I love blogging. It’s interesting, rewarding, and often opens my mind to new and different perspectives that I hadn’t considered in the past. I also enjoy feeling like I’m making a difference in other millennials’ lives. Reading personal finance blogs inspired me to pay off my massive debt as quickly as possible and to start making better financial choices. I hope to inspire others to make smarter choices too.
Blogging, like any job, has pros and cons. There are also some strange things that happen when you blog about personal finance. Here are some things I’ve noticed during the past year and a half that I’ve been blogging.
*If you’re interested in starting your own blog, check out my free step-by-step guide here.
Everyone knows personal details about your life.
Anyone who reads my blog knows the approximate combined income that my husband and I earn, they know that my husband and I have drastically different approaches when it comes to money, and they know exactly how much student loan debt my hubby and I have. I wouldn’t normally share details this personal with relatives, former classmates, or acquaintances. However, I think sharing specific numbers and details is helpful to my readers.
I hope there are people out there who, like us, become inspired to pay off their massive student loan debt after they read stories of others doing the same. I also hope it shows others with student loan debt that they are not alone – and maybe those with $20,000 of student loan debt will feel a little less miserable about their own debt when they hear that my hubby and I started with $117,000 of student loan debt.
When I read that the bloggers over at redtwogreen have over $500,000 in student loan debt (yes, you read that correctly…that is not a typo), it gave me some perspective. While our debt load is high, and I ABSOLUTELY would not recommend taking on ANY student loan debt, our debt situation could certainly be a lot worse.
Critics assume they know everything about your life.
The vast majority of comments that I receive are positive and encouraging. Quite a few people have told me that my blog has inspired them to read Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover, to live more frugally, and to pay off their debt more quickly. My page views have jumped considerably over the last few months, which is awesome because I can help more people and I can increase the income that I earn through this blog – income that goes straight to making extra payments on my debt.
Unfortunately, the downside of having a blog with more readers is that you will start receiving some negative feedback. Most of these individuals are making judgments and assumptions based on the very limited information that they know about you from your blog. It’s quite easy to judge from afar when we only know a few pieces of someone’s story.
People judge you for making too much money rather than not enough.
I graduated with a master’s degree in HR from a business school that is extremely difficult to get into. I am not saying this to brag – I am saying it to give you some important context related to my earning potential. The average starting salary for graduates of the program I attended is $70,000 annually. My first job after finishing school three years ago paid $30,000. Since then, I have started a new job, have worked very hard, and have increased my income substantially.
I still earn quite a bit less than the average graduate of my program for a few reasons – I’m not willing to move away from Minnesota, I work in one of the lowest paying areas of HR (payroll), I’ve worked mostly for small companies, and I only have a few years of HR experience.
I do earn more than most of my friends who have bachelor’s degrees from liberal arts schools, but I earn a lot less than many of my fellow alumni from business school. I have often felt judged by my friends who earn high salaries as HR business partners, executive recruiters, and compensation analysts.
A strange thing happened when I started blogging about personal finance. No one has judged me for making too little money (at least not that I’m aware of), but quite a few people have judged me for making too much money. People have said that my husband and I do not earn “entry-level” salaries and that of course we can pay off our debt quickly – because we earn more than “most” people.
If you feel frustrated when I mention that my husband and I have a combined income in the high five figures, please keep this in mind: our salaries are “good”, but our debt load is high in proportion to our incomes. While we may earn more than the average millennials do (because of my master’s degree and my husband’s position in a highly in-demand technical field), we also have more debt than your average millennial couple. The average Gen-Yer has $30k in student loan debt – if both members of the couple have debt, the debt would likely be $60k. My husband and I have double that amount of debt.
Making more money doesn’t mean much if you’re also buried in massive debt – the bloggers over at redtwogreen will likely earn six figure salaries as a dentist and a lawyer, but their $500,000+ in student loan debt is still an enormous burden. Natalie Bacon, the blogger at Financegirl, also earns a six figure salary but she began with over $200,000 in student loan debt from law school. An advanced degree often comes with a higher salary but significantly more debt.
You might discover your passion.
I never would have imagined that I would start a blog about personal finance. If you had asked me nine years ago what my dream job was, I probably would’ve said working as a researcher in a psychology lab. Five years ago, I would’ve said working as an HR Generalist. I wouldn’t have guessed that I would find my passion in writing about personal finance.
This blog began as a hobby and an experiment. It isn’t the first blog I started – I had two other blogs in the past. One was a personal blog that I used to share goals and photography projects, and the other was a blog about HR. I didn’t particularly enjoy writing articles for either of these blogs and I didn’t stick with them for very long.
When I started Frugal Millennial, I wasn’t sure what would happen. I didn’t realize that I would become deeply passionate about personal finance, that I would love writing so much, and that I would begin to earn income from the blog. If you’re considering starting a blog, I highly recommend it. You never know what will happen until you try! You might discover your passion.
You make a lot of new friends!
Unfortunately, you’ll make some enemies and you’ll have to deal with a few trolls. But you’ll also make a lot of new friends – the great thing about these friends is that you write about similar topics, so these people share many of the same values that you hold.
In a culture that teaches us that debt and excessive consumerism are “normal”, being a minimalist and an advocate for debt freedom can seem strange to people who just don’t “get” it. Finding your tribe of people who do “get” it is a great way to help keep yourself motivated to pay off debt, build savings, and live frugally.
I love this post so much and look forward to reading more! I’m trying hard to be better with money and seeing other people pay off debt and budget is really inspiring to me :)
Reading blogs is what inspired me to pay off my debt! It’s very motivating!
I use WordPress!
You make such good points in this post…I love it! My favorite are the blogging friends I’ve made!
Thank you! Same here!
That’s cool that you’ve directly helped so many people change the way they deal with their finances Jen. I can’t say we’ve heard much of that from our blog yet, but maybe in time :)
Thank you! I’m sure you will in time! :)
Very true! I also get a lot of questions from people in my life because of the blog – questions about mortgages and accountants and things like that, even though I don’t have a mortgage or use a CPA! But I do my best to help anyway, because I really like that people are asking somebody the questions and actually talking about this stuff!
I can relate!
This is so true! I publish everything but my salary (budget, expenses, debt, net worth, etc.) and sometimes I freak out about whether or not I’ms haring too much.
I can relate! It’s awkward to share certain personal things (like the exact amount of debt we have), but I think it’s more helpful for readers if we’re open about our debt.
Hey, I definitely can relate to a few of these. I too have a masters degree but my income is much lower than one would expect. Sometimes folks are shocked when I tell them what my husband and I make combined. They actually think we make more than that and it’s not the case at all. It’s important to understand that a blog is just a glimpse into real life. Not an accurate portrait.
Absolutely! We can never know everything about someone’s life, and there is so much that we don’t see on a blog. Like you said, it’s just a glimpse.