Thursday, April 1, 2010

Personal Finance Blogs from a Woman’s Perspective (Part 1 of 2)

A Guest Post by Kat


In my almost 7 years of working, I have taken on several labels: editor, technical staff, research assistant, training manager, project manager, consultant, specialist, project staff, etc. I hate to use the term, but 'raket scientist' does seem apt to describe me. Despite all of the hats I have put on (sometimes all at the same time), what I have always been at the crux of it all is a researcher.

I am naturally inclined to collect data, organize them into boxes, and arrange the boxes into a framework that makes sense to me. That thought process is applied in almost all aspects of my life from the sports I watch (no wonder I love baseball, every freaking thing there is measured), the clothes I purchase, the jobs I take on, and even the literature I read.

For the past three years, I have been hooked (well, not so much now anymore) on reading personal finance blogs, mostly written by Americans. These blogs all have the “big three” things that I look for in personal finance blogs: drama to engage my tsismosa instincts, relevance to the ongoing financial crisis, and lots and lots of data. On a personal level, three years ago, I met the One, and we started building a life together; these personal finance blogs provided very important inputs to developing the economic structures that my partner and I needed to support our growing family.

Review of Related Literature

I am geeky about personal finance, but from the looks of it, so are the readers of Investor Juan. So, to guide you through the bigger world of personal finance (at least according to my taste), I put together this list of what’s currently out there:

Single Female Personal Finance Blogger

I think her name is Wanda. She is in her mid-20s and has recently been laid off. Fortunately for her, she saved up enough that she can afford to be jobless for some time. Most of her debt came from student loans. Aside from talking about her situation, she also talks about her day-to-day personal decisions, from clothes shopping to food preparation to career choices. But lately, since she entered this “fun-employment phase” and has started to talk about mostly “fluffy” stuff, she has become a bit boring for me.

I have exchanged some emails with FB. Like Wanda, she’s in her mid-20s; she’s an IT consultant, which lets her have quite a bit of free time. It was fun to read her blog around 3 years ago when she had tens of thousands in debt which she was fighting her way out of. She had tips on career advancement, money hacks, and debt payment strategies. There were also rantings on the shopping she could not do and the recriminations on the financial mistakes she made. Now she has become debt-free, more financially secure with her emergency fund in place, and all her retirement savings are maximized. Nowadays, she interests me with her shopping picks on cheaper clothes, bags, shoes, and handmade jewelry. She provides too much information for me sometimes, though, so I find it impossible to read her on a regular basis.

Married Female Personal Finance Blogger

This one, I will always love just because of the high drama factor. Two years ago, Dog was earning $100,000 per year but had a negative net worth, mostly because of high student and credit card debts. The posts are a bit grating (the author keeps on ranting about buying a house, transferring to a better neighborhood, etc) and people in the comments section constantly bash her (which I find really very entertaining).

Single Male Personal Finance Blogger

I love Ramit, again even for the high entertainment value alone. He is a Stanford grad working in the IT industry, and as he claimed “he will teach you to be rich”. There are lots of fighting and bickering in the comments section. He also started to turn his blog into a marketing vehicle for his consultancy services. In general, his approach runs counter to the more pervasive “frugality” mentality of most personal finance blogs; he doesn't believe in cutting down on the lattes but he prefers that you go for big wins like getting promoted at work.

This guy is like my nutty, interesting, esoteric uncle. He caused a major ruckus a couple of months back when he said that his Filipina girlfriend claimed to be pregnant with his kid. It turned out to be untrue and the girlfriend ended up dumping him for a German guy willing to marry her (man, further bad press for us). He lives a spartan lifestyle, I think he can put all his stuff in one bag, and I do mean all his stuff. His investments are in place. But then in his last couple of posts, he talked about whether the frugal and thrifty life is really what man is made for. Then poof! He disappeared.

Debt Ninja packages his blog really well, but there’s hardly any real major drama. His only debt is his student loan which he wants to get rid of quickly. Well, I think dudes would enjoy reading him because he talks about his thoughts on dating, finances, relationships, etc. For the girls, I like reading him because he is cute, sweet to his mom and his girlfriend, and totally has the “boy next door vibe” going.

Married Male Personal Finance Blogger

J Money is the married version of Debt Ninja. I read him because he seems like a cool guy, he’s sweet with his wife, and he looks like someone who’s fun to chill with. Content wise, there’s nothing very original from him. Right now, he’s dealing with the threat of being laid off and how last year’s financial crisis depreciated the value of his house.

Part 2: Common Themes, Research Gaps, and Conclusion

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