How Much Money Do You Make?

"How much money do you make?"

“How much money do you make?”

This is the question that Carl Richards, the NYTimes Financial Sketch Guy, used to open his most recent piece. As he tells it:

“Recently, I tried an experiment. I just started asking people how much they make or how much they’re worth. The results were pretty consistent. They’d look at me in shock and stammer a bit.

We’re not comfortable talking about money. We’ve been taught that it’s rude. Even more important, we may be afraid of what the numbers say about us.”

By hiding these numbers, though, Richards asserts that we turn to other status symbols to demonstrate our wealth and our income to the world. And that’s where folks get into trouble. They buy expensive cars (and other Big Hats) to demonstrate that they’ve “made it” when those Big Hats are often hiding a distinct lack of cattle (err, net worth).

Richards encourages NYTimes readers with the following:

“Maybe this idea is too radical, but for the next week, I’d love for you to test this theory. Try living as if everything you did financially was public information. How does it affect your decisions? Do you find yourself still doing things that just look good, or are you doing things that actually are good for you? Do you find it easier to be your authentic self? And, perhaps most important of all, do you now understand the difference between buying the trappings of success and actual success?”

Been There, Done That…Wrote The Blog

For the last nearly 2.5 years, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing on this blog. Each month we use our income statement to tally up what we’re earning and spending, and track the growth of our net worth by refreshing our balance sheet on a monthly basis, too. And we publish it all here on our little blog for the whole world (okay, so our readership isn’t QUITE that big) to see.

So Carl, in case you aren’t interested in digging through our published financial history, here’s the long and short of our financial sharing.

  • We gross somewhere around $180-$200K per year in income from our jobs and our rental duplex. It varies a decent amount since Mr PoP works in commission sales. When we first got married five years ago, it varied less, but was much lower – close to $80K/year.
  • We aim to spend around $50K or less per year on 2 people and one awesome cat (see photo above). That’s just a tad less than the median household income and less than half the median combined income for 2 working college graduates aged 30-34 (which we are).  (Thank you DQYDJ for that stat!)
  • The rest (well, net of taxes, which are non-trivial), ends up in various investments that we’ve used to grow our net worth to $787.1K by our early 30’s. (Well, that’s as of September 30. Check back in a week or so for the October 31 update.)

Why Financially Overshare?

We certainly don’t do this because as sometimes-Millennials* we’re obsessed with updating the world about our every move. In fact, the opposite is true.  Our lack of engagement with social media is noteworthy, not only in our personal accounts, but for those social media accounts associated with our blogs. (If it weren’t for Feedburner, the PoP social media accounts would be nearly blank.)

We do it because it’s good for us. Because it keeps us on track with some pretty lofty financial goals. Because we believe that it doesn’t take a HUGE amount of spending to live a really happy and fulfilling life and we like being examples of that to others trying to live happy and fulfilling lives with a fair number of luxuries without spending a small fortune.

What’s It Like To “Overshare” Financial Information?

I’ll tell you what it’s like, Carl. At first it felt a little weird. Because, you know… who does this? (Well, except for our initial inspirations behind recording these financial statements online for the whole world to see. Namely, Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income with his own published income reports monthly, and J$ from Budgets Are Sexy who had been posting monthly net worth updates online for years.)

But the weirdness in the beginning was pretty easy to get over because we had just a handful of readers that first summer. And it’s pretty easy to share that information when you know basically no one is listening.

Over time our readership grew and we still kept sharing. These financial reports prompt good questions about our spending, and occasionally our income and savings and investments. These conversations and dialog have never veered off polite.  In fact, the lack of malevolence in our comment section is something we take pride in since we’ve never had to moderate out for animosity, which tends to reinforce our assumptions that most people in the world are nice!

Things We’ve Noticed When You Overshare Financially

1. People take way more notice of (and nitpick) what you spend than what you earn. Maybe it’s just the nature of life that people expect everyone to have the same spending priorities that they do… But I take this of at least partial proof that people REALLY don’t care as much about the size of your Big Hat as you think.

2. There are lots of different definitions of saving and spending out there. We count our mortgage principal as spending, but a surprising number of folks out there think of it as savings!

3. The accountability of reporting all your income and spending to the world is pretty motivating – and not necessarily in a miserly penny pinching way. We’ve always sought to align our spending with our values, not necessarily aim to pinch every penny possible. Creating and publishing these financial reports is a good mental check-in there since any spending can trigger a conversation about our values.

4. Austin Kleon was quoted in Richard’s piece as saying, “I can’t think of any way that my family or I would benefit from letting other people know the exact amount of money I make — whether it’s more or less than what people think.” Sorry Austin, you haven’t tried it yet. The focus on our financial future and alignment on our goals that has come from sharing them with other people has coincided with reaching goals even faster than our original projections without feeling any sort of sacrifice along the way. It’s truly been financially empowering to share!

But The PoP’s Anonymity Is Like Cheating!

We can ask The Ethicist, but we don’t think hiding behind anonymity online is “cheating”. It’s taking a reasonable precaution… because, dude, it’s the internet.  The few who do know us IRL and from the blog have all agreed to keep our blogging personas to themselves.

