FNBO Direct Pay Yourself First Challenge
May 27, 2009
The idea behind the challenge was to get people to “pay themselves first” by direct depositing their paychecks into an online savings account, then transferring only what they need into a checking account to pay the bills.
Advice from Liz Pulliam Weston
The contestants were assisted in their savings journey with tips from MSN Money financial columnist Liz Pulliam Weston. Now that the competition is over, Liz is reflecting back on what the contestants learned about good financial habits and has generously agreed to answer a few personal finance questions for us. As usual when writing interview questions I got a little carried away so rather than throw all the questions and her responses at you right away I’ll just publish one a day.
Good Financial Advice
Here is one of my first questions to Liz:
The people in the PYF Challenge had a unique situation that the every day person doesn’t have. They had the world watching, so they had extra motivation to be smart with their money. They also had access to ask you questions about their money. For the person that doesn’t have these motivators and resources, where should they turn when they’re having a hard time aligning their financial behavior with their goals or when they have financial questions?
Here is how Liz responded:
“The Internet abounds with great resources, including saving-related blogs that have lively communities of followers. Those are great places to start. For truly individualized advice, though, you can’t beat a fee-only financial planner.”
I think Liz makes a good point; basically, you get what you pay for. Money Smart Life and sites like it are typically run by amateurs who are trying to make sense of life’s financial puzzles. You can often find valuable tips and insights on blogs and forums but they’re obviously not tailored to your personal situation.
As Liz mentioned in a recent column about Suze Orman, one of the “perils of offering personal finance advice to the masses” is that “when it comes to personal finance, there is typically no single right answer”.
I agree that personal finance blogs are useful for getting ideas, raising questions, and discussing possibilities but if you want professional advice then turn to a certified financial planner (CFP). Of course, there are CFP’s that blog about money like Jeff Rose and Kristine McKinley. This is kind of neat, you can get a feel for them from their site and see if they’re someone you’d like to work with.
I’ll publish another Q&A with Liz tomorrow, the next one takes a look at the 5 most important numbers to be aware of in personal finance.
All posts by Ben Edwards