Friday, March 27

This is what is wrong with PF articles

Prime Time Money ran a guest post today. Let me break down this groundbreaking work:

The five habits that will help you find financial stability:

  • Control your impulse spending
  • Pay yourself first
  • Eliminate and avoid debt
  • Learn about personal finance
  • Evaluate your expenses

Okay, before I appear overly bitchy: I like PT Money. I subscribe. I read. He's good. Also, the guest writer does go (slightly) in depth on each subject. And I know that there are a limited number of actual subjects to discuss regarding frugality and debt reduction. There are few new ideas under the sun, as they say.



This is like those "signs of suicidality" commercials that list "suicidal thoughts or attempts" as a symptom.

I'm sure there are a few folks out there who this would be news too. (Please, God, may I never meet them!) But overall, if you're reading PF blogs, isn't it plausible to assume they know these basic basics.

I feel like a lot of these sorts of articles condescend to anyone with half a PF brain. Does anyone else feel like this?

Obviously, a lot of bloggers are trying to reach a wide audience, from newbies to folks who are done with debt reduction and living frugally as a lifestyle. That creates some basic problems when it comes to material. I've been reading a lot of bloggers to see how they balance these issues.

I try not to go too basic in my advice, though it's always hard to tell what things people have come up with on their own and what will be something unprecedented in their minds. Still, I try to assume that the people on this blog have at least a firm grasp of the basics.

I was raised by a frugal person, so most of these ideas are just a way of life to me. Others are discoveries (that probably tons of other people have already discovered) that I make as I read other blogs or examine my own navel.

But does that mean I'm leaving out too many people? Or being snobby? Or just being lil ole me?



Blogger Moneymonk said...

"I try not to go too basic in my advice"


Personal Finance can be oversimplified. Truth is it takes hard work to be financially stable.

Some people may not know where to start. However, most pf bloggers are past the Money 101 course. Not too many talk about the "next" phrase.

Once I past the debt reduction and budgets, saving I got bored.

March 27, 2009 at 3:26 PM

Blogger ABC said...

That post was pretty basic but it was also written strictly for SEO purposes (ie to get a free link to depositaccounts dot com).

From the point of view of the writer - as long as the link gets published then the less time spent on the article, the better.

From PT's point of view - he got a reasonable (although not great) guest post which lightens his load a bit.

March 27, 2009 at 6:07 PM

Blogger PT said...

"groundbreaking work" ..too funny. lol. ;)

Thanks for reading and for the kind words, Abby. I'd say the post was more guilty of being a bit too generic vs. too basic for who I'm trying too reach (I want all-comers). I have people in my family who've never heard these concepts before believe it or not, or at least they live their life like they don't.

Someone (non-blogger) did leave a very long and thoughtful comment in response, making me think at least he got something out of it.

Like you say, I do try and balance the simple with the complex on my blog. Overall though, I like to help people with my blog and give specific steps they can follow. This post definitely lacked specifics. I can see the frustration in that. It is what it is though. Trish is a good writer but may have mailed it in a bit with this post. I let it fly b/c she's worked well with me in the past and I've got a one-month old in my arms right now. Not much time or motivation for deep, provocative content from me right now. :)

You make some good points here though. I get tired of the same ole posts too. I'll try and do better.

Again, I appreciate you reading and for being a long time commenter on my blog.

March 27, 2009 at 7:47 PM

Blogger Mrs. Micah said...

I try to mix it up. Having conversed with readers in e-mails and IRL, I know that some are looking for basics--like how to build a debt snowball and start a budget--and others are way past that and more interested in things like staying motivated, etc.

I go through phases in my writing as well as in my PF blog reading. There were a couple months where I read virtually nothing because I was sick of 99% of it.

The other thing (less with this article, perhaps, but with basics articles) is that it's not just your own readers you're trying to reach. I get a LOT of visits from search engines and they're normally looking for something practical. Sometimes it's posts about how the stimulus is going to work this time around (not basic, though perhaps repeated on various blogs). Other times, they want to know ways to "save money groceries." A basic article might give them ideas they'd never had before because these aren't the people reading PF blogs. They aren't all gung-ho for finance, just searching for info. So if I can help them out as well as my regular readers, then it's a double win. ;)

March 27, 2009 at 7:59 PM

Blogger Meg said...

There's "knowing" things, and then there is "really knowing" things.

Sure, those habits are obvious. However, how many of us know them without really live them? Imho, seeing them over and over again helps us better internalize them so that what once was book knowledge starts to become part of that internal monologue (or dialogue if you argue with yourself like I do).

Of course, at some point you are just preachin' to the choir, beating a dead horse, etc. etc. etc.

March 27, 2009 at 9:50 PM

Blogger Abby said...

@Moneymonk, I'll do my best to talk about the "next" phase, but since I myself am still getting out of debt I may fail you in that particular regard.

@ABC, I suppose seeing it that way, it does seem like a reasonable trade overall. At least for the two parties involved.

@PT, Well first of all, congrats again on the new bundle of joy (aka the pooping machine). I had actually forgotten about the fact that you have a new baby causing you to need to lighten the load. Given your busy life, I do appreciate your stopping by to respond! And I'm glad that it actually did help some readers. Like I said, I'm a tad jaded today (okay, every day).

@Mrs. Micah, You know I hadnt considered that side of things (search engines/mixed crowds) so thanks for that side of things

@Meg, Yes, I suppose there is something to be said for hammering a points home. Which is probably why pretty much every PF book inevitably includes the basic advice, at least in the first few chapters.

Thank you all for responding. I actually did get to see a new side of this particular topic. There are certainly times when I'm just too cynical/used to frugality and everything feels like "Been there, done that" or "been there, can't do that." I think perhaps I'm just in one of those modes right now. These comments may help me snap out of them and look at things from a different angle!

March 28, 2009 at 12:04 AM

Blogger Revanche said...

I really only read those articles in case there's a new idea or take on it that I haven't thought of. Or if I need a little reminder to Stay Good!

Otherwise, I don't bother and just skip right over it. I often wonder if it might serve any purpose to write and post such informational articles myself, but never do because I get too bored writing them if there's no real personal connection to it.

March 28, 2009 at 9:39 PM

Blogger Fabulously Broke said...

I guess that's why I don't bother with doing very basic PF stuff on my blog and try to make it more real life-ish...

March 30, 2009 at 1:16 PM

Blogger paranoidasteroid said...

The problem with these kinds of posts is that they're lazy. And I have no doubt that PT cares about his readers (and I see below that he has a new baby, congrats!). But this post reeks of needing someone to lighten the load and not really caring who it is or how good the content is.

There are lots of awesome blogs out there. And I'm sure no one would mind if he said that he was going to link to some great posts by other authors once or twice a week so that he can care for his baby.

March 31, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Blogger Jackie B. said...

A good way to gauge what level of PF your readers are at, you should encourage them to write in with questions then do a Q&A every couple of weeks. Many blogs I subscribe to have started doing this and it seems to work for them.

April 1, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Blogger Abby said...


Excellent idea! I have actually been pondering this for awhile, so I think I'll take your advice.

April 1, 2009 at 4:51 PM


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