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Not All Personal Financial Blogs Are A Good Fit For You

The Good Personal Finance Advice

Before blogging I was an avid personal finance blog reader, with my favorite blog being a site called “Frugal Dad”.

Why did I gravitate to the site “Frugal Dad”?

Because it was a great site and described things that pertained to me.  When I started reading “Frugal Dad”, I was past the college phase, and I was debt free except for my house, but even then after a few years, I was mortgage free too (even before Frugal Dad was).  Frugal Dad talked about things that I was experiencing and I felt like he was more like someone journeying to the same location as I was.

But one critical thing was different with “Frugal Dad” than most other blog sites at the time…  And that difference was that he provided great financial advice advocating frugality even before it was fashionable or really even acceptable.  After getting hooked, I went into his archives and discovered that practically all of this writings about financial material more or less mirrored what I believed and practiced.  Jason (the frugal dad blogger) was a perfect financial kindred spirit to me.  The site was a perfect fit for me (too bad I was too shy at the time to comment on his articles).

The Bad Personal Finance Advice

Since the time when I started reading financial blogs the niche has become crowded with advice that isn’t what I consider good, or at least not a good fit for the majority of us.  While I realize that sometimes blog articles are written for shock value, to blatantly state incorrect or even nonsensical saddens me to a degree and I think such articles could damage the financial well-being of their readers.

Here are a few bad examples of the pf concepts that I believe aren’t really that great to follow, out in the personal finance blogosphere in the recent past.

  • Go into massive debt and buy real estate.  There is one blogger that advocated this approach, and while it did work for him at that time, such an approach is reckless and location dependent.  If I were to follow his advice, I would have lost a lot of money in the “Great Recession“.  So the concept is poor advice because it only is beneficial for a select few that have access to a great location and a lot of good luck to boot.
  • Default on your credit cards because that what the credit card companies really want to you do.  I think this statement was really a tongue in cheek sentence, but I’m still not sure to this day.  As a person that comes from a family background where owning businesses is common, the statement is incorrect.  Nobody like to lose money, that’s why rich people get upset sometimes about small money amounts such as $10.  This one still give me a good chuckle to this day.
  • Buy old and used because it’s the more financial savvy move.  To an extent this is true if the item is question is quality to begin with.  If not, it could be a money pit, and perhaps not even safe to use.  Why I don’t like buying brand new, I like to find the sweet spot for such purchases.  To me, I want to maximize the value to me, not buy the cheapest option.

Okay, I think you get my point.

While initially, I read a blogger that was in the same car as I was, I think it might have been wiser for me to read more of a site that would be the “next phase” for me in my personal finance journey.  After I outgrew the Frugal Dad blog, I went on to read the “Free Money Finance” blog.  This blogger at FMF was similar to me, but a few pages ahead of me in my personal finance journey, and a good target for me to shoot for with my personal finance goals.

So in conclusion, I’d recommend reading sites that provide a lot of value and that give great advice.  The FMF blogger seems to be successful in his real life, and blogs about his finances to share so others can follow such a path.  I have to admit, I don’t read that FMF as much either, but it’s still a great site with a lot of great advice.



9 Responses to Not All Personal Financial Blogs Are A Good Fit For You

  1. This article highlights something I didn’t realize until I started blogging. There are 10 different subgenres of personal finance blogs. When I first started blogging, I thought I was a personal finance blogger.

    Then I realized I have nothing in common with debt bloggers (I have a big fat investment portfolio and only “smart” debt that is a small percentage of my net worth).

    I have no problem saving money and being frugal. That rules out some entry level “don’t buy tons of latte’s at starbucks; it’s expensive!” type of blogs. Duh, right?

    Some of the well written general PF blogs are great reads, but they have to keep the interesting content flowing.

    I tend to spend most of my time reading other “financial independence” or “early retirement” oriented blogs. I mean, I did it, I retired at 33. But I can always learn more and share what I know. Blogs upon which I currently have a man crush include: Johnny Moneyseed, Go Curry Cracker, Retireby40, Mad FIentist, and Pretired. The kinds of places where you can say “I save half my income and I’m going to retire in my 30’s” and no one looks at you like you’re crazy.

  2. Great points. It is sad that instead of providing quality content a blogger would go for shock value without any regard for the people reading their “advice.”

    I think some of these bloggers might run into some legal troubles when their advice causes real harm to someone’s financial well being. I can imagine someone ruining their financial lives with that real estate advice you mentioned.

  3. Definitely agree that there are just so many blogs out there right now related to personal finance. You can find just about anything and any view point. It could be considered problematic, or beneficial depending on the spin. It’s beneficial to have competing independent informational resources, it’s problematic because half of the readers on the net don’t understand the difference between good financial advice and poor financial advice.

  4. I understand where you are coming from but reading the like-minded blogs can only help you to a point. You need to read some of the controversial ones as well. You have already said yourself that you have a set of mind and understand how things work. You can judge for yourself. Different viewpoints may perhaps open up your perspective.

    For example, I have never bought a brand new car in my life. And I have a friend who has some sort of a lease agreement and he keeps getting new car every 2 – 3 years and always pay for lease. I don’t agree with him but I understand why he is doing it. We are two different people and look at things differently. I see the advantages of what he is doing but still prefer my own way.