In IRL, we’re open about our finances to whatever degree is useful (to others) when it comes to folks we know.

  • We’ve shared salary and benefit information with friends exploring other opportunities. “Yes it’s possible to earn a good living with a philosophy degree” and “Life outside STEM academia can have a pretty wide range of salary depending what lifestyle you want”.
  • We’ve talked about COL in various locales and how we’ve tried to balance our earning potential with living in an area that isn’t insanely expensive or has an undue tax burden on its residents.
  • We’ve talked about tools we use to keep track our spending and helped others set them up themselves – going so far as to whip open our own Mint account on our phones to prove how awesome and useful the technology is.
  • We’ve talked about investments we’ve made and why we’ve passed on others.

We tend not to be the one to start these kinds of conversations (that feels a little too financially preachy for us), but we’re happy to have them and certainly don’t stammer or act evasively when it’s of use to those we know and love. And we think these financial sharing conversations can be very useful to people at all different stages in their financial lives.

So that’s our experience with financial “oversharing”. It’s a pretty powerful tool if you’re prepared to use it.

 

So how about you? How financially open are you? Are you willing to break a huge taboo and share what you earn, spend, and your net worth with us today?

 

* We’re borderline generationally, sometimes included in the “millennial” definition, but sometimes not. I feel we lucked out with a “choose-your-own adventure” approach to generational identity.  And speaking of “choose your own adventure”, I just got this book from the library tonight.  So excited to crack it open!

72 comments to How Much Money Do You Make?

  • Building on what you posit, I’ve been really pleased with our decision to share our expenditures every month. For some reason, probably due to the general finance taboo and the fact that friends and family read our blog, I was hesitant to make this foray into financial oversharing. But, the responses we get every month are helpful, interested, and positive/constructive. We’ve shied away from publishing our incomes, full net worth (or our precise identities), but, I think that we probably will with time. Mr. FW and I have needed to ease into what we’re comfortable divulging because after all, dude, it’s the internet.
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted..Frugal Hound Sniffs: Financial DiffractionMy Profile

    • Mr PoP might choose differently, but if I had to pick only one type of financial information to share it’d be spending. It just creates such an awareness between spending and values that is easy to slip up on.

  • Todd

    Smart Passive Income is run by Pat Flynn, not Ramit Sethi.

  • Once we started sharing our debt payments and savings, we really started to accelerate them! I keep anonymity for the same reason you do – it’s the Internet, and I’ve been around it for far longer than many people and seen what can happen… So far, we haven’t shared our incomes or spending, but I plan to once we settle down into a new pattern (I was working on a post before the whole job/moving situation this summer!).

    IRL, most of our friends group doesn’t talk about money, so neither do we really, but I think that’s more of the social situation we find ourselves in rather than a conscious choice. Besides, being able to afford to buy a house in DC almost assumes a certain income level!
    Mom @ Three is Plenty recently posted..2015 IRS contribution limitsMy Profile

    • I don’t think we sit around talking about money with friends, but stuff like combining finances after marriage, looking for new job opportunities and wondering if you can’t make more elsewhere, buying first homes and stuff… it just seems to come up because it’s these stages of life that a lot of our friends are going through… and we just happened to do the whole “get married & buy a house” thing earlier than most of them so I think we’re easy to ask about it. =)

  • Yes many people would be shocked, because it’s not the norm. I don’t share income or net worth yet, and I’m fine with that choice. I might be willing to share dividend income in the future.
    Rich Uncle El recently posted..Why Percentages MatterMy Profile

  • To be honest, I still think that its kind of cheating that you are anonymous with respect to sharing everything. I understand why you are anonymous because its the internet. However, actually sharing your income, investments, spending and everything else financial related to your closest friends would be quite harder in my opinion. If 10 of your closest friends asked you how much exactly you make, what your net worth is and how much you spend on everything and you would be comfortable answering with as much detail as you put on your blog, then that would be full financial disclosure in my opinion.

    I’m not discounting what you are doing with your blog with financial disclosure but I don’t think that its the same as actually sharing IRL.

    • PK

      Ehh, I’d disagree what that sentiment. At least in my experience, my closest friends (and family) know about my website, so any sharing I do on the site leads to questions/comments in the future. It’s probable that the PoP’s 10 closest friends (or so) already know about this excellent website… and the ones that want to know the details already have them filed away.

      Some probably even subscribe.

      On that note, excellent piece – I personally limit my disclosure for a number of reasons, but there are a few family member and close friends who have a pretty good idea what I gross. I noticed you added the ‘peer’ link – keep an eye out Monday, I have an even more targeted article which I’m hoping people get a lot of use from.
      PK recently posted..How Has Real Estate Performed Since the Recession?My Profile

      • “Excellent website”? Thank you for the high praise! Means a lot from DQYDJ!

        There aren’t too many of our friends that know about the site (and the only family members are Mr PoP’s folks – unless they’ve spilled the beans!). Though oddly I’ve had at least one acquaintance link to a post of ours on Facebook and talk about how useful it was… I held my breath for a little while after waiting to be outed by common friends and never was.

        Eventually I expