One of the most common criticisms of blogs is they all churn out the same information – some of it helpful, some of it less so. I personally don’t agree with this and try to make sure The Twenty Percent is as unique as possible. But, just in case you are thinking this, I’ve decided to share some of your most controversial financial opinions.
Personal finance is personal. This means there’s a lot of different views out there. I try to digest as much as possible, because you can learn something from everyone – even those you tend to disagree with. Therefore, I thought this would make an interesting post as there are strong arguments on both sides for many financial points of controversy.
It is worth noting I don’t necessarily agree with all these viewpoints, nor is there generally a right or wrong answer. Instead, these are points that I think are worth considering on your own financial journey.
As always, you should seek professional advice before making any major changes to your financial strategy or situation.
In this post I will cover:
- Attitudes towards wealth and being rich
- Frugal living
- Side hustles
- Home ownership
Your most controversial financial opinions
Being Rich Isn’t the Be All or End All
A lot of people seem to strive to make as much money as possible. Guides proclaiming to give you the tools to make 6 figures a year or £10k a month are common place. Spoiler alert: They won’t teach you this.
However, is the pursuit of money, at the expense of all else, really worth it? There is more to life than money and you don’t necessarily want to miss out on important moments because you spent your life working.
There is of course a balance, as Clarissa (Adventure Fit For Life) pointed out. “Just having money doesn’t make you happy, but having money problems (due to poverty, mismanagement etc.) can make you unhappy real fast.”
It’s also worth looking at the wider implications of your financial decisions, as Budget Your Dream Life argued.
“Sometimes the financial decisions that make the most mathematical sense aren’t the right ones because of their effect on other areas of your life. It’s not worth it to me to sacrifice family time to have more money, as long as we have what I consider enough.
Frugal living is always a hot topic of conversation. In its essence, the idea of frugal living is to spend as little as possible.
Katwants you to know that being frugal is not deprivation. It is perfectly possible to live frugally but still enjoy yourself and treat yourself every now and then. Also, not all pleasures have to cost a lot of money. Often, once you start living more frugally you begin to realise you value simpler things in life more.
But others, like Tom Matthews, argue that you shouldn’t be so frugal that you miss out on experiences and opportunities. It’s one thing to look to cut your expenses, it’s another to always miss out on your friends’ birthday meals or nights out or always say no to holidays.
Like most of these opinions, finding a balance that works for you is the key.
‘You can’t be happy in a 9-5’. ‘You need to spend your free time hustling to be successful.’
But, is this really true? Or is this culture just encouraging us to keep working round the clock, striving for something we may never achieve?
For some, this is their dream and they use it to build a business they may one day be able to run full time. This is a great achievement and should never be belittled.
But, for others it simply becomes another way of punishing themselves and depriving them of things they may actually enjoy, like socialising with friends, exercising or even watching Netflix on the sofa.
It is ok to be happy in your job and not have a side hustle. If you’re building a career, putting your energy fully into doing that could be a better use of your time and give you a greater reward in the long run.
Equally, if you enjoy your side project, that’s also good and can be a form of relaxation. Just remember to take proper breaks too and get enough sleep!
Normally debt is seen as something to be avoided, and with good reason. It can cause huge amounts of difficulties and pain for individuals, particularly if it is mismanaged.
But, when I asked money bloggers what their most controversial financial opinions were, the most popular answer was about debt.
A lot of responses said they thought properly managed debt could help your finances. This is not to say you should rack up large sums of credit card debt – please don’t do this. You should always only spend what you can afford to pay back.
Some forms of debt can help, however. Buying a house or a car often comes with debt. But, most don’t always see it that way.
David, from Money Fitness Journey, has written a very thoughtful post about the pros and cons of debt, where he goes into much more detail than I have space to do here.
Manifesting/Law of Attraction
Manifestation is a relatively new concept to me and I have to admit I am sceptical. And it seems I’m not alone, Bald Money Guy said: “Just gotta want it” and “Change your mindset” are vague advice that don’t tell you much.
In principal, the idea of vocalising what you want is a great idea. It can keep you focused and help you stay on track. However, is simply saying what you want really doing enough to reach these goals?
I’m all for setting goals and holding yourself accountable, but does simply putting something out there mean it is going to happen for you? I’m not so sure. I am always concerned this undermines the hard work a lot of people put into achieving the same goals others are hoping might simply come to them.
Feminism/ financial equality
Money, due to its importance and power, is inherently tied to feminism, and equality more generally.
While, a lot of people appear to view feminism as taking control and being independent, Kara Gammell argues that choosing to have a joint bank account can be a feminist decision.
Feminism is about the ability to make choices and allowing women to make their own financial decisions based on what is right for them and their families should be celebrated and not met with judgement.
On the other hand, if a woman wants to have a separate savings account or buy a property on her own, then she should be supported in doing so.
Both views can be feminist. The key is simply that women are involved in the decision making process.
One of the most controversial financial opinions is about home ownership. For a lot of people home ownership is their ultimate goal. They see it as a sign of success and one of life’s great achievements. But is purchasing a property with a 5-10 percent deposit and a lifetime of mortgage debt really a success?
For some, the answer is yes. Properly managed, you can make money from property and the debt doesn’t have to negatively affect your life or your future goals.
For others, there are better uses of the money. There is starting to be a trend towards putting the money into a pension or retirement fund instead and looking to buy property later in life. Due to the power of compound interest, this could be a good move. Money you put away now will be worth a lot more come retirement than if you were to put the same amount away in 10 years’ time.
It’s not as simple as you buy a house for one price and sell it for another, banking the difference. By the time you take into account interest, inflation and maintenance, a lot of people don’t actually make money on their property.
Of course, people buy for a wide range of reasons, so this shouldn’t necessarily deter you. It’s simply worth being aware of to avoid future disappointment.
If you found this post interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Do you think these are the most controversial financial opinions? What are your most controversial financial opinions?
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