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February 16, 2007 12:40 pm
The hundreds of personal finance blogs which have sprouted up in cyberspace can be quite seductive if you like to dream.
Whether you are a single mother, an aspiring millionaire, or simply seeking to align your investment pursuits with those of a shrewd 76-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska named Warren Buffett, there will be a money blog to suit you.
Blogs are online diaries written by anyone with the desire to share their thoughts in cyberspace. No matter how outlandish your wish, bloggers can offer aspirational answers or even some spiritual solace for those who seek guidance. When it comes to personal finance, a virtual bazaar rivaling those in Istanbul or Marrakech is available.
Hundreds of financial blogs teem with information ranging from practical tips on how to balance your cheque book to quirkier bits of advice on investing in Singaporean or Malaysian stock markets.
And personal finance blogs, already quite popular in the US and Canada, are starting to take off here.
Tim Day, founder of UK Money Pot (www.ukmoneypot.co.uk), decided to launch his site, which is just three weeks old, because he thought there was a need for more UK-focused personal finance blogs. In contrast to his other personal finance site (www.creditmarket.co.uk), his blog offers up his own experiences on topics such as haggling with banks over charges.
“There aren’t many UK personal finance blogs,” Day says. “I think they are a good and effective way to share experiences.”
Some blogs are confessionals, which offer stirring insights into how investors go about the business of making decisions, usually accompanied by a follow-up tale of either its resulting success or its plunge into disaster.
Other bloggers embrace a more academic style and simply link to articles or other sites which pique their interest.
In all cases, advisers warn it is not astute to try to pick up “hot tips” from most existing sites.
Classifying personal finance blogs is a bit more difficult than categorising books, art or music. But since more than a decade has passed since the dawn of the internet, hazy divisions can be drawn between classic blogs and more newfangled ones.
Old standards that investors tend to like are the blog at Moneysupermarket.com (www.moneysupermarket.blogspot.com) and the musings of Martin Lewis, which can be accessed at blog.moneysavingexpert.com. A 34-year-old personal finance pundit, Martin Lewis also proffers advice on shows such as ITV’s Tonight with Trevor McDonald.
An excellent place to start if you are interested in surfing the universe of personal finance blogs is www.pfblog.org, a website which aggregates scores of personal finance sites.
This site has its own search engine, which allows you to scan the offerings of most personal finance websites.
On offer are links to websites such as The Paranoid Brain, which provides financial advice for cautious, yet hopeful, investors at www. finance.paranoidbrain.com; Single Ma’s Fabulous Financials (www.singlemomandmoney.blogspot.com), the journey of a single mother trying to organise her finances; and Hedgefolios, which offers help on managing portfolios (www.hedgefolios.com).
Writing a weblog might not be the ticket to fame and fortune. However, it does offer a public platform, which might help if you are looking to cultivate fans. Some bloggers have used their sites to advance their careers. The winner of the prize in this category is Henry Blodget, the disgraced Merrill Lynch analyst who was banned from the securities industry in the US for touting internet stocks too aggressively. Now a journalist Blodget edits Internet Outsider, a blog about internet business trends.
What are Blodget’s thoughts on blogging? “The blogosphere functions the same way the stock market does--by incorporating millions of individual opinions into a general consensus,” he says.” By itself, the influence of any one blogger is small, but if the ideas are persuasive, they will rapidly begin to influence the “blogosphere” as a whole.”
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