unguarded ones.

  • Joshua

    I wanted to get this comment up before you took down this post. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve said before that James Dobson ruined my childhood, but for the opposite reasons that you might have. I was raised on his teachings and “knew” in my heart that homosexuals were either evil to the core or misguided rebels and deviants. It wasn’t until my mid to late 20’s that I was able to finally break free from this ideology (i’m 32 now).

    The fact that such a huge portion of the population can free itself from this line of thinking in less than a generation is remarkable. In spite of all of the remaining problems that the U.S. has we are heading in a wonderful direction very quickly.

  • JD Arney

    Wonderful story, and I’m glad you shared it. Even today, as things continually get better, I think the world still benefits from hearing stories like this.

  • S

    Thanks for sharing and inviting us to be a part of your lives.

  • Matt N

    Thanks so much for sharing this! You’ve always been a private person, and it’s great to find out a bit more about your background. You’re an inspirational writer on multiple topics, but for me, it’s your sheer enthusiasm for everything you do that’s the true inspiration. To be honest, I’m a little bit sad I’ll probably never have the opportunity to get to know you guys in person!

  • Sammy

    I have read most of the articles on your site in last one year or so – some of them even 4-5 times to really understand and appreciate the depth of those articles. You have had a profound influence on how I think about things especially as it pertains to financial decisions. You are a person of great intellect, amazingly rational thinking and deep analytic skills.

    I am so happy for you and Aaron. Thanks for sharing the amazing story and your journey with the readers of this site. Wish you the best in every walk of life!!

  • A

    Just wanted to congratulate you and Aaron and wish you guys all the best! I have been reading your blog for a few years now and it has literally been life changing (I am only 23 but still). In case Missouri doesn’t work out, Canada is just up north 😉

  • Adam

    That’s a beautiful story. Congratulations from a long time reader.

  • dave nestle

    Hey Joshua, I just remembered a funny thing when it comes to your that story about your grandmother and the guy who tried to track you down…

    I was at work a while back and a bunch of people were talking about what was the first thing they would do if they hit the powerball lottery, which was up to around $400 million. They all talked about buying big houses, boats and cars. When they asked me I said there is this guy on the internet that I read his site all the time. He is a self made financial genius who owns some businesses.

    I told them that I would track you down by doing something like buying out all of your jacket inventory or something that would catch your eye. Then I would offer you 10% of my winnings as a fee to help me to invest the rest
    They looked at me like I was crazy!
    (I would still do the same thing)haha

    Don’t let your guard down too much man.

    • Oh man, that is such a fun thought experiment. How would I handle a situation like that … I’m going to be thinking about this all day. Most fortunes are built over time but to have a huge cash influx, with a 10% fee payment upfront for creating a self-sustaining empire? Not only could I do it, easily, it would be one of the funnest things I can imagine. I wouldn’t even sleep for 3-4 years as I got it up and running into a well-oiled machine so strong not even a Great Depression could cause it to fail.

      I’d need to reflect on it for awhile, but my initial 30-second thought is I’d have you end up with a family office in a tax-free state, a small staff, and a vast collection of holdings in almost every asset class around the world run on a de-centralized, self-contained basis so any problems that arose in one area couldn’t spread. You’d own a series of companies and trusts, with the bulk of the assets held in a private conglomerate that, within sixty months of establishment, could probably pay you $1 to $2 million per month in distribution checks to go spend however you wanted without touching any of your wealth, while still retaining enough to expand above and beyond inflation at a good pace. It would do everything through a maze of subsidiaries designed to hide the extent of your holdings from prying eyes. You could own hotels in your hometown and almost nobody would be able to trace it back to you.

      I feel my heart rate rising … think of the tax strategies! The oil pipeline royalties! The depreciation tables on commercial real estate buildings! The 1031 exchanges to defer capital gains taxes almost forever! Not to mention qualified small business stocks that often have favorable status over large publicly listed companies. Screw bank debt, we’d be large enough to issue private bonds to insurance companies, locking in interest rates for decades if you wanted to (ever so slightly) slightly increase ROE! Though farmland is a bit high for my taste, when and if it reversed, you’d probably end up with hundreds of thousands of acres of the best, most fertile farmland in the country, pumping out profits from soy bean, corn, wheat, apples, etc.

      Doesn’t it make you want to break out into this song!?

      • Muhammad Rahim

        Joshua, how would you tackle the same situation (winning a big lottery) if you were not allowed to invest in fixed income securities and/or derivatives? im asking cause being a Muslim we are not allowed to go into interest bearing debt investments…..something i think of often ……. your input would be much appreciated. 🙂

      • Bill

        See!? Now this is the kind of passion I was talking about. 😉


      • innerscorecard

        There should be (more?) songs about investing and value investing.

      • I love seeing you talk about these topics because it’s clearly something that you enjoy doing and thinking about.

        I have to ask – on a practical basis, how would you get oil pipeline royalties? How would that deal come about? How would you go about doing that?

