Recently I have been reflecting on this hobby of ours, and wondering about the harm it could do on several levels, to both the companies who are being ‘leveraged’ and the people who are being handed the keys to the Ferrari without a driving permit. As a blogger in the ‘Hacking’ side of Travel and Finance I strive encapsulate ideas and offer insights within a stand alone post.
For example, I could write about how to buy gift cards to meet minimum spend, or talk about how to turn credit card cash back into a $5,000 Brokerage account. On the Finance side I have talked about high risk strategies such as Options Trading in one post, and converting a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA in phases in order to minimize taxes.
The problem arises over time, Saverocity becomes indexed for search, and then a reader might come in and just pick up on one post, and not get the overall flavor of the site. I think when taking in the big picture readers could benefit, but if they just take a single concept and run with it, not really knowing the risks, harm could be done.
Recently, I started promoting Credit Cards on this site. It was always part of the plan to do so as I find cards to be a great method for earning rewards and building wealth, but again, I think – are we bloggers putting more people onto Credit Cards who don’t have the will power and presence of mind to control their budgets and maximize the benefits of card ownership, are we causing harm?
Furthermore, I wonder what harm we are doing to programs benefits. We seek to exploit in the name of ‘Value’ for example Costco used to have a very liberal return policy, where they would refund pretty much anything, people would purchase a super expensive diamond ring and return it for cash, netting 10,000’s of Credit Card miles and points – after enough ‘exploitation of value’ the program has stopped and now they are much tighter on their returns.
I experienced this just last week with Nordstrom. I bought a pair of shoes there a year ago, and they have never fitted me properly, I thought it was too late to return, but I called them up and they gladly accepted them back. It was a wonderful feeling for a genuine consumer. But if people abuse this, will it stop, and will we cause harm to others and ourselves in doing so?
I’m an accountable type of guy, and whilst I like value I am worried that we might be a little blinkered in this game, and looking out only for Number 1, with no regard for those around us…