Saturday, November 11, 2006

On Personal Finance Blogs

So, I've posted three times already and I've been commenting on other people's posts with uncharacteristically eager and exclam-filled comments and in some way I'm just very glad to have this particular outlet.

See, when I started working in September I realized that I was going to have to do something about my lack of money knowledge ("financial literacy," if you will). I knew how to make a budget—this is something I actually enjoy, because I kind of love playing number games with myself—but not much else. It was a pretty big life change for me—I was lucky enough that I'd never paid my rent with money I'd earned (that is, "not my parents' money") before. I was excited, and also freaked out, especially when money that seemed like a lot to me seemed to slip away very quickly.

I started reading about personal finance on the internet quite accidentally—my work computer used to be set to MSN as its homepage, and one day I clicked on "Money" and was kind of hooked. Over the next couple of weeks, I probably read the site's entire archive through, including an article about personal finance blogs. And then I was really hooked, because people were writing about money as it functions in their lives, not as an abstract principle. I think that's fascinating and cool, and I learned more from the blog reading I did than in all the MSN Money and Kiplinger's browsing. The great thing about listening to actual people talk about their financial lives is that you get to hear what they base their decisions on, the things that are factors that aren't "supposed" to be, the idiosyncratic ways in which people think that aren't taken into account by yet another article about paying down debt. I like that there are lots of different kinds of people making decisions in lots of different ways about lots of different things. I can say that I've gravitated towards more personal blogs written by younger people with non-astronomical salaries, but really, I find it all interesting. I'm not sure all my goals are the same as everyone else's, but that only makes it, somehow, more interesting.

And so I guess all the over-eagerness comes from this idea that I have a ton to learn from these people, many of whom I think are great aside from being educational, and that just maybe, someone has something to learn from me, and that watching me try to figure out my financial life and goals and principles will be helpful. I want to contribute!

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