Published on February 21st, 2014 | by Pete0
It’s that time again, where we invite another one of our personal finance blogging friends. Today, we hear from Graham, the man behind Moneystepper.com, as well as a regular contributor to our site. We hope you enjoy his words of wisdom and encouragement as much as we did:
1.What made you start blogging about personal finance?
I thought that I had something to contribute. Having read personal finance sections of mainstream media for years, I was becoming fed up with the lack of analysis and proof provided.
Each day, I would read a new sensational headline. When you look behind it, you would find no support. I spoke to other people about this and they got annoyed with the same thing.
Therefore, I try to present articles on moneystepper which form unbiased opinions based on the actual underlying data.
This is probably best demonstrated through an example. I would read a headline in the paper which screams out “Britain’s house prices soar” in their big black bold font.
Then, I would look into the detail. The process for the article went:
1. An estate agent would complete a survey or an investigation of some sort (maybe looking at 10,000 house sales across the country).
2. They would highlight a small part of the data in their “analysis” which supported their point. For instance, they want more people to sell houses, so they report that there was 10% increase in sales prices in the year. However, they don’t mention that this was only for a small part of one city and that it was the price that the house was listed for rather than what it sold for.
3. The lazy newspaper reporter takes the headline and makes it even more sensational for their readers.
In this real life example from last year, the actual data showed that house price movement (on sold properties) across the UK was flat. These house prices fell in real terms against inflation. Outside of London, house prices fell for the majority of the regions.
However, this was simply reported by the mainstream media as “Britain’s house prices soar”. A win for the estate agent in question!
My other objective is to educate readers in the power of the long term. In all my articles, I show how much someone could save or earn by performing a certain task. However, I also ensure that I demonstrate the savings over the long-term after the impact of, everyone’s favourite friend, compound interest!
2. What is your favourite money saving tip?
I have posted in the past about a couple of different tips that I follow every day which really help me to save money.
I find the best is the “future pricing strategy”. The idea is to calculate the cost of something not at its current price, but instead at its future cost. Using the “rule of 72”, with an interest rate of 4% above inflation, I have to multiply the price of something I buy now by 4 to put it in terms of its cost when I retire. Therefore, say I’m about to splash out £40 for a meal. In my head, it now actually costs £160. All of a sudden, I’m not so keen to hand over my £40!
3. What is your proudest achievement since you’ve started blogging?
Being interviewed by other wonderful bloggers, of course!!
Otherwise, it was probably the first sale of my ebook. In 2013, I wrote an e-book which guides you through 5 simple steps to become rich: no get rich quick schemes, just solid advice to help you build long-term wealth. After months of hard work, chalking up that first sale on amazon was a pretty exciting moment!
4. What’s the best deal you’ve found recently?
We have just come back from a skiing weekend in the French Alps. Living in Marseille, this is about a 3 hour one-way trip. We managed to find a deal for 2 nights’ accommodation, return bus journey, weekend ski passes and 50% off ski hire for a total of €105. Given that the weekend ski pass alone is €64.50, I would say that this was a bit of a bargain!!
5. What advice would you give to others who want to start blogging about personal finance?
Ask your friends. To find something that my audience will be interesting in, I have found it very useful asking those people around me what concerns and interests them. Not only will the topic inevitably interest others, but these friends are then even more likely to promote your content to their friends & family, if it has directly helped them.