When you blog regularly, it’s common to ask readers for advice for everything from financial to purchases to travel decisions. Is crowdsourcing the term? I’m too lazy to look it up.
The reason I’m asking is that I am tempted to ask for advice from time to time. I hesitate only because I wonder if I or anyone ever follows advice from their readers. Oftentimes it seems like the person receives a lot of good advice but makes the opposite decision, or actually has their mind made up anyway. I believe there’s science behind this, too, called “confirmation bias” (scholars, correct me if I’m wrong!). From my understanding, this means in general people simply pay more attention to views that confirm their own beliefs. Example: If you think all Asians are good at math, you will notice if an Asian person wins a Nobel prize for mathematics. If you have an Asian friend who is bad at math, you’ll assume that’s an exception to the rule. I’m sure there are many more and better examples of this in the political arena, of which I stay far away from!
I still remember a debt-blogger who asked readers if she and her husband should join her family on a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip to Europe. They did not have ailing relatives. Everyone else in her family was financially stable but did not have enough to subsidize her tickets/travel expenses. They would probably have to spend on higher-end hotels than if they had gone on their own. I would say that the answers were sort of split. Many people said “go for it” which in my mind is very easy to do when it’s not your money! A lot of people also advised her not to do it until you’re out of debt. I felt that those who were against it made better arguments. After all she had racked up debt due to lifestyle choices, not education loans or medical debt. To me, they had spent to enjoy their early 20s and should pay for it before going into debt for another fun adventure. This is tough for me to say because I love traveling and I also believe travel is worth the money; however, paying off a trip for years didn’t make sense even to me. Of course you could say that she followed the advice since most people said to “go”; however it was pretty clear that she had made up her mind before even asking the question.
As for me, my question would have been about whether moving to another rental house that is out of our real budget range but closer to my work is worth the trade-off (the classic time vs. money). I haven’t written about the move yet because I’m tired and a bit embarrassed by my/our bad financial decision-making skills. If I had asked, I’m sure I would have gotten good advice and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have listened either. Maybe someone would have suggested a compromise that would save time and also reduce the hit on our budget. However, we made the decision based on “wants”. We wanted to save time, but also wanted a larger house with a yard. We didn’t want to share walls. In other words, I didn’t think that the best arguments in the world probably would have swayed me. Of course two years down the line I might regret this move! Once I’m recovered from moving, I may write more about it.
Have you ever asked readers for advice and actually read a comment or comments that truly affected your final decision? I’m especially interested if you changed your mind on BIG decisions, like a job choice, moving, finance etc…