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Start Here: “The Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance”

How come articles like this are so boring?

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How to Avoid Investing Mistakes. Everything on this web page by Fidelity is correct and important. And yet, every day I see hundreds of pages like this by Schwab, Fidelity, ETrade, Vanguard, and every other financial company–pages that make me yawn and want to ignore my personal finances. Why don’t they resonate with us? And why don’t companies pick up on this?

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  1. Finance is, at its heart, pretty boring stuff and most efforts to liven it up appear crass. Imagine a guy in a suit drinking Mountain Dew. Some things are just plain boring, but the rewards are there for people who listen.

    Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad) is about the closest I’ve seen to someone who can express finance in an engaging way. Unfortunately, his writing is short on detail and all the things which inevitably get boring.

    So pick your poison. Personally, I get suspicious if my financial reading is a bit dry.

  2. I agree with Duane. Part of the reason that you, Ramit, are good at being less boring is that you spice things up with the occasional bout of profanity 😉

    Finance is one of those things that isn’t exciting or fun unless you’re in the small minority of people. It’s a grit-and-bear-it sort of thing.

  3. I agree. Majority of these articles are very in depth and can be pretty dry at times but they have lots of crediable information which the average investor can defintly used if they take on the informaiton correctly. I do agree “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” was a great book and lacked the details but there were also many facts in the book which were incorrect and cause problems if they are taken the wrong way.

  4. Ramit,

    You ask “why don’t companies pick up on this?” To which I must point out that there are loads of companies that do pick up on this–unfortunately those companies are the ones that make money either off of churn or off of selling magazines and TV shows that are “sexy”. And, of course, that sexy advice is predominantly bad advice.

    The advice that confirms what you know, that it’s a long slow road and that there are no tricks, doesn’t grab your atttention. The advice that goes counter to what your gut knows and that promises an easy way out, that’s sexy.

  5. One reason that companies might not have picked up on this yet is that there is an incentive to keep the masses from investing. Think about it. If good investment advice permeates society and literally everyone and their grandma starts investing properly, then interest rates will be pressed downward. If educatig others equals fewer returns, then it becomes less of a surprise that no one has done this yet.

  6. I just think people do not how to grad younger viewer’s attention. Perso. Finance is like everything else, you make it look attractive and people will come.

  7. Probabaly because they are just “doing their job”. Isn’t investing and finances more emotion than logic anyways?

    Logically we should all be saving, but how come so few do?

    – Bryan

  8. I am certainly a newbie in the financial world (just opened up my market account in June, and Roth IRA Last week – mainly ’cause of Ramit’s IRA article, haha) – I’m only 20 years old, but I think it would be fun to take boring-ass articles like that and “young it up” for my meathead, pot smoking, sorority-girl-esque, keg stand doing friends

    – Tommy

  9. I think that the main difference between IWTYTBR and the mentioned ‘big box’ investment sites is that, because their ultimate goal is to market & sell investment products, they are generally reluctant to give specific advice. This results in the dry, general, “generic” investment advice that we’re talking about. Ramit- your website is A) NOT selling any product, so is B) NOT concerned with excluding viewers outside your niche. (in fact you go out of your way to focus your commentary to a very narrow audience, something I greatly appreciate).

    Lets face it- the only way to ‘liven up’ personal finances is to use real-dollar examples, these types of illustrations (by their nature) will only really interest a certain group- the people who are working within said example range. The big websites know this, and avoid telling a lot of personal stories, or providing really good examples. Instead they provide vague ‘advice that everyone can use’…because they want to be able to sell products to everyone.

    (moral of the story- don’t live off financial advice given by someone who is trying to sell you something)

    If these companies were really smart, they’d create actual seperate sites for their different investor types, the way Dell does with their customers. This would allow them to focus information to a narrow group and provide great illustrations & examples.

  10. Why are article list these so boring? Easy, they have no emotion. Who really want to read something that is void of emotion? Not I. That’s what makes you’re site so great Ramit, you fill it in with emotion.

    Why don’t more companies pick up on this? I think they do, but they’re too scared to add emotion because that can create conflict. Adding emotion forces people to draw a line, take a stance, and hold a position someone probably won’t agree with. Where is the conflict in the article from Fidelity? Where is the vision? That page is about as safe as a corporate page could be, and that’s why it’s utterly boring.