debt debs

Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!

Spotlight on Adversity


spotlight-on-adversityA new visitor left a comment on my blog last week so I returned the favour and visited her blog. I found out she was a new blogger figuring out her way in paying down 10’s of thousands of debt. Way less than me, but still enough that she said it would take her four years, on her income, to pay it off.

I browsed a few posts and in her most recent one she described, with very great excitement, her new strategy.  It involved cashing in $16K of her 401K investments and using a portion of it to pay down debt and about $6K for two vacations. Say what?

Her justification was that it would reduce interest costs by a thousand or two, and reduce debt repayment by two years. She was clearly very enthused having figured out this was a great thing to do, and only due to that I had some reservation about bursting her bubble. But in good conscience I could not leave a flippant comment or even skulk away and leave without commenting.

adversity-from-happy-placeI spent considerable time outlining in about 5 points why this was not a good thing, including showing her the formula in excel (she was also an excel geek) that would give her the future value of her $16K. I empathized that maybe this was news she didn’t want to hear.   I also coached that I was coming from a good place with my advice having been to the school of hard knocks myself.


She acknowledged in her reply comment that she would think about it. (Yay!)  A day or so later she wrote a post acknowledging my comment, indicating she reviewed my blog and thought long and hard about it and decided that we have different stories and my advice did not apply to her. She indicated that she was not a spender (there were some warning signs in her blog posts that indicated otherwise) and was from a cultural background that you worked until you dropped dead, so living for today was her priority. Full stop.

I acknowledged her post, and praised her for giving it careful consideration and also for the proactive steps she was taking to address their financial situation. However, I also reiterated that my advice was still the same, and added that if she decided to go ahead, please be sure to put the interest saved aside and apply it towards the debt, otherwise her scheme would be completely without financial validity and robbing her future for lifestyle inflation for today (although I didn’t say in those words, it was implied).

Fast forward a day and I went back to see her response to my comment and the blog was no longer there. I found out on twitter that others had commented after me and supported my position.   I gather the comments were all written respectfully and in as best a way of possible to point out the issues with her tactics. (I didn’t see them, but this is what I have gathered from some feedback after the fact).

So this brings me to my point on this post. Where do we draw the line in offering advice in the personal finance (PF) blogging world?

We Write, Therefore, We Ask For It

Why do we blog about PF if not to share our stories or get advice? OK, there may be some commercial motives for some as well, but let’s put that aside. We choose to blog about PF because we are any or all of the following:

  1. Passionate about it
  2. Have some experience
  3. Want to help others on PF topics
  4. Want to get advice for ourselves
  5. Want to get support for our situation / journey


In my case, all of the above apply. But I have to realize that not all are in this same mindset. In fact, I would say that said blogger was only interested in item #5, and when the support did not come in the way she expected, she bailed.

Does this mean that we should decipher the motives of each PF blogger and then decide how we will comment? H3LL NO!

First of all, you can have your perceptions about why they blog, but how do you really know unless they have stated explicitly or they have been blogging for awhile and you have been reading similarly?  This may be a circumstance where you decide to hold back. I’ve done it, even though I didn’t agree, but should I?

If someone opens up their personal finance situation on a blog, they need to be in it for options 4 and 5 above, in my opinion. Or at least be ready to agree to disagree and not take another person’s point of view personally. If you are telling your story but just looking for placating people to agree with every move you make you are not really helping yourself.  You are creating an environment where your tunnel vision may become entrenched.  Most importantly, you are not creating a place where people can discuss and share ideas openly and not fear of offending.  If you can’t stand the heat, then your actions speak louder than your words.

When Is Support Not Enough?

same-language-adversityThere are plenty of “rah rah, you go!” type comments in the PF community and I get that. I’m happy to get them myself when I’ve had a rough month financially. Particularly if you are a debt blogger, these journeys are tough. All of your money is not going towards FI. It feels like you’re still trying to get to the starting line. Knowing when to give a blogger a jeer up only and when to offer some alternative idea they may not have considered, requires some astute perception.

Praise where praise is due is totally warranted. Posts filled with comment streams of this can appear to be a little self serving. Meh, call me jaded but a little too much of that turns me off. I like a nice balance of thought provoking comments, questions, commenters responding to other comments etc. We are a community that speaks the same language, so we should be comfortable in communicating openly in a thoughtful and always respectful manner.

