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Monday 6 March 2017

Not Financial Advice

The logical NOT operator. 
In December last year I decided to go on the hunt for some fresh personal finance content. I was looking for something a little different that could offer some unique perspectives on personal finance and retirement planning.

I knew such content wouldn't come from the usual news websites, and I knew my best shot at unbiased info would probably come from fellow South African bloggers.

So into the search bar I type - "South African Personal Finance Bloggers". Go Google, do your thing! Awesome, a couple of million hits....let's see...

I sift past the top few irrelevant results, hit one or two news articles, find a few inactive blogs, then I hit this other Stealthy Wealth blog (what a load of crap), and then finally I start running into the "pseudo blogs" - those "blogs" that financial services companies publish to get noticed in Google search results - something that clearly works!

Ok so nothing there. What about a search for a South African Personal Finance Blog Directory, that should do the trick - crap, same problem. What about "Early Retirement Blogs South Africa"?

Déjà vu!

Well that can't be right. I know for a fact that there are other bloggers out there! Investor Challenge, ETF Enthusiast, Dividend Tycoon? Damn these financial services companies for hogging all the search results!

So all this got me thinking...

If the bloggers are so hard to find, and there is no directory - instead of me moaning about it, why not create the solution. A personal finance blog directory website! Genius!

This selfish endeavor would then also have a rather cool side effect of possibly helping others find cool S.A. content too. And this would make me look somewhat noble (Sir Stealthy?)

And so in December last year I started putting together a website which would hopefully solve my little dilemma. I created a blog directory with info on all the bloggers I knew of (a whole 4 including myself). I added all the website links, Twitter information and the like.

But this still didn't solve my original problem of finding fellow bloggers. So I figured, well if I can't find content and bloggers, why not let the community help out? So I created a place where people could submit the names and URL's of personal finance bloggers which I had not yet included in the directory.

So if all this happened in December, what the hell has taken so long?

Well after the directory was done, my brain started ticking again. This usually results in me becoming anti social for a while while the cogs turn...

Well that's not going do anything,
they not even connected!
The turning cogs resulted in me coming up with the profound idea to showcase some of the content that the local bloggers are producing. Like a blog post aggregation type thingy ma-bob. I thought every now and then I could sift through new blog posts and then select and feature the best ones on the homepage of the website. At the same time this could assist fellow bloggers who are just starting out to get their names out there.

So I added a "featured blog posts" section.

Then the cogs turned some more, and I realised that every now and then I come across some really good articles and write ups on South African personal finance. So I thought I may as well feature some of the really good ones as well.

And those damn cogs....there are also some very cool personal finance podcasts...and calculators...and tools...oh boy... Added links to those too...

Then more cogs, more turning - seeing I have this submit section where people can submit the names of Bloggers they know, may as well expand that to allow people to submit a cool blog post, or article, or tool... Sharing is caring! Power to the people! *insert rallying call of choice*

When that was done I thought maybe it would be cool to allow people to rate their favourite bloggers...

This was now becoming a real community site - which was great, because it tied in nicely with a recent observation I had made.

Increasingly I have been getting the impression that people are beginning to actually give a shit about their money and where it goes. There seems to be a real drive for people to be better with their money, and many are taking it to the next level with their own plans for FIRE (Financial Freedom/Retiring Early).

It would be amazing to see this community grow with more and more people becoming actively engaged with their finances, which, in turn, will inspire even more people. I suspect the beginning stages of this may already be happening. I am hoping I am right and the website will be flooded with awesome content resulting in everyone benefiting and building the FIRE community.

This is now the right time to throw in some lame puns/metaphors.

I hope the FIRE "spreads" far and wide and "ignites" a passion for people to "burn" through their wasteful expenses and allow their investments to get "cooking"!

So after spending months coming up with that punny sentence, I found myself at the end of February/beginning March. The cogs have now worn out and an oil change is required. I have since blocked out any other areas of expansion (for now....)

So finally the website was complete and ready to go live. I just needed a name...

Not|Financial|Advice (www.notfinancialadvice.co.za)

The name was chosen for three reasons:
  1. Firstly the domain was available - well that's always a good start :)
  2. It may or may not be a subtle dig at the financial services industry where, whenever they are about to rattle off their mechanical default generic answer, which we have all heard before, they usually start off with "this is not financial advice" - I guess legislation says they have to... However legislation doesn't say they have to charge ridiculous percentage based fees! It is possible (albeit maybe not for everyone) to become financially free without any of their "advice" and fees - this is what the website stands for, and my plan for the website is to showcase content which portrays this.
  3. With a name like that there really cannot be any legal repercussions from anyone following any of the suggestions from the website :)
blah blah blah...

The website certainly is not financial advice - but it is a collection of personal finance bloggers, blog posts, articles, tools and resources aimed at the South African Personal Finance and FIRE community with the goal of spreading the word far and wide and encouraging others to be better with their own finances.

Hopefully the website will allow more and more South Africans to join me and some of the other bloggers and readers on our exciting journey!

Anyways feedback always welcome, and if you know of any bloggers or personal finance content that I may have unintentionally overlooked, please let me know - or better yet submit it to the website (the testing on the submit button was far from conclusive :-P)

Thoughts, comments, suggestions and profanities, as always, into the comments below please.

Till next time, Stay Stealthy!
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