Day #171: Simply the Best

I’m not one to blow my own horn, but sometimes you have to. If not, who will?  Forgive me for being corny, but as I was thinking of a title for this post, I immediately began humming Tina Turner songs.  Since I think of myself as a tough, survivor-type like Tina, I thought it only appropriate for her to grace my blog today.

B-School Blogger
Recently, this very blog was named as one of the 50 best blogs written by a business school professor. Now, it is entirely possible that there are only 51 blogs currently written by business school professors and I only narrowly made the cut. Even so, it’s pretty cool to be recognized. Further, the listing selected only 10 blogs in the accounting and finance category and when you consider the company I’m keeping on that list, I’m feeling pretty good about myself! My blog appears on the same list with bloggers from Dartmouth, Seton Hall, Maryland, Syracuse, Northwestern, Essex and Tennessee. While it’s nice to be honored in one way or another, I mention this for another reason. I figure that if you are reading this blog, you might be interested in other finance-related blogs by other finance professors. If so, check out this list. The folks on the list are really top-notch and the topics they cover are as broad as their backgrounds are diverse.

Personal Finance Comes in Many Flavors
WiseBread ranks my blog as #559 out of 679 personal finance blogs. I had actually inched up as high as #478 on the list, but when I switched over to my own domain, I had to start over. Why is this important? Again, I don’t know that it is. This ranking system is fairly scientific and creates a unique score for each blog based on four, equally-weighted criteria:

1) Traffic: based on how the site ranks overall with regard to visitors

2) Authority: based on the number of other websites that link to the blog

3) Social Media Influence: based on the number of Twitter followers and Klout score which measures your Twitter influence

4) Reader Loyalty: based on feed subscribers

I mention all of this because, again, if you read this blog, you might be interested in others that approach personal finance from different perspectives. The WiseBread list is a great way to navigate the sea of personal finance blogs on the Internet. The only downside is that with nearly 700 blogs to choose from, the WiseBread list does not provide subcategories to help you narrow it down. MoneyCrashers does offer helpful subcategories and even though I haven’t made their list (yet), I highly recommend it.

Interesting Research
Overall, I am interested in helping ‘regular’ folks. That’s why I became a professor. That’s why I enjoy teaching and writing about personal finance, investments and real estate. These are all areas that affect ‘regular’ folks and it is those folks who are frequently hurt when more knowledgeable entities exploit our ignorance. For that reason, my professional mission is, in part, to help level the playing field so to speak. Given that motivation, I get REALLY excited when my research finds its way into the hands of the masses and hopefully those who can benefit by it. Last week, I learned that on December 15th, The Economist magazine included one of my recent articles in their list of “This Week’s Interesting Research.” It was a piece that two colleagues and I wrote about a concept called location efficiency. That is, if you can walk to work or the grocery store, are you less likely to default on your mortgage? Our thinking was that if you can walk to most places or even ride a bike or use public transportation, then your transportation expenses should be a lot lower than the 30% of income that Americans spend on average. That savings might make it easier for you to make your mortgage payments – even during an economic downturn. We tested our hypothesis and it turned out that the realtors have been right all along – location DOES matter but the implications are greater than originally thought. You can read the paper if you want all the details about what we did and how we drew our conclusions.

The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that all of this recognition has been quite an honor and inspirational. As I look ahead to 2011, my plan is to try not to embarrass my B-School colleagues with blog rantings about cleaning toilets and work harder to translate important research findings in a way that they can be useful to folks. In exchange, please continue to read and share my posts if/when you find them useful. Please also consider following me on Twitter (@SRauterkus) where I post shorter content and retweet useful information related to personal finance. Lastly, don’t forget to visit the NEW site at www.365daysonabudget.com/Blog. If everything works according to plan, the change will be seamless on New Year’s Day, but does anything EVER work exactly according to plan?!

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