I haven’t talked about this since basically the beginning of this blog, but I really have a problem with people who blog about money making poor financial decisions. I realize personal finance is personal and that everyone makes bad financial decisions. I also realize that people can’t be perfect with their money. I just think that if you blog about money and personal finance, you should be held to a higher standard. You should be expected to make good decisions when it comes to money.
Enter the latest post from Living Almost Large, titled The Reality of It All. I’ll let you click through to read the whole thing, but basically the author has a problem with me. I made a comment (that was rather snarky) that buying a new car was a terrible investment and that the author deserved to be kicked out of the personal finance community for buying it. While that was perhaps a little harsh, I stand behind my criticism of her decision. I could write another 400 words on reasons why, but you people are smart enough to get my point, so I won’t bother.
I enjoyed the comments on the entry in question. They all were shocked that I had the audacity to criticize a fellow blogger. Have you guys noticed how upset bloggers get when someone actually disagrees with what they have to say? It absolutely blows my mind how upset people get when they get criticized anonymously over the internet. It seems like every blog I read has 20 comments that agree with the author and none that don’t. That’s bad!
The whole point of blogging is to engage in conversation. You throw something out there, and see what others have to say about it. Most of the time people agree, since for the most part finance is a black and white topic. Sometimes, you either make a mistake or you don’t think something through and get things wrong. If you think blogging is all about the conversation, then it’s par for the course that you get something wrong. That’s okay, as long as it’s admitted and something is learned from the whole exercise.
If you’re like me and think that blogging is more like journalism, that a blogger who presents themselves as knowledgeable about something has a responsibility to get their facts straight, then it saddens you to see somebody make a foolish financial decision. Bloggers have fought hard to be taken seriously and people like that cheapen the whole medium. It’s clear that I take blogging much more seriously than my new friend.
I hold personal finance blogs to a higher standard, and so should you. If someone is giving you advice about something (and yes, writing about something “interesting” is giving advice, albeit indirectly) then they have a responsibility to get their facts right about that very topic. These aren’t complicated things like pair trades, or currency hedging, or anything like that, it’s financing a freakin’ liability. Financing a liability is a very bad move. Please don’t try to justify it.
To be fair, the blogger I criticized has made some good financial decisions. She deserves a pat on the back for those. I just hope next time they look at a nice used car and pay cash for it.