Your kick ass guide to the personal finance blogosphere

Published November 2, 2016   Posted in Having some fun

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.

Pinterest: Your guide to the personal finance communityIt’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 lessΒ 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.

Free Danish butter cookies for all!

Free butter cookies for all at my booth!

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.

We track our net worth using Personal Capital



Comments

77 responses to “Your kick ass guide to the personal finance blogosphere”

  1. Excellent, Steve! We sometimes forget how many new readers are out there and it’s so easy to get lost. Even the language bloggers use is different than what you’ll hear from a traditional “financial expert”.

    You note some excellent blogs to start with and like you said, we’re all from different walks of life with different stories. Chances are there’s a financial blogger out there that will resonate with you. You just gotta get out there and find them! Rockstar Finance is an excellent place to start.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Michael. Yup, I love the fact that we are all different – both in substance as well as in style. It makes reading much more interesting that way! πŸ™‚

  2. Roadrunner says:

    Great and honest article! Personal finance is not different from any other topic. You need to read as many sources as possible and filter out the message that you can really apply for yourself. Don’t take anything you read as the one and only way, but take everything you read as a possible way to achieve your goals. Use your own brain and decide yourselves what to do with the information you get. The real merit of these blogs is not that they will make you rich, they won’t. You can make yourself rich. But these blogs can open up your eyes and can help to think differently about money. The ones highlighted in the article all do it in an enjoyable way. Great selection!

  3. Outstanding! What a perfect encapsulation of why so many bloggers do what they do and how their popularity stems from the fact that, incredibly, this is a pretty unmet need from the traditional consumer-driven media. Bravo!

  4. Fun post Steve. No fair giving away butter cookies at your booth though!

  5. I love how most people in the PF community are pretty vulnerable about mistakes we’ve made along our journey (and those we continue to make!!) I also totally appreciate your Friday Feasts and that SEO has not stopped you from doing that. I think that speaks volumes for where you stand in the community – right up top!

  6. Great post and also something I don’t recall running into around the personal finance blogosphere so far.

    The personal is often more important in personal finance then the finance part.

    • Steve says:

      I totally agree, FTF. Making it personal is what people love to read the most. I find talking/writing about finances to be pretty boring, but once we include the “personal” part of this equation, things get much more interesting, and fast!

  7. I love the idea of the personal finance blogosphere as a convention center. Before I started my own blog I thought that if I read a few blogs for a little while I would learn everything that I needed to know. Turns out, I learned a lot more by reading a wider variety of blogs. Even when people cover the same topics, they do so with a different lens. The exposure to a wide variety of experiences and styles brings its own layer of knowledge.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Matt. I think you described it perfectly – even though we may cover the same topics, we approach those topics from a different vantage point. Our backgrounds, experiences and education levels all go into our understanding of the world. I nearly always learn something different from every blog that I read.

  8. Apathy Ends says:

    Awesome

    I feel like this should be a newsletter to the public. Who’s in charge of making welcome packets?

  9. Thanks for the nice overview of the personal finance blogosphere. I never expected to see how friendly people are in this world! It’s totally different compared to how I usually think of the internet (people trolling, flame wars, exclamation points!, CAPITAL LETTERS, etc).

    Wondering if you’ve noticed the different subgenres of blogs as well in the PF world. I’ve sort of categorized PF blogs into 5 different overall genres: (1) millennial blogs, (2) debt blogs, (3) early retirement blogs, (4) frugality blogs, and (5) doctor blogs.

    It’s obviously a pretty big generalization and there’s some overlap between all those groups, but just something I’ve sort of noticed myself.

    Based on your list, looks like you’ve got a thing for early retirement blogs! πŸ™‚

    • Steve says:

      Hey FP – oh yeah, definitely different sub-genres within personal finance, and yup, I am definitely more geared towards the financial independence and early retirement genre. But you’re right, there are so many others out there too. The dividend investing genre, for example, is pretty big.

  10. Jeremy says:

    Curry is on me if/when we ever hang out. As in free to you, not literally πŸ˜‰

  11. Love this! I’ve been reading pf blogs for years and I credit them for many of my positive financial choices. And when I stopped reading them for a year, bad things happened to my savings rate.

    I’m visiting your booth! πŸ™‚

  12. Thank you (!) for the shout-out and all the clicks you’ve sent us this year! We completely agree with your assessment of the PF blog “community.” We’re all different, and that’s what makes the reading experience so enriching. I’ve learned a ton from people whose lives I would never want to emulate myself, and that’s fine — you don’t have to become an ultra-minimalist or live in an Airstream or a van to gain a new perspective on your own life. Not to mention that the quality of financial advice tends to be far superior to what I find in any major media.

    Keep up the great work, Steve!

  13. I, too, am a PF blogger who is bad at math! Thankfully my other half, Mr. Picky Pincher, is a brainiac when it comes to numbers.

