People ask me all the time why I created RinggitOhRinggit.com, a personal finance blog. And the genuine answer is… I find it fun. Money experiments, budgeting, savings hacks, all that. I love them all.
Aside from that, personal finance is exciting for me because not only do I get to do money experiments on myself, I also get to learn how other people do their personal finance. It’s fascinating.
Imagining how people live through their money decisions
Happily, personal finance is an abundant topic on the web. Every day I have so much fun browsing online financial portals, websites, blogs and social media. As I read the posts, I mentally wander and imagine myself in other people’s shoes. It helps me connect to humanity, all 7.7 billion of us.
I know I’m not the only one with this interest, because as of writing time, the r/personalfinance subreddit boasts 14.9 MILLION members all over the world.
So, what are the situations and circumstances that make one’s personal finance, personal? It could be country – different countries have different financial systems. It could be gender. It could be occupation. There could be millions of variables.
What if we have a macro-level view?
What topics are related to personal finance?
Recently, I found this fascinating tool called Anvaka, which does exactly that. It renders a graph of related subreddits for any given one. So I present to you: here is the graph that comes out when I type in the subreddit r/personalfinance.
Isn’t that cool? You can download that image and zoom in (or do yourself at Anvaka), but let me list all the subreddits that are most closely related to the r/personalfinance subreddit (going clockwise from the top):
What the graph tells us about personal finance
Here are just some thoughts that came to mind, in no particular order:
1) While Relationships are not directly personal finance, it will HUGELY affect personal finance
For better or for worse, the people around you will affect your finances. For example,
- Divorces cause financial ruin for a lot of people
- Fighting with family members over certain financial decisions (inheritance, wedding planning etc)
- A supportive partner will enable you to improve yourself, including financially
- An entitled partner will manipulate and leech onto you to finance their lifestyle
- Narcissistic parents will guilt you into buying everything they want, as a way to ‘repay’ them
- Workplace drama will cause people to quit even a high-paying job
2) Many communities are VERY US-centric
Some of these subreddits are not particularly useful for us Malaysians, as the conversations are very US-centric. For example:
- MilitaryFinance – Advice for people joining the US army
- StudentLoans – Advice for people paying off (huge) student debts
- Insurance – Advice for people looking for insurance in the US
- Tax – Tax advice
- Churning – ‘Gaming’ credit cards to get free points for travel etc
- Legaladvice – self-explanatory
- Realestate – mostly about US real estate
You might be able to find good advice, but I’d skip it because the products, laws and practices are simply different for us.
3) Saving money on food
EatCheapAndHealthy and MealPrepSunday are two huge subreddits filled with amazing tips for cooking on a budget. If you need to save money and can’t reduce any more expenses from both Accommodation and Transportation categories, then check these out!
4) Almosthomeless subreddit is an eye-opener
The posts on Almosthomeless (and homeless) subreddit are gut-wrenching – raw and honest posts from people looking for help, so they can avoid and escape homelessness. Everyone who’ve ever wanted to help the homeless should read – it’ll give some insight on what kind of help they actually need, instead of what you *think* they need.
5) Financialindependence, Entrepreneur, RealEstate and Investing subreddits strongly link to each other
That’s not surprising, considering running a business, investing money and property ownership give the strongest chance to financial independence.
Reddit =/= the whole internet
Those of you who are new to Reddit, I’m going to warn you – it’s hella addictive. It’s great for finding communities; no matter what you are into, chances are you’ll find your people there. If you’re into personal finance and exploring alternative lifestyles and specific tips, here are 25 Personal Finance Subreddits For You To Find ‘Your People’.
As mentioned, many Reddit posters represent the US or Western experience, so it would be naive of me to suggest these macro-level view is an accurate representation of the topics most closely related to personal finance. However, it’s a good overview to start with.
I have shared my 2 sens on what I thought about the macro-level view. What are your thoughts? Which part of it do you find fascinating, or surprising? As always, I’d love to hear from you – comment below 🙂