I’m always learning.  I don’t have all the answers (far from it!). But I may have an opinion and it could even be changed as I learn more about the topic. Therefore, I welcome and even solicit advice in my blog posts. I’ll also ask for this in comments to other blogger posts. I get it. I’ve made mistakes and may be unwittingly making more. That’s another reason why I’m here. To get better at this stuff.

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

Sure, spending less than you earn, pay yourself first, pay off credit cards every month are all basic concepts and learned quickly, but what about the tricky stuff?

Just the other day I left a comment on a post that got me thinking about a tactic I deployed to extend mortgage amortization period and now I’m wondering if it was a good move.   I’m also still navigating the waters of investments in my retirement portfolio and rely on many great dividend bloggers to learn (and BTW thanks for answering my dumb questions!).

If I write a post on something I am doing and you don’t agree with me, please tell me.  As I said, my motives for blogging are all five listed above. I think I would have a hard time finding others who are not welcome to dissenting opinions in a respectful manner. We’re not looking for disparaging and hateful remarks the likes of bigger media sites. Those comments are really not helpful and just point out the lack of self confidence in people in this world, but that’s another topic. In personal finance blogs, there is no point in putting our ideas, tactics, strategies, concerns and questions out there if we are not ready to at least listen.

What If Someone Is Not Ready?

People don’t just wake up one day and decide to be a PF blogger. They usually will have been reading blogs for a period of time, some longer than others. Often they have a story to tell, some experience on the topic, or it could be that they’re just sick and tired of worrying about their finances. They’ve hit rock bottom on their financial situation and are ready to climb out.

Call me brazen, but if the latter applies, I’m pretty sure those people, like me, are open to constructive criticism. We are not looking for support just so that we can repeat the same dumb mistakes we’ve made in the past.  We acknowledge that there may be times we are too close to the situation to see it.  All feedback will be considered and although we may not agree, or decide the situation does not match our priorities, we can accept this and move on.

stonewall-adversityIf every opinion is contrary to ours, we may feel outnumbered or dare I say – ganged up on.  This alone is very telling, and should provide all the more reason to question our motives.  The support will remain, as we find our way, or I certainly hope so.

If someone is writing a debt blog but not responsive to differing opinions, then I can only think that they have not hit their rock bottom yet.  As readers, we may suspect this, but then should we couch our comments accordingly?  I say ‘no’. We lose our credibility if we do not state our views.

The Need to Speak Your Truth

Now my views may be more in favour of MMM badassity principles or Frugalwoods extremes and yours may be like Fruclassity or even not that frugal at all.  That’s quite alright. Our goals may be different.

This is where we need to appreciate our differences, but it doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong. It’s all from the point of view of that person.

Don’t write a blog unless you are willing to allow dissenting views from yours.   Be open to views that are all dissenting.  You might learn something … or at least help others who have stumbled across your blog.  We all make mistakes, and if we weren’t wanting to help, we wouldn’t be reading in the first place.

What is your philosophy on adversity on the internet? 

Part of

Friday Jet Fuel #15 ~click to join in too!


Author: debster

I am a fifty-something wife, mother and new grandmother, who admits to having their “head in the sand” about their financial situation until amassing $247,500 worth of consumer debt for a total debt of $393,500. We've paid $121K in 2 years with four more years to go. Join my journey at sharing ideas and motivation to all those coping with poor money management and bad debt decisions.

41 thoughts on “Spotlight on Adversity

  1. Agreed. I think dissenting viewpoints are an integral part of blogging and the entire exercise of outlining our finances for the world to see. As long as folks are respectful and not intentionally rude, I think it adds value to the experience. I appreciate your shout-out for my extreme frugal weirdo status :). While I totally embrace it and love it, I also completely get that it’s not for everyone (although everyone should adopt a greyhound ;) ). Thanks for sharing your thoughts, my friend.
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…Weekly Woot & Grumble: 6 Months & A Healthy HoundMy Profile

