Fragile Deal Niche

Fragile Deal Niche
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#1

Serious question here that I’d like to post here as well as the new PWF (but I’m having trouble with it atm…)

What is the niche of FD?

I’m a long-time member of FW, using both the HD and FWF sections. But in recent years, I’ve found myself migrating toward SD (lurking for deals, I don’t actively participate) or FlyerTalk (CC, MS, travel discussion ) or Bogleheads (personal finance / investing discussion). In some ways my question also applied to the old FW. The quality of FWF used to be extremely high, but in recently years, all the new active discussions, data points, seemed to be found elsewhere…

So I’ll take this as an opportunity to revisit one of my oldest favoritest sites. Is there something unique about this site/community that cannot be found at SD, FT, or BH?


#2

SD’rs are rude, I can’t exist there.


#3

Personal Finance is FWF’s strength so we should play to it. The problem I see for this site is that once FW is gone we will have problem attracting traffic and like other such sites, we will just slowly evaporate.

On the other hand, success will also bring other issues like the need to raise $ for moderation, DDS protection, etc…

I hope the founders of this site is researching into these issues and have plan to address them.


#4

I tend to agree with this, as it is the main reason I participated in FWF for so long. But what do we mean when we say “personal finance”?

Do we mean things like CC, banking deals, etc like the classic AOR threads, gift card data points, etc that seem to be exhaustively covered nowadays at Flyertalk / the good Doctor (of Credit) / and even r/churning?

Or do we mean things like what should I invest my 401k in, Roth vs Traditional, individual stock discussion (one of the most hilarious and active threads), which I now use Bogleheads for. [Except individual stock discussion I guess, which would not really go over well there given the philosophy haha]


#5

In my mind at least it means all of that with an eye on how it relates to personal wealth and capital preservation. There are people who do banking deals and take that money and buy $500 softball bats with it. That’s not the FWF way. We’re about doing those things AND THEN doing something to compound the effects for your future.


#6

The bogleheads site can be very informative. But the site is run by dry, retired old timers who lack any sense of humor. If anyone takes an offense against something you say, they immediately muzzle you. In addition, they’re not very creative. Many of their posters have cushy jobs with fat accounts, so they scoff at things people do to save $10 / month.

For the up and coming young guns, this Fragile site will be much better.


#7

No wonder the few times I visited Bogleheads I was left with the impression that it was too formal and stuffy of a place for me. Thanks for explaining that.


#8

At the risk of sounding like a Bogleheads shill, which I’m sure they do not need, I would still recommend you give it another try. I also found it overwhelming at first, but one of the best features they have is that they will help you analyze your personal situation. I took the plunge several years back and wrote up a thread about myself and received some very useful and informative replies. I’ve also submitted a couple of update threads since then and have found each iterative process very helpful. Beyond that I’ve always found them willing to help troubleshoot specific problems one might have when implementing a mega backdoor Roth for the first time, or tax loss harvesting, etc.

But yes, BH is definitely more heavily moderated than FWF, but I’m not sure that’s the unique feature we should rely on to revive FWF.


#9

I agree with this sentiment 100%. But we need to be better at one or both components first. For example, one of the most popular threads right now is about Manufactured Spending. The thread just rehashes MS basics that you can find at those “travel blogger” sites. I understand and appreciate that there’s no new information, but if I’m interested in MS, Flyertalk seems to be the obvious choice for data points and discussion.


#10

If you want index investing advice, BH is very good and you can’t beat the price. However, they won’t let or heavily discourage you talking about: individual stocks, health related topics, anything vaguely political (including tax proposals), and anything that smells like it’s a loophole (churning, taking tax breaks they wish didn’t apply to you, etc).


#11

Dont forget creditboards. They have a very well defined niche which they dominate as well.

If you have the time, you could probably be active on SD, flyer talk, BH, creditboards, reddit etc and get the best information…but some of us have a life outside of the internet. FWF finance got you like 90% of everything in one place.


