What Bugs Me

I read several financial blogs pretty regularly that range from blogs not unlike mine (low budget, home-spun productions) to huge, national blogs run by dozens of financial reporters with advertisers who are large financial firms. I always have to read each with a bit of understanding that these blogs do not necessarily apply to me and my clients, but that the principles are still helpful. For example, remember when I wrote about the different ways of paying off credit card debt? Well, one of the blogs I read recommended something similar (helpful principle), but the example they used was “So you’ve decided you want to spend $2000 a month towards paying off your debt.”

Ok, none of my clients or readers have $2000 a month to spend on paying off debt. And even though my Rolling Stone method says to keep using the same amount to pay off your debt, let’s be honest, once you no longer have to put $100 towards a credit card, it might be wiser for you to use it to get health insurance, or upgrade your groceries every month, or buy some long overdue new work boots. But what annoys me the most about all these blogs is that they assume that most people are making at least the American average every year, which for 2010 was just over $41,000. But the reason why it’s an average is because people are making below that amount. Some well below. I’m at the top of the PA pay rate in Seattle because my main employer guarantees me overtime, but I still make less than $20,000 a year in take home pay.

So how do people like us deal with advice like that? First, I refrain from spitting on my computer because it is not my precious Mac’s fault that bloggers are idiots and limited in their sight. Second, I have to remember that chances are your financial problems are in line with your income. I don’t have to worry about a balanced stock portfolio, trust laws, or the Alternative Minimum Tax because I don’t make enough to be able to dabble in that world. And I don’t have $2000 in debt to pay off every month because I didn’t go to medical school or need to spend a ton of money on a fancy work wardrobe.

It’s just unfortunate that other people claiming to help us through our finances fail to remember that most of us aren’t bringing home that much and suggesting you “set aside $500 a month” towards an emergency fund is completely unrealistic when that is 1/3 of your monthly take home pay.

I think that’s the end of my rant for now. Thanks for letting me vent. I’d love to hear my readers’ thoughts on this.

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