        • dave (nestle)

          I have wondered the same thing about the pipeline royalties. It has been on my research list for a while now. Does Joshua mean buying MLPs at attractive yields?
          Same question about investing in commodities like nat gas or sugar, etc. Is there a “best way” to invest in them with high liquidity and some cash (dividend)flow? What is a good method/place to form an opinion on such commodities and do research about them?Should we trust ETFs ?(not sure I even understand my own questions? haha)

  • Alex

    What an amazing and powerful story. I’m glad you shared it with us. I’m extremely young in comparison to almost everyone here (I’m still in school) so I just thought you should know there is some MAJOR change going on among the young generation. It’s quite amazing and I wish you could see it through my eyes (I may send a personal account of it through the contact form some time in the future). What really shocks me is how much the rate of change is increasing. Before it would take at least a couple more decades to get to where we are now. But now a whole lot of change is happening in just one or two decades. That’s why even though I’m a realist I’m still an optimist when it comes to the future. Things won’t be perfect, but it’ll be so much better that today will look like the 50’s and 60’s. I’m very glad that another group is coming out of discrimination and I can’t wait until this country treats all groups fairly and equally. We still have a long way to go but I believe that we’ll get there in my lifetime, and possibly yours too if you look both ways before crossing the street ;). But even if we don’t I take comfort that my future kids, as well as yours, will live in a place where no matter who they are they will be treated with equity and will get to live a life full of joy and happiness. Thank you so much for your writings and for sharing your story.

  • Bonnie

    Thanks for sharing your story. Coming from Canada it is really hard to imagine the kind of fear you guys have to live through. So glad you and Aaron were there for each other wedding night when he broke down and cried. Not having support from family is the worst. Love your blog and love it even more now that I got a glimpse of the person behind it who is not afraid to be who he is!!!

  • Sam

    First comment on the blog after a year+ reading… great, great post. I picked up on your relationship early on and went searching through the archives to confirm my suspicions.

    Very sorry to hear about your wedding night. My own was the best night of my life, and it seems cruel that you had to endure rejection on a night about union. Thank you for being so positive in the face of it all and continuing to share your life with us readers.

    • Thank you for those kind words. And thanks for coming out of hiding yourself; I love it when lurkers post comments, haha!

      • A

        I think this post brought all the lurkers (including me) out of the woodwork!

      • Sam

        Ha! To be fair, I have left a few suggestions in the message box… But it seems your openness motivated an in-kind response. Over 100 comments!

  • Anthony


    Great story and congratulations on your marriage! Screw the haters!

  • Bill


    I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now, sense
    around Christmas of 2010, if memory serves correct. Over this time, I’ve seen
    you talk about a number of people in your life who were influential to you. Being
    as this blog leans heavily towards the financial world, you often mention names
    like Munger or Lynch… Like you, I’m young (29), and come from a similar, working-class
    family background. I too, have copies of Financial Analyst, The Intelligent
    Investor, and so on, full of highlighter marks, hand written notes and so on
    sitting on my bookshelf. But I’m quite sincere when I say that when I think of
    names who have been the most influential for me, in my life, your name easily
    makes the short list.

    It isn’t just with the financial stuff either. You’ve taught
    me to be more self-aware. To question why I do things the way I do. To ask
    myself questions, like what I really want out of life and you’ve also helped to
    instill the courage needed to pursue those dreams, regardless of what other
    people in my life say, and there have been quite a few. I’ve actually
    paraphrased your words to myself a few times… “It’s your life, there is no wrong answer, so long as your doing what you want to do, and feels right.” I used to have
    anger and depression issues that are now very mild, due in large part to learning
    more about myself, through the self-analysis ideals that I learned from you. I
    can truly say that I am a better Father, Husband and man today than I was a few
    years ago. My words of thanks could never fully show my appreciation for you
    and your writings.

    I remember reading someone’s comment on some of your pics on
    your California trip this spring, about why you “didn’t bring the Miss” and I
    sort of laughed a little. To me, it’s always been apparent that you and Aaron
    were a couple. You’ve mentioned numerous times over the years, sometimes in
    passing, about the old school values that your quite conservative home area
    has. And I’ve wondered how that may have affected you two over the years. You
    both seem so tremendously happy; I assumed that it was all great for you guys,
    for the most part.

    I’ve noticed over the years that you’ve slowly seemed to be
    putting up a bit of a wall between yourselves and the public (the blog).
    Perhaps I’m wrong, but that’s how it’s felt to me anyway. I’ve assumed it was
    due to having busier and busier lives, but after reading this frankly
    jaw-dropping post, it’s made other posts in the past all sort of click
    together. Your numerous mentions of “stealth wealth”, for example.

    It truly pains me to read this post and realize how much of
    a hard time you guys have had over the years. If I were to see you and Aaron
    standing in a bookstore today, I’d walk up and give you both a huge hug right
    now, knowing full well the awkward moment of stranger-danger that would follow
    lol. You two, as you both full well know, are absolutely great for each other.
    You did indeed hit the jackpot as you say, and it can be hard at times, but try
    not to let people get to you.

    Thank you, for sharing what you do here on the blog, and
    inspiring people like me to pursue their goals. It’s your guys life, live it
    however makes you happy. I’ll be doing the same. Haters? Fuck ‘em. =)

    -Bill aka Paarthurnax

  • grendl

    Wonderful post as always, thank you Joshua. As I write this my home state of North Carolina began issuing same sex marriage licenses just last night. Over the last fews years as I’ve watched this step-toward-sanity become inevitable, it’s helped me through dark moments when our country seemed entirely dysfunctional and hell-bent on self-destruction. While that still sometimes (ok, often) seems the case, I’m very happy we’re at last getting this right! Oh, and thanks for the awkward-teenage-haircut pic — man, I thought _mine_ was goofy… 😉

  • Corey Larson

    An amazing inspirational life story. Don’t ever delete this post. Love and happiness should not go unnoticed.

    • Thanks for your comment =) I woke up the day after publishing this, intending to take it down but the comments were overwhelming. I might leave it up forever as I didn’t expect people to care about something like this given the usual topics of conversation around here.

      • Corey Larson

        It would be a shame for others not to be able to read this post 😉

      • Jeff Robison

        The way you write makes people care. Even those of us who just landed here originally looking for investing tips.

