Who here is an avid reader?
I love reading. It is one of the few things I truly enjoy doing the most during my downtime. Reading keeps my brain active. It’s where I get new ideas, learn about the world and experience someone else’s perspective. It’s also a great way to brush up on grammar and learn new styles of writing.
Unfortunately, time has become an increasingly finite resource. When I was a teenager, I would devour 1000-page epic novels in less than a week. Now, I struggle to finish a 300-page novel in a month. Maybe this is one of the trappings of adulthood.
To get my dose of intellectual stimuli, I turn to the next best thing: Reading articles on the Internet. They’re shorter, packed with useful information, and entertaining.
Here’s a list of sites that I frequently read, finance-related and otherwise.
Wait But Why
Tim Urban dissects themes from politics, philosophy, culture, and psychology complete with cute doodles. By doing this, Wait But Why attempts to break down complex concepts that explore the nuances of the human condition. Why do we procrastinate? What does your life look like in Weeks
Most articles are over 3000-words long and well-researched. You can download some posts as a PDF to read offline as well. This sets you up nicely for a good evening read or something that you can digest during your commute to work.
Recently, Wait But Why released a multi-post series called The Story of Us, a massive effort to explain how we develop as a society and our individual roles in making the whole “organism” function.
The New Yorker
I think any writer worth their salt has once dreamt of being published in The New Yorker. While it’s a publication for the pretentious, I really love the style of writing on its feature articles. Some of my favorite sections are:
Personal History – autobiographical stories that offer a glimpse into other people’s lives.
The Tennis tag – I love the tone and approach of the reporting on big matches, players and rivalries.
The New Yorker has a limit on the number of articles you can read every month. You will need a subscription to access all of their articles (a one-year subscription is about US$50). But frankly, I choose to read about two to three articles on the site a month, which doesn’t warrant a subscription for me.
This is a fashion website. But it is also much more than a fashion website.
In my early blogging days circa 2010, Man Repeller burst onto the fashion scene with a unique voice that stood out from the rest of the fashion bloggers. It’s founder, Leandra Medine, wrote about clothes with both humor and smarts. The blog quickly grew in popularity.
Even as I grew older and stopped following fashion blogs religiously, I still read Man Repeller.
I especially love the articles written by its Deputy Editor, Haley Nahman.
Their open and honest examination of things women care about makes for a very inclusive reading experience that I think you’d enjoy.
Of Dollars And Data
This was a recent discovery, thanks to Twitter. Of D&D takes the perspective of a data scientist when observing the market and personal finance.
The articles that include charts and money concepts might seem daunting, but it really isn’t. Nick writes in a way where you can easily digest and relate to the material. He uses references from books he’s read to draw analogies to what is going on in the markets.
He also provides his point of view on investor psychology that is both interesting and helpful in understanding the way we act in different market conditions.
Here’s a list of his most popular posts, I highly recommend reading through these articles.
The Luxe Strategist
I always look forward to a new post from this blog. The Luxe Strategist takes an uncommon approach to personal finance. The blog’s philosophy is that personal finance does not mean that you should not spend money on things but instead, you should spend money on things that you value.
Reading this blog made me more open to spending money on high-quality things and experiences. For instance, I’ve started caring about materials my clothes are made of before buying them, ONLY buying things that I truly love after I’ve considered all my options and thinking about good design.
Some of the tips, like credit card hacks, are not applicable to us in Malaysia but other articles on travel, style, and career are quite useful. Her article on negotiating salary came in handy during my previous job searches.
Four Pillar Finance
Another data-driven personal finance website on this list, Four Pillar Finance has new articles almost EVERY DAY. Yes, the author, Zach puts out articles on a daily basis. (I’m so amazed, okay. I struggle to publish once a week for god sake).
Zach also shares how he managed to save an impressive $100k by age 24. This is an incredible achievement but I want to emphasize that it takes much longer for most people to hit that number, even for those who save aggressively.
He is the outlier, not the norm. A combination of zero study debt, high income, and frugal living led to this achievement. Most people aren’t so lucky to have a good combination.
Instead of comparing, we can use Zach as a benchmark to strive towards our own financial goals. What’s even better is that he shares his thoughts and techniques so that we can implement them in our lives as well.
The blog focuses on Zach’s four pillars of financial freedom – his philosophy, psychology, work ethic, and finance. Personally, I also believe that having a better understanding of these 4 aspects DOES go a long way in ensuring that you confidently manage your money well.
Some of my recent favorite articles include this piece discussing the key differences between being a freelancer and an entrepreneur.
Ringgit Oh Ringgit
No list is complete without Suraya! Out of all the Malaysian personal finance bloggers, Suraya has been the most consistent at sharing new information that is relevant to Malaysians.
Funny story, I discovered her blog in late 2017 when I was venturing into freelancing writing but didn’t know what the going rate was. A quick Google search yielded this article.
Her passion to help improve personal finance in the country makes her very transparent and charitable with sharing information. Not only are her articles packed with information, but you can also find her answering questions and helping people out on social media. The more people know about Malaysian money matters, the better the entire landscape is for all of us.
Psst, buy her book here.
Another Malaysian blogger to add to this list. I enjoy reading The Stockmonger’s articles because they’re investment-focused. I especially love his Case Studies.
These stock analyses are a great introduction to the DIY stock market investing in Malaysia. Packed with information sourced from news and companies’ annual reports, he breaks down stocks viability with a SWOT analysis and gives his opinion. Almost like an actual research analyst! (Note: Don’t take it as a buy/sell recommendation, okay. Do your own research as well before making trades.)
Dollars and Sense
For the Singapore scene, I often read Dollars and Sense. The publication covers all matters of personal finance and investment in Singapore. As someone new to Singapore, this is a great resource to find out more information about the landscape in this country. However, not all the information is applicable to foreigners like me, albeit it’s still good to know these things.
Some of my favorites include:
4 Stocks this Week – self-explanatory. The publication writes short snippets of 4 stocks based on a specific theme every week.
Their entire section on CPF (the retirement fund in Singapore) is an absolutely fascinating read. For instance, there are multiple “jalan” that you can opt to use your CPF investment for.
This last one is a cheat. The Pudding isn’t so much a website with a lot of written words but more of an interactive visual essay that is…..fun! The team on The Pudding takes ideas, pairs them with datasets, and comes out with a visual that you can play around with.
I do wish there were more of these types of sites. I believe this is a great approach to get people on board with your ideas because you include them in the process. Imagine, instead of telling people that climate change is a serious issue, you gather a bunch of data, run it through a program, present it visually and make it interactive. You’re more likely to get the other party to listen to your case.
At the end of every article, there is a short one-liner on where the data sets come from and what methodology is used. The information is shared with you freely, which is really cool.
You can probably already tell that I gravitate towards data-centric content, conceptual ideas and human interest stories from the blogs and websites on this list. I like reading articles that make the effort to ask the question, “Why?”.
In line with that, there are plenty of other high-quality blogs that I love as well, including the following:
If I rave about all these blogs, well, this post will be wayyyyy too long. If you enjoy reading personal finance, it will be absolutely worth your time to check them out!