I would like to ask,

"What are the 'top ten' tips, the most important bits of advice, for personal finance?"

I would expect answers like,

Avoid spending more than your monthly income

Your budget should be, "Less than my income", otherwise it isn't really a 'budget'.

and other answers: perhaps about saving, budgeting, investing, and so on.

If each answer has a separate reply, then people can vote on each answer, and perhaps discuss it in comments, and clarify or add to it.

This could but need not be a 'community wiki' question: ask for community input, but reward people whose answers are up-voted.


First, thank you for asking here before posting – much appreciated!

List or poll-type questions are typically discouraged on StackExchange sites – though not precisely "outlawed", as far as I can tell. Such questions are likely to be closed as non-constructive, even if marked as community-wiki. Good questions try to solve problems you're facing. This remains a good guideline to follow here at money SE, too.

If you were to happen to get multiple different and correct answers to a question, that's fine. However, I suggest that if a question is deliberately designed or structured to work like a poll question, perhaps consider if there is a better way to ask?

Refer to Jeff Atwood's post on the Stack Exchange blog, Real Questions Have Answers, where Jeff provides some guidance on what makes a good question. Jeff points out a question at the network-wide meta: Should polls be maintained as Community Wiki questions, or should they be closed?. Some interesting discussion there.

(If anybody else has an opinion on the matter, please share it in an answer here.)

  • Here's a specific problem: I have a couple of nephews who of coming of age, in another country. I meet them rarely. How can I know that their need for financial education has been satisfied? What is "the birds and the bees talk" that you'd give to a teenager on the verge of adulthood? Hence my asking for a top-ten list: I thought that would be approachable.
    – ChrisW
    Mar 10 '12 at 22:26
  • 1
    @ChrisW IMHO, looks to me like you should just ask your question as you've phrased it in your comment above, and not frame it as a generic top ten list. BTW, there are a lot of questions on the site already about young people "just getting started" with their finances, so I'd point out what would make your question distinct, e.g. what stage in their life they're at, the country you'd be asking for advice about (financial practices vary elsewhere), etc. Mar 12 '12 at 14:26
  • Maybe a top-10 format might work if I put more effort into the question: come up with a top-ten list, post it in the question, and solicit answers which criticize it: "Please suggest improvements to this list." Maybe that is a correct way to use the Community Wiki feature.
    – ChrisW
    Mar 21 '12 at 0:19

I agree with Chris W. Rea's answer. If for some reason poll-type questions were encouraged, asking users to submit their top 10 in a single answer seems silly. I'd rather see one item per answer. The top 10 would get voted to the top.

  • That is what I meant: one item per answer (so that each item can be voted on, discussed, and edited).
    – ChrisW
    Mar 20 '12 at 23:56

The items that would be good top ten material are good Tag wiki material. This is a great idea, but focus the energy into the tag wikis, and refer to them in the FAQ.

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