Hey, welcome fellow finance nerd. Obviously you take more than a passing interest in your finances, since you show up here (hopefully on a regular basis) to read about some financially related topic. As you all already know, around here I like to focus on the increasing revenue side of the equation, rather than the reducing expenses side. This is because: a) it’s way more fun and b) increasing income is essentially limitless, while decreasing expenses has a limit. But I’ve spent enough time on that, so let’s move on.
There are literally thousands of PF blogs out there. For the purpose of our discussion, I’m going to divide them into two categories. The first, which includes this blog, are written by people who have their financial house in order, and are trying to pass their wisdom onto others who might not be as financially advanced, but who are heading in the right direction. Most of the blogs I read are written by people in the same financial boat. JT McGee clearly knows his way around a balance. sheet. Andrew Hallam became a millionaire on a teacher’s salary. And I’m pretty sure the folks from Control Your Cash have their swimming pool filled up with gold coins, like Scrooge McDuck. No word on whether they skinny dip in it.
Meanwhile, we have the other group of financial blogs. They are written by people who have somewhat limited financial knowledge. They struggle with budgeting and debt repayment. Usually, these people have dug themselves into some sort of financial hole, saw the light, and are now on their way towards becoming debt free. Sometimes, like Fabulously Broke, they pay off their debt and graduate to some more advanced financial thinking. She’s on her way to becoming quite wealthy. Too bad she’s quite not single.
I don’t want to rag on anybody who’s just starting on their financial journey. Everybody has to start somewhere. I was lucky enough to have someone explain to me the wonders of compound interest when I was young enough to really take advantage about it. I was always good at saving money, so I never started out in any sort of financial hole. I was smart enough to start investing almost immediately after I turned 18. I’ve never known any sort of financial hardship. Money has always sort of been my thing.
Meanwhile, others struggle at it. We all can’t be good at everything. So while I was saving and investing, other people were going on shopping sprees and holidays, all funded by credit. They were taking out student loans or whatever. And, as we all know, eventually it all will catch up to you. At some point, you’ll reach rock bottom, and the debt will become a burden you just can’t control anymore.
So they start a personal finance blog.
And hey, that’s great. I can see the thought process behind it. These days, people take to Google to search for the solution of all their problems, from strange rashes to weird porn fetishes. So they Google ‘debt repayment’ and are taken to someone’s blog, which chronicles their journey out of debt. Emboldened by others’ success, they start their own blog, to keep themselves accountable on their path to a positive net worth.
And then, one of two things happen. Either they make significant progress, or they don’t. And, at least from this observer’s viewpoint, more and more aren’t really accomplishing much. These bloggers will have a good month or two, and then something will happen. Sometimes, this is a legitimate emergency. Other times, it’s just consumerism rearing its ugly head. The blogger needs a new laptop, since the one they have is getting slow. They’re serious about fitness now, so they shell out $100 a week on a gym membership and a personal trainer. And, of course, they can never buy the cheapest thing on the market, since it’s always crap. (Financial Uproar: proudly typed on the cheapest laptop I could find back in 2009)
Considering these people think about their finances often enough to HAVE A BLOG ABOUT THE SUBJECT, why doesn’t everybody with a finance blog do well financially? For every blogger that increases their net worth each and every month, we have another who just can’t climb out of debt. At the risk of sounding somewhat condescending, (editor’s note: too late) personal finance isn’t that complicated. Spend less than you make. If you can’t do it, either find a way to earn more or spend less.
We’re generally drawn to people who we consider our peers. This is why I usually don’t read blogs written by people drowning in debt. People who are in the same boat tend to read each other’s stuff. So when their peer makes a financial mistake, they aren’t very hard on them. After all, they’re struggling with many of the same types of issues.
The problem with grouping all types of blogs together is there’s always exceptions to the rule. For every PF blogger who makes consistent financial mistakes, there’s one that is making significant debt progress. For every blogger who struggles to make ends meet, but refuses to go out and earn extra income, there’s somebody else hustling their ass off. So please, if you’re a reader who struggles with the basics, don’t take this personally.
Instead, ask yourself if you’re really taking the steps you need to improve your finances. Are you maximizing your earnings? Are you working as much as you can? Are you minimizing your spending, or are you buying all sorts of unnecessary crap? Are you serious about becoming wealthy? Or are you not willing to put in the work needed to get there?
If the answer to any (or all) of those questions is no then please don’t whine about your financial state. Wealth is everywhere. You just have to put in the work to get it. Life has a way of rewarding the people who put in the most work.