  • Rob

    Congratulations to the both of you. I truly appreciate your writings and posts. Keep up the great work.

  • David

    I’ve been reading your blog for two years now, and you are inspirational in so many ways. Congratulations to you and Aaron, from a friend in England.

  • Anon

    It’s a beautiful story, but the part about being surprised that people didn’t know isn’t very honest.

    Truth is that was hidden/suppressed. Which is perfectly okay. My thinking is that you made two decisions: (1) to not publicize it and to hide/suppress it; and (2) to leave clues for long-time, intelligent readers to put the pieces together.

    I asked about this in a comment (in 2011 or 2012?) and my comment was deleted.

    • I was curious about this because I’ve never concealed it. Even back after the blog became much more private, anyone who wrote and asked about whether I was single, or gay, or with Aaron received an answer. Case in point: Here is a screenshot of a contact form message I sent on 07/26/2011 to someone who asked if I was in a relationship with anybody. Aaron didn’t want his picture online at the time but the intent was never to conceal anything about the fact we were together given my Facebook page and everything else had us listed as together. Any obfuscation had to do with privacy concerns, not hiding the fact we were gay.

      To try and figure out what happened, I ran through the database looking for every comment you’ve ever left under the fake email you use for this Anon account and your IP address. The earliest comment I can find from you was on this post back on January 23rd, 2012 when you said, “Get the more expensive one”.

      Out of your many, many comments over the past few years, I only see a tiny handful that were ever kicked to moderation or deleted; e.g., two years ago, you spotted a typo and pointed it out for me on this post, and I thank you for it and deleted both comments. You had a recent CNN link that I haven’t had a chance to check that was flagged. And you once suggested I change a photograph because the news source that released it had pictured the wrong person and suggested it might be a legal exposure (which I appreciate as I did take your advice once you told me about their error). I can’t find anything, anywhere, from you ever asking about our relationship that was moderated, deleted, or ignored.

      Do you have any idea where you think you left the comment? Did you use a different name? Were you under a different IP address than the one you’ve used for the last two years; e.g., traveling on business or something? You’re sending me into Scooby Doo mode here and I’d like to get to the bottom of it. If you outright asked, and never received a response, that makes me feel bad. It never should have happened and was entirely non-intentional.

      • Matt

        I’ve had the opposite experience – I’ve never seen any of my comments deleted and I have received numerous responses from you in the comments over the past couple years. However, I’ve never received a response through the contact form though even though I’ve sent maybe a half dozen (prompting me to use the comments more). Just curious as to whether this is because of an email address ban or something.

        • It’s possible. Can you do me a favor? Submit something through the contact form right now and later tonight or tomorrow morning, I’ll go through the filter manually (it’s been forever since I’ve done that) to find it. That way, I can check if it was either an IP address thing or an email thing or what. It’s also possible I just missed it given the volume of things that come in but the odds seem low if you’ve submitted six or more times over the years … I’ll get back to you as soon as soon as I can.

        • Matt

          Thanks for the reply, I just finish sending something through the contact form.

        • innerscorecard

          Can you check if I’m on the contact form blacklist somehow too? I honestly don’t mind if my questions were simply unanswerable or you’re too busy, but I hope I’m not being robotically screened out!

        • Sure. I’ll let you know in the next few days when I have a chance.

        • Sure. I’ll let you know in the next few days when I have a chance.

        • innerscorecard


        • Preston Nelson

          Wow, so many conversations:

          I had you and Aaron figured out for a while, though I will admit for a time I was confused. I can understand, though not exactly on the same level, the personal struggles you have had to deal with being ostracized for not being “normal”. So I’m happy for this turn of events for you.

          Our struggles make us who we are so I’m glad you have been willing to share so much. I think you have been very helpful to a lot of people and on more than one plane of well being. I know I feel like I’ve grown up a good bit since I’ve been following along, though I’m not attributing that all to you.

          And I’m with Matt & innerscorecard on worrying about being blacklisted by the contact form…though it may be my own fault for my first submission asking how you kept up with the whole world before I read, basically, the entire blog and answered my own question.

        • I’ll check on your contact info, too, and make sure you weren’t flagged or anything. Give me a couple of days as the incoming volume of stuff has spiked substantially and I’m not able to keep up with it.

        • I’ll check on your contact info, too, and make sure you weren’t flagged or anything. Give me a couple of days as the incoming volume of stuff has spiked substantially and I’m not able to keep up with it.

  • LizPop

    So eloquent! You offer a lot of perspective. Blessings to you both!

  • M Harrison

    Thanks for posting this! I always thought that was the case, but figured that if you didn’t want to discuss it then it’s not something to pry into. I understand why you want to protect your privacy and how all those years of fear and bigotry must make you very wary. Still, it’s always inspiring when someone decides to put their soul on the line.

    Congratulations to the both of you, and all the best for the future!

  • Looking back, one of the things I find most interesting now that I can be detached from it and study it as I would any other phenomenon, is that, in most cases, it was the innocuous activities that were the most insidious because they are so ordinary they get taken for granted. It’s stuff like that I remember, not the Westboro Baptist Church.

    That and the fact that the lack of any positive reinforcement was sometimes just as damaging, if not more so, than the negative stuff. Had there been any visible symbol out there – any positive role model or model that gave hope – I think life would have been far easier. It’s only been four or five years since that changed. I remember being shocked when I happened to catch this scene on Fox television. It was a perfectly ordinary, G-Rated musical number a la The Sound of Music or Mary Poppins that, had it been in a Disney film of the 1950’s wouldn’t have warranted mention, except it was the first time in my entire life I remember seeing an equal representation of love. I can’t imagine how much easier childhood would have been if things like this had been out there.

