Beyond Finance Blogs

It’s no secret that I enjoy reading personal finance blogs. I often pick up new tips and sometimes participate in discussions.  However, I can’t shake the feeling that the same circle of people are participating in the same discussions over and over, i.e. preaching to the converted.

Finance blogs come in all shapes and forms. Some focus on frugality while others are all about maximazing investments.  Some bloggers are starting out while others are close to retirement.  They can be getting out of debt or well into the investing stage.  Despite these differences, one thing is certain: Anyone writing or commenting on these blogs is interested in money to some degree.

The challenge to me is to expand beyond this circle of finance-minded people.   Can we find ways to share money-related tips to those who are not yet or will never be interested in finance?  How can you share without getting too intrusive?  Here are some of the ways I’ve done it so far, as broken down by type and situation:

1 ) Artist friend with little interest in money / Job negotiations

On this rare occasion, the artist friend actually asked for advice. She ran through her planned counter-offer and asked for feedback. While her intent was good, her argument rang of entitlement, focusing on better benefits given by her previous employer.  I advised to emphasize her skills and experience, i.e.what she brought to the table merits a higher starting salary.  I also told her to research comparative salaries to back up her argument. In this case, my help was minimal. She had planned to counter and we’ll never know if my tactic made her successful or if her new employer would have agreed to the request regardless of approach.

2 ) Friend with mid-level interest in savings and investing / ING

A few years ago, a friend casually mentioned saving for a car. At the time, ING had very good interest rates and it was easy for me to recommend them, referral fee or not. She signed up shortly and is still saving toward her goal.  Since that time, we’ve talked money on occasion and I’m happy to encourage her to keep saving toward bigger goals.

3 ) Clueless Friend who makes bad decision after bad decision / Discount medications

Even with those who are financially clueless, it’s nice to offer help when possible.  Recently this friend was lamenting about the cost of prescription medication.  Like most of us, he had filled his prescriptions at the nearest pharmacy without doing any price comparisons. I knew that he would need to refill several meds over the next few months or longer, so I told him about Walmart’s low-cost drug program.  After a quick search on their website, he realized that he could save approximately $15 per month on just one medication.

PF bloggers often complain about the irresponsibility of people around them.  It is frustrating if you care a lot about money while others seem to fiddle away their fortunes.  However, nothing stops you from helping others, even a little, to save or invest more.  Have you paid it forward lately by sharing your knowledge?

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10 responses to “Beyond Finance Blogs

  1. Interesting idea. I feel like I have some strong areas in personal finance (savings) and some weak areas (investing!). So I have reason to read PF blogs for my own learning. And I definitely don’t get a lot out of blogs that are for ‘experts’ in the area. The learning curb is just too steep.

    As for the frugal side of things, you’re right. We’re probably preaching to the choir. I like the way you’ve applied your financial literacy to real life problems to help actual people. I’ve done so with clutter (because people have asked me) but it is kind of hard to help people with finances. . .it’s a sticky subject and I don’t want to offend. . .

  2. Me thinks preaching to the converted, at least over the internet, is par for the course. Folks tend to flock to what they’re interested in. However, I have found that discussing a broader range of topics (one of my most common hits comes from people googling “broke and depressed”) brings in folks who aren’t so frugally-minded. People constantly tell me “I’m not so frugal” as if it’s an apology.

    ANYHOO, the best tool I’ve found in reaching out to people who are a bit lost/ill-informed is the book “Your Money or Your Life.” I was able to get 50 copies of an older edition by reaching out to the authors when I was doing a blog give away. Knowing that I planned on giving copies to readers, to women at homeless shelters, to family and random folks via facebook seemed like a good cause to them. And, it’s not like I’m doing the one preaching. I’m just giving away a nice gift. I have given that book to at least 10 people prior to getting the huge box. It’s such an easy way to reach out with comprehensive info.

    God, I sound like an infomercial!

  3. I know what you mean- sometimes I feel like there are so many people out there blogging that everything gets chewed up and spit out, so to speak. Everyone takes a turn.

    I am not too interested in investing, so I try to talk about green/natural living, and living a frugal life.

  4. I charge money to give financial advice but I will always share my knowledge with friends or acquaintances who ask for it. The problem I find is and – I hate to sound judgmental and this is going to sound like it, argh! – is that some people simply don’t listen or don’t want to hear what your saying: won’t stop shopping, don’t save or don’t do any bookkeeping all year despite your best efforts to encourage them.
    I made this comment on another blog and it was blocked, but it’s so true. Successful personal finance takes work. How to advise people in the way that encourages them to successfully overcome their hurdles?

  5. Oh, and one more thing: not a lot of bloggers like alternative viewpoints in their comments section. (Republicans don’t like it when democrats rant on their blog… )
    http://wakeuptofrugality.blogspot.com/2009/09/dear-southern-republican-housewife-who_19.html
    I just want to say, however, that I welcome it. Even angry ones… which is why I don’t moderate my comments.

  6. Pingback: Carnival of Money Stories #47 – Final Four Edition | Suburban Dollar

  7. I don’t talk to people about money unless they start the topic themselves. However, last Christmas I gave several of my cousins books on personal finance. I hope they read it as they do give very good advice!

  8. I don’t like to bring up PF in polite conversation. People tend to feel like you’re judging them or preaching to them or being holier than thou. As much as I love the topic, I don’t tend to talk about it.

  9. Late to the party, but they say that this is one of the most waste parts of the potential of the internet. We should be getting exposed to other views & opinions, but we wind up reading what we want to hear. t’s sort of like a breeding ground for fanaticsm.

  10. I definitely agree – I shy away from strictly PF blogs as it seems like ground that has already been covered too many times. And sometimes when I write posts on money, I’m aware that I’m not really doing anything original.

    I talk to friends a lot about what things cost and how to get good deals (ie where the best discount sites are, and where a sale is on) but don’t tend to talk nitty gritty. The most indepth I’ve got is lamenting living on one income with one of my best GFs.

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