Personal Finance Blogs - Practicing What They Preach

This month has been an eye opener for me. It’s one thing to read about the MILLIONS of blogs that have been created, and get used to terms like “the blogosphere,” but it’s entirely another to actually begin to experience the rich content that is out there in cyberspace just waiting to be found.

As I mentioned the other day, in my January 23rd rant about TV, I have been getting most of my news from the blogosphere for a few years now. If you would like a taste of how that might work, just visit my two favorite news/current event blogs, The Drudge Report, and Instapundit, which are both collections of links to news, information and opinion articles all over the web.

And while I knew there were millions of blogs, the few personal blogs I visited were not very interesting. Many, many blogs are just started by people to write down their daily thoughts, sort of like a diary. Some are exercises in self-importance, many are outlets for people who love to write and are seeking an outlet for their gift.

But only when I finally I got serious about Platinum Years, last November, did I finally dig deep enough to realize that there are whole worlds of topical blogs that have much to offer in their areas. And as soon as I began to write on financial topics, I became exposed to the world of “personal finance” blogs. Now I should say at this point that I really don’t consider “Platinum Years” to be exclusively about financial topics. If you pinned me down to a label, I would say that “life planning” would be a better description. But I can’t help but notice that my articles on financial topics have been far and away the most popular to date. I believe my November 24, 2007 article on when you can/should take money from your IRA has been found be more searches than all my other articles combined. Then of course I got on my crusade about delaying social security, and shortyly thereafter discovered blogging carnivals, particularly the "Carnival of Personal Finance" (see January 14th article, The Carnival of Personal Finance is Up … and I’m in it.”)

From then on, I’ve been overwhelmed with personal finance blogs. The first one I found was called “Graceful Retirement,” written by a very nice lady named Grace who describes herself as follows: “I’m 58, a single mom, getting a late start on my retirement. Travel along as I reduce debt, increase savings and get myself situated for retirement one of these days.” And if you read her regularly, you find out that’s just what you can do. And Grace has an easy comfortable writing style that makes you want to go along and root for her as you do.

Which brings me to one of the more amazing things about personal finance blogs. Many of them completely open up their finances to you, giving regular reports on their progress. They may be preretirees, like Grace, struggling to catch up to where they want to be - I know so many people in this category that I've coined a name for it, the "retirement blitz." But many are much younger twenty-somethings paying off school loans, like the self described "King and Queen of Debt" who write "We're in Debt," and who describe their mission this way:

"Our plan is to use this site to help others get out of any similar situations that they may be in. We hope that you will find this information use and that it will benefit you and your debt situation in some way."
Other "personal finance" bloggers actually have substantial savings and investments, like the writer of "My Open Wallet," an anonymous New Yorker who "tells the world how much money she earns, spends, and saves."

Many bloggers who have tired of going it alone or perceived some advantages of banding together, have done so and formed "networks." So far I have only included such networks in my "Platinum Blogs" over in the right hand column, because there are just so many of the individual ones. The networked blogs include the "Carnival of Personal Finance" itself, as well as "InsureBlog" and "The Money Blog Network."

But like I said, there are just too many individual ones to mention. But if you have a few minutes, just go over to “Graceful Retirement,” or "We're in Debt," and start following their links... Did I say "minutes"? Make that, the next time you have a few HOURS!

Meanwhile, I've gotta go. I just found a new one called "Stop Buying Crap." I KNOW I'll enjoy THAT one. :-) Bob


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