    I think there are so many PF bloggers because what’s right for one person isn’t always right for someone else. There are so many avenues you can take to become independent and happy with your life.

    I love Rockstar Finance! It’s kind of like The Skimm–it’s a good daily update on some of the best blogs out there in the PF world.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Mrs. Picky Pincher – my wife is the one who has mastered the math game, so I gladly hand over most of that to her, as you probably do the Mr. It’s nice to have two people who compliment each other with differing skill sets. πŸ™‚

  14. TJ says:

    This is a fantastic list and some of my favorite writers. I also appreciate that you continue The Friday Feast. It’s so easy to miss articles that people are putting out. One of the things I look forward to in early retirement is having more time to read about other people’s experiences.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks TJ – I definitely plan to continue the Feasts for as long as possible. It definitely takes quite a bit of time to put together, but I feel they help spread the love, which is always a good thing. Thanks for your comment!

  15. Michelle says:

    Love this! When I tell people that I’m a personal finance blogger, they have no idea what to think, haha.

    Love the list of blogs you have at the end. All are my favorites πŸ™‚

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Michelle, appreciate you dropping by and commenting. Yup, I totally get what you mean about people wondering what it is that we actually DO online. It ain’t rocket science, but sometimes it may seem that way. πŸ™‚

  16. Mrs. PIE says:

    What a great round up and summary of our awesome community! I personally love the diversity out there: the in depth finance, the psychology, the daily crap we all deal with, the success stories. Great job bringing it all together!

    Stop by our booth, we have PIE’s! πŸ˜‰

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Mrs. PIE – yup, I’m luvin’ the diversity as well. Lots of different opinions from people from different backgrounds and experiences. Together, there’s a LOT of information out there, freely available. All we gotta do is reach out and grab it.

      And I’ll be sure to stop by your booth. Cherry PIE? πŸ™‚

  17. ESI Money says:

    Love your site and what you do for the community via the Friday Feast.

    Appreciate your helpful efforts — they will come back to reward you.

    Let me know if there’s any way I can help…

    • Steve says:

      Thanks ESI Money, very much appreciate your support. Keep doing what you’re doing – producing awesome content is what keeps me coming back for more. πŸ™‚

  18. Tawcan says:

    I love the PF community, we’re all different and that’s why the community is so interesting. πŸ™‚

  19. Matt Spillar says:

    Great post Steve! I think personal finance can seem really daunting to the outside observer who’s just at the beginning stages of their journey, it definitely was for me until I really dove in and took control of my situation. I love how you described the PF blogging community, and the illustration that it’s like a convention center. That’s an awesome way to look at it. As you’ve touched on before, we’re all stronger together and it’s not a competition. The best way for someone to improve their financial situation is to read as much as possible and learn a variety of perspectives about money instead of focusing solely on one voice. All those different perspectives help change and shape your views over time, rather than just assuming you already have all the answers. I try to read dozens of blogs, including multiple posts on a daily basis, and it has added tremendous value to my life.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Matt. It does seem daunting. Numbers, after all, are intimidating to a lot of people, especially when those numbers represent *money*. I’m right there with you about reading blogs and adding value to your life. Every day there seems to be something else to read and consider. Always a good thing!

  20. Spot on, in all regards! As a financial blogger myself, I’m certainly a “normal” person (in fact, I’m on a biz trip in London as I type this), with something to share.

    I’ll retire at Age 55, I’ve managed my money reasonably well, and I have a lot of ideas to share with others. Together, we learn. We grow. We (hopefully) retire sooner than we would have otherwise have done.

    Most importantly, to me, is the friendships that form in the virtual reality that is the blogosphere. A truly wonderful place to spend some time!

    • Steve says:

      Excellent point about friendships, Fritz. That is a very powerful element of this community, no doubt. The friendships continue to enrich my life, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that experience. πŸ™‚

  21. Andrew says:

    Great overview Steve!

    I’m relatively new to the whole PF blogging thing, but it’s been great so far. I love your take on the community. I definitely agree with your point about just being normal people. I think that’s why it’s so interesting to read other people’s blogs.

    PS. I LOVE butter cookies! My mom used to buy them around the holidays.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Andrew! I just bought my 5-pound tin of butter cookies from Costco…a purchase that I only make once a year. I look forward to the cookies almost as much as I do the holidays. Is that wrong? πŸ˜‰

  22. I volunteer to be the welcome wagon! I love to meet new people and help them! I would definitely have pop rocks at my booth. I’m proud to be a computer science-swearing-financial independence-millennial blogger! The course of my entire life changed for the better because I read one FI blog in college. I’m so grateful I did πŸ™‚

  23. Mr. SSC says:

    I love the description of the PF community as being like a conventiona dn we all have our booths. Like any convention, some definitely have more bling than others to attract people. πŸ™‚

    I remember when I first started reading PF blogs it seemed pretty overwhleming and intimidating. Now, I just find it hard to keep up with them all, and find new ones, for newer different perspectives. Fortunately, the Friday Feast is a good roundup to pop in and find some newer people to follow, and articles to read, all in one place.