  2. ooooooooh, Debs, this is a subject near and dear to me. A while back I wrote a post on a kind of similar subject. If we can’t take criticism, we can’t grow. I agree that it shouldn’t be insulting and demeaning, but we need to be able to take honest and helpful opinions in the spirit in which they’re given. It sounds like she just didn’t want to be talked out of what she really wanted to do and if she didn’t shut her blog down she might have come to her senses. She obviously didn’t want that. You did the right thing. You tried to help her. You probably helped others who read your comments to her too. You never know who may have read it just when they needed it. Great post Debs ! :D
    kay ~ recently posted…Frugal Groupies?My Profile

    • I was just going to mention that post! Dissenting in a respectful manner is constructive. Mean and hateful things (whether they are a dissent or concurrence, in my opinion) are not. Love this post, Deb. Though I do hope that woman is doing okay, and that she takes the advice you and others provided to heart. If she couldn’t handle it, maybe deleting her blog was the best possible route for her.
      femmefrugality recently posted…Buddhism and Finances Part 2My Profile

  3. I saw your tweet yesterday and was wondering the back story. You were spot on with your comment. I hope you don’t second guess your action (comment). Like you stated, it sounds like this blogger just wasn’t ready to change her ways. I remember being at this stage as a young 20-something when I was known as the “Queen of Plastic” and thought I knew everything… I really want to beat my young 20-something self over the head some days. LOL.
    Nichole @Budget Loving Military Wife recently posted…Favorite Reads & Versatile Blogger AwardMy Profile

  4. I have a new blog and I’ve been looking for a bit of advice/encouragement when it comes to commenting on posts that I may not agree with, thanks.
    Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom recently posted…Can You Stick To Your Grocery List?My Profile

  5. I’m glad you brought up this topic, Debs. I find that I’ve had to navigate the whole credit card debate with some trepidation. I am very wary of credit cards and discourage using them. I see credit cards as a gateway to debt, and I believe that cc companies and a wide use of ccs has been key in recent skyrocketing levels of personal debt. I have noticed that when I stating my stand on the credit card issue in a comment – only where it is appropriate to do so – my comment is either a) not published at all or b) I get a response that makes me think I’ve offended the blogger, or c) (and this is my favourite) the blogger responds respectfully, even if he or she holds another view.
    I really appreciate the fact that you’ve opened up this topic. I’m with you. It makes a blog site richer when there is disagreement, debate, and an opportunity to question – as long as it’s all done respectfully. This has been therapeutic. Thanks! I’ll continue being honest, and I’ll continue to respect the differing opinions of others along the way.
    Prudence Debtfree recently posted…Debt Talk: Breaking the Taboo at WorkMy Profile

  6. *Insert generic rah rah, you go! comment here* Haha :D I would also like the PF community to keep an open mind and be respectful when corresponding to others. Looking at things from another perspective can help us grow into more successful investors. I sometimes change my opinions as well when I come across dissenting views, which is good because the change is for the better :)
    Liquid recently posted…Don’t be Fooled by Labor Market DataMy Profile

  7. You’re wrong!!!

    Haha, just kidding.

    I always thought people have a personal finance blog because of the five reasons you mentioned. I know that’s why I blog. I want to help others see what took me so long to see and I want to ask for help. I am obviously not an expert and don’t know everything – I don’t think I ever will know everything. And I don’t expect everybody to agree with what I say.

    The reason I have a PF blog is to start a discussion so I can learn more.

    Most PF bloggers are pretty good about allowing a difference of opinions – like it should be – but there are some that just want everybody to agree with them. I commented on a very popular site the other day, saying that I don’t agree with something she said and she responded with “Thanks for the unsolicited advice.”

    What? I thought you let people comment so they can also provide advice not just praise on how awesome your article was.

    People should open up and listen to other people’s advice and opinions, and if you don’t agree with their opinion state why you don’t agree instead of just dismissing it completely.
    Aldo @ Million Dollar Ninja recently posted…The Friday Five – Why Isn’t College Free in The U.S.?My Profile

  8. I have to agree with you. I have been fairly successful with my FI journey and current lifestyle but as you say we only know what we know. I read blogs that aren’t exactly a match to where I am at but I like to see new ideas and accept what works for me. I have disagreed with some things I read because they are too extreme and not worth it to me but I didn’t call them on it. I don’t think they are wrong but that we are in a different place. I just won’t comment then. As to if I put myself out there with personal financial details about what I am doing or planning to do then I should not only accept dissenting views I should welcome them. First and foremost I want to be successful in my financial independence and freedom. That really should be the goal of all FI bloggers. Everyone makes mistakes and we should welcome advise. That said I have a responsibility to be very sure about my negative position before leaving it as a comment. I don’t think we should powder-coat our comments but make sure the issue and reasoning was truly understood before commenting.
    LeisureFreak Tommy recently posted…Preparing for Cold Weather DrivingMy Profile

