Blogging Your Way to Retirement Goals
Eager writers are blogging about every aspect of life imaginable, so why not retirement planning? Baby boomers and generation X-ersmany of them still decades away from retiringare finding that blogging can often help them meet their own retirement goals.
U.S. News talked to several retirement-planning bloggers. While a little sleuthing might allow you to figure out who the author of a blog is, some bloggers prefer to keep their identities secret as they share details about their salary, investments, and other personal money decisions. "I don't reveal real specifics, but I talk about things that are kind of sensitive," says the 42-year-old author of the popular Free Money Finance, whose day job is as head of marketing for a Grand Rapids, Mich., firm. In his year and a half of blogging, he says, he has learned that "I have more freedom to do that if I blog anonymously."
Here's a sampling of what blogging about retirement planning can do for you:
Talking about money. You may not be the sort of person who feels comfortable discussing money over dinner, but online you can get into all the details with others who like to talk about finances. "You're not supposed to tell people how much money you make or reveal if you are in a bad way financially," says the author of Tired But Happy, a 29-year-old Philadelphia librarian who has blogged for about a year. "I think some of the attraction of finance blogs is it's helpful to know what other people are doing, compare yourself to others, talk about things that are confusing or scary," she adds. "It's helpful to be more open about it than you can be at a cocktail party, or at work, or even with your own family."
Holding yourself accountable. Articulating your retirement goals can be a good way to organize and stick to your retirement plan. "The blog helps with motivation," says the 28-year-old computer science student in Portland, Ore., who writes My Money Blog. "Some months, if I spend too much money and didn't save enough," he says, "then I have to blog about it and explain myself."
Many bloggers also regularly calculate their net worth and strive to make it grow. "Just the virtue of documenting my journey and recording my success and failures along the way helps me," says the 30-year-old Raleigh, N.C., engineer who writes 2 Million, a blog named for his goal of amassing a net worth of $2 million. "I record monthly my net worth, and the process of writing up that entry and figuring out my net worth has really helped me tune my actions toward making progress toward my goals," he says. "I have no excuses. It's all out there, and it really helps me own up to my mistakes."
Making a little extra cashand getting free stuff, too. The author of Free Money Finance says he makes from $20,000 to $30,000 a year by hosting advertising on his site. He donates the proceeds to charity. Most of the retirement bloggers interviewed make only a few hundred dollars a month from advertising. It may not be big money, but it is a little extra cash in your pocket that you don't have to commute to earn.