Perhaps because of my debt or perhaps because of the promise of get-rich-quick ideas, I always find myself stumbling into personal finance blogs. It is always fleetingly inspirational to read about someone’s rags-to-riches tale and peruse the sites for clues to make me wealthy. But in the mundane reality, all that most of them did was track their finances and think about money for more than two seconds. (Which I would imagine is the average amount of time most people think about money.)
As a result, I quickly get bored of PF blogs. There are only so many ways to write about increasing your income and decreasing your spending. So when I stumbled upon this interview with Helaine Olen about how personal finance gurus are usually full of it, I felt very validated. If you’re a personal finance blogger or reader, I strongly suggest you read it. The main idea is this:
We believe the myth of Horatio Alger in this country, but Horatio Alger wrote fiction. So it becomes this whole ideology where we’re sold on this idea that we can do it and we really believe this. We take a look at the economic situation out there, and we objectively know it’s pretty bad, but we internalize it as our own fault—and, because it’s our own fault, we’re pretty sure that there’s someone out there whose got the answer.
Of course, she ends the interview by saying that the solution is to talk about it more. Which is almost as if she’s encouraging the financial gurus, in my opinion. But what I choose to take away from the article is that there are no easy answers to finance issues and even good ideas have good odds of failing. And maybe it’s best to stop worrying about it so much and focus our energies elsewhere.