…will probably never be revealed,
but the fact that you clicked on this post probably means you’re interested. Such is human nature and curiosity, particularly when it comes to a social taboo like money.
As a “public figure” in the world of money, I’m often asked and expected to talk about concrete details of my financial life.
Other personal finance bloggers will tell you that they are on the fence about it–a few of them are completely transparent about their income and expenses, some do so only under the protection of an anonymous nickname, and the rest would never share such details with their audience or are very selective about it when they do.
There are a few specific reasons why I’m hesitant to be detailed:
- People get funny about money, and I have a lot of friends colleagues who read this blog. Relationships get very awkward when someone knows all about your finances.
- Specific information is rarely required to understand general financial concepts. In fact, made-up examples or other people’s case studies can easily be used where hard numbers help to explain the idea.
- Detailed information on a blog serves primarily as proof that “you’re for real.” That’s why I used personal data in my baby expense reports from 2011. While building an audience without this social proof takes longer, it’s not impossible.
- For some bloggers, the purpose of sharing personal data is for public accountability, and thereby personal motivation. Instead, I do this in a more general sense with things like my yearly goals.
Specific personal data is the cornerstone on which some blogs are built, and for those in a position to share that kind of information, it benefits the rest of us with insights and the motivation to do better. I just don’t happen to be one of those blogs.
With that in mind, there are plenty of things I am willing to share:
- The percentage of my total income that my Web work generates. One of my 2011 goals was to reach 15% by the end of the year–right now, I’m hovering around 10-12%.
- The detailed expenses for our first child. This helped new Moms and Dads understand what they were facing and how to prepare.
- Our financial methodology or “systems.” Posts in the past have ranged from our monthly spouse meetings to using a wish list.
- Expensive lessons, like the time we almost bought a house but realized it needed a lot of work (today, that house is worth about $100,000 less than it was at the time–proof that it’s impossible to time a market bottom), or stuff we didn’t really need to buy for our new baby.
- Life experiments, like the time I ate vegetarian for 4 months and learned that it can actually save money!
Hopefully, these kinds of posts give you insight to the inner workings of our finances, and enough of it to make positive changes in your own lives.
So I’m curious–who do you share your financial information with? Friends? Family? Complete strangers? Why or why not? (Share your thoughts in the comments).