  9. I definitely appreciate diversity of opinions and practices. There are always a number of factors (e.g. age, income, desired lifestyle in retirement, to retire at all, etc.) that will lead different people down different paths. In the 15 months or so that I have been blogging, I have only really come out once and let a fellow PF blogger know that I thought their guidance/advice was way off target. In that case, they were suggesting that not only can credit cards be used as an emergency fund, they were suggesting it was a good idea.
    SavvyJames recently posted…Cream City Hustle – A NovelMy Profile

  10. That’s really unfortunate, Deb. I think being a blogger is inviting conversation and if you aren’t willing to have some dissenting opinion, then what is the point? I don’t think what she is doing is a wise idea either, but she clearly has made up her mind. In her case, I would just say, “thanks for commenting, but I’ll have to disagree.” Even if the math supports your idea. I want people to tell me if I’m making a mistake, or if they think I should do something else. If not in a comment, in an email. Doesn’t mean I’ll take the advice, but I like to hear different perspectives. Being in debt can be so insular, which is exactly why I started blogging. Thanks for sharing your experience, Deb. Bummer she deleted all your work, lol!
    Melanie @ My Alternate Life recently posted…I’m Officially Injured, Missing Money & Apartment HuntingMy Profile

  11. I also feel that once you put yourself in the public eye that means you need to prepare yourself to face a variety of opinions. Some will not be in agreement with your own. Once it’s stated with a respectful intent then I have no problem with others who would object or present alternative views. If I feel strongly about my viewpoint, I won’t sugarcoat it. Also I dislike when people cririque but don’t substantiate their opinion or provide alternate solutions.
    Kassandra @ More Than Just Money recently posted…I’m A Hustler, Baby!My Profile

  12. Right on! I wholeheartedly agree with all you’ve said here, as long as the comments appear to come from a good place. I’ve had the experience of a commenter who seemed just to like to disparage for the sake of it, and not so much because they actually wanted to help. Not cool.
    Amy recently posted…A Garage Sale Without the Garage SaleMy Profile

  13. I like to think I blog for all five of those reasons! I have learned an enormous amount about personal finance by reading other blogs, whether they share the same view on finances as I or not. I love the diversity and the opportunity to learn from others. We all have our own stories and experiences, and I think it’s great we’ve made the decision to share them with others. As Mrs. FW said, our ideas and beliefs may not be for everyone, but I there can still be takeaways there. I’m not nearly as extreme as MMM, but if it weren’t for his blog, I never would have thought that early retirement (especially at 30) was remotely possible. While I have found the community to be supportive, I would still think of it as support if someone were to show concern for what I’m doing, as long as the comment was phrased politely.
    Erin @ Journey to Saving recently posted…October Budget PreviewMy Profile

  14. I appreciate a good dose of criticism. If I didn’t want feedback, I could just keep my thoughts to my self. No point in sharing it with the world. You and DC at YAM challenged me on different things right when I needed to hear it. I’m grateful for both pieces of advice.

    Great post Debs!
    Kate@GoodnightDebt recently posted…I’m ignoring my debt.My Profile

  15. I also read the blog post you are referring to and think maybe the blogger you are referring to has not yet fully had her ‘lightbulb moment’ as we call it – especially in terms of referring to oneself as ‘not having a spending problem’.

    But – people can only provide so much advice -as well founded as your was and others in the comments section – a person needs to be at a stage to accept them. I accept all comments on my blog openly – in fact I’m just thankful if someone comments at all!! When we expose ourselves on the world wide web we need to expect that our approaches are evident for all to see.