    Thanks for keeping that up, I’m sure there’s a LOT of work behind it…

    • Steve says:

      Yup, definitely tough to keep up with them all! There are so many out there now, and that’s good. When people talk about finances, they also pay attention to them and know (generally) the value of every dollar they spend. But yeah, it makes our job of keeping up with everyone a bit harder. But hey, we’re up for the task. Appreciate your kind words regarding the Feast!

  24. *sneaks a stack of butter cookies before you eat them all*

    There are so many of us out there, it’s hard to tell where to get started sometimes, but almost all of it’s good! It makes me miss the blogrolls we used to have, I’d start at one blog and find twenty more πŸ™‚

  25. Felicity says:

    Great overview of the blogosphere! I 100% agree on the community aspect. I love reading content from others with different backgrounds, incomes, and philosophies. It gets boring fast if you have the same exact opinions as everyone you read.

  26. Dude, this endorsement is amazing, and means a ton. You’re far too kind! You’re an incredible cheerleader for and resource to the community, and I’m super grateful for that. The Friday Feast rocks, and I’m thankful you didn’t give up on it all those months ago! πŸ™‚

  27. Great thoughts Steve, it really is an incredible community and everyone has such a different background and perspective. You’d probably be hard pressed to find someone that reads just ONE personal finance blog, right?

    I think the “conversations” in the comments are sometimes even more interesting than the post!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Jon, appreciate you taking the time to comment. It really is an incredible community. Lots of diversity. Lots of different goals and achievements. And yes, lots and lots of comments! πŸ™‚

  28. J. Money says:

    Thanks for the shout of Rockstar, brother πŸ™‚

  29. So right about keep reading and thinking. My list of blogs I read regularly now is so different than where it was a year ago, but so is my list of topics I’m investigating. There’s someone for everyone and every season.

  30. riki says:

    Hi Steve. I’ve been following your blog for a while now and it’s best! Straightforward writing about personal finance and FIRE, with swearing, by proud DINKS…what more could one ask for?? DH and I (47/46) also are happily child-free DINKS; I hope to FIRE by the end of this year or early next, DH will continue to work (for himself) a bit longer. Thanks for the awesome blog and videos–very inspiring and keeps me motivated! I’m wondering if you’ve ever written about your specific plans/costs for health insurance after you both quit? We currently have excellent benefits through my state government job, are vegetarian health nuts and in overall great health, but costs for health insurance is the thing I think about most. Anyway, thanks again. Reading your blog is one of the highlights of my week!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks for the comment, Riki! Glad to have you guys as readers. We haven’t yet written much about healthcare, but we probably will shortly once we both quit our jobs and hit the road full time. For us, we’re both in pretty good health so we are generally looking for the cheapest possible option out there. We don’t need good benefits at the moment. As we get older, though, that’ll change I’m sure!

  31. weenie says:

    You’re absolutely right when you say what works for one person may not work for you but you can always form your own ideas from reading what other people are doing! Your own situation is very different from my own (other side of the pond, for starters!), yet I find myself returning to your blog time and again because there’s always something interesting to read and to learn about. I don’t know of anyone who is in ‘exactly’ the same place as I am but I take the ideas that I like from blogs I read and see if I can make them work for me. Discovering the whole PF/FI community was a huge eye-opener and light-bulb moment for me. Thanks for keeping me interested!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Weenie! Taking ideas away from these blogs is an amazing privilege – sometimes, we don’t necessarily know what will work the best for us. Ideas, though, definitely give us some traction. They give us something to try! πŸ™‚

  32. Jef Miles says:

    Great little resources here Steve!
    You make some cool points on us all being different and all having points of value to add in certain topics πŸ™‚

  33. Ms. Montana says:

    Love it. The diversity of people, lifestyle and tone make the whole community betteroom.

  34. Thanks for the great read and the great resources! As someone just getting started, it is a powerful community!

  35. Faith A. says:

    Great to have recommendations for excellent US personal finance blogs. Over here in the UK, we definitely have a whole load of booths at the pf convention: simple living blogs, investment oracles, coupon queens, money makers, deal hunters, dividend seekers, FIRE devotees, aspiring minimalists, frugal food bloggers, debt conquerors, eco thrifty experts, millenials, competition whizzes, parents on a budget, money nerds and I’m sure a whole load more. But across all the different niches, it never ceases to amaze me how supportive the UK Money Bloggers community can be, and how much we can learn from each other.

    • Steve says:

      I’ve found the same thing, Faith – the support that we all enjoy in this community continues to amaze me. We are all in this together and fighting for very similar goals, and supporting each other has definitely made a big, big difference. Thanks for your comment.

  36. Sarah says:

    Mr. Money mustache!!!!

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