Can PF Bloggers Share Too Much?

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I ran across an interesting post today at Consumerism Commentary called Wall Street Journal: Managing Money in Public. The post is about a Wall Street Journal article describing the trend of twentysomethings sharing their personal finance information online. I recommend the article, which includes a number of links to sites that enable you to publish PF information online.

I mention this article because this week I posted on The Dough Roller my retirement portfolio using www.stockalicious.com. A link to the portfolio is on the front page. In addition, I plan in the near future to begin tracking my financial goals on The Dough Roller, including my balance sheet. I’ve noticed that some PF blogs post personal financial information, and some don’t, so I thought it would be appropriate to explain the reasons behind my decision. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. While I hope you enjoy The Dough Roller, this blog is as much for me as its for you. I started this blog in part to track my progress (or lack thereof) toward my financial future. Investments, balance sheets and the like are a necessary part of that process
  2. I found other PF blogs that post their personal financial information to be, well, interesting. I like watching them struggle with the same issues I struggle with, and its fun to look back at where they were months or years earlier to see how far they’ve come.
  3. The best way to discuss and learn about personal finance is to roll up your sleeves and dig in with both hands. Talking at a theoretical level is fine to a point, but eventually you need to look at real numbers and the real decisions that affect those numbers.

One final note. As Consumerism Commentary rightly noted, absolute comparisons between people are meaningless and such comparison is not the point. Charles Colton, an English cleric and writer who died in 1832, said it best:

Wealth, after all, is a relative thing, since he that has little, and wants less, is richer than he that has much, and wants more.

Published or Updated: April 16, 2014
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. Glad to hear you’re going to share your goals and progress. Like you, I like seeing the issues that others face in their financial lives and how they handle them. So much so, that I’ve spent my spare time over the last 2 years building NetworthIQ.

    I invite you to track your balance sheet on NetworthIQ. We have a badge that you can include on your blog, similar to the stockalicious widget, making the process pretty easy.

    As far as comparisons go, I do think there’s some value, much like doing a salary comparison. If I see that others of similar age/location are way ahead of me, then maybe I can learn something from them and improve my own strategies. On the other hand, you shouldn’t get too caught up in it, because that person may be an outlier. It’s there to be a data point, and should neither be taken too seriously, nor discounted altogether.

    Essentially, what I envision for NetworthIQ members is to be able to easily track their financial big picture and perhaps find some other people in similar situations that may be able to offer some useful advice and inspiration.

  2. DR says:

    You make a fair point on comparison. When I hear of somebody younger than I who makes about as much as I do but has saved and invested a lot more, I do look at what they’re doing to see how I can improve my finances.

  3. bonecrusher says:

    The stockalicious widget and site are interesting — but you have to maintain it separate from your other PF work. If you use covestor.com, it integrates with your brokerage account and you can also see what other investors are doing with their actual, live portfolios (and replicate their strategies should you choose). Covestor also has widgets you can publish. For me the really compelling tool is comparing my investment performance to other members. Cheers.

  4. DR says:

    Bonecrusher, thanks for the tip. I’ll check out covestor.com.

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