Monday, February 16, 2015
My daily morning routine for the past few years had been quite constant. The first thing I do is usually to go to TheFinance.sg to read what other people are blogging about in an area of interest known as 'Personal finance' and 'Finance'. TheFinance.sg is actually a blog aggregator, which means that I just have to access one site to see a range of different sites that contributes to it, saving me a lot of time searching for similar themes and topics.
Do I read the newspaper? I did subscribe to it, though it wasn't my idea at all. I would have preferred not to subscribe. I think newspaper as a source of news is not at all a good idea. News comes in randomly, and the value of a news article decays rapidly with time. To be printed on a national newspaper, you have to get a reporter on the spot, churn out a report, verify the factual information, send it to the editor to approve and finally publish it physically as a newspaper before distributing for public consumption. By then, the short half life of news articles would have rendered it old news already. Which is why social media like facebook and especially twitter, is a better source of breaking news, though often unverified.
So what's the use of traditional printed material like newspaper and news magazine?
It's for their opinions and editorial pieces, where people analyse and give their viewpoints on how the news relate to us. These half digested news piece saves us the trouble of thinking through each and every news article, and probably generate new thought sources and reflection. These opinions of facts, necessarily means they are subjective, but that's the thing I like about them. They don't pretend to give general good advice for everyone. It's the same news but it's seen through the lens of someone with his own usual prejudices and baggage.
Blogs often do give subjective viewpoints. We might all be talking about a particular news, but because we all are different, we'll focus on different parts of the news that are important to us. The sum of parts of many subjective interpretations makes it more objective than any individual subjective parts. If you read widely, especially from different camps, you'll end up having both sides of the argument, and then you can proceed to make your own judgement about the situation.
That is how we should treat all sources of information.
The other main reason of why I like to read blogs is because it's an immersion of this subculture that makes it harder for me NOT to succeed. This subculture of a financial warrior, striving hard to save more and earn more and invest more with the aim of being financially free is weird and when we talk about this subject matter to the everyday common people, we might be seen as... unsociable. Imagine telling someone that our food budget is reached, so is it possible to eat something cheaper today? It's an outright turnoff.
But having gone out with a couple of financial bloggers, we all know what we want. We'll totally understand if someone's budget is nearing a certain amount. We can totally sit down and talk about deep issues on investment and personal finance matters freely. This is just an extension of our online persona into real life. Nothing weird there. In fact, it feels like we're just bantering and commenting on each other's blog as usual, albeit using our body language instead of mere emoticons.
To be immersed in a conducive environment where it's normal to save more than 50% of your income and not drape yourself in fine clothes and fine watches is like a baby bird watching eagles fly. This is just everyday normal life, nothing extraordinary and nothing that we can't do ourselves.
I can't tell you how enlightening and free this can set your mind. Everyone who wants to have a shot at financial freedom ought to be immersed in such an environment.