It seems these days, so-called “early retirement” blogs are a dime a dozen. So many blogs out there, so little time to digest them all. But quite honestly, some aren’t worth the effort to digest because their main purpose is not to provide sound advice, but to make money.
As someone who is keenly interested in retiring early, what I am looking for are personal insights and reasoned opinions, similar to those that I try to publish here at ThinkSaveRetire.com. There are many good blogs out there – too many to mention (some are linked below) – but sadly, there are also a ton of blog owners that only seem to be “in it” to make some scratch.
These blog owners probably are not all that interested in retiring early. Some of these blogs seem to only have been started based on their profit potential. Sorry, but if the only way to read your presumed “insight” is to sign up for some newsletter, or buy a book, or subscribe to a forum, or…hell, anything other than perusing your web site on my own damn time, in my own damn pajamas sipping a cup of my own damn coffee, then I’m not interested. Peddle your crap to someone else, thanks.
I don’t care how many hits your web site gets. I won’t be one of them.
I understand making some income off of your web site – at least enough to pay your web hosting bills. My web site, after all, displays a couple ads here and there to help with the cost to maintain the site. I’m okay with that, it’s cool.
Any blog owner has a vested interest in putting forth legitimate, well-written content to keep blog readers coming back for more, which helps the ol’ hit count, ad impressions and the occasional affiliate link. If the thought of a little extra income off of web site ads helps to keep the quality of the content high, then go for it. Gimme some ads to ignore.
What I’m not okay with are blogs who’s sole purpose is to maximize revenue. I simply do not trust the advice these blogs give and I am very careful not to click on their affiliate links. Quite frankly, I do not have any real interest in visiting blogs that seem only interested in making a buck or bragging about their popularity.
Honestly, I don’t care how many other web sites have referenced your content (otherwise known as “As seen on”). Your mention on DailyFinance, Yahoo Finance or CNN Money does not make me believe your content is any more meaningful. In fact, highlighting your association with mainstream media outlets is probably the last thing that you want to be doing.
After all, REAL early retirement blogs are proposing something very, very different from the mainstream. Early retirement, maximizing savings and lifelong investing are not the kinds of topics that sell well in our media. Why, then, do some blog owners insist on making it a point to highlight their mainstream popularity?
What I look for in retirement blogs
I’m looking to quit the rat race early, and what I am after is solid advice and well reasoned input from others in my same position – or better yet, from those who have already retired young. Saving, investing, real estate, travel tricks – basically, anything and everything to keep my costs down and my financial badassery completely pegged at the maximum.
I love personal stories. Tell me what you did, or are doing, to maximize your happiness out of life and get the most out of your years in this world.
There are so many blogs out there that DO give me (and I would hope virtually anyone else in my position) solid advice that we are after. Here are a few that I visit often:
- Mr. Money Mustache
- Dividend Mantra
- Johnny Moneyseed
- [Travel] The Points Guy
- [Travel] Richmond Savers
These web sites all keep the goal of financial independence and early retirement at the forefront of their content – and it shows. Yes, many of them display advertisements, but I don’t care. I do not care because these blogs are run by bad ass frugal masters actively working to achieve that higher level of happiness, taking conventional wisdom about finances and thoroughly kicking its ass back to the stone age, where it belongs.
These blog owners put their money where their mouth is by publishing their monthly income vs. expense numbers (something I will be doing this year). They admit to the things that they buy and are anxious to report on how they saved some extra cash by using a cool new tip. Yup, this is what I want.
Do not try to sell me early retirement. I’m good, thanks. Give me quality content written by those who are financially tearing it up and I will be a reader for life.
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.