Monday, January 13, 2014

I Hate CNN Money

Their personal finance is slanted so heavily to advice for people in much better shape than the general populace that I get pissed every time I read anything on it (which is very rarely).  This article on advice to a couple wanting to retire early is a fair example.  The couple sounds like a normal couple--early 40s, middle class jobs, couple kids--but they have $50k cash (seems like ~$150k in other investment), a $2000 monthly surplus and pensions (pensions!).  These are people who don't need advice.  They are so far ahead of the curve that most people should be asking them.  They don't have financial problems.

Most of the advice is fine, so far as it goes, though I'm a bit disgusted with the idea that anyone would think that $300k set aside to send kids to college was reasonable (actually, there's at least a fair chance the adviser doesn't find it reasonable, just necessary, but since they thought publishing advice to people who don't need it was a good idea, I'm not so generous here).

So few people in this country have pensions, that giving this couple advice in the personal finance section of Money is kind of like giving a millionaire advice: even if it's good, it doesn't really help real people.  If they really wanted to help out people then they would advise people in their mid-to-late 50s without pensions, with $80k in 401k's, and with $200k+ left on a mortgage, or people in their 20's and 30's with $60k of student loan debt, no assets, and income of $30k/year.  There's a lot more of them, and they need a lot of help.

...I suppose that, if I'm going to be fair, a fair chunk of readers of that site have a level of financial security more like the one in the article.

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