When you unexpectedly win a Plutus award

So, earlier in the month this happened. Little old me, out of the blue, won an award. When my name was called at the Plutus awards, I was shocked to the core, alongside that special feeling you get when you win something. I felt special for one night.

The Plutus Awards

Harlan Landes and his team run The Plutus Awards which recognise independent bloggers in the personal finance sphere. Now in the 10th year, the awards from gone from strength to strength and nowadays the Plutus Foundation additionally awards charitable grants to financial literacy causes.

The Plutus Awards are based in the US and operate in the English speaking world. Individuals can nominate blogs to be submitted to the panel. Then the panel makes a shortlist and selects a winner. The winners are revealed in an award ceremony, held at the fincon conference.

The nomination and competition

Ms ZiYou Plutus Finalist

For the 2019 Plutus Awards, I was nominated for Best International Personal Finance Blog, alongside some very worthy competition. As you can see below my fellow nominees all produce awesome content on their personal finance blogs and were very worthy finalists. I considered it an honour to be in the same ballpark as these guys (yes, they all seemed to be male-led).

Thanks to the sponsor

I think it’s really important at this point to thank the sponsor: The wonderful Josh of I got to meet Josh in person at fincon, and he is every bit as nice in person as he is online. Josh is an active member of the personal finance community and writes on his own money blog.

Josh has been ramping up his philanthropic efforts in the personal finance community and took the decision to sponsor an award. I’m lucky that the award he sponsored was the one I won. It’s much more personal than getting an award sponsored by an organisation in my view. Thanks Josh!

Why me?

At this point, it’s time to get into the meat of the post. The very good question – why me? I never in any way canvassed for votes, the way I saw other people actively doing via blogs and social media. I considered it such a long shot, that I’d never be popular enough to be nominated, never mind win.

In my day to day life, I’m all for directing my effort where it will be useful. I tend to avoid activities that have such long-odds. I tend towards the stoic. My effort is focused on where I think I can move the needle, and make progress.

Do you see the imposter?

Never have I ever won a popularity competition. Every time I’ve got elected to something or been voted in I’ve done lots of groundwork before. Spoke to many people. Listened to opinions. Canvassed the ground. Had a few cheerleaders and backers. But for the Plutus Awards, I did none of this. I was just relying on the power of my words on my small blog. Clearly I would not win.

So yes, it’s a clear cut case – I suffer from that dreaded imposter syndrome. Shocked that my words and my blog could win me a prize. And shocked that I could win over such great competition. On the night of the awards, the host Sandy of Yes, I am Cheap gave me a great pep talk.

I then reframed from my initial “I don’t know how I won” to a more confident “Thanks, I’m shocked but grateful for the recognition of all my hard work”. Thanks Sandy for the nudge – it was really appreciated.

Feminism wins awards

I unapologetically brand my blog as a feminist FIRE blog. I like people to understand what they are getting into before clicking too deep. Additionally, I am proud of being a feminist and want everyone to know it.

In addition to my Best International Blog Award, it was great to support some other proud unapologetic feminists winning awards. Just a small sample below!


Personal Finance Blogs are changing

As my post on politics at fincon starts to meander into – personal finance can be seen as very libertarian. It’s all about the person and individual decisions. Which is not wrong on a micro level, but none of us lives on isolated islands. We live in the macro, a society where we impact others and they impact us.

Money and Society

Politics and money impact how we live our everyday life. It determines who lives in the large luxurious house and who is left scraping by in the bedsit. Decisions we make with our money can impact others and it’s something I am thinking about more and more.

From the cost of free to how we pay for day to day banking, our choices have implications for others. Only the financially illiterate would deny there is a gender pay gap, yet progress is very slow. And even I was shocked to see in 2019 –  celebrating that in Wikipedia, we are now up to 18% of notable people being women. And my response to that is WTF – the patriarchy still seems powerful and holding all the strings.

Ms ZiYou Going forwards

So what is the plan for the blog? Without a doubt, I will keep doing the following:

  • Writing whatever I fancy – generally on the topics of money, travel, life and love.
  • Remaining advert, affiliate and sponsored post free.
  • Sourcing more profiles for my #financialfeminist series (contact me if you want to take part).
  • Keep active in the personal finance community.
  • Spend a ridiculous amount of time on twitter.
  • And ponder when I want to pull the plug on paid work.

Finally – thank you for voting

To all those people who voted for me – I literarily would not have won without you.

Over to you

  • What are your thoughts?
  • Have you ever unexpectedly won an award?
  • Is the world of personal finance changing in your opinion?

Thank you for reading – please leave a comment below and join in the conversation. You can also connect on Twitter or contact me privately.

10 comments on “When you unexpectedly win a Plutus award

  1. Yay congratulations Ms ZiYou!!!!!!! I’m so glad your blog is getting the recognition it deserves, I’ve long enjoyed it and your down-to-earth, humble attitude. You sure did have a noteworthy month of August 😄 and yes impostor syndrome is a b*tch. I think it thrives on isolation, when we have nobody to compare ourselves to and thus no way to measure the quality of our work, which is obviously exactly your situation as an anonymous blogger. So, kudos for pushing through anyway!!! I look forward to many more blog posts on any topic you deem worthy! 👏

  2. Congratulations! I appreciate the feminist perspective and am so glad you won the award. Keep up the great work.
    I remember winning an award out of the blue (well, it was for speech and debate, so it was a competition I actively entered and practiced for). It was an amazing feeling! The next year wasn’t as amazing because there was an expectation that I could perhaps win again… and I did! The unexpected win was sweeter!
    The world of personal finance is changing – everything that could be said about individual effort has been thoroughly explained, I think, and now we do need to think about ‘macro’ and the inequality which threatens stable societies. Our investments depend upon stable societies, I would say!

    1. Hi Dorf – thanks for commenting. I love your story about the unexpected win – you are right, the surprise is indeed contributing a lot to the amazing feeling.

      And yes I do agree that we are getting to the limits of individual efforts and we need to work together on the larger issues. And yes, our investments need stability in society and commerce – a sobering thought.

What do you think?