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The Ladder

A Blog from New America's Asset Building Program

The New York Times Gets into the Personal Finance Game

Published:  October 29, 2009

The New York Times website unveiled a new blog this week dedicated to "Making the Most of Your Money." Bucks "aims to make managing your money simple again," according to writer Ron Lieber, who oversees this new venture for the NYT.

This is a crowded field, but it's good to see the NYT trying to compete in it (and great to see their flying piggybank logo, we know all too well how hard it is to come up with good visuals when talking about savings, wealth and personal finance), given their platform they could potentially reach a huge audience with helpful tips and advice. Lieber says:

"You can't be a full-time consumer, though. And that's why Bucks exists. We aim to be a lively source of shortcuts, short courses and mini-guides to the decisions you make with your money. It's a blog of tactics and takeaways...The lineup of regular features includes a daily roundup of the best consumer reporting from The Times. We'll also offer reviews of new products and services, from unique mutual funds to new savings accounts and Web services."

All well and good, and so far they've run a feature on finding the best savings account rate, and they are rounding up all of the NYT's consumer focused pieces on a daily basis.

One of the challenges Bucks might face is handling the Times' propensity to focus on the "not quite rich enough." For instance, today's "Special Section on Wealth and Personal Finance" includes this piece on minimizing your tax bill if you make more than $200,000. I'm sure that's handy advice for much less than 5% of the population. What about the other 95% of us?

Hopefully Bucks will be able to balance their coverage and include tips, ideas and features that are of benefit to the bottom 50% of the income spectrum as well as the top 5%. There are significant innovations occuring, both public and private, which are aimed at making saving and building a sound financial foundation easier. President Obama waved a magic wand and made savings bonds, a safe and reliable product, available for purchase on the tax form. Websites like Mint.com, thebeehive.org (and soon hellowallet.com) are available to bring basic financial planning tools and guidance into easy reach. There are federal policy proposals like expanding the saver's credit, the saver's bonus, and SAFE-T Accounts designed to help low- and moderate-income Americans begin saving and achieving financial stability.

Here's hoping that Bucks is a success, and does indeed contribute to making managing money simple again. However, I hope they remember that it's more than just the $200K-plus crowd that needs help managing their finances.

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