#12

Umm, me? :slight_smile:

I’d like to think our niche is all of the above, but with higher-quality debate, without interruptions from endless threads about landlord-tenant, medical collections, or “how should I invest X?”. We’re a small community and can actually take time to respond to each other.


#13

I can’t tell if this was said in jest. I feel like whenever I revisited FWF over the last couple of years, there was always a thread about rental property, collections, or investing X? But of course there were also great threads like the one about Alliant, the ACH datapoint thread, etc.


#14

This is a pretty compelling argument for me. I’ve been mostly only participating in flyertalk and bogleheads and occasionally browse SD, but I wouldn’t mind cutting it down to 1 site if it gave me everything I needed


#15

The issue I have with Bogleheads is that the site itself seems so unnecessary. The entire purpose of the site could be expressed by a 500 word static web page. The forums seem to debate the minutia of crap-shoot fine tuning ideas within the index fund world (small amount of International funds vs all domestic, tilting small or large cap, holding a single digit percentage of assets in an REIT, etc).


#16

I don’t know what FD’s niche is/will be, but I can tell you why I enjoyed FW.

Both the HD and FWF had excellent SNRs for all of the aughts and into the current decade. Additionally, there was a fair bit of humor.

I use SD, but only via RSS. Their SNR is almost as poor as a scam site. I also find their site difficult to view. I’ve never even registered there.

Bogleheads has excellent info, but it seems to be very repetitive, and seems to have a ban on humor of any kind, even perceived humor. :slight_smile:

I joined here and PWF hoping that at least one would be successful at nearing FW’s atmosphere and community knowledge.

BTW, the first thread that I subscribed to was CGA’s epic Kinship Proceedings tragedy. For any who are interested, he registered kinship-proceedings.com. Nothing on it yet, though.


#17

Of course there are valid criticisms of Bogleheads, but this is honestly not one of them. The website is immensely useful for getting peoples finances in order, and has been for me personally as well. In addition, the minutia is what is important - as they say, the devil is in the details. I highly doubt I would have been able to start with my mega backdoor Roth as smoothly on my own.


#18

As one of this site’s founders, I agree with both of these sentiments.

It’s worth stressing that internet communities, like all genuine communities, are organic, thus and tend to take on a life of their own (or perish if they cannot sustain participation). It’s important for us members to let it evolve into its own entity, reflecting the skills and interests of the people who enjoy posting here.

If this site can sustain interest from posters willing and able to contribute high-quality discussion about all areas of personal finance (and related topics)–ideally while keeping a friendly atmosphere and a good sense of humor–than I will consider it a success.


#19

Also there’s the financial independence reddit where I get a lot of ideas from. But I agree, the benefit of FWF is a focused discussion without the firehouse of SD, no fun attitude of Bogleheads, or the poor default threading of Reddit (good for news and topical discussion, bad for ongoing threads).


#20

To be honest - and most folks here will already have grasped this about me - I am not your target audience / target member, I’m not a fragile-deal sort of person (in your original sense of that term = the private site) and don’t want to be, I’m not a manufactured-spend sort of person and don’t want to be, I may have a few variations on the derided “$500 softball bat” type of purchase in my past and in my future :slight_smile: , and even though I’m not “young” anymore, I do regularly spend a small amount of time in trying to save relatively small amounts such as the “younger person looking to save $10” who was mentioned earlier. I’ve lived a somewhat-different life by choice, with somewhat-different goals and opportunity costs; I’m an E/I NTP, not an E/I STJ like many Finance-with-a-capital-F folks.

Over the years I’ve been on FW-Finance a fair bit, just reading/learning on many threads, and commenting on others, and the type of threads that I found interesting were often the idiosyncratic ones, ones with quite a bit of the human element in them, ones where the person might have needed to talk through what was going on in a fraught situation, or get advice on what career to choose given one’s personality type, or how to handle a mother-in-law-moving-in situation, or what to consider when moving abroad for work, or how to make medical insurance denial-of-claim appeals, or how to avoid medical insurance problems like balance-billing… plus tree capers, 40s escalators, gaussian absurdities, and suchlike.
Many of these were not straightforward Finance-with-a-capital-F, efficient, purely-money-making topics, and I’m sure many of you core “Fragile” folks skipped right past them as irrelevant and time-wasting. Which is understandable.

