Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday Link List: On Inclusiveness and Personal Finance Blogs

Though I prefer cold weather to hot, I'm starting to miss summer. This is a photo from somewhere in SoHo back when the weather was warmer. 

2018's off to a busy start so far, both at the office and otherwise! Lately, however, I've managed to blog more consistently than I typically do at other times in my life when work gets this busy. It's likely because I'm having a phase where I've been treating my writing here as more of a "job", albeit a fun one that I enjoy. At least two times a week, I try to have a serious writing session after I get home from the office, even if it's late. I feel like this pace of writing isn't as good at getting me to work on my more reflective, substantive entries, though. I might be better off scaling back a bit. 

1. // I've been exploring personal finance blogs more, and trying to be more open-minded in reading that genre. (I find most money blogs, outside of the ones I link, boring.) I've found a few more good ones to read, which I'm excited about. I wanted to highlight two entries that challenge some of the more unfortunate, discriminatory, and otherwise problematic tendencies behind some personal finance and financial independence discourse. Stacking Pennies talks about the "FIRE" (financial independence, retire early) community specifically, while Bitches Get Riches talks about the personal finance community more broadly, though because the "FIRE" people are generally the most extreme, it ends up being a lot about "FIRE" anyway. 

I don't have too much to say for now, except that I think these are important and necessary conversations. My thoughts on the subject are, as with my opinions on many things, complicated. As to possible financial independence for myself, there's no way I could work on "FIRE" because I have no inclination to do the math and projections required to identify the total amount I'd need to save to  live indefinitely on investment returns. (Both K and I also have very likely future financial obligations to our extended families and parents, beyond what obligations we'd have to our future children, which is another wrinkle that makes a "FIRE" number impossible to identify.) Without a "FIRE" number, I'm not, by definition, working on "FIRE", though I still find some of the ideas, the goal of a high savings rate, in particular, and an appreciation of how money is useful primarily because it can buy more freedom and free time, to be useful. 

I must also take a moment to commend the person from the Bitches Get Riches duo who replied so gracefully to a particularly incoherent and rambly troll. I'd struggle to react so calmly. 

2. // Pret a Porter P's post on her "Five Piece French Wardrobe" shopping year was a good read. I've always thought this approach was a particularly good way to balance a fondness for nice things with an interest in minimalism and in consuming less. I've never really been able to adhere to it myself because I get distracted too easily, though when I use the guidelines as a way of planning out some of my shopping, the resulting purchases tend to work well. (Daarboven is a longtime adherent to that approach, and also a highly recommended blog.) 

3. // The Fashion Law did an interesting piece on some of the reasons why the subscription box model works. As you might remember, I'm highly skeptical of subscription-type shopping services, but there's no denying that it's very successful for many companies. Though some of those companies may well derive some revenue from making it extremely difficult for customers to cancel.

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