Approximately six times a week some PR person pitches me a guest post opportunity with some so-called expert who can share their pearls of wisdom with you folks here.
I wish I was exaggerating this for comedic effect, but I’m not. Just imagine how many pitches non-terrible bloggers get.
Most of these are hot garbage, of course. Instead of building up a following from the ground up (which is hard, dammit), they seek to speed up the process by hiring a public relations firm. This firm then does the dirty work of promoting, and hopefully the author makes a few extra bucks after paying for their services.
(Interesting aside fact: many of these authors don’t even care about making any money. They just want to add “best-selling author” to their resumes, a fact they’ll proudly display even after the book only sells 14 copies.)
I’ve never said yes to any of these pitches because none of them ever sound very interesting. I’d love to get new and unique voices here on the FU machine. Those people are not showing up in my inbox represented by a PR firm.
Instead I get stuff like this, which will now be presented for mocking purposes. Take it away, PR firm.
Seriously, this is the stuff I get
Today’s topic is from something called MILLENNIAL MONEY MAKEOVER, a book about paying off debt and whatnot. The author, some guy, (he’s had enough free promotion) has a seven step method to paying down debt.
Seven steps? Shouldn’t it just be one step? Step 1: pay off your debt. Easy.
Uh, no. Let’s go through each step to bask in the magnificence of this pitch.
Step 1. Acknowledge your credit card debt
I know people live in denial, but this is silly. You “acknowledge” credit card debt exists every time you open up your statement and pay that ol’ minimum balance. Is it really a step if it takes less than a second?
Step 2. List your credit card debts in ascending order
Oh no. Guys. Is he going to recommend the debt snowball method?
Once you have all of your credit cards laid out in the correct order, the credit card with the smallest balance on your list is what you are going to attack and eliminate first. Write down the balance and post it in a prominent place. Look at it repeatedly. That number is your first target.
OH GODDAMMIT NO. NO. WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN.
Balances mean nothing. Tackle the highest interest rates first. Say you owe the following and can dedicate $10,000 in payments:
- Car loan (0.9%): $5,000
- Student loan (3.9%): $7,500
- Credit card (18.9%): $10,000
By tackling the credit card last you’re paying like $2,500 in extra interest versus paying it off first.
I understand psychology is important when paying off debt but you know what’s importanter? Math.
Using words that actually exist isn’t that important either.
Step 3. Create a flash budget
The fuck is this? A flash budget? Sounds flashy.
[S]tart building what I like to call a flash budget. Begin by analyzing your monthly income and expenses, and list out all sources of income. Once that is complete, create another list for your expenses, both fixed and variable. Subtract your expenses from income, and the difference is your margin to attack credit card debt.
Oh, so a flash budget is just a regular budget? Nice. Glad we cleared that up.
Step 4. Snowball your success
Now he’s just rubbing it in my face, repeating his wrong advice from step 2. I haven’t even met this guy and I already hate him.
By paying off your smallest balances first, you create momentum. This leads to higher confidence to tackle the larger balances in your debt portfolio. Conventional wisdom will tell you otherwise.
Conventional wisdom will tell you otherwise because it’s right.
But as you know, personal finance is about much more than numbers. Although this approach makes the most economic sense, paying off debt quickly doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
You know what bugs me the most about this advice? It assumes everyone who’s in debt is a complete moron who has to use psychological tricks to make sure they pay it off. Smart, educated people get in debt. They aren’t dumb. Give them a little credit.
Step 5. Pay with cash
AKA don’t pile on more debt. Good.
Step 6. Celebrate your wins
The jist of this step it to reward yourself with “going to the movies, out for dinner, or to a concert” each time you pay off one of your debts. Where exactly does this end, anyway? Are you going to reward yourself with a new pair of shoes when you pay back the $20 you owe your buddy? Take yourself out for dinner when you finally take care of that parking ticket?
Step 7. Share your success
Ah debt, the thing we accumulate in private and then brag about repaying. The only thing worse than listening to your friend who’s all about debt repayment is listening to your friend who’s all about keto now. DO YOU KNOW WHAT CARBS ARE DOING TO YOUR BODY? Shut up dude, nachos are delicious.
So to review, our seven-step process for paying off debt has, what, one step dedicated to paying off debt. And even then, that step discounts the correct way of doing it. What a great list. I’m glad I received it.
The best part
So I went and looked up the book behind all this on Amazon and I swear to God this happened.
What a perfect way to end this crappy article.