It might be that the Fragile site, in concentrating on filling the hole made by the loss of the FWF forum, will have a similarly-broad range of topics and a similarly-broad (and sometimes kooky and time-wasting) audience/set of commenters,
but probably it won’t,
because the more “generalist” advice-profferers and -requesters such as I am kind of skipped around a bit amongst the FW subforums, and they might be more comfortable and more helpful and more valuable and feel that they have a better fit on a different website. I am not saying that I have a different site for that in mind, since I don’t do Facebook, I don’t do Reddit, I don’t like the look or the feeling or the atmosphere of SlickDeals, and I haven’t yet checked out the the Phlatwallet site so I don’t know what it is like (though I intend to).

And, I am guessing (though I’ve only been a member here for a moment) that you don’t really want those people here, asking all manner of tangential questions about how to find a parkable car for inner NYC streets that will still fit a wheelchair in it, what to do when the family farm hasn’t been divided up equally amongst all the siblings, how to get a work visa for Switzerland if you don’t have a job yet and you don’t want to marry your partner and you happen to have a passport from Romania. Etc.

And that is fine – you will do best to focus on your key areas, to sort the high-yield wheat from the FWF broad-appeal chaff (given your interests).
You’ll have a smaller membership (especially if non-FWF people can’t even find out that you exist, given the non-intuitive, search-engine-hostile, even-kind-of-deprecating-on-first-glance current start-up name of “Fragile”) but that smaller, leaner group will be motivated, cooperative, knowledgeable, and efficient towards meeting your particular goals.

So that is why, if I would have to divide my time up amongst 2, 3, or 4 places to replicate the way I utilized Fatwallet, I probably would have a different site as my “main” one, and come here only occasionally.

However, I did see a couple of days ago (via a link on FW) that this site had taken such a fantastic lead in making a substantial health insurance page, and that someone had copied over a number of my own (where I was the OP) Fatwallet health-insurance threads. I was glad that the information in them was rescued and posted, because during the last 3 months of my FW membership, some of my health-insurance threads were locked pretty early on (or not allowed to be posted), while other people were given more leeway to carry on with similar topics. I would welcome a place where I could read about what others are learning, feeling, and doing about this topic, since for a proportion of our citizenry, the issue in our country is in such disarray currently with so many unknowns, extra costs, limited providers, massive shifts in insurers, etc. I suppose November 1 is the watershed date when they will announce what is going to be available for 2018 in each county, and marketplace customers will be able to see what the new provider network and pricing structure looks like in their location. For some maybe it’ll be better than is feared, but maybe some people will genuinely need to move to a new state in order to obtain, or to be able to afford, their basic healthcare needs.

I don’t know if the Pflatwallet site will also delve into health insurance issues - I’ll check their site out in the next week or so.

But for any particular topic, I wouldn’t want to have to keep track of similar conversations in 2 places, to write about the same experiences and to provide the same tips twice, to worry about remembering who said what and where, etc.

So at the start, I would recommend you and Pflat divide up the array of typical FW topics in a logical fashion, and not overlap too much for now, in order to help us Fatwallet refugees feel that the ground is again solid under our feet, and that we easily know to which site we should go to get an approximate “Fatwallet experience” regarding the information, advice, and deals on each of the topics we are interested in. That would keep the old “community” as together as it can be, for the near future, even if it has had to cobble together 2, 3, 4+ sites to approximate the old one.

Later on, when you develop your own crowd, your own identity, a recognizable spin on things, then cover any topic that members are interested in, in your own way, whether or not other sites are already covering it in detail.

That’s my introductory take on your possible niche.