    • I took the time to read the comments on that video and even the internet trolls have turned it down a few notches. In a couple more years we will be sitting back thinking about gay rights like we do the internet. Yes, there once was a time before both, but it is really hard to remember how we all functioned back then.

    • innerscorecard

      Haha, it’s funny that’s the song you picked. Can’t vouch for that factualness of the allegation, but I remember a lecture I audited once where the professor linked the outrage of a visitor to the US in the 1950’s over the risqué nature of Baby It’s Cold Outside (seduction, etc) and the context where it was played (a coed dance!) to the rise of Muslim extremism.

  • Trying to find a balance between candor and prudence has always been a struggle for me. Even today, I’m not satisfied with the trade-offs. I’ll strive to be better. =)

  • Nice to (virtually) meet you! It’s so cool to finally hear from people who have been secretly lurking for years =)

  • This is humbling. I don’t know what to say to it other than thank you. I’m glad whatever lessons I learned helped you on your journey. That makes it worth it.

    You’re one of the few people who have been around to see the blog become what it has and, you’re right, there is more of a separation. I’m trying to get better about navigating the line and I haven’t figured it out, yet. When I look back at posts, there is an ebb and flow to how reserved I am.

    One thing that might change the dynamic … Aaron decided one of the businesses needed to switch to mobile telephones so within the next couple of weeks, both he and I will each be carrying iPhone 6 Plus, again, after not having smartphones for years (we ditched our personal smartphones awhile ago since we were always near a landline) which probably means a lot more “here’s what we did today …” in picture posts since we’ll have a camera on us at all times. Those tend to be what spark the more personal posts, anyway, so maybe that will help?

    I’ll work on it. Thank you, again. I appreciated your comment a lot.

    • Bill

      Thanks for the reply,

      Well, I do feel that when your more… open, for lack of better word, you ‘tend to write your better content (just my opinion). The amount of passion you have about the subjects you write about, is so infectious it is exhilarating. But I’ve noticed that when you tighten the reigns a bit on the content of your writing, the “feel” of your posts are affected as well, as the passion is withheld a bit too.

      But the thing is… This is your blog. You do not know me in the real world, nor do you owe me or any of your readers anything more than you care to share, and that is perfectly okay. Having an ebb and flow is only natural. When you feel the desire to share a bit more, it’s always appreciated and enjoyed. When you feel the need to pull back, please don’t feel torn. We’ll still be here =)

      I have to say, I do look forward to seeing more pictures though! I recently went through your California trip posts and threw a comment out, asking for more pics, but I figured the posts are now buried in your archives lol. I’m unsure as to why, but I find myself re-reading some of your old posts (sometimes years old) and finding new meaning in them as I’ve grown and learned over the years, and I’ll leave comments/questions on them.

      Anyway, back on point of the original post for a minute… I’m truly sorry to hear you two have had a roller-coaster journey. You two seem great, and I wish all the best for you guys and your future!


      Post script – Watch Firefly already. 😉

    • innerscorecard

      My next dividend checks from Apple thank you (as your sister’s next dividend checks from Coke thank me)! :p

  • Phil J.

    Congrats to both you and Aaron. Remember although hatred and rejection can be found everywhere in this world, love and support can be found in this most unlikely of places. (As evidence of this current posting of yours. Continue on your journey on the pursuit of knowledge and happiness. May our paths cross each other one day soon. Best of Luck.

  • fran

    “Would I change anything? It’s hard to say. I love my life. We hit the jackpot in so many other ways, and have been so blessed otherwise, at this point, it’s part of our story.”

    A truly great story! I think your pain and struggle have made you the person you are. You have a keen sensitivity in your writing, and you are wildly generous with your readers as well. You have extreme confidence so you must know you are a talented individual of the rarest sort. After reading your blog religiously for 2 years, I know after more consideration you will conclude that you would not change anything. Sorry for all you have gone through and thanks for all you have done for us.

  • MW

    Living in the Massachusetts, it’s easy to forget how legal same-sex marriage is something that’s either brand new or still unavailable to so many people around the country. Or how unusual it is that anti-gay sentiment is so rare around here. Even fairly progressive places like Portland, OR seem to be behind in this regard, but living one place it’s easy to forget how different things are elsewhere in the country. I’m glad things are changing this quickly, as the paperwork nightmare you two have been through sounds awful enough.

    I wondered why you’d never directly addressed your relationship til now. Like you said, you weren’t hiding anything, and since Aaron was mentioned so often it seemed strange you referred to your “spouse” instead of calling him by name. Now I see it was partly out of privacy concerns, but privacy issues aside, I hoped you’d write something like this some day.

    There are so few openly gay people in the business world, with a lack of role models outside of creative and artistic fields, that it’s an overall good thing to be able to add anyone to the list of successful, openly gay professionals. Obviously, it’s not your responsibility to be a role model for anyone, but I think that for certain younger people, especially coming from similar conservative backgrounds, your story is really important to share. And for the sake of others I’m glad you did. It’s the kind of thing that could made a big difference in a young gay kid’s life, and I hope you leave it up for them to find in the future.

    It’s funny though, as it’s been years since it crossed my mind, to think back to those Focus on the Family broadcasts and realize there were even more perfectly good reasons to despise James Dobson than the ones I had back then…

  • SJ

    This is my first time to post, although I have been reading your site for several years now. Thank you for sharing this very personal post, and congratulations! Some of my best friends are gay and I remember the night that NY passed the Marriage Equality Act (on my birthday – so we celebrated two events!), allowing them to marry. Your post brought a tear to my eye. Here’s to many more happy years to you two, and insightful blog posts for us!