    I wish her good luck but I say – there was nothing wrong with the advice you gave Debt Debs and we all have our quirky ways of tackling our debts (for example I never buy clothes but do have a cheeky cigarette or two!) – so long as we all become debt free I am happy! :)

    Natalya recently posted…The Wonga DilemmaMy Profile

  16. “If someone is writing a debt blog but not responsive to differing opinions, then I can only think that they have not hit their rock bottom yet.” Word! There is someone I follow who falls into that category but at the very least they are receptive to feedback, but sometimes I’m the only one who gives constructive feedback when the rest of the comments are rah rah and I’m thinking, “what?!??!” But I often have to think really hard about how I post that comment because I truly do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but something HAS to be said or that person might continue making huge (IMHO) mistakes. But often time I wonder if I should just walk away, but you’re right in that a person with a PF blog, and one especially who asks a question at the end should be open to feedback.

  17. I totally know how your commenter feels… Everytime you leave a comment on my blog I also feel like closing up shop, Debs! Oh wait, no, that’s not right. :D

    Don’t feel bad about that it though, you were just trying to help her out by providing your point of view. I’m sure you were polite and supportive as always. We’re all entitled to our own opinions and if you can’t take it that someone else’s views differ from yours, blogging is not for you. (Even other people are not for you!)

    I actually like it when someone else opposes my views. If everyone agrees sheepishly you sometimes lose focus or critical view ons things. And it’s the best way to learn about new things!

    No More Waffles recently posted…Outrage in Belgium, Federal Government Raises Retirement Age to 67My Profile

  18. Absolutely. I’m not blogging to teach anyone anything… I’m in it to learn. Putting pen to paper (kind of a euphemistic term these days, but I like it) means I have to read up about things and double-check all my facts to make sure I really understand what I’m talking about. That keeps me accountable and makes sure I give everything a lot of thought before clicking PUBLISH. But the other side of it is reading other people’s comments and learning from their experiences and views. If I’m wrong, I’m happy to admit it. And I’m happy to have my opinion swayed if you’ve got a stronger argument or more experience. But it’s all about learning.
    Myles Money recently posted…#SmartMoney | 12th Oct 2014My Profile

  19. I’m familiar with the whole situation you’re talking about and man, I can only imagine how it must be to be new coming into this and not be used to criticism or comments. I’ve developed a pretty thick skin after 4.5 years of doing this but every now and then someone kind of catches me off guard. I think we do owe it to each other and our communities to spread the word about smart financial choices – that’s why I do it, both to get advice and to give it. I know I’m not perfect when it comes to money and I feel honored to be in a community with so many smart people who can give advice when I need it!
    Cat @ Budget & the Bees recently posted…The Buzz Around the Web #7My Profile

  20. Blogs are a conversation, albeit one where we can’t necessarily see the people we’re talking with. I’m good with comments and opinions that differ from mind — my only expectation is that we be respectful of each other as we express our dissent.

    A politely expressed different opinion is pretty light adversity. I’d love for all my life challenges to be that ‘tough.’
    Jean recently posted…Weathering the Retirement Storms:  The 2 Critical KeysMy Profile

  21. Those five reasons are what I always consider whenever i write so it makes me motivated. I also commend that most articles in the article are really good and I can see writers are really into it. But, beware that there are still some that are not credible enough or senseless. Whenever I read blogs, I get opportunities and ideas. Based on experience, when a blog is more personal, I read it from start to end. More importantly, I learn so much from it.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Red Bull Might Not Give You Wiiings, But They Will Give You $10My Profile

  22. I welcome comments with different points of view. I want to hears others thoughts on what I’m doing, it will help me think about my finances in ways I may have not considered before.
    Brian @DebtDiscipline recently posted…Week End Round Up #52My Profile

  23. Agree. Having a good mix of comments makes it much more worthwhile to read. We also learn a lot from the varied opinion of everyone – yound, old, experienced, beginner, etc.
    How to Save Money recently posted…Saving Money at HomeMy Profile

  24. As much as I gave you grief about your honest response to that gal, I thought your advice was spot-on. And I agree, Deb: when you choose to blog openly, you’re choosing to open yourself up. It’s not always fun, but it’s part of the game, and who would we be as bloggers if we didn’t, at least on some level, try and share our thoughts in order to help others become debt free? No guilt, girlfriend – you did the right thing.
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…Why You’ll Never Be Happy Keeping Up With the JonesesMy Profile

