Reading personal finance blogs is an entertaining pastime for many people. There are interesting stories, new tips and tricks and plenty to think about. But, compared to the number of readers that are out there, there just aren’t that many people that go out and implement the advice they get. They read post after post, even buy ebooks and courses, and never put any of it into practice.
For most of us, there has to be a reason for us to take action on the advice we get. If there isn’t a pressing reason, we’ll put it off indefinitely. I’ve faced that problem myself more than once: I even write about personal finance on a regular basis and still don’t manage to put a lot of the advice that I’ve read into practice.
Sorting Through Everything You Hear
Part of the problem is sheer quantity. If you read more than a few blogs or follow a few personal finance gurus, thousands of words of advice may cross your computer screen every day. Much of it may conflict with what you’ve heard, as well — there is no one true way when it comes to improving your financial situation.
It’s worst when you’re already in a decent enough position. The advice available for someone facing some financial problems tend to fall along the lines of eliminate debt and build up savings, although there’s a lot of conflicting suggestions on how to do just that. When you’re looking at improving an already good situation, though, you can hear about hundreds of differing strategies too, which make us hesitate to act.
It’s crucial to sort through what you read and hear if you want to be able to act on all that financial advice you’re coming across. In order to deal with differing suggestions, it’s useful to have some sort of framework to run all of that information through, to see how well it applies to you. The framework doesn’t have to be particularly complex — I just consider my financial goals and plans a few years out and take a look at whether a given piece of advice will help me get there any faster.
Sticking to Your Path
A big danger with having so much information is that you can constantly be presented with new ideas that would require you to change course. You can wind up paralyzed by your options. At the end of the day, the only real option is to pick a path and stick to it. That path may evolve, but you’ve got to have an underlying strategy that you’re willing to stick to. Changing tactics every other day just won’t get you where you need to go.
That means that you have to evaluate new information based on your current strategy as well. If it can help you move along the path you’ve already chosen, that’s great. But if a new post or webinar suggests that you need to switch directions entirely, you need to carefully consider what acting on it could mean for you. Most of the time, you can afford to file information away for later, to be reconsidered when you’ve reached the goals you’re reaching for. Occasionally, you may find a truly convincing reason to change tactics, but you can’t let it be a regular occurrence.
Reading Personal Finance Blogs
Keeping up with the latest and greatest blog posts is fun. But it’s important to set aside time to actually take action on everything you’ve read. It’s easy enough to find yourself in a position of information overload or paralysis, but if you’re taking in so much information that can help you grow, it’s hard to argue that you should sit back and be an armchair personal finance expert.
Personal finance information is valuable. It can make a world of difference in a life. But your time is valuable as well. Make sure that you’re getting full worth for the time you spend reading up on personal finance by putting that information into practice.