I just wrote a How to Invest for an Extremely Early Retirement instructional for eHow. I must admit, I do not particularly like to write these often requested articles. In my opinion, they are a bit like writing articles on the line of “how to mix your own gun powder” or “how to turn your lawnmower into a blender”. You can be sure that at least some individual for whom personal responsibility are merely words that are hard to spell is going to follow the instructions and blame me, when things go wrong.
Hence, there is a fine line to thread (or is that tread? I keep getting those two mixed up?) in a universe where common sense and personal responsibility has been replaced by blame and litigation. Of course, the widespread response to this has been to make instructions, regulations, etc. vague to the point where they have no meaning. I myself am guilty of this. This attitude is particularly prevalent in white collar atmospheres, where the work has so little connection to reality that words are everything and thus the words are to be chosen carefully (cf. political correctness).
Of course this makes an instructional less useful. The beauty of instructionals and lists is when they tell you with no room for uncertainty exactly what to do. Of course this is only possible when there are absolutely no contingencies. If there are contingencies, people need some education to compensate for the lack of training of the “special case”.
For instance, If I gave you directions to go somewhere, you would hopefully have enough wherewithal to take a detour if there was a road barrier rather than go right through. This is what I am afraid will not be the case for everybody reading instructionals. So my question is, should I care? For How to Invest for an Extremely Early Retirement, I could have written: “1) Go to this website and establish a broker account. 2) Put buy orders in for exactly these stocks. 3) Establish a checking account and connect it to the broker account. 4) Check account for cash before you write checks.”. Would that have been a better way to do it? What do you think?
Here is a list of articles I have written so far.