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I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

"Helping themselves"/ "Have your say on the best money blogs"

May 23, 2016 "Helping themselves": I cut out this article by Ora Morison in the National Post on Apr. 22, 2011.  It's about millennials who are blogging about their finances.  It has my right brain with the blog and the left brain with the finances.

I also finally checked out their blogs too:

They lack professional credentials and are sometimes thousands of dollars in debt, but a community of young bloggers are teaching each other how to manage money.

“Growing up I didn’t learn anything. There were no resources available,” says Marianne, the 23-year-old blogger behind She prefers her last name be withheld because her blog divulges personal details on her spending habits and savings.

Under the pseudonym Money Rabbit, Marianne is open about almost every aspect of her finances, dishing on her income, monthly budget and updating readers on her overall net worth. And she’s vocal about the fact she learned nothing about money management in school.

“I can do the quadratic formula, but that doesn’t matter … what does matter is taxes,” she says.

Financial literacy is beginning to make its way in to elementary and high school curriculums across the country. Starting in the fall, students in Ontario will learn about money management in class, and a financial literacy curriculum has existed in British Columbia since 2004.

Unfortunately, many of today’s grads missed out on this education and feel they have been left to fend for themselves. Most of the bloggers are self-taught and make it clear on their websites they cannot offer professional advice. For the most part, they cite books, websites and other blogs as places they’ve gone to learn about personal finance.

Clare, who blogs at and also wants to protect her last name because of the personal information on her blog, writes under the tagline ‘Saving generation Y.’ She’s referring to those born in the 1980s and ’90s who are clueless about how to manage their money.

In the About section of her website, Clare writes that until she began blogging, her 21- and 23-year-old sisters didn’t even know the difference between a debit and a credit card.

“I thought I could start a blog whereby I communicate these concepts in an easy-to-understand way, and hopefully spark personal finance passion in Canadian generation Ys,” Clare says.

Clare has written posts on taxes, mortgages, TFSAs and even how to get your money’s worth from an all-you-can-eat-buffet. (Lunch buffets are half the price of dinner buffets.)

Marianne has had almost 10,000 hits at in six months. Serena, 28, started her blog,, four years ago. Now, she says 50,000 people visit the website each month.

The bloggers say their sites fill a void in personal finance resources for young people.

For people their age, it can be tough to find advice through traditional means.
They say their lack of substantial wealth means financial adviors are reluctant to spend time on them, preferring richer clients.

The first advisor Marianne went to sent her away emptyhanded.
“He told me, ‘I’m sorry but we cannot do anything with you under $1,000,’ ” she says.

At the time, she was looking to invest only $50 per month.

There are government and non-profit websites that aim to help young people navigate their finances, but the bloggers say these sites don’t engage young readers the same way blogs do.

“I think there are plenty of resources out there, but they’re not done in such a way that appeals to our generation,” Serena says. She says there is a big difference between an article on personal finance and a blog post, where the writing is more personal and casual.

Canada’s non-profit Investor Education Fund has a website called Get Smarter About Money. It aims to teach young people about personal finance and has arranged its information by life events, such as having a baby or getting a new job.

“A blog is a great way to learn from other people,” says Tom Hamza, president of the Investor Education Fund. He agrees there are not many good financial literacy resources out there for young people and hopes the blogs will encourage young people to pay attention to the dry personal finance material.

Bloggers often mix lifestyle writing with money matters. They discuss personal relationships, yoga and shopping, but they always tie it back to the reality that these things cost money. Serena says she blogs about a recent trip and then includes the steps she took to budget for travelling. Learning about the personal experiences of other young people as they struggle with spending and saving can inspire readers to do the same, Clare says.

Any resources can help with what Clare sees as a big problem among young people.

“We grew up with the concept of instant gratification,” Clare says. “We aren’t saving like we should be. We aren’t thinking enough about the future.”

"Have your say on the best money blogs": I cut out this article by Rob Carrick in the Globe and Mail on May 3, 2011.  I mainly cut it out because of this picture by Franck Boston for Istockphoto.  It has the word "blog" among all these letters:

It's a slog to find a good personal finance or investing blog.

So let's put our heads together to build a list of the best. Globe journalists (myself included) and outside bloggers have teamed up to create lists of top money blogs. Now, we want you to vote on which of our picks you like best. In a week, we'll publish your choices for the best of the blogs.

Blogs are basically websites where people regularly write on a topic that interests them. Wouldn't you know it, but there are hundreds and quite possibly thousands of people interested enough in money to write blogs on the subject.

"I used to keep a list of Canadian financial blogs," said Ram Balakrishnan, who has written the Canadian Capitalist blog since 2004. "But I just gave up because there are tons coming online."

Blogs have been around for more than 10 years and the novelty factor has definitely worn off. And yet, blogs covering financial topics seem to be coming into their own right now.

For one thing, they're becoming more influential. The other day, the head of one of the country's largest mutual fund operations said to me that he regularly reads financial blogs looking for mentions of his products. When one particular blogger complained about an experience with his funds, this executive had his people call her to put things right.

You'll also find bloggers being integrated into mainstream media. Preet Banerjee of the Where Does All My Money Go blog now writes in our Globe Life section (he also contributed a list of favourite blogs for you to vote on). Mr. Balakrishnan's blog is affiliated with the network of MoneySense websites run by Rogers Digital Media.

Despite this mainstreaming, the appeal of blogs remains their independence. For the most part, blogs are written by everyday people, not financial industry people with something to sell.

Mr. Balakrishnan, a software developer in Ottawa with a wife and three children, spends one to two hours a day on average writing his blog. "I do it for fun, basically," he said. "Also, it does help a little bit with my own personal investing."

One of the original personal finance bloggers in this country, Mr. Balakrishnan says today he has about 3,000 daily readers. Canadian Capitalist is on my list of favourite blogs, and it was also chosen by Kerry Taylor, author of the popular Squawkfox blog, who was invited to be on our best of the blogs panel.

Canadian Capitalist is an example of a generalist personal finance blog covering everything from taxes to investments and insurance, while Squawkfox specializes in frugal living. More and more, the personal finance blogosphere is splitting itself evenly between general and niche topics.

One of the blogs on my favourites list is Canadian Couch Potato, which is all about index investing using exchange-traded funds and index mutual funds. While some blogs fill space with personal musings and platitudes about saving more and spending less, this blog gives you hard analysis. A perfect example is the series of recent posts on tracking error in exchange-traded funds (a must-read for ETF investors).

Another specialized blog on my list is Canadian Mortgage Trends, which is essential reading if you need to know what's happening in the mortgage world.

Bear in mind with personal finance and investing blogs that you're generally reading the work of amateurs. Some are diligent researchers and gifted explainers, while others are just scratching their itch to write and have nothing new to add.

To be fair, maintaining an active blog is a lot of work. At times, even the best are challenged to come up with fresh things to say. That's part of the reason why Mr. Balakrishnan has lately cut back his output a little bit.

"Sometimes," says Canada's pioneering personal finance blogger, "I have writer's block."


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