Another fabulous judge in our upcoming contest is Jeff Rose- a certified Financial Advisor and Investment Planner in Carbondale, Illinois who manages Good Financial Cents in his free time. The Personal Finance blog allows Jeff to pass on tips, lessons, and knowledge that he gains through his work and share it with the masses. We sat down with this Money Grows on Hubs contest judge to learn more about his work and get some tips for writing Personal Finance Hubs for the contest. Check out our exchange below:
As a professional in the finance field, you must see some of the same issues, concerns or goals come up over and over. What would you say are the three most common reasons people seek your help?
You’re absolutely right, I do see a lot of the same issues reoccurring. I think the three most common reasons people come to me are the following:
a. They just don’t get it. Investing in general can be very complex and for the average person who doesn’t spend a lot of time educating themselves, it can be very perplexing. A lot of my clients don’t feel they have the aptitude to understand the complexity of the investment world and how to apply it to their own situation. They feel much more confident in relying on a professional to help them through the process.
b. In conjunction with not getting it, they just don’t have the time. Most people are busy working jobs- sometimes two jobs- or caring for family, or all the other affairs they have going on in their life. They just don’t have time to devote to understanding what’s going on with their investments or the economy and everything along with that. By outsourcing that research to a professional as myself, it frees them up to do the things that they want to do.
c. They don’t want to get it, so a lot of people who do have the time and the capability to do the research just don’t want to. I can relate that in my own personal life. I could take the time to know how to change the oil in my car, but what’s the point? I feel much more comfortable outsourcing that to the professional who knows what the heck they’re doing. A lot of people take that approach with investing by relying on a financial planner to help them through the process.
Do you think that responsible financial behavior has changed over time, or are good financial practices today the same as they were 50 years ago?
Wow, that’s a really good question. I know when I look at the spending habits of my grandmother compared to what I’m seeing with the gen X and gen Y generation, my hunch is that financial behaviors have gotten worse. Coming from the gen X generation, I know that a lot of my friends aren’t saving, or if they are saving, they’re not saving nearly as much. To make matters worse, they outspend what they earn financing things on credit cards, second mortgages, etc.
You have a solid formal financial education under your belt, which gives you a big leg up when it comes to personal finance blogging. Are there any good educational resources you recommend for beginners?
It’s funny you say that about my formal financial education because although I was a finance major in school, I didn’t learn a lot about personal finance investing until I actually graduated. I was actually luckier to have landed a job as a financial advisor because that’s where I was able to learn, not just on my own but by my client’s personal experiences and their shortfalls. I think in this day and age, there are several good blogs on personal finance that people can go to for great information. A few that come to mind are http://www.getrichslowly.org, http://www.thesimpledollar.com and http://www.cashmoneylife.com. There are so many personal finance blogs out there that provide good, useful information, at least for people to come up with their own decisions based on their own individual situation.
How much continued education do you feel you have to engage in to stay on top of things? Do you do a lot of research for every post you write or are new articles more inspired by lessons you teach or learn on the job?
When it comes to writing my blog posts, I seem to intertwine the two. Having the certified financial planner designation and all the continuing education that comes with it helps me stay on top of what’s going on in the investment and financial planning world, which gives me a leg up. I also like to do more story-like posts based on either lessons I’ve learned in my life or lessons that I learned from my client’s lives on mistakes that they’ve made.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of writing about personal finance?
For me, the most rewarding part is whenever I know that I can make a difference in someone’s life. I’ve had numerous people send me emails and messages saying how much they’ve enjoyed my blog and how much it has helped them to make important financial decisions in their life. Each of those people who have contacted me gives me the validity that I need to keep doing what I’m doing with my blog.
What tips do you have for personal finance writers on HubPages?
Be relevant. Find ways to incorporate personal stories as you’ve learned valuable life lessons through your personal finance journeys. It’s much easier for people to relate when they are in the situation and trying to improve upon that.
To have a look at our favorite recent Good Financial Cents articles (and get some ideas on ways to format and write your own Personal Finance Hubs!) below:
- How Much Do Unpaid Medical Bills Affect Your Credit Score
- Distribution Rules for SEP IRAs
- Can You Rollover a 403b into a Traditional IRA? Absolutely!
- Social Security Spousal Benefits Rules: Retirement Income For the One You Love
- 6 Savvy Financial Tips for Women to Succeed
- 3 Easy Steps in Paying for College Financing Priorities
Note that the titles are specific, and that Jeff writes about niche topics where his posts have a chance of ranking higher in search results. Jeff also is quite good about titling his posts like search queries, which helps with making things appear in search results. When writing Personal Finance articles on HubPages, you should adopt the same approach.