This is a personal finance article.
It’s also a personal finance article telling you why personal finance articles aren’t very effective in helping people.
You might think this is strange, coming from a person who writes about money all the time. But I can only tell you the truth: you won’t get rich from reading personal finance.
Here are six reasons why:
1. We Actually Can’t Give You Financial Advice
Scroll to the bottom of most personal finance websites, and you’ll see some common, though strange disclaimers: “not financial advice,” “for education purposes only.”
Well, if this isn’t advice, then why tf am I spending my time reading this?
Because the Internet is a great (and cheap) place to share information with lots of people. On the other hand, there are laws preventing non-qualified people from giving financial/investment advice to normal people. To show the difference:
A. Sharing information: “This is how unit trusts work”
B. Financial advice: “Next month, I recommend you invest RM 1,000 into Aaron Equity Fund because…”
This is generally a good thing. It’s meant to protect people from scammers and con men. But it also means that you’ll read a lot of articles without strong opinions or recommendations. And a lot of surface-level crap which isn’t practical at all.
2. Personal Finance Is Supposed To Be Personal
The second reason personal finance articles suck is they’re mostly too general.
It’s like buying clothes at Tesco vs. having a personal tailor. At Tesco, the clothes are designed for the mass-market average person. You’re basically screwed if you have an uncommon body shape — like if your chest is large, but your arms are small. You might get something that kinda fits, but will never look as good as if a great tailor crafted something.
Likewise, an article on the Internet has to be broad enough for maximum impact. “How to manage your money” is probably too broad. “How should young graduates manage their money?” is nice. But “How to manage your money if you’re good-looking, have three girlfriends and a Honda Civic, but no college degree” is only gonna be useful to maybe one person — so no one writes shit like that.
And yet, that might be the person who needs financial advice the most.
It’s the same thing with “rules” and “systems” that online marketers promise will help make you rich (just sign up here for ONLY RMxxxx!). They’re nice and convenient on paper — but they don’t apply to everyone, all the time.
Broad information can be a nice introduction to a subject. But because everyone’s situation is different — it stops getting useful past a certain point.