Finance blogs have evolved from message board posts to going concerns by entrepreneurs compelled to share their unique experiences getting their finanancial houses in order.
The First Annual Financial Bloggers Conference to be held in Chicago this weekend is a testament to the growing influence of financial blogs and the role they are playing in the national discussion about the economy, personal finance and money management.
Scheduled to appear are more than 250 bloggers, columnists, authors, financial companies, and new media proponents. Roundtable and presentations will address such nuts and bolts issues as setting up an editorial calendar, and avoiding writer’s block.
But the gathering speaks to how blogs have evolved. Their inception, according to Joe Hagan of New York magazine, was “message board launched by Yahoo! Finance in the late nineties, which were primarily a forum for day traders to argue investment ideas and vent little-guy frustrations about the Wall Street power structure.”
Today, they are going concerns, from brand-building features on mainstream media websites website to entrepreneurial enterprises by ordinary people compelled to share their sometimes extraordinary experiences getting out of debt and getting their financial houses in order.
The 2008 economic collapse was a boon for a financial blogs. “In the past three years, dozens have popped up to debate the recovery, economic policy and who was at fault in the market meltdown,” observed Time magazine, which has posted its list of the Best Financial Blogs. “Consumer finance blogs are jam-packed with advice on how you can live your life more cheaply.”
Financial bloggers range from nationally known figures such as Thomas Friedman to those who have painstakingly developed their own readership such as J.D. Rothof Get Rich Slowly. They write about big picture issues such as the pros and cons of President Obama’s debt reduction plan and retirement planning to more news-you-can-use features such as The Daily Worth’s recent post about money-saving websites and apps.
Philip Taylor, creator of the blog PT Money, and one of the organizers of the Financial Bloggers Conference, sees the primary role of a personal finance blogger as one that “fills the void that CNN and The New York Times can’t fill. Every person’s financial situation is unique, but a lot of that information is presented (by the mainstream media) at eye-level. We answer the specific questions inbetween. We’re not answering to a generic mass. We’re sharing our unique situations to help other people in similar situations.”
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.