ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters” ended its 30-year run this month. For those who never saw this quiet Sunday morning program, the show featured four primarily northeast sportswriters discussing the sports issues of the day in an erudite manner. The show stayed true to its roots of professional debate for its entire run.
What ESPN probably didn’t know at the time was that “The Sports Reporters” would be the beginning of an endless series of increasingly obnoxious talk shows which include yelling, interrupting, and in a few cases, fist fights. These shows were not exclusive to sports, oozing into the news and entertainment arenas. It’s hard to flip the dial without seeing Jerry Springer, the Real Housewives, cable news, or even SportsCenter with “expert” panels whose decibel levels exceed the call of the blue whale.
There is, however, a quiet little corner giving sane personal financial advice. On weekend afternoons when most of us are enjoying our time off from work, radio stations across the country syndicate financial shows discussing such topics as saving for retirement, reducing debt, and how to start a small business. The most popular programs are The Clark Howard Show, The Dave Ramsey Show, and Motley Fool Money, which also has articles in many weekend newspapers nationwide. Dubbed America’s dean of personal finance, Jane Bryant Quinn’s columns have appeared over the years in newspapers and magazines such as AARP Magazine.
It’s too bad these financial radio hosts and columnists have been shoved to the equivalent of the Action/Adventure section of the local bookstore. They give consistent and valuable advice, but it’s not exciting and at times painful. Dedication and commitment are required to listen to a Saturday afternoon radio show or to read a newspaper article on personal finance. It may be because it feels like school, and who wants to be in school on a weekend?
The biggest mistake people make about finance is that they try to do everything at once. It becomes overwhelming which leads to just giving up. Start with something small, for instance a small outstanding bill, and pay it off. Or, start putting $10 a week into savings and gradually increase that amount over a period of years. It’s amazing how good one feels when even the smallest item on a to-do list gets accomplished.
With more and more technology, our society feels like it’s moving faster than ever. People feel pressured to move at that speed to keep up. Slow and steady saving and paying down debt will eventually achieve financial independence. It’s not a race; go at your own speed. That’s what “The Sports Reporters” did. Slow and steady for them lasted thirty years.
David M. Green