Personal Finance Blog Topics

At the bottom of this page is a large table classifying over 1600 personal finance blogs based on seven topics related to personal finance.  The table can be sorted, searched, and filtered.  You can go directly to any blog by clicking on the links in the “Blog URL” column.  The information in the table was most recently updated at the end of January 2018.

Rather than trying assign a single topic label to each blog (like “investing” or “millennial”), the blogs were evaluated on two metrics:  1) Recent Topics Focus in posts and 2) the overall Blog Theme.  Each metric is explained more below.

Recent Topics Focus in Posts

The first metric is based on the proportions of various topics addressed by recent posts.  For example, if a blog recently contained posts that are 70% about saving/budgeting, that blog was assigned a “saving/budgeting” topic focus.  These percentages will obviously change over time, but they give you a general sense of a bloggers recent area of interest.  I will periodically review new posts in each blog to update changes in a blogger’s topic focus over time.  Assigning topics by percentages is helpful, because blog titles and generic topic categories can often be confusing.  For example, a blog called “Investing in Your Future”, may sound like it’s mostly about investing, but may actually contain recent posts mostly about budgeting and saving. 

In the table below colors are assigned to cells in the “Recent Topics Focus” column for seven primary topic categories.  The topics colors are assigned based on the topic that is mostly (more than 50% of the time) discussed in recent articles.  These topic colors are:

  1. Red – Saving/Budgeting
  2. Orange – Investing
  3. Yellow – Life
  4. Green – Frugality
  5. Blue – Earning
  6. Purple – Debt/Credit
  7. Pink – Financial Independence and Retire Early (FIRE) 

Also, “Mixed” is shown in gray in the Recent Topics Focus column for blogs that recently covered a wide range of topics, with no one topic covered more than about 50% of the time.  My apologies to anyone out there who is color blind.  Hopefully, most folks can distinguish between these colors.

The exact percentages of recent topics found for each blog is provided in a supporting table on the Recent Topic Post Percentages page.

Overall Blog Theme

The two columns with “Theme” in the title in the table below present the blogger’s own indications of their overall intended purpose, goal, focus, etc.  This can be thought of as the “advertised” theme of the blog.  The advertised theme is helpful because readers are often searching for blogs that have a certain stated theme or purpose, even if many of the recent posts may not directly discuss that theme.  For example, a FIRE blogger may present a series of posts on a budgeting tool with no reference to financial independence or early retirement in each post.  Nonetheless, they may eventually intend to tie that post series back to their main theme of FIRE in subsequent articles.

Most of the Blog Themes are defined in terms of the same seven primary personal finance topics listed above.  However, in some cases, the advertised theme is about something more nuanced or specific.  In these cases, you will see some additional terms like “Millennial”, “Travel”, “Dividends”, “Lawyer”, or “Real Estate”.  Although some of these terms do not appear to be about personal finance, they are meant to convey the overlay of more specific themes on top of the general issue of personal finance.  For example, if a blog has a theme of “Travel”, that means the blog discusses personal finance with a focus on travel issues such as finding the cheapest air fares, traveling on the cheap, maximizing the value of air miles, saving for vacations, etc.  Similarly, a “Millennial” blog is presenting personal finance information targeted at this particular generation.  Where professions are noted (like “Lawyer”), typically the blogger is trying to present personal finance information that addresses specific issues for people in that profession.

The main advertised theme of the blog is indicated by the column titled “Primary Blog Theme”.  However, some bloggers present a more nuanced or mixed theme within a more general category, which I attempt to capture in the column titled “Secondary Theme”. 

The blog themes were determined by the key messages provided by the bloggers themselves, mostly found in the following locations:

  • The blog title – For example, “FIRE by Forty” is telling us this is blog probably has a FIRE theme.
  • The tag line associated with the title – Many sites have a little motto or tag line right after the title.  For example, a tag line of “Better Real Estate Investing” is trying to tell us that an investing blog is primarily concerned with real estate.
  • “About” or “Start Here” pages – If the theme was unclear from the above information, “About” and “Start Here” pages were reviewed to find any statements about the blog’s overall purpose or goal.  This information could also help inform the secondary theme of the blog, although not always.
  • Twitter motto:  Twitter pages associated with blogs often have short descriptions of the blog or blogger’s purpose in the profile.  These descriptions were sometimes used to clarify more uncertain themes. 

Combined Use of Topics and Themes

The Recent Topics Focus and Theme metrics can be used in combination.  For example, if you are looking for a FIRE blog that is talking a lot about FIRE recently, you can compare the topic and theme columns to look for that correspondence.  Conversely, if you are looking for a FIRE-themed blog that is talking a lot recently about Saving/Budgeting, you can look for blogs with these two topics in the theme and topics columns, respectively.  That said, it’s important to note that bloggers don’t necessarily have to be faithful to their own advertised theme.  Some bloggers tend to evolve over time from one topic to another, even though the title, tag line, or purpose statements for their blogs don’t change much.

Additional Information

The table below contains additional information on the blogger’s country and profession as discussed in the the geographical analysis page and the blogger types page.  This information may help you better understand the bloggers’ likely view point when they are writing about any particular topic or theme.  For example, a FIRE blogger in Canada may be talking about different types of retirement accounts than a FIRE blogger in the U.S.  Similarly, because many blog themes are focused on certain professions (such as physicians, lawyers, and military), knowing the blogger’s profession may help you find the topic material you are seeking.

Here’s yet more information on the personal finance blog topics and themes and how they were developed.

  • Recent topics percentages – As noted above, this page contains the detailed percentages of each topic found in recent posts when each site was surveyed.
  • Recent topics definitions – This page contains further description of each of the seven primary topics and the subtopics that were included under each.  For example, here’s where you find out that net worth updates were included under the “saving/budgeting” topic.
  • How the recent topics percentages were determined – This page contains more information on how the survey of blog topics was conducted.

Blog Topics and Themes January 2018