One blog exposes malingering mutual funds, while the other turns leftover ripe fruit into ice cream and sherbet.
For the two winners in the Globe's annual Best of the Money Blogs competition, these are routine topics. WhereDoesAllMyMoneyGo is a window into the room where all the financial industry's secrets are kept, while Squawkfox is like having a smart, self-sufficient friend who is generous with good advice about frugal living (To see the original contest voting and details, go to Announcing the best Canadian money blogs contest).
On the surface, these two blogs could hardly be more different. Where Does All My Money Go is the work of Preet Banerjee, 32, a mutual fund industry executive and former investment adviser who lives in Toronto. Squawkfox is run by Kerry Taylor, 36, a freelance writer who lives on an organic farm near Kelowna, B.C., with her husband and pet dog.
Big money and small money. Mutual funds and ice cream. They're opposites, all right, but only superficially.
Blogs are online communities where one or more people write frequently on a topic and then invite readers to respond with questions and comments. Keeping up a top blog is hard work that eats up 10 to 20 hours a week for both winners.
Using copious photos and a flair for design, Ms. Taylor crafts once-per-week blog posts that might take the form of an ice cream recipe or the free downloadable budgeting spreadsheets she created for her readers. Mr. Banerjee pumps out roughly five blog posts every week, and that's after his 60-hour workweek.
"It's a real commitment, but it's something that I'm really passionate about," he said Tuesday. "So to get the recognition is fantastic."
Voting has closed, but you can see the detailed results here:
The Best of the Money Blogs competition is aimed at helping people sort through hundreds of financial blogs maintained by both amateurs and professional money people. To narrow the field, we had a panel of experts choose their favourite Canadian personal finance and investing blogs.
On the panel were Ram Balakrishnan, author of the popular Canadian Capitalist blog, Globe Market Blog writer David Berman, Chaya Cooperberg, an investor relations expert who contributes to the Globe's Home Cents blog, and yours truly.
The expert picks were published online and in print last week, and voting closed Monday. Where Does All My Money Go captured 36 per cent of reader votes in the investing category, followed by newcomer Canadian Couch Potato and Larry MacDonald of the Canadian Business website. Squawkfox took 39 per cent of the votes in the personal finance category, followed by Million Dollar Journey and Gail Vaz-Oxlade's blog on managing debt.
Where Does All My Money Go, which will hit its third birthday on July 23, covers investing topics that you'll find covered in any number of other investing blogs. Its edge comes from Mr. Banerjee's status as an industry insider (he's a vice-president at Pro-Financial Asset Management).
One of his most popular posts ever displayed was an example of a commission grid for investment advisers. The other day, he looked at mutual funds that are quietly imitating their benchmark stock indexes instead of charting an independent course. The implication here is that if you're going to end up investing in the index, it's better to do it with cheap-to-own exchange-traded funds.
Ms. Taylor has a background in journalism and computer programming, and her blog began in early 2008 as a way for her and her husband to build their Web development skills. The focus on personal finance came out of her knack for living frugally.
"My friends always wanted to know how I had so much money at the end of the day," she said. "They always found that pretty interesting because they were driving big cars, buying big mortgages in Vancouver and I was living in a basement."
Writing the Squawkfox blog has helped make her possibly Canada's foremost voice in frugal living, and helped her promote a book called 397 Ways to Save Money. Ms. Taylor said there's one additional benefit to running a popular blog.
"It's fun," she said. "Meeting people from all over the world is just a riot."