A while back I wrote a series called Focus On that gave brief reviews of personal finance and frugal websites and blogs. While researching the sites I included in the series, and many others that I didn’t include, I would always look at the profile page to learn more about the site and writer. Most personal finance and frugal living blogs are written by individuals, and as the series progressed and I read more and more bios one rather curious similarity became apparent: around half of these people were deeply in debt.
The usual story given was a lack of financial control early in life, sometimes coupled with huge student loan debt. Then, heroically, came the turning point. A light bulb suddenly went on and the decision was made to climb out of the debt hole they had dug for themselves. That was followed, of course, by blogging about their efforts.
The first few versions of these stories were inspiring, but after a while the frequency and similarities of their tales of woe and redemption struck me as mildly disturbing. Why do so many good personal finance bloggers start off as financial dumb asses?
I think there are a couple of reasons. One is a lack of financial education. Another is there is always a segment of the young, emerging generation that wants everything now, damn the monthly payments, whether they have received an education on how to handle their money properly or not.
I am glad so many of these bloggers had the awakening they did and are now warning and instructing others on how to avoid the bad decisions they made. Maybe the next step could see them banding together and pressing for some kind of financial education at the beginning, at home and in school, before the screw ups happen.
A Changing Relationship with Money
Does a Financial Education Matter?