I know, that’s kind of a weird thing to say for someone who finds lots of joy in writing his opinions about money all day. But the really are some good reasons why you shouldn’t take my advice, or anyone else’s for that matter.
1. Personal finance is personal
My absolute favorite thing about being part of a community of personal finance bloggers is that, while we’re all working toward the same goal of achieving financial independence ourselves and educating others along the way, we’re all doing it differently.
One example I can think of is paying off debt. You should do it. That you can take my advice on. But how you do it is up to you. I read an article the other day where one blogger opined that people with low-interest debt should invest discretionary income rather than pile the extra money on the debt to pay it off, simply because you get a higher return from the stock market than you’re paying on your debt. But another blogger wrote a few months ago that you should pay off low-interest debt as fast as possible because that ongoing payment pinches your cash flow, which kills your options and makes it harder on you if your income decreases suddenly.
Who’s right? They both are, depending on who’s reading.
2. I’m just another schlub with ten fingers and a laptop
As much as I like to think I’m right about everything (just ask my wife), the reality is that I’m just another dude out of the 3+ billion out there. I still imagine that everything I write here is valuable to someone, which is why I keep doing it. But not everyone agrees with me about my thoughts on women in the workforce and what not to buy for baby. And that’s simply because we all come from different backgrounds, and we have different goals and expectations. It’s cool.
That’s why I’m not the biggest fan of Dave Ramsey, because his idea is that there’s one way to do it right and that way happens to be his way (oh, and that’ll be $199, kthanks). Don’t get me wrong, Dave’s “Total Money Makeover” is what first sparked my passion for personal finance, and I certainly don’t discount the fact that his program has helped thousands of people get their financial lives back on track.
But in my opinion, there’s only one area of my life where there’s one “the way, the truth, and the life,” and money certainly isn’t it. My suggestion? Read #3.
3. You should educate yourself
Aristotle once said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” I know, it’s easy to just listen to someone else because you think they’re smarter than you are (thanks by the way :)), but the best way for you to reach your own version of financial independence is to do it your way.
That’s why I love reading other personal finance blogs so much. There are so many thoughts out there about how to budget, how to save for retirement, how to invest, how to pay off debt, etc. etc. etc. I love to entertain new ideas about how I can reach my goals. Sometimes I accept it and sometimes I simply just say, “Not for me.” That doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it’s just not for me.
So yes, I still want you to read my blog. And if what I have to say clicks with you, do it. But I also want you to read other blogs and find other ways to educate yourself on how to become financially independent. Because in the end, it’s my way or the highway. You can take either and get to where you want to go. Because as they say, all roads lead to Rome (except for the ones paved with good intentions).
Educate yourself. Entertain new thoughts of doing things differently. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it. But if it does, you’re going to be better off. In the eternal words of Lloyd Christmas, Out with the bad, in with the good.
How do you feel about personal finance being personal? Are there areas where you can better educate yourself?