The central drama of the Billfold is the relationship between the blog’s two editors, Mike Dang and Logan Sachon. Dang and Sachon are longtime friends and a self-described “study in contrasts.” Dang is very financially responsible—he saved enough money to quit his day job and launch the Billfold, contributes to his retirement account, and helps support his parents. Sachon, on the other hand, has $3 in savings and $20,000 in credit card debt (and has handed over her cards to Dang for safekeeping). Through a series of dialogues, Dang and Sachon explore why we think spending money will improve our lives—and why that’s not actually true. Sachon regularly updates readers on her journey to pay down her debt and get back on a sound financial footing.
The Billfold operates on the assumption that the taboo on discussing personal finances helps perpetuate irrational financial behavior: when we see other people making extravagant purchases, we assume it must be okay for us to do so, as well. In reality, those extravagant purchases may not be a sign of wealth but of a ruinous amount of debt. To break down this taboo, the Billfold interviews people from a variety of professions about how they spend and save their money and how their personal values inform their financial lives. Some contributors perform autopsies on their finances, posting transcripts from their bank statements to finally answer the question, “How did I spend all that money?” Some tales are more frightening that others, such as the woman who confessed “I Spent My $66,000 Inheritance on Basically Nothing.” They also debate financial dilemmas commonly faced by young people, such as: “Should I charge an international trip to see my best friend get married, or save my money but miss a chance to visit India?”
When few schools offer financial education and few people willing to discuss hard money questions, it can be difficult for people starting off in the world to find good information on personal finance that actually speaks to them and the way they live their lives. The Billfold fills a gap by opening up an honest and amusing discussion of finances for young people who desperately need it.