It’s a complex financial world out there, lots of choices and sadly not much of financial education. We would not allow one to drive a car without getting a driving license yet we allow people to enter the financial complex world without any financial education.
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Complex world of Everyday Finance
Questions Questions Questions! Should one put in Mutual Funds or direct equity, If mutual funds then how to choose from thousands? Or should I go the way my parents went putting money in Fixed Deposits? Should I go for personal loan ?Should I get a credit report?How do I understand the Credit Report? Should I trust the sauve Bank relationship manager or my neighbourhood uncle who is pushing a LIC policy? Gold or Gold ETF? Long term capital gain? How do I find EPF balance? What does EE and ER in SMS from EPFO means? How do I understand Form 16, Which ITR to fill, how to find TDS information, how to fill Challan 280,What to do when I get notice from Income Tax Department. Ug..h Too many choices, too much information. A financially uneducated individual armed with a credit card and access to a mortgage can be just as dangerous to themselves and their community as a person with no training who is given a car to drive.
The financial decisions people have to make today are quite complicated, and the financial markets we interact with have made finances even more complicated. So, in such a complex world, where do people turn to for information, for advice when making financial decisions? Survey after survey show that the primary sources of information are family members,Colleagues and friends. People also get a good deal of financial information and financial advice from hairdressers, doodhwaala, taxi drivers, strangers at the airport etc etc. How do we trust that information? People do not go around with financial statements around their necks and the fact that someone has a nice house and a nice car might be an indication of a lot of debt rather than a lot of savings. With advent in technology execution part has become simple. most of finance related things one can do at click of a button.
If you look beyond the circle of near and dear ones, for the financial gyan one has traditional source of information ,Financial newspapers and Magazines, and latest 24 X 7 Financial news channel, websites of Banks,Mutual funds ,independent websites such as Valueresearchonline.com, moneycontrol.com and blogs on finances. Blogging is picking up in India and according to the According to Indiblogger’s State of the Indian Blogosphere survey In India, blogs have been the fastest growing medium across the web from 24.3 million in 2012 to 35.9 million in 2013. The most blogged about topics are: food & drinks, travel, movies, tech news and gadgets, personal care, books, fashion, political news and health. But there is small percentage of blogs dedicated to finance, money, investing, tax etc .
The World Wide Web is host to many financial bloggers.
- A huge percentage of blogs in finance field are by the financial institutions themselves ex bank, insurance companies, mutual fund companies etc who like any other business are using these websites to provide information and also invest.
- Some are by independent and fee-only financial advisors. They use their blog to build business by connecting with current and potential clients as well as referral sources and also cements their reputation as a leader in field.
- What I am talking about are about financial blogs which are for the common man, of the common man and by the common man.
- These blogs simplify the financial jargons, explain the topic in simple layman terms (CAGR, IRR, Stock market,Tax), helping people to understand how to save more, spend less , file tax and manage money wisely, offering valuable advice and solid guidance.
- The advice/information that you get in the blogosphere is different from what you see in the newspaper or magazines or TV channels for a variety of reasons. It’s sometimes profane and often directed toward a single topic – including such things as income tax , credit card report, EPF, IPO, stockmarket. Sometimes it is general such as state of economy, about budget etc, sometimes raising questions such as Who should invest in stock market directly, sometimes providing facts figures, information that one should look up for.
- They don’t focus on breaking the news, but the interpretation of this news.
- Most of these bloggers base their advice on personal experience, rather than straight reporting. Infact many of them are not even from financial background(which includes bemoneyaware.com).
- Provide interactive communication. Readers can ask questions, leave comment and expect a response, which is not the case with newspapers or magazines and certainly not for all or most of them questions they would be receiving.
Why are Financial Bloggers Needed : In words of Financial Bloggers
So I contacted some of the financial bloggers and asked them Why are Financial Bloggers needed? Their view are given below. Have arranged them in alphabetic order of blog names
Apnaplan.com : Amit Kumar
Amit Kumar of Apnaplan.com, has MBA from NITIE, Mumbai, has got NCFM Certifications from NSE and is working with one of the world’s leading Credit Card Company. His blog with 400+ articles can be considered as “my online diary where I write about my tryst with my investment decisions”.
With increasing penetration of internet in India and relative easiness of sharing of information across, bloggers have carved a niche of their own, more so in personal finance space. The best part of a blogger is he is someone among us and is willing to shares his experience, research and knowledge to his readers. In fact some of the most famous blogs infinancial planning space may not necessarily be by financial planners but by software professionals (who might later change their profession). It’s their passion about managing their finances and sharing their ideas with the world that has gained them lot of loyal readers.
The readers are also able to identify with what the author writes because they are in the same situation, uses terminologies which are simpler and is very similar to taking advice from a friend! You come to know some of the jugaad or the practical way of resolving things. You can ask questions, leave your comment and expect a response, which is not the case with newspapers or magazines! So the one way communication has turned more interactive.
The other great thing about blogs is their unbiased and honest reviews. This is because most bloggers don’t have direct advertisement revenues from companies and hence they are no way under pressure to favour a product.
But as with almost anything, you should be cautious about some aspects. The information you get in blog may not be written/validated by an expert which might lead to unintentional errors and in turn could mislead readers. So it’s important to follow blogs who are open to discussion and are ready to accept what they don’t know! Also keep a check on the authenticity of the information published from time to time.
FreeFinCal.com by M. Pattabiraman
M. Pattabiraman aka pattu is a physicist working at IIT, Madras.His strong interest in personal finance calculations led him to host the excel based calculators which he has created for crunching numbers for financial planning,mutual fund analysis,goal . All calculators are provided free of cost.
Blogging is a great way to showcase your talent and opinion. Almost all in financial services either write a blog or are encouraged to do one. One of the most popular financial bloggers in India turned into a professional advisor simply because of the kind of confidence and trust readers had on him. That is the effect good writing has. Yes financial bloggers are needed to demystify budgets, review products, share their own choices and to provide a forum for investors to share their opinion and inspire future posts.
However not all financial blogs are the same. A blog written by finance professional claims to spread financial literacy but all they want to is to spread awareness about financial planners and in particular their services.Non-professional financial bloggers have no hidden agenda, except perhaps earn a couple of bucks from adsense. They could make mistakes but their intentions are honourable. They are the true torch bearers of financial literacy. Unfortunately they are an endangered species. Most of the print and visual media is contaminated by financial experts. It is up to the non-professional blogger to “..be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out” -J.R.R. Tolkien
JagoInvestor.com Manish Chauhan and Nandish Desai
Jagoinvestor.com by Manish Chauhan and Nandish Desai aims to demystify the world of Financial confusions. The journey started in the year 2008 and today flourishing nationwide with more than thousands dedicated readers. They have authored many books on personal finance.
In my view personal finance bloggers are making a huge difference in the world of personal finance and they are very much required. I am not saying this as a blogger, I am saying this after reading some amazing comments and heartfelt emails that we (I and my business partner Manish Chauhan) receive/read day in and day out. The demand for personal finance education is huge and overall supply is extremely low. Personal finance blog is a great medium to communicate,personal finance bloggers are helping investors to simplify the jargon filled world of personal finance.
By and large if you ask investors they will prefer reading personal finance blog over reading any financial newspaper because of it’s simple language. Somewhere the so called experts have made things extremely difficult for common man to understand personal finance.
Till now for many financial institutions personal finance education has been an afterthought. It is the bloggers who brought personal finance education and investors on the front seat. I think bloggers like Manish Chauhan created or I would say started some kind of revolution in the world of personal finance by his writing talent and capacity.
Personal finance bloggers are playing a pivotal role, they are extending hand holding to many investors, educating them, nurturing them and overall helping them to enjoy the overall process of wealth creation.
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Do you think financial bloggers are needed? What kind of financial blogs you read? Why do you read financial blog? Which are the financial blogs you read?