For some time now, I’ve been a member of the personal finance blogging “community”, commonly referred to as “PF Bloggers”. I’ve been doing this for a little less than 2 years, and I’ve learned a lot, written a lot, read a lot, and revealed a lot. Like most people, I’m also familiar with the more “traditional” personal finance experts who are our there, and many of the personal finance resources that are available . I’ve come to understand that there are major differences between what I (and other pf bloggers) do and what the experts do.
I’m not an expert. I’m not a professional, nor do I play one on t.v. Whatever “advice” I might give should be taken with a grain of salt, and should only be considered as the opinion of a single, solitary dude, trying to make it.
The experts (claim to?) speak from experience. They talk “from the mountain”. They talk about what YOU should do, how YOU should do it, and WHY you should do it. They’ve “been there and done that”.
Me? I’m at the foot of the mountain. I’m actually “doing” the stuff. I share not just my successes, buy my many, many failures. You get to watch as I do well, but you also get to see me fail. My first goal date? I missed it by 5 months. My second gaol date? Nailed it. I was honest about both dates, and both outcomes. My weight? I’m fat. If I ever get skinny, you’ll “see” it happen.
The experts are already rich. In other words, they’ve already succeeded, and their success or failure has already been determined. They’ve “made it”. Whatever connection you make with them, it will always be “teacher-to-student and student-to-teacher”.
Me? See that little comments section. The whole world can say whatever they want to say about what I am doing, agree with me, mock me, laugh at me, cheer me, etc. Am I a success? It depends on the measure, but I’m surely not famous, or wealthy, or powerful, or well-known. I’m a father of 2 who has awesome kids and an awesome wife and I get on this site and I tell you about… me.
The experts have found their “voice”. They know what they are going to say, they know how to say it, and they are GOOD at saying it. They believe in their product, their service, their column, their book, their website, their ideas!
Me? I’m a building built on hope. Every day I wonder, “What if I’m wrong?”. Is my budget right? Am I saving enough? Should I be borrowing money and worrying about my credit score? In other words, I’m in the middle of the fray, carrying my standard, hoping that I’m fighting for the right side.
If you’ve never stared at a blank screen, or held a microphone in your hand, or looked into the face of an expectant crowd, then you will not understand the immense “gravity” of putting yourself out there. What began as a unique experiment to catalog my own debt reduction progress has become a MAJOR part of my life.
I’m not an expert. I doubt I ever will be. My opinions are not “advice” nor are they “expert”. I’m just a guy who wants to live a life of freedom, responsibility, and charity. Talking about this stuff is not always easy, but it is immensely gratifying. As the new year begins, I want to thank you for reading my blog or listening to my podcast. I’m blessed to have people who are even remotely interested in what I have to say. Whether you come because you are interested, or entertained, or put-off… I’m glad you’re here. See, the main difference between the “experts” and me? I’m just one of you.