Your kick ass guide to the personal finance blogosphere
You're a dude or dudette, and you just stumbled onto a blog that talks about money. But, not just "money" - personal money. The person who runs the blog probably wants to retire early, or at least achieve financial independence, and he or she is writing about their progress. Boom, it's that simple.
It's like a public diary, but without all the embarrassing details that might hide within a private, notebook-bound collection of words that generally make up the real truth behind someone's life.
Blogging about personal finance does not mean that we're experts at money. I'm sure as hell not. We aren't financial analysts. We don't spend our days pouring over stock market picks and re-aligning our finances. Many of us, like me, are not even good at math.
We aren't robots.
Who are we?
Instead, we're regular freaking people, doing regular freaking things. The only difference is we blog about it. Some of us are teachers. Others, like me, work in information technology somewhere in corporate America. We're doctors. We're business analysts. Accountants. Secretaries. Mechanics. We're relatively normal, everyday people. And, we want something better out of life.
We put ourselves out there. Some of us divulge our net worth to the world. Others would rather not show our faces, much less our numbers. It's okay, we are all different. There are no rules to blogging about personal finance. Each of us has a unique style.
Some of us even make some cash off of our blog (Personal Capital, anyone?). But largely, we're here to contribute something meaningful to the discussion of money.
If you're reading this blog and wondering why anyone would blog about a subject as boring as personal finance, read on. The reason is pretty darn kick ass.
Your kick ass guide to the personal finance blogosphere
The money shot: The personal finance blogosphere is far more practical, influential and applicable to everyday life than a well-read magazine could ever be.
It doesn't matter what the "experts" say. As most of us learned in college, the world does not operate by the book. Reality observes no rules. In fact, reality is different for each and every one of us. One-size-fits-all advice has no place in a society with as many variables and unknowns as we have today.
See, here's the thing. If you only get your advice from so-called "financial experts", or read a few personal finance blogs, then you're probably only getting a narrow-ish perspective of money. As insightful as that perspective may be, we are all different. Different techniques work for different people. What works for me might not work so well for you.
The more you read, the better your chances of stumbling onto something that could completely change your life.
Collectively, I like to think of us personal finance bloggers as a community. We each bring something pretty bloody unique to the table. Our writing styles are different. Some of us curse (shit!), like me. Others use the queen's English. Some of us write primarily about our own experiences while others write [Insert number here] ways to [insert action here]-type articles.
You will find that my blog tends to be more personal in nature.
We are a community
The point is when we treat our blogosphere like a community, we begin to recognize how many different ways there are to conduct our lives. If we allow ourselves to keep an open mind, eventually conventional wisdom no longer pulls quite as hard on us. We consider alternatives that we may never have entertained before.
We begin to realize that we may have been full of shit in a previous life. It's okay to talk about those things because it helps us to move past those mistakes.
I don't want to make this out to be one big virtual self-help group. It's not. It's also not a lecture. But, the more blogs that we read, the more well-rounded our understanding becomes about personal finance.
After all, the typical blogger puts a TON of time into building and maintaining a blog - both within the personal finance realm as well as outside of it. It's a lot of work, but we enjoy it. That's what makes this community as strong, supportive and influential as it is.
We are a convention center
Think of it like a convention center. Each of us has a booth and we're talking about how WE took control of OUR lives. We talk financial independence. Career changes. Budgets. Some of us may have already retired and we're talking about how we made it happen.
Walk around. Listen to what worked for other people, then consider those same (or similar) principles and how they might positively affect your life. Come for the chat, but stay for the cookies.
Whatever you do, don't consider this a lecture, because it's not. It's more of a conversation; a trading of ideas. What works for one person may not work for you, but give it enough consideration to make the best possible decision for your life.
We are all very different
Our differences are what make us so strong (awww.). If we all preached the same stuff, this community would not be nearly as entertaining. Yes, we do preach the basics: Save hard, quit buying crap and figure out what "enough" means to you. We all have that in common. Basic shit.
But the basics represent such a small fraction of what truly make us tick. For example, my wife and I are proud DINKs, and we don't see the kids part of that equation ever changing. Others have a house full of kids and still manage to set financial goals and achieve them.
We all have different backgrounds, too, and that's great. The more different we are, the more interesting our blogs become. Use these differences to your advantage.
Some blogs to visit
There are a ton of awesome personal finance blogs out there. I know that I'm going to leave some out and I'm sorry for that. But, here are a few blogs that you may want to check out.
ThinkSaveRetire.com - Okay, you're already here. I'm unprofessional to the max, and proud of it. I cuss. I use passive voice. I also understand that my Friday Feast articles hurt my SEO because I link to too many other blogs. I don't care; what you see is what you get. I'm an open book to the extreme. I'm not here for the most popular blog or for recognition. I am here to contribute my perspective on personal finance and spread the love, far and wide.
OurNextLife.com - This is a must-read blog for the "softer" side of financial independence and early retirement. They tackle the psychology behind this business of retiring early. Both Mr. and Mrs. Our Next Life are smarter than I'll ever be, and it's great having them as a part of our community.
GoCurryCracker.com - I love curry almost as much as I love this dude's blog. This guy retired super early in life and makes his stash of cash last by living cheaply around the world. He talks numbers on his blog. He knows the tax system better than I ever will. If you're looking for analytical beauty, eat some curry tonight.
TheResumeGap.com - These guys are vanners, baby. We may live in a 200 sqft Airstream, but Matt and Daniel upped the ante and crash most nights in their van as they cruise around the country. I love their style, their guts and willingness to accept risks. These guys belong on that 90's Old Spice commercial talking about confidence.
RockstarFinance.com - This is basically your Drudge Report of personal finance (minus the "the sky is falling!" crap, that is). Make this blog a part of your daily cruise through the community for the latest personal finance content. You will be glad that you did.