What are your values?
It’s one of those questions that sounds like it should be easy to answer. Your values are one of the most central parts of your being, one of the things that makes you most uniquely you. You live by your values every day, after all; how hard can it be to put names on them and write them down?
But it’s not that simple. There are many things we hope to do, but not all of them are easy to qualify. Even the ones that are clear in our minds can be hard to express in words. It’s not just a matter of tangible things like money, but also the goals we hope to achieve and obstacles we want to overcome.
I’ve put quite a lot of thought into the following Value Statement, which expresses why I think that The Amateur Financier represents a value site even with the millions of other sites out there on the internet.
The Amateur Financier’s Values Are:
To Educate: I love to help people learn. Whether it’s teaching freshmen the basics of chemical processes in my graduate student career, or sharing information about a type of investment, I love to teach. As long as I write in The Amateur Financier, I will try to make my posts informative, spreading knowledge of money management and investment.
To Learn: The opposite side of the coin, though, is just as valuable; I learn as much from my blogging efforts as I could possibly teach. Between my research for my posts, reading through other blogger’s posting efforts, and reading and responding to the comments left on my blog entries, I’ve learned so much about personal finance that I would never have learned otherwise. It’s wonderful just how much information there is out there.
To Make Money (Ethically): Let me be honest: a major reason I started to blog was in the hopes of making a decent side income. (There were, at various points in my blogging career, also thoughts of being able to make blogging my main income, but that seems increasingly unlikely.) You’ll notice the ads on the sides and at the top of each page, and I also occasionally publish sponsored posts. I do NOT, however, allow advertisements or other forms of money-making attempts that would be unethical. My desire to make money does NOT overshadow my desire for this site to be seen as an intelligent, ethical source of information and discussion. For more thoughts on such ethics:
Not To Sell Questionable Products: I do promote some products and services here on The Amateur Financier, both in my own posts (particularly my book reviews), in my advertisements, and in my guest posts (most of which are really ‘sponsored’ posts that seek to promote a product or service themselves). I do everything possible, though, to make sure that the products and goods being promoted are useful and financially sound. I have turned down more than a few offers that presented products
Not To Cajole Or Force: One of the biggest issues I have with many of the articles out there is they are written for the sole purpose of selling something. While I have no objection to selling things per se (salesman- and saleswomanship is what makes the business world (and the world in general) run, after all), I think it is important to have sources of information available on which you can rely without feeling as if the sole purpose is to make a sale.
To Present All Sides Of An Issue: There are a lot of issues in the world of finance; not surprisingly, as that’s where all the money is. Too often, people attempt to present only their own point of view, often trying to maintain that it is the only (or the only logical) point of view, and that anyone who disagrees with them is at best uninformed, and at worst trying to manipulate their readers, listeners, or watchers. (Although it often seems that those people who make such arguments are the worst practitioners of such manipulation, but that’s getting off the subject.) I try my best not to do that here on The Amateur Financier, instead trying to show all sides of an issue and present the usually logical reasons that people have for taking each side, even if one side makes no sense to me, personally. I will sometimes slip up in this respect, stressing one side of an issue at the expense of the other (I’m human, after all, and do have my own opinions), but I do try to keep this blog more focused on the plain and simple truth, rather than my opinion of the matter.
To Have Fun (And Help Others Have Fun): I saved this one for the end, but it’s far from the least important (and I would argue it is likely the most important, in fact). I write because I enjoy writing, I share on this blog because I enjoy sharing, and I read others’ blogs and responses to my entries because I enjoy doing so. I love being able to share and have a lot of fun doing so, and I hope that all my readers have enjoyment when they read my blog, as well. If you aren’t having fun, after all, is it really worth doing?
There you go, the values behind the writing here at The Amateur Financier. I hope they help you to better understand what goes on in my head as I write these posts. Thanks to Sam (the Financial Samurai) for inspiring me to write this; as you said, it’s a great help to be able to reflect on all of this in writing.