Using the Web to discuss your finances with strangers

Your Money

May 21, 2006|By CAROLYN BIGDA | CAROLYN BIGDA,TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

Dear Diary: Today I spent $80 for a pair of shoes I didn't need. I work hard for my money, so why do I let it quickly slip through my fingers at the first sight of a cute pair of heels?

Each of us maintains a running dialogue in our heads about the money we earn, save and spend. Maybe we write some of those thoughts down for reference.

But can you imagine posting your money matters online for all to read and comment on?

Turns out, that's just what more and more twentysomethings are doing.

Blog writers, many of whom shield their identity, say it's easier to discuss their finances online than with friends.

"There's a stigma attached to talking about how much you make," said Jeff, 23, who works for an investment company in New York and writes the Road to Rich blog (www.roadtorich.com). "The anonymity relieves that pressure. You can just pour out all the information."

You can search for blogs through Google (blogsearch.google.com). Blogs typically have links to other personal finance blogs. Find one and you can click your way to a network of others.

It's worth taking time to explore, because not all blogs have the same perspective.

For instance, the Road to Rich blog caters to young professionals who are making a comfortable salary and looking for the best way to use their income.

Make Love, Not Debt (www.makelovenotdebt.com), on the other hand, is written by a young couple in Chicago who focus on getting out of debt and saving enough to pay for their 2008 wedding in cash.

And then there's Young and Broke (www.youngandbroke.typepad.com), written by Amanda Gleason, 23, of Chicago, who doesn't post her net worth like other bloggers. She simply shares her experiences in the hope of inspiring young professionals to take control of their money.

On MyMoneyBlog (www.mymoneyblog.com), 27-year-old Jonathan Ping of Portland, Ore., gives a play-by-play account of what happens when you buy a four-week Treasury bill.

It's reassuring to see someone else recount his experience. Just keep in mind that these bloggers are not expert money managers, and what works for your peers may not necessarily be the best solution for you.

Carolyn Bigda writes for Tribune Media Services.

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