Happy Saturday everyone!
If you ever start writing about personal finance (an ill-advised endeavour in the first place!), it won’t be long before you face a pretty fundamental dilemma, which can be summarized in just three words:
People. Love. Experts.
They might say they don’t.
In fact, certain politicians might even claim that the people (at least in this country) have had “enough” of them.
And yet, I rarely come across anyone who prefers an ambiguous answer to a definitive, clear-cut one.
The behavioral and evolutionary reasons for this are out of the scope of today’s post. But as far as personal finance goes, this leaves any writer facing a conundrum.
You can pretend you know it all, with 120% certainty.
Alternatively, you can acknowledge that you don’t.
Admit that we happen to control just a fraction of the “inputs” that ultimately result in whatever financial outcome we achieve. And that the best we can do is to plan according to an objective assessment of the information available to us.
For those with any integrity, option 1 is obviously a no-go.
But… it happens to be the fastest way to build an audience. Because at the end of the day, most people crave simple directions (or dogmas) they can follow:
- Buy this stock.
- Your portfolio will return 8% a year.
- The market is a scam and will collapse.
- Bitcoin will go to $1m.
And so forth.
For most people, even the really smart ones, thinking through complex, ambiguous issues is hard. It takes time and effort.
Most importantly, it comes with the risk of being wrong – and admitting as much.
Following directions, on the other hand, is easy.
As Charlie Bilello writes, there are two types of investors: Pundits and Professionals
The Pundits may (act like they) know it all.
But make no mistake – it’s the Professionals who ultimately succeed and build real, sustainable wealth.
As for me, each time I write a post, I write it with my children in mind.
There are so many things I’d like to teach them about personal finance. And if anything was to happen to me before I have a chance to do so, I would like them to be able to read this blog instead.
They won’t find many definitive answers here. But if I’ve done my job right, they’ll walk away well-equipped to at least deal with the personal finance side of their lives.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone! I’ll be in the park, teaching my kids how to fly a kite.
Tough to do that in a blog post.
From Yours Truly
Wisdom I Wish I Knew 30 Years Ago – Barry Ritholtz
What Has The Stock Market Taught Us Since 2010? – Ben Carlson
How You Feel About Money – Michael Batnick
Why Freedom Can Be Scary – Millennial Revolution
Snoozers Are, In Fact, Losers – The New Yorker
If You Are So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours A Week? – Harvard Business Review
Endless To-Do List? Here’s How Not To Waste Your Life – Financial Times
As this blog grew in popularity, so has the volume of incoming emails.
Most emails I get are relevant and constructive – thank you, and keep them coming! I try to respond to every single one.
However, once in a while I get a request that basically entails coming up with a personalized financial plan for a highly esoteric situation. Or a risk-free investment that yields at least 15%.
From now on, I will direct such individuals to the post below:
Answering Crazy Questions And Comments – ESI Money
Feel like kicking back with a real book as opposed to a newspaper article or a blog post?
Look no further – here are some fantastic books for those leisurely weekend afternoons:
Stuffocation: Living More With Less – James Wallman
Captivate: The Science of Succeeding With People – Vanessa van Edwards
Start Now. Get Perfect Later – Rob Moore
Happy weekend all!
P.S: Attention New Bloggers:
if you are a personal finance blogger who hasn’t yet been featured on Greatest Hits, I would like to hear from you.
Please send an email to bankeronfire at gmail dot com with a blog post you would like to submit for consideration.
The key criteria for inclusion are as follows:
(i) Content that will be interesting or beneficial to the readers of this blog (I hope you will forgive me for reserving judgment on this one)
(ii) Your blog must be at least 6 months old, with regular posts. Too many bloggers flame out early, and I don’t want the readers here to follow a bunch of dead links.
I look forward to hearing from you.
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