I recently had the chance to spend a couple of days at FinCon, the country's premier conference for financial bloggers. Are there enough financial bloggers in the U.S. to have their own conference? There are, indeed. More than 400 of them were at this third annual gathering organized by Philip Taylor, who blogs at PTMoney.com.
I came away with a new required reading list for myself and thought I'd share some of my finds with you. I've broken them down by subject matter and listed a first choice and an alternate in five categories. Opinions are solely my own. If there are others you like better, please weigh in!
My pick: SquaredAway. In 2010, Kimberly Blanton, a veteran finance and economics reporter, was hired by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College to develop and write a personal finance blog. This is the result. In clear, straightforward language, Blanton delves into what future and current retirees need to focus on, from the ups and downs of the stock market to the rise of part-time work and, recently, the Affordable Care Act. The site takes no ads and has a nice, clean look and feel.
Also worth a look: Johnny Moneyseed. The author of this blog and his wife are 30-something early retirees. Don't let that dissuade you. Their posts on topics such as how to be a foodie on a limited budget and how much you can save by downsizing apply to folks of all ages.
My pick: The Chicago Financial Planner. Roger Wohlner, a fee-only financial adviser based near the Windy City, focuses on helping regular investors avoid the hype and confusion of the financial-services industry. An entertaining writer prone to football references (a recent post focused on what financial firms could learn from visiting Lambeau Field), he gets down to the nitty-gritty on topics ranging from ETF pricing to estate- planning mistakes.
Also worth a look: Oblivious Investor. Certified financial planner Mike Piper started the blog in 2007 to deal with the questions his friends and loved ones would bombard him with every tax season. He decided that, rather than offering answers over and over again, he'd put them in a book and online. Today readers will find succinct tips on tax and retirement planning and low-maintenance investing.
My pick: Mr. Money Mustache. The author and his wife retired, as he puts it, "at age 30 … on normal salaries with no lottery winnings or Silicon Valley buyout windfalls." That was nine years ago. He believes a lot of personal finance advice is bunk and gives his take on everything from the real cost of commuting to the difference between being frugal and being cheap. Almost as good as his posts are his forums. MMM has a big, vocal community (aka The Mustachians). If you're looking to get into a discussion on the topic of the day, this is your place.
Also worth a look: Wise Bread. The blog, which focuses on personal finance and frugal living, is written by multiple people and updates many times each day, with posts ranging from "25 Breakfast-for-Dinner Meals" to the "5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards." I'm a fan of the blog's weekly Tweetchats (Thursdays, noon. EST) as well.
Psychology of Money
My pick: IncBlot. Daniel Crosby consults for companies looking to improve their financial-services products and advisory services. He also writes a stellar blog that gets to the heart of why we do things with our money that even we know aren't in our best interests. When you land on the home page, jump right to the IncBlog for posts on "What You Fear vs. What You Should Fear" and "10 Things Smart Investors Never Say."
Also worth a look: Freakonomics. OK, maybe you've heard of this one — or at least heard of the book by University of Chicago economist Steven D. Levitt and coauthor Stephen J. Dubner. But I love the musings on subjects ranging from whether the right music can get you out of a traffic ticket, to the price of margaritas and other seemingly random things.
Good Overall Mix
My pick: Get Rich Slowly. Though started by J.D. Roth in 2001 ("before blog was even a word," as he notes), today GRS provides a number of voices on a wide array of topics, from high-deductible health insurance to money and happiness. It has an especially strong community — so again, if you're looking to chat among like-minded people, this is a good place to go.
Also worth a look: Consumerism Commentary. Luke Landes started his blog in 2003 to track his own finances publicly. He figured it would help keep him more accountable — and it worked. He started making better decisions. Today the site offers others the opportunity to do the same through its Naked With Cash series. If you're into things like auto investing and simple tricks to help you manage your money more effectively, this will be a good fit.
Jean Chatzky, best-selling author, journalist and money editor at NBC's Today, is AARP's financial ambassador.
Also of Interest
- 10 common spending regrets
- 7 loans you should never cosign
- The best places to retire
- Get free help with your taxes with AARP Foundation Tax-Aide
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