The Great Big Lie About Personal Finance Blogging – A Response

February 1, 2007

An entry in the most recent carnival of personal finance by makingourway talks about people’s expectations of making money by writing about personal finance online and questions whether these efforts are worth it. If you want to know what I think about the article then read on.

Adding Value
I’ll begin with a point that I agree on. Like makingourway, the sites I value the most are ones that offer unique insights into personal finance, not just regurgitated articles from the mainstream media. However, I do think discussing articles published by financial sites can offer value to readers.

In some cases people may not have seen the article in the first place. If it really is a great article then discussing its strengths may inform someone that might have missed it otherwise. We can offer alternative viewpoints than the author, just flat out disagree, or provide personal experiences that help illustrate the point of the article.

Hollywood or Bust
One of the main topics of the article is summed up with these two paragraphs.

“My point in this posting is that many people think they can or will escape the rate race by becoming personal finance bloggers; i.e. the advertising and related income from their personal finance blog will be enough to replace their day jobs and day income.

Except for those with very limited needs, demands and lots of time, this is a pipe dream. It’s fairly easy for me to identify a small number of financial successful PF Bloggers because there are so few!”

I look at it kind of like all the people that rush off to Hollywood to become a star. Many of them that make the trip to Los Angeles hoping to make it big never achieve that huge break. However, the effort becomes part of their life story and makes them who they are. The people they meet and lessons they learn along the way are invaluable to their future and may create opportunities they never would have even considered.

I think writing about personal finance in your life and the world around you has a lot of the same benefits. Plus, if everyone gave up the Hollywood dream where would the next big actors and actresses come from? If people gave up on self-publishing online think of all the talent and insight the rest of us would miss out on.

Alternative Income
I have an opinion on the closing question as well:

“But for many, there is an important question – should you spend more time thinking about how to succeed in your job and less about starting a side business? Should you spend more time saving what money you have and investing it carefully than starting a side business to live up to your income?”

I think earning money on the side is a valuable skill that everyone should learn. We often talk about the importance of diversification in personal finance. How diversified are you if all of your income comes from a single source? If that income source goes away for whatever reason, what will you do?

I don’t think people should quit their day job with hopes of becoming a six figure blogger. If you’re thinking about it, Yaro Starak has a series on blogging as a sustainable business model that you should read first.

However, I think creating income streams in addition to your primary job is a smart thing to do. In addition to the financial benefits, it helps hone skillsets you may not use in your daily job and helps you network with others. These skillsets and networks can come in handy if your main income suddenly dries up and blows away.

The great thing about the personal finance blogging community is that there is always something new to learn and people are willing to share and discuss important topics that affect the quality of our lives. Thanks to makingourway for bringing up this topic and to the readers for the amount of deep thought I’m sure you’ll put into it.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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One Response to The Great Big Lie About Personal Finance Blogging – A Response

  • Bryan C. Fleming

    It’s way too soon to tell what the value of blogging is. Nobody really knows.

    My Advice:

    If you’re looking at your blog saying “how come I’m not rich yet”, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. You should be doing it because you enjoy doing it. Then after a lot of time and effort, just maybe the money will come 😉

    – Bryan