Finicky Financial Advice

money blogI’ve signed up for many blogs and Facebook groups about money, business & investing in the last 5 years. Suze Orman, the Budgetnista, my banks’ newsletters…

I’ve saturated my brain space with such things at this point and I’ve learned a lot along the way. What’s challenging, however, is the fact that I’ve hit a wall. Some of this may just be lil’ ole’ me having zero willpower to implement new financial patterns, but I’ve brain stormed what’s not right (saying “wrong” sounds wrong) about the advice I’m seeing populate my many newsfeeds, pages and inboxes.

1 – The rags to riches story is tired.  A lot of advice starts from the assumption that you’re poor. Setting aside all the debates that argue that many poor people actually think they’re middle class, these “she used to have $12 in her bank account and now she has $1 Million” stories have grown old. I don’t want to be a millionaire and I definitely don’t have $12 in my bank account. I’m looking for tips on how to improve from okay to great, not how to save myself from destitution. The lessons aren’t the same, so the inspirational story loses impact, because the practical steps to make a change aren’t replicable.  

2 – Entrepreneurship is hard.  I appreciate the messaging around being a business owner and acting as one’s own boss, but actually doing it is not easy. Dare I say, it’s less fun than showing up at a “day job,” which could be totally boring, but not nerve wracking. Investing your savings in a business venture that’s supposed to grant financial freedom is a pipe dream. If it’s really yours, as a successful business will be, you are duty bound to making that business succeed, keeping up its reputation and growing its reach. To my mind, that’s the exact opposite of freedom, if you’re doing it right. It’s a huge emotional and time commitment that I don’t think many people are truly prepared for.

IMG_20160220_0811343 – Save money when you spend. Coupon clipping, deal seeking, promotion pimping shoppers still spend money. Yet, I find that many blogs don’t promote less consumption, just lower costs of consumption. And while I’m a good capitalist like the next woman with ten fingers and ten toes, I have to say that this is exactly the type of mind set that keeps sweatshops in business. If you don’t want to spend money, don’t shop. But, if you need/want to, I think it should be done with a conscience and awareness about the supply chain the purchase comes from. Even if we can’t afford to get out of the trap of supporting cheap(er) labor, we should be aware that we’re doing it and make efforts to ensure that our financial situation improves such that we can lessen the habit.

4 – Why do I have homework? Many blogs and books give you lessons, but I’ve found that many newsletters and groups are dishing out homework too. I’ve seen everything from accountability partners to daily tasks for financial wellness. I have the attention span of a fly when it comes to things that aren’t about work, school or family, so these reminders convert to spam and spam into trash. And there’s a vicious cycle of mass deletions.

5 – Everything on stocks sucks. I haven’t read anything good about stocks yet. I suppose it’s pretty plain that there’s no good “how to” guide for stock market and bond investing, but it just feels like all the books and blogs seem to say 1) keep your money in for at least 10 years, 2) don’t pull out when everyone else is and don’t invest when/where everyone else is, 3) invest in what you use and 4) only invest money you can afford to lose. Anything else?… If not, let’s not keep printing big books and articles that add other fancy pants words around these basic lessons.

6 – The charity and tax nexus are non-starters. Last but not least, there are 2 issues that very rarely show up in these advice columns. How to manage income and taxes to net more AND how to integrate philanthropy into a budget. Better yet, if I can find anything on how charitable spending can help lower taxable income, I’ll be sure to send the author home made chocolate chip cookies. Sure, maybe we all should hire a financial planner to figure this out for our individual situation… maybe… but can I just get some basic principles? just one article? one book? or one measly little blog post? Or nahh…

That said, for those of you who want to troll the wealth of financial baggage I’ve accumulated over the years, please check out the list below. It’s chocked full of useful info, but it’s not what I’m looking for anymore. To help me get past this money advice rut, share resources that worked for you in the comments section.

Sharing (even sharing frustrations) is caring!

Suze Orman’s book

The Live Richer Challenge

Girls Just Wanna Have Funds

Modest Money

My Wife Quit Her Job

Play Catch Up

I’ve been off the blog for a few weeks for pure lack of content. Can you believe it? I live in India and I have nothing to say! Well, just to catch you up on what’s been going on in my life, I decided that today’s blog would be the highlights of the last few weeks. Where I’ve been, who I’ve been hanging with, what I’ve been pretending I’m too busy to do…you know, the day to day nothings. Here is the brief and wondrous synopsis of my last two weeks above the noise:

Moz

Trying to find my next assignment has been the death of me since August of last year. I have literally been thrown into a tizzy in finding the right gig, losing the right gig, fishing up other options with other benefits and weighing them against other hypothetical possibilities. Long story short, I am NOT going to Ethiopia. I’ve recently accepted a position in Mozambique and, I pray the gods have no objection to this one!

Two friends of mine are getting married soon – one in Paris in September, and another in the States in April. I’ve been browsing dresses, pricing flights, and looking at my treadmill with loathsome disdain. I’m excited for these nuptials, but finding a way to squeeze myself into something flattering is a fight for another day.

Dionne_Warwick_-_This_Girl's_In_LoveI’ve got a new beau, and it has been very difficult for me to contain my excitement. I’m pretty sure that this man is going to turn out to be Prince Akeem of Zamunda. It has all been so fast and so good – I’m feeling like Mariah Carey in the Bahamas ya’ll. I got friends sending me kitchy India Arie love songs now. It’s just been an all around mush fest these last few weeks. Life is good.

I have a few papers that won’t write themselves. I’m pursuing a post grad diploma here in India, and uhhh, I have 5 assignments due this week for reading in 5 books. I have only read one. AND, I promised another professor I would write a comparative literature article for a journal. I have only read one of the two books. Did I mention I have a new beau?

What’s more thrilling than procrastination you ask? My decision to get my taxes prepared by someone other than my mother! Yea, so in addition to whatever Uncle Sam tiefs, I will also be $600 broker when it’s all said and done. “Get your hand out my pocket!”

imagesI’ve been looking into Lasik. It’s all the rage now and since it’s significantly less expensive to get these kinds of procedures done in India, I’m considering taking the leap as well. I’ve been to two doctors in the last month, because the first one gave me the skeevies. Imagine talking about burning your cornea with a laser with a guy who speaks like a used car salesman. I was not impressed. The new place I’m going actually told me that my corneas were too thin for Lasik, so now I’m looking into implantable contact lenses. This would mean no glasses until cataract sets in. (I’m sure this doesn’t strike you as the most thrilling update here, but I swear it’s been a fascinating experience.)