I have read broadly on personal finance so I have a passing familiarity with a bunch of subjects, yet here on EPF I stick to writing in the areas of budgeting, finances in marriage, frugality, grad student finances, etc. I don’t often write about debt because we’re not (really) in debt and don’t plan on getting into it again except for a mortgage. I don’t often write about insurance because, after reading the recommendations, I determined we don’t need to buy additional types of coverage (we have health, auto, and renter’s) until we get to our next life stage (disability when we get real jobs, life when we want to get pregnant). Insurance is a must, but at the moment isn’t something that we need to gather more information about or take any action with.
An area you might be surprised to find is uninteresting to me is investing. I think it’s terribly important to start saving for the long term when you’re young (even in graduate school) and to put that money in a vehicle that will grow like gangbusters. We work really hard at our budgeting to free up money to put into our Roth IRAs. But the actual vehicle we’re investing in isn’t something we are super interested in. Kyle and I did independent research over the course of a few weeks on the best way to invest and both 1) decided that index funds were the most efficient vehicle and 2) picked a target date retirement fund at Vanguard as the easiest and cheapest way to dollar cost average into those index fund investments and stay properly allocated. We made that decision years ago and haven’t found reason yet to change our approach.
I do consume media on investing from time to time – blog posts or podcasts – as it appears in my normal broad personal finance channels. But if all the content is on investing – especially picking individual stocks – I’ll get bored, tune out, and unsubscribe pretty fast. Part of it is that the material won’t cause me to change any behavior, part is that I disagree with the approach, and part is that I think it’s a waste of time to do all that analysis.
(Pet peeve: It bugs me when people say that they plan to “start investing” as the next stage in their PF journeys, when what they’re referring to is buying individual stocks and they already have a retirement fund that is invested in mutual or index funds. If you have a retirement account, you’re already investing! Stock-picking is not the be all and end all of investing – quite the opposite.)
And yet, clearly there are tons of people who are very interested in investing and even individual stock-picking. I’m not trying to say that investing is an objectively uninteresting topic, just that it is not interesting to me right now. Probably EPF is unspeakably boring to certain people interested in personal finance generally because they don’t budget/have their budgets on autopilot or aren’t married or are mid-career or older or in some other way are not impacted by the frequent topics on here. And I’m OK with that – what I write about doesn’t have to appeal to everyone all the time.
Two points in conclusion:
1) It takes all kinds. I’m very glad that others have done the research on how effective the various methods of investing are so that I don’t have to spend tons of time doing it myself. I’m glad that we’re all producing content on different little subject areas and with different perspectives so that I can access it when I need to and not otherwise. I am actually considering changing from using a target date retirement fund to buying a small number of index funds and doing the rebalancing myself (not a major shift) and I’m glad to have material to read about recommended asset allocations.
2) Just because something is boring to you is not reason to shut it out of your life entirely. You should suck it up, gather information from the best quality sources as quickly as you can, make and implement a decision, set up a system to take care of it for you in the future if necessary, and move on! Or if there is no actionable conclusion in that area at the moment (like additional insurance for us), decide when you will have to take action.
What personal finance topics do you think are important but you don’t care to read more about? Are you putting off taking action in one aspect of your finances because you are uninterested in the subject?
photo from Free Digital Photos