  25. I love constructive dissent! I’d be writing in a journal instead of a blog if I assumed that everything I thought was the end-all and be-all of personal finance ideas. You definitely succeeded though; even if she still didn’t agree, it’s equally important to think more deeply and recognize all the layers of a situation.
    Mario recently posted…Six tips to vacation in New York WITHOUT looking like a touristMy Profile

  26. I’m not familiar with the blogger you are referring to, but this is something that I occasionally struggle with as well (probably everyone does), especially when I don’t know the blogger very well. Like you, I don’t want to pretend everything is peachy keen when it’s not. Those who I do know well also know me well and know any criticism I give is given with best intentions and love. And depending on the situation, the comment section isn’t always the best place to “talk”, and dropping a personal email to keep it private is another good option I will use if that feels more appropriate. It’s clear the blogger loved her plan and when she received multiple cautionary comments against it, she quit. It’s certainly her right to do so, but it’s also our right to point out concerns too. I have no time for people who troll sites to say hurtful things just for the fun of it. Those comments are deleted and ignored. But I welcome dissenting thoughts as long as they respectful to me and other commenters. Most of the bloggers I interact with want to give back and help others succeed. And we don’t do that when we ignore red flags that our fellow friends may not see.
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted…6 Ways to Stay Motivated While Eliminating DebtMy Profile

  27. Great post Deb! I struggle all the time with whether or not I should make truly honest comments to people because you really don’t know how some people will process it. I do feel, though, that if you are going to get honest on your blog, you have to accept the fact that you are going to get honest comments both good and bad. I have been in sales for 14 years and I always ask for honest feedback from my clients and bosses because I feel that constructive comments are really the only way for you to improve. Even comments that might not feel good to hear probably have some basis in truth that can help me grow.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Music Mondays – Getting MarriedMy Profile

  28. That’s unfortunate the person decided to take down the blog, as I think it’s pretty motivating to keep one during such a long and challenging process. I mostly comment to encourage others, but if I don’t agree with something then I might offer suggestions (I don’t expect them to take it as I’m obviously not an expert, but perhaps consider it). Hopefully they’ll have a change of heart and realize that some advice/suggestions are with good intentions and to be more open hearted about it. It can be really challenging to feel like one’s doing something ‘wrong’ (or perhaps not as efficiently), so maybe they’re just not ‘there’ yet?
    anna recently posted…Pregnancy Notes Round 2!My Profile

  29. Debs,

    Stick to your guns. Unless there is a dire emergency, it is foolish to rob one’s retirement savings to pay for today’s lifestyle.

    Criticism and give and take are part of the blogging dialogue, as long as it is done openly and fairly (as opposed to anonymous trolls).

    Keep on spreading your message!


  30. I feel that having disagreements is healthy every once in a while. In fact every once in a while on the site I like to bring a subject and have my readers debate it. It get them involved because everyone has an opinion and they are always willing to share it
    marty recently posted…If you could ask a budgeting/ financial expert anything what would it be ?My Profile

  31. I tend to think very carefully when leaving comments that fall under the heading of “helpful critique.” Having made a million stupid financial moves in my life I understand that people don’t always want to hear what you have to say. Or, they aren’t ready to hear what you say. When I read blogs like this I just approach commenting with a holistic viewpoint. Meaning-I want to slowly draw their attention to habits/etc. that might not be working for them….knowing that they will continue to do what they do because that’s how people are. They have to learn on their own.

    I also read that comment and the post addressing your concern and think that both of you have valid points. You’re right that that blogger will lose out on long-term financial gains and that maybe it’s not a great idea to pay for a vacation with your 401k. Ahem. But, to say that working as long as you’re healthy and vibrant and offer something to an organization is a bad long-term approach to her life is maybe a personal opinion vs. the reality of what this person has seen around them. I think the disconnect is that you are talking about having the CHOICE to work vs. HAVING to work because you have no choice. This person might just be too young to get that distinction. Hopefully this person will continue to think about this decision and see that the comment was made out of genuine concern.
    Michelle recently posted…$9.91 on Groceries at Whole Foods-The Art of Intentional UsageMy Profile

  32. I agree with your statements that it wouldn’t be the best idea to use the money on two vacations. To me that is a no brainer. But I hesitate on giving specific advice because of the liability issue. On most blogs there is a disclaimer starting that they aren’t a professional and that the advice is general and shouldn’t be relied on. The problem with mine is that I am a professional and I worry someone might take something very general to be specific to their situation and do something bad with their money
    Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet recently posted…Costco’s Secret Price CodesMy Profile

  33. I generally keep things fairly positive, even if the blogger is doing something I wouldn’t have done myself, unless the post is actually asking for advice/thoughts (which a lot of them are) but I think there’s a line, and in this situation I would have said something cautionary too. It’s one thing to disagree about robbing a retirement fund to pay debt — I wouldn’t, myself, but I can see a reasonable case — but for a vacation?!

