Truth: “Even personal finance geeks have limits”
I’m one of the participants in the Women’s Money Week project, which is March 4-8. In addition to link roundups and shout-outs to featured posts, the campaign site includes related commentary from the project hosts.
Today’s piece by co-host Elizabeth is great, given the numerous occasions lately in which I’ve been shaking my head at email pitches from people who seem to miss the point of what Monroe on a Budget is all about.
Her headline is How to take control of your financial future.
Not everyone is a personal finance geek. And even personal finance geeks have limits. Some people know a lot about investing, some are on top of the best retirement strategies, some are coupon queens. Know which areas of finance you like which you shy away from. Being aware of your own limits is the best thing you can do for your future.
Here are some of my limits: I know nothing about investments and have little interest in that topic. Therefore I stay out of that discussion in my reporting and leave my 401k and IRA arrangements to the pros.
On a related note, my husband and I hire a tax professional to do our taxes.
I reply to anyone who is sending me pitches about consumer affairs that they should contact a co-worker at my newspaper whose blog and weekly column focus on that topic.
I’ve also stepped away from the time-sensitive, time-consuming “sales and deals” discussions that are the couponing genre. I write one post a week that gives trending topics to watch for, occasionally show a shopping cart brag and that’s it. The readership just wasn’t there and there are quite a few complications anyway in writing up detailed shopping lists for those who live close to the Ohio-Michigan state line.
What’s my expertise in personal finance?
It’s on the family finance topics that other writers either know little about, or tend to gloss over in their encouragements to cut every possible expense — without considering the implications on families and individuals who are already stressed out.
- The most popular topics on my blogs during the past couple of years have been the food stamp discussions. While I’ve never been on food stamps, I know where to find official information such as Michigan’s eligibility requirements and the federal study as to why so-called “junk food” is permitted.
- Rather than couponing a grocery bill down to almost nothing, I talk about realistic grocery bills by using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cost of Food at Home study as the basis. And while I’ve included that study in my grocery discussions since spring 2009, there’s always someone who finds this information to be new and of interest.
- The most popular piece I wrote this week is on how and why my daughter got a varsity jacket and class ring when she was in high school, even as my husband and I postponed or cut back drastically on other expenses.
If you are new to Monroe on a Budget, poke around my archives. I have a unique voice in the personal finance blogosphere, and you’ll soon pick up on why.