I remember many years ago, sitting in my little one bedroom house, after a long shift at a job I hated (but had gone back to, due to my new financial downfall), searching the internet for some small nugget of information that would help me get my life back together. The world of personal finance wasn’t what it is today; There weren’t endless blogs touting the world of frugality, or how to increase your income. Sure, I found books by Suze Orman, and came across Dave Ramsey. I enjoyed Liz Pulliam Weston, but her articles always seemed more geared towards people who had their life together. That certainly wasn’t where I was financially. Eventually, I stumbled across MP Dunleavey. And I was hooked.
You see, MP Dunleavey didn’t come across as a financial expert who’d always made all the right choices, sharing her lists of advice on how to follow in her footsteps. She sometimes struggled, and was often lambasted for the decisions she made. But she approached personal finance as a “normal person”. She had wit, and humor, and spirit. And eventually, she had The Women In Red.
The Women in Red was a pet project of Dunleavey’s. She followed the stories of multiple women trying to improve their financial lives. Each woman’s situation was different, from young to older, married to single, high earners and low earners, in debt or finding financial freedom. They each had goals that they were working towards achieving. They succeeded, and failed, and found all kinds of detours along the way.
Eventually, MP Dunleavey moved on. I followed her for a while, through careers with different publications and organizations. But as her path veered more towards editorial, her writing lost something for me. Gone were the humorous personal trials and tribulations, replaced with the standard “10 Ways To…” articles that are so popular on the web.
The truth is, I miss The Women in Red. Not the women themselves, but the stories of real women, their struggles and successes, their choices and situations. Over the years, I’ve found numerous new blogs to follow, voices that I look forward to hearing. But there seems to be a common “arc” for most writers: Struggling/Overcoming=Personal stories. Success=Lists and advice on what you should be doing. It’s as though success is a destination; Once you’ve overcome your debt, or saved $x, there’s nothing left to your financial journey, no more choices to be made, no more struggles to overcome. The only way to carry on is to advise others on how to get there. Numerous blogs have fallen off my reading list. Sometimes I want to scream (or write in all caps): I know I should cut the cable cord (Done, FYI), and that credit card rewards are great (not a great idea for me at the moment)! But what are YOU doing in your financial life?!?
Why am I writing about this? I’ll be honest, my little blog gets very little traffic; A good day for me is 20 visitors, and I’m still a long ways off from topping 100 page views in a day. But, the longer I’m out there on the blogosphere, the more requests I get for guest posts on my site, etc. I’m not at all opposed to having someone else write on this blog; Actually, I’d love to have some variety here. But the ideas are always the same: “20 Reasons You Should…”, “How To…”. Tell me something personal! What are YOU doing financially?!? I’m not looking to advise people. I’m looking to share stories.
I don’t think there are enough women out there, telling their stories of success and failure, the struggles they face every day. I don’t believe that personal finance is a destination. I love following The Single Dollar, Frugalwoods, The POPs, and Making Sense of Cents. I love having the voices of other women who are owning what they’re doing, struggles, fears and all. I just wish there were more voices out there.
– Cindy W.
I’ve been on the lookout for old articles from MP Dunleavey. The best I could find was this one: You Really Can’t Be Too Rich.