There Is No One Size Fits All

Unfortunately there is no “one size fits all” with regard to personal finance advice. There seems to be a trend lately where a personal finance topic is written about, and within 48 hours there are multiple rebuttals to the article. The rebuttals center mostly around the fact that the advice is only applicable to a certain subset of people, and isn’t applicable to everyone. To this I say – “duh.”

Personal finance is exactly that – personal. General financial advice given in a blog post or newspaper article cannot be blindly applied to one’s situation.

It should be somewhat obvious that a post about the backdoor Roth IRA is not appropriate to a family with a combined income of $80,000 per year. Why? Because they make within the income limits to contribute directly to a Roth IRA. Does this mean the article explaining this strategy is garbage? No. It just means it applies to the subset of people that make too much money to contribute to a Roth IRA directly. Just because it may only be applicable to less than a third of the population, does not mean it is bad advice and should be written off completely.

Whether financial advice is applicable to everyone or not, does not take away from the potential benefit of that information. A majority of the time, people can still take something away from a personal finance piece, even if it isn’t applicable to them. Maybe they’ll learn something they shouldn’t do with their money. Maybe they have a friend or family member that would benefit from the information. Or maybe they’ll be lucky enough in a few years, to make enough money where the strategy is beneficial to themselves.

Instead of figuring out ways in which a general financial piece cannot help everyone, let’s acknowledge the good, and maybe someday we or others will benefit from it.

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