    I have an IRL friend that I am *dying* to knock some sense into — she’s in a bad financial position for a variety of reasons, some of which are of her own making and some of which are not. That’s one thing. But she keeps spending money — like, at this particular moment she wants to spend $25 on a Halloween costume for her 1-year-old. She knows she can’t go on major vacations, but it’s clear to me from what she says that money is going in dribs and drabs for things that aren’t necessary but that she thinks bring joy to what is right now a fairly restricted life. Since I did this myself for years (ohhhhhhhhhhh, the $25s and $50s here and there I’d like to have back) I’m not in a position to judge, but I want to yell “save the $25s and $50s and you will actually have money to pay the dentist’s bill” or whatever. But I can’t, because she’s obviously not in a mental state where she’s able/willing to take advice like that.

    That was a long digression, but the point is: she didn’t start a PF blog. I just know this because of twitter, email, etc. If she’d started a blog, you can be sure I’d be making some constructive comments about the Halloween costume :)
    Cecilia@thesingledollar recently posted…My transformation into my grandmother is 90% completeMy Profile

  34. I love posts that inspire debate and am always welcome to differing opinions and constructive criticism. I don’t expect anyone to have my same goals and motivations, but if you don’t know that borrowing from your 401k to go on vacation is a bad idea, you probably have not hit bottom. What I hate is people who would rather cut you down than take a long hard look at their situation.
    Kim recently posted…Where Is The Best Place To Retire?My Profile

  35. 6k for two vacations? I took an all inclusive trip to Mexico for 1k and that was one of the most expensive vacays I’ve had!

    I also think it’s strange for a blogger not to be open to constructive criticism. I get it if it’s just a commenter who doesn’t blog, but I find bloggers are generally pretty awesome about objectively considering other opinions.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…Is Assuming the Worst Keeping You From Saving Money?My Profile

  36. I haven’t run across too many posts I totally disagree with. Often I just don’t leave a response if I have issues with what they’ve written – mostly because I haven’t figured it all out myself. I like a constructive dialogue and don’t mind advice in my comments. You actually advised me in one if my posts about asking for a raise! And it was great that you weren’t all “great job, Kirsten”. You had another viewpoint, and that’s awesome!
    Kirsten recently posted…Mom TimeMy Profile

  37. A true friend doesn’t accept you for who you are, they try to help you become better than you are right now…and do the same for you. Sometimes we only think of things as black and white and right and wrong, but there are so many options and opinions out there. It is so good to read and read and study and determine what is best. I would never be where I am today without people expecting more out of me than I expected for myself and I thank those people everyday because if they didn’t push me I would be struggling in life when there was simply no reason to because I hadn’t applied myself fully.
    Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income recently posted…Oh No! The Stock Market is Going On SaleMy Profile

  38. LOVE THIS! You have given me a bit of tough love in the past Debs and I needed it! As long as you are going about it in a constructive way and backing up your opinion with some facts, I think it’s fine to disagree. If everyone agreed about everything all the time life would be boring!
    Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore recently posted…How I get my Makeup for FREE!My Profile

  39. Pingback: Weekend Reading: Market Meltdown Edition | Our Big Fat Wallet

  40. Well put, although I’m just curious, did you perhaps prepare a comment and then step back for a day to ponder? That’s a tactic that has served me well when I’m facing a difficult conversation. It sounds like your comment was very carefully considered. Actually, your dialogue above makes me hope that you’ll stop by and offer some constructive comments my way. Our paths have been somewhat different too, but that’s the very reason why help from others can be so fantastic; we get a fresh look at our viewpoints and new ideas.
    Janeen recently posted…The Siren’s Lure: Reward Points for Credit CardsMy Profile