All about… Small Acorn Money
The UK Money Bloggers group spans a wide variety of writers, and whilst some focus on frugal living, others are firmly rooted in the financial services industry. Mark Underdown of Small Acorn Money is one such financial professional. We found out how his money blog allows him to express himself freely.
Tell us about your blog.
Why do you write about money?
As someone who works professionally in financial services (in both a research capacity and directly helping people via Small Acorn Money) I love the freedom of expression that writing a blog can bring. Often in professional circumstances you need to be more diplomatic or careful with wording, but with a blog I have the personal freedom to write unfettered, for better or worse!
How did you start blogging?
I initially started with some ideas for a few books and my research about self publishing and starting a business led me to the understanding that a blog is essential for a few reasons; firstly it helps build an audience and secondly it helps you practice your writing.
I started to build my website smallacornmoney.com two years ago and then gradually began putting up articles that I had thought of writing about. I don’t have any content strategy or keyword research etc., it’s purely writing from my mind and sharing my views.
What’s your most popular post and why?
My most popular blog post is about the Apple iPod. I wrote a post comparing consumption, saving and investment using the iPod and Apple as an example. The difference in future outcome is extraordinary and it is a powerful educational story about the merits of saving and investing over consumption.
It is perhaps the most popular because I created a Slideshare on LinkedIn about it, and I think it was a title and topic that piqued some people’s curiosity.
What’s your favourite post you’ve written, and why?
My favourite post is You’re Being Financially Repressed.
The reason I like this post is more from a design and creativity perspective. It’s a very long blog post and I created the post into a downloadable PDF digital guide and also added lots of extra design into the blog over and above simple text. It was very enjoyable creating this post (if a little uneconomic) but I feel that this approach will make my content much more engaging for people and is something that I will continue with (publish less frequently, but produce very original and engaging content).
What’s your number one money tip?
I’m going to cheat here and provide two:
- Spend less than you earn.
- Learn about the power of compound interest
The first one is so obvious yet widely ignored by successive generations and requires constant repetition, and the second one explains why investing can lead to increased prosperity and why getting into debt is so dangerous.
What’s your top blogging tip?
I’m terrible at the most important part of blogging – writing consistently!
You will notice from my blog that the content is quite sporadic, but it is also quite varying in terms of content subject and length. My shortest post is just a couple hundred words and my longest is several thousand! I put up four posts in one week and then nothing for three months!
So basically do as I say, not as I do.
Why are you part of UK Money Bloggers?
UK Money Bloggers is a great network for finding out different blogging tips and the Facebook group is a great place for motivation and encouragement as it can be a lonely business endlessly slaving away in front of a computer. I would like to be around for the face-to-face meet ups, but my lifestyle is a little more international so I’m rarely physically in the UK (although I’m professionally there in mind and spirit most of the time).
Who are your three favourite UK Money Bloggers?
I would say that my three favourite bloggers in the UK are Bond Vigilantes, Tim Price and Monevator.
Bond vigilantes is a blog by asset management firm M&G and is aimed at financial services professionals. I really like how you can gain direct insights into the minds of those who manage large sums of capital in the bond markets. At the moment I don’t really like bonds as an investment, but I still very much like the blog.
Tim Price is an investment manager and writes over at his blog The Price Of Everything but his content is often available at Cobdencentre.org and that is where I often read his views. I really like Tim’s unabashed criticism of the status quo, his bravery in speaking his mind when it is far more lucrative from a personal career perspective to swim with the tide, and his wit.
Monevator.com provide some really helpful views about how to invest your money. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with everything they say, nor would I recommend people I haven’t even met (I don’t even know who the bloggers are), but you wouldn’t go far wrong paying attention to what they have to say – very intelligent, well researched and practical views, tips and ideas for those looking to manage their own savings.