Why I Stopped Reading PersonalF inance Gurus
Why I Ditched The Personal Finance Gurus (and What I Read Instead)
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[Today’s post is by staff writer Melanie.]

The personal finance world is chock full of helpful advice, money tips and a ton of expert knowledge. Much of this knowledge comes from bloggers and what I call personal finance deities.

If you have any sort of penchant for personal finance, I am sure you have heard of Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman. Both of these personal finance experts have built an empire educating people on becoming debt free, saving money and taking financial control of one’s life.

On the other end of the spectrum, bloggers like me often write experientially about these things. Most of us don’t have any fancy certifications nor would we call ourselves experts. As someone who has followed personal finance blogs for several years, I love following the journey and hearing from real people. But as I said, we are not the experts, just people with a financial story to tell.

I condone seeking advice from people who know more than you. It’s always good to check out other opinions, learn more about complex financial concepts, and continually try to better yourself and your financial situation.

I remember in my early twenties, I would go to the bookstore (remember those?) and I’d hide out in the personal finance section. As a young woman just coming to terms with my financial situation, I was hungry for advice. I would be cooped up in the corner reading Suze’s The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke. I’d borrow audio version of The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey from friends.

Every little bit of information I received made me feel like I was on a path to be financially well. It was as if by absorbing all this information, I would suddenly be enlightened and shift everything and change my bad financial habits.

As you know, change comes gradually. You can’t just read the equivalent of financial self-help and be a changed person. You have to actually DO something. Action wins, complacency keeps the status quo.

I found after a while that I would voraciously read book after book and while I was making small changes in my life, like paying more to debt and saving more money, I still wasn’t happy with my financial situation.

I felt guilty when I wanted my first credit card at 28, because Dave Ramsey told me they were evil. I started to feel really bad about myself when I watched Suze’s show, during her section Can I Afford It? where she notoriously denies people on air for their desired purchases. Most of these people made a lot more money than me and had a lot more in savings and they were getting denied for a $100 anniversary dinner! I realized that Suze would deny my whole life’s existence and I’d be excommunicated from the Church of Suze.

After analyzing my feelings, I realized the gap between financial deities and normal people is huge and that I couldn’t relate to them any longer. But some people worship them with such blind faith. Like any religion that you may worship, it should make you feel good and be in alignment with your values. You should not feel sorry for your existence or that you are constantly sinning.

This is not to say that a little tough love isn’t needed at times, but personally I think that it can go too far. I now find a lot of personal financial deities completely out of touch with “normal people problems.” They have built empires and made money that most of us will never see. Because of this, I tend to enjoy reading personal finance blogs more, over cut and dry, rote advice that seems the same for everyone, regardless of their personal financial situation.

If inspiring people to action is the road to actually making change in someone’s life, I don’t think making them feel bad first is going to get them there. So my advice is choose your financial deities wisely. Find people that inspire you and push you to greatness.

Who are your favorite financial deities, if any? What bloggers offer great personal finance advice? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Thanks!

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About The Author: Melanie blogs about breaking up with debt at DearDebt.com and invites others to write breakup letters to their debt as well. She’s accumulated a total of $81k in student loan debt between two degrees. Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. Melanie enjoys travel, art, music, adventure, and of course, personal finance. If you’re interested in writing for Vosa contact us here.

Afterword From Brent

I wanted to chime in here to share some of my favorite personal finance blogs (in no particular order):

Photo Credit: Duncan C

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