    • Welcome to the site! Even though you’ve been here for years, I’m glad you decided to introduce yourself =) Thank you for the well-wishes!

  • Anonona

    Josh, my name is Brad. I grew up in probably a completely opposite situation from you–by a coastal city, liberal family values, upper middle class/upper class. I only write that though because 1) I’ve learned so much from you despite growing up in circumstances where one would think I’d know more and 2) we truly have much more in common that one would think by looking at our backgrounds.

    About 1), I started reading your blog in March 2013, and that really helped me accelerate decisions about my financial life. The job i took right out of school was only to start my 401K, since I knew how important it is to start early. But your posts about critical reflection and thinking lead to:

    2), which is what I love about America. Being American isn’t about a particular race, nationality, gender, religion, or even creed. It’s about upholding a set of ideals about letting people be free and live their lives, and very similar people (and very different ones) can all appreciate this, respect this, and be American. It doesn’t mean there will always be acceptance and happiness–on the contrary. It just means that there is an understanding of our principles, which to me is a much deeper basis for any type of nationalism than what most other countries are based on (even though we know the concept of “nationality” is made up and people are more similar based on gender and jobs than on nationality, etc.) I know you uphold the same set of values even though we’ve come from very different places: but we’ve arrived at the same spot.

    I guess I should get to my final point, which is that, despite growing up in an educational paradigm where considering the author’s point of view, using critical reasoning, and understanding the hidden arguments being made were all paramount, I had NO idea about you and Aaron.

    I am literally typing this shitting bricks, not because I “thought” you had one orientation versus another (I honestly did think you were straight considering your technically “conservative” views about marriage, family, etc.), but because I feel so silly I didn’t see it! Then again, I’ve always been a little clueless socially. (To be honest, I always thought I had a good “gaydar” but after a while I gave up trying to figure it out. I don’t like to say it’s not my business/I don’t care since I think that’s akin to saying to a person of color “I don’t see color,” but I tend not to really get concerned with other people’s personal lives.)

    I can’t express how happy I am for you, my gay friends around the country and the world, and people who have gay friends and family members. (I never thought any states would actually pass resolutions allowing gay marriage on their own–if you look at the history of civil rights gains in the US, it almost always comes from the Supreme Court on down.)

    I appreciate your candor, wisdom, and judgment, as I know all of your readers do. (I’ve read many other investing/finance websites and still find your analyses and insights way more interesting/useful than 99.9% of others’.) Please keep up the incredible work, and, as others have said: your readers will always support you!

    (Side note, if you ever read this: I submitted something through the contact form a year ago, never heard anything from you, so I’d love to reply with this stuff in a comment (yes I saved what I was going to send you) if you do indeed take a look.)

    • Thank you for those kind words. I appreciate them a lot.

      If it lessens the impact of the surprise, one of the reasons it might be easier than normal to project one’s own experience on my writing is revealed when you say you grew up, “in an educational paradigm where considering the author’s point of view, using critical reasoning, and understanding the hidden arguments being made were all paramount”, yet you “had NO idea about [me] and Aaron.” I’ve spent the past 10+ years working hard to destroy any ideological leanings in my own life, instead only asserting the rightness of ideas that can be backed up with impartial logic (and being open to discarding those ideas immediately if a better model comes alone). I can claim no credit for this philosophy, which I outright stole from Charles Munger, who himself, took it from others before him. A lot of people aren’t used to that because they live in a soundbite culture where lines are drawn and people engage in intellectual dishonesty all the time. You have to value being right, truthful, and accurate above your own self-interests. Or, as Munger puts it, be willing to “destroy your own, best-loved ideas”.

      For example, I think the banks in this country need much higher reserve requirements and that traditional banking activity should be the only permitted business operation with all other undertakings split off into independent firms operated on a partnership legal structure that requires the bankruptcy of the partners in the event of firm failure. I believe it because looking at the evidence, that tells me what would be best for civilization. Yet, personally, our biggest stock investment happens to be Wells Fargo & Company, acquired when it was much cheaper during the crash. What I’d like to see done for society is completely against my own best (financial) interests as it would mean many more years of lowered dividend payouts as equity cushions were rebuilt and parting with investment banking operations that bring in a lot of cash.

      Likewise, despite supporting marriage equality and the employment non-discrimination act, I find myself uncomfortable with so-called “hate crime” laws that make the motive of a crime based on some sort of factor, such as religion, race, or sexual orientation, disconcerting. If I’m walking in a bad part of town at night and get bashed over the head by a guy who wanted to rob me (good luck with that as I almost never carry any cash) vs. getting bashed over the head by a guy who saw me holding hands with Aaron, it seems absurd to me the second event was somehow a “worse” crime deserving of more jail time. The net consequences are the same. All that matters is I got bashed over the head and he should be sent away for years.

      If you had heard, or read, me or my writing in real life talking about putting restrictions on banks or my discomfort with hate crime legislation, it would be easy to cast a character sketch, filling in the details with 99% inaccurate information based on pattern matching. There’s a joke around here that it hasn’t been an ordinary week unless I’ve received a message calling me both a left-wing liberal and a right-wing nutcase. (The idea of fact-based, evidence-supported policies seems to be a foreign one to a lot of people, which is one of the reasons I love the little community this blog has built. Getting a lot of rationalists together is like a refuge from some of the craziness in the world.)

      As far as I can remember, there is only a single instance in the history of this blog where my personal family background won out over my (striving to always remain impartial, or at least recognizing my own biased) beliefs. Earlier this year, as a result of Burger King announcing it was donating a percentage of profits from Whoppers during Gay Pride Week, I penned a long, passionate essay that identity-based scholarships for college were inherently unfair and the only metric that should be considered is ability; that though I understood the reason for their existence (the percentage of kids thrown out of their house for being gay, and cut off from educational opportunities as their parents disowned them), the mere idea that anything other than raw talent alone should take a limited slot does not sit well with me. In my world, a C+ student who is gay should not get a spot in an engineering program over an A+ student who is straight just because he’s had a rough go of it in life. I get the counterarguments – the rough go itself might be demonstrative of the reason the lower grades exist in the first place – but the idea of identity points being used to actively discriminate against others with more intelligence, ability, or experience strikes me as inherently immoral.

      Aaron read it, concluded that my arguments were sound, and then countered with a half-hour, vibrant debate on why I shouldn’t press the publish button. He believed that, though correct in an abstract theoretical way, the real-world damage such an essay could cause for real teenagers who happened to have no other avenue available to them to attend college and find themselves in this position solely because of societal prejudice, was such that by writing it, I’d be doing more harm than good because there was no guarantee any scholarships removed from special promotions would be replaced by merit-based gifts. Some people might be willing to donate to a scholarship fund for golfers, or gay kids, or swimmers, or harp players, or children-of-union-employees and not at all to general funds based on ability alone. It was like a verbal fencing match, back and forth, as we both laid out argument and counterargument. He finally struck a fatal blow by saying something along the lines of, “Even if it results in a little injustice, shouldn’t we just let the gay kids have their scholarships? They’ve had so much taken away from them, can’t we just let this one thing go? Besides, nobody is forced to donate to these funds, people do it because they want to do it.” Despite not being fully convinced, I conceded because: 1.) The force of his passion on the subject was impressive. I love him more than anything, or anyone, else and it was important to him. and 2.) He appealed to my belief in the morality of free market exchanges (even if sub-optimal, I generally think people should have as close to unrestricted ability to spend their resources how they want in the name of freedom in a very Jeffersonian sense).

      I do wonder how my upbringing influenced me. Maybe if I had grown up with a $20 million trust fund, born in the suburbs of San Francisco, and come out at 12 or 13 when I knew for sure, I’d be a completely different person. Would I still be driven? Would I have any desire to help others with what I learned so they could take the short-cut over the years and years it took me to understand some of this stuff? I don’t know the answer. It’s interesting to contemplate how the same genetics would have resulted in a wildly different life outcome in different circumstances.

      That … was probably was probably way more than you wanted to know and I’ve gone on for far too long. DHL just showed up with almost 30 years of annual reports for a British company I’m researching today so I’m going to stop so I can go open the box like Christmas morning.

      P.S. I have three or four other contact form things I’m researching at the moment. I’ll add you to the list but if you want to expedite it, go ahead and resend the copy you saved so I don’t have to look for the original. I’ll move it onto the respond list so I can get to it the first chance I have.

      • Anonona

        Josh–definitely not too much. I always enjoy hearing your thoughts.

        But I would suggest that you can look at this “conundrum” in a different light (at least in regards to Wells Fargo). A set of rules does not exist so that one group of people can follow them and one group can be morally superior and ignore them. You are simply doing what you are allowed to do, even if you don’t agree you should be allowed to do this. (Like how Learned Hand said one is only required to pay the taxes one is supposed to owe–there’s nothing noble or good about paying more by not using the ideal tax structure.)

        There is a bright line, somewhere, but I’m not sure where. I think part of the American mindset is to push against the legal boundaries until you get feedback (push-back, really), which is partially why I think this country has been so innovative. How should we think of civil disobedience then if we acknowledge we only have to follow the rules?

        Enjoy the reports! I’ll resend the contact form I had sent you. Thanks for the reply, I still find it amazing that people can communicate with one another over the internet so easily and so quickly!

        • Nicholas Archer

          I second this vote – the longer the better!

  • Emme

    Wow! I have been lurking for some time, reading bits and pieces here and there and until now I believed you were a highly reasonable, perceptive and kind (in offering such a breadth of easily accessible financial knowledge) straight married man. Reading this has made so very joyful and all I want to say is I am one of your biggest fans. The things you have taught me are invaluable and to learn that you are of the same feather as I is very empowering.

    • Welcome to the light, former lurker! We have cookies and pie. Or at least we will if the community ever manages a real-world meet-up. Nice to (virtually) meet you, haha!

      • Nicholas Archer

        If there is ever a real-world meet up I’m there and I’m making mojitos!

  • SFrentier

    WRT the comment on the California trip about “bringing the miss”, that was me, albeit with my slightly more ironic pen name of poor.ass.millionaire

    Even then it was Aaron that responded and not Josh.

    I didn’t want to instigate the topic again, but seeing it now coming from Josh, I wrote my reply in the post linked above, and still stand by it. It’s really Josh’s decision what and how to pursue this subject as it’s obviously deeply personal.

  • Bela C

    Joshua — I’ve been a lurker for a long time, and have enjoyed you and your writing over the years. I’ve always sympathized with your situation and thought — this is the very picture of a good citizen and a good man. Great values around honesty and hard work, faithful and kind to the old and young in your family, faithful and kind to Aaron, and a person who refuses to hide his light under a bushel. What a silly thing that you’ve had to hide and be evasive! And believe me, I can understand — I grew up in Texas.

    But I guess even with my silly little sympathy, I, like a lot of folks, prefer to forget all of the pain that goes along with being gay and not accepted. Thanks for reminding me.

    When I was a kid growing up in Texas, an uncle of mine (who, like me, is a racial minority) would visit every year and urge me to move to San Francisco. He would always tell me that it was not perfect, but a huge improvement over Texas. I took his advice and moved to SF, and have had an easier time of it, I think. But as with you, there is a lot of pain, irritation, and injustice that I am faced with. I would much rather forget it. Over the years I have admired you for staying where your family is, and finding a way.

    Hats off to you, and I wish you and Aaron another 100 years of joy and happiness!!

  • Connelly Barnes

    Congratulations Joshua! I am glad that you and Aaron were able to marry. Thanks for sharing your experience. And especially for having the courage to do this on a widely-viewed forum where you can have a positive impact on the world. Also thanks for sharing all your investing knowledge — it has been quite helpful to me and many others.

    I used to hate ignorant people, whether they are demonizing science, LGBT, geeks, women, or other innocent group of people. I still do feel anger towards them, but also pity. Because I think the “beliefs” of the ignorant don’t arise out of a vacuum. But instead they arise out of the manipulations by powerful and cynical people who spread irrationality solely for the purposes of amassing more power and wealth.

  • Jordi

    Thank you Joshua
    for sharing your story. And congratulations on the good news! I found pretty
    shocking your description of how large parts of the American society treated
    gays in the 90s and early 2000s. I live in the Netherlands and homosexuality
    has been a non issue here for so long that I just kind of assumed the situation
    wasn’t so different in the rest of Western countries. The good news is that
    societies can evolve very quickly once the tipping point is reached. I’m sure
    than in 20-30 years from now people will look back and think the arguments used against gay marriage were complete nonsense.

    • I hope so. I don’t talk about it often, and I rarely even bring it up around my family because I’ve sort of put it in a box and placed it away in a private space where I rarely go. But it was … people have no idea. I remember less than seven years ago attending a baby Christening for my niece. It was a big church, in a nice town, with nice people who smiled and offered you coffee; who cared about how your day was and wanted to be involved in your life. And as they stood on stage with my family, the pastor had the congregation bow their head and pray over the children.

      This was not a fire and brimstone preacher. This was a perfectly nice man, with a perfectly nice family, who had rarely raised his voice in anger in his entire life. And one of the things he prayed – with no prompting, no warning, no explanation – was that there would not be a single gay or lesbian person among those kids; that they wouldn’t fall into the temptation of Satan and would be supernaturally protected from the “spirit” of homosexuality.

      I remember opening my eyes and looking around the room at the hundreds of people surrounding us; seeing the 12, 13 year olds with their families, some of whom by every reasonable statistical projection already knew they were gay. My heart broke for them because I knew exactly how they felt. I was an adult, financially independent. I had Aaron. They had to sit there and die a little on the inside, going home, strangers to their own families who were fighting against their own flesh and blood. It was devastating because nobody batted an eye. Afterward, I heard older people, including one of my own family members, talk about how “powerful” the prayer was and how the children were now protected. The hatred and bigotry is just accepted.

  • David


    Congratulations to you and Aaron!

    I am sad that your paths have had to travel through so much pain and denial and intolerance in order to arrive where you are now. But you have and Aaron have not only overcome, but thrived despite it all, which is such a credit to you both. All the best to you and your family.

  • C

    Congratulations. That you and Aaron were a couple I had figured that out. That you were married I didn’t think of it. Anyhow, marriage is not easy. Welcome to the club. All the best.

  • Jessica Manfredi

    Thank you for sharing Joshua. I am one of your female readers who rarely posts. But this time I wanted to say thank you for your vulnerability on this post. Sometimes you can seem superhuman. Now I can see that, like the rest of us, you gained your wisdom by experiencing the the pain and adversity of life and overcoming. I don’t understand how anyone could know the history of the love between you and Aaron and think it is anything but good. Congratulations and Love to you both!

    • Thank you =) I know it’s been a couple of months since you wrote this but I’m seeing it tonight and it means a lot.

  • skarn

    Thank you for sharing! And congratulations.

    I never doubted for a second that Aaron was your long-term male partner, nor ever thought there was anything odd about that. All the best to you both!

  • peterpatch79

    What a great story! As a long time blog reader I thought you might be gay and maybe Aaron was the person you referred to as your spouse. However I am the type of person that generally doesn’t believe anything until I have a lot of evidence so congratulations on finally getting a marriage to legally stick. It’s about damn time in this day and age IMHO. I am probably more like Aaron then you, guessing he’s an introvert, in that I prefer to have very strict controls over what the public can see of my personal life. If people started showing up in my driveway and staring at my wife and I then I would probably go full thermo-nuclear and take the site down. So thanks to both of you for keeping the Kimono open a little despite the odd psycho moments.

  • Guest

    Hey Joshua! Kinda obvious if you read the blog.
    I wouldn’t change anything about you guys!
    It’s my 30 birthday today and spending it working to
    build my defenses. That way on my 40th I can spend it
    on my terms. Not gay btw but have a handful of gay friends
    who were shocked and very touched that I invited them
    to my wedding. I guess they thought that I might be
    embarrassed. They should know that anyone who doesn’t
    like my friends can go fuck themselves.
    Had drama at my wedding to where people didn’t show up.
    Just the nature of the beast I think. Sorry for swearing.
    I get worked up over stupidity and ignorance.
    Think everyone had the mushroom haircut.

  • Nicholas Archer

    Hey Joshua! Kinda obvious if you read the blog.
    I wouldn’t change anything about you guys!
    It’s my 30th birthday today and I am spending it working
    to build my personal defenses. That way, on my 40th birthday
    I can spend that time on my terms – something I learned from you.
    I am straight, but have a handful of gay friends.
    More than 10% of my total friends, so I always wondered why the slight
    high proportion of gay friends. That’s a tangent…
    Most of these gay friends were shocked and very touched that I would
    invite them to my wedding. I guess they thought that I might be embarassed.
    I am lucky to have a very open family and honestly, if you don’t know
    that gay isn’t a choice, and has nothing to do with religion but is hard-wired
    in by now. That’s kind of hard to believe – like not knowing smoking cigarettes
    is linked to cancer. Everyone has drama at their weddings, I had people not show
    up and not because I invited gay friends.
    I think we all had that haircut. Please feel free to delete that picture.
    PS: Most importantly, Please never jeopardize your safety for this site.
    This is actually my favorite website. This is where I go when I need guidance and
    clear thinking. I treat this site like others treat their bibles. This is where I turn
    when I’m lost. But, I’m not into self-sacrifice. And, even though it would be a
    great personal loss if you were to shut down all this. I would rather have that
    knowing you are still out there quietly farming your businesses, collecting
    dividends, and breathing.
    I also hope you embrace the second amendment and modern technology
    to help enhance your security, because unfortunately sometimes you need force to
    protect your loved ones.
    Take Care my Friend.
    You have always been honest and loyal.

    • Happy belated Birthday!!! (And thank you for the other thoughts as well!)

  • James

    Hi Joshua, I have been a frequent reader of your blog for a year or so and I normally do not post in the comments section on the internet but in your case I have mad an exception to Thank you for sharing your personal life with us. I never guessed that you’ll were married I thought you were brothers. anyway it doesn’t matter, what matters is that you are a good human being helping to make others lives better financially through this blog. I wish to say Thank you for the effort you take to put your thoughts online. I have learned a lot.

    • I’m honored to be the exception! Thank you for the kind words (truly, I mean it).

  • JJosselyn

    I love this story! Best of luck to you both.

  • Erin D Lindsey

    De-lurking to offer belated congratulations! You both have awesome courage for succeeding and sticking it out.

  • SJ
  • Ed

    Joshua: I have been reading your blog for years now. Not only is it filled with sound, thoughtful investing advice; not only is it given from the heart and a sharp mind; but its author is a very cool person and has made so much for himself and his family at such a young age. Inspiration to all those out there. Keep it up and congratulations.

    • Aunt Donna

      Thanks for your kind words Ed!! My Joshie has always been a very cool person and so is my Aaron! (Aaron is my Hollywood man! Such a cool guy too)
      Two very smart people that I love very much!! Proud Aunt Donna P.S. Joshie you can delete this if you want…lol

    • Thank you, Ed. (I have to say – of the thousands and thousands of comments in the history of the blog, you are one of the few who was blessed to receive a response from the Aunt Donna – the one for whom this entire site started, so she could keep up with our life; who helped me learn about stocks as a kid, encouraging me when I took an interest in it! I get so excited when she de-lurks that when I spotted she had written back to you, breaking her usual silence, I felt like I had won a little lottery!)

  • Lily

    A belated congrats from Canada.

  • And now, another round of congratulations for the Obergefell v. Hodges decision!

  • Sceptic

    Joshua: I have been reading your blog for some time and have been an admirer like many others on this site. Being quite a bit older (but not much wiser) than you, I read your blog with tears in my eyes. That is a wonderful blog post above and you should leave it there because it puts the recent Supreme Court decision in perspective and makes us all examine our conscience about how we look at other human beings. Much more than you investing advice, I learned how you are a fellow human being worthy of friendship if ever there was one! Although belated, please accept my heartfelt congratulations.

  • Stephen H

    That was very powerful. Thank you for sharing. Also, having a Nike shirt meant cool in the 90’s, I know, I didn’t have any (sad face). Also that hair, oh lord, why did you have to bring those memories back. Some people rock a similar look tho..

  • Pedantique Wretch

    Completely new to the party here – found you looking for a Cinnabon recipe! You mentioned that Aaron and your mum came up with it, so I was curious to know if Aaron was your brother or husband/partner. Thanks so much for sharing – very moving post, particularly the ‘bargain’ part 😉 – kind of you to let us readers in a little! So much more than a cake recipe! X

  • Michael

    I love you guys. Congratulations. I chanced upon one of your investment articles. I got hooked as it made a lot of sense and fits my personality perfectly. I read a lot more of your articles (practically all of them on The Balance). I’m grateful that you made the calculations simple and used examples. A lot of junk articles I found on the net just touched on the surface. No substance, until I read yours, and nowadays I can discern quickly the gems from the junk on the internet. In one you mentioned your husband and I thought you were a female. And I had an impression that you were like an older female teacher kind of character after reading about your wisdom in investing. I was also thinking it was weird that your articles were authored by a Joshua and it mentioned husband. I thought maybe it was the wife using the husband’s name. I now realized that you are only in your 30’s and gay. Ha ha. What a surprise! Me too 🙂 I wish I had personally knew you guys from as way back as possible. Well, anyone can wish. XO Michael from Melbourne.

  • Stephanie Barnett Harris

    A total newby to you and your blog. This is the second posting I’ve read (to try to learn more about your background) and I’m crying. I’m from, and still living in, south KC.
    I’m older than you but saw many of my classmates and others go through the same struggles as you describe here, to have thankfully come to a better place in our society where acceptance of anyone different than ourselves is becoming more commonplace. Thank you for sharing and for going through the struggle and staying strong to yourself, and with Aaron – those struggles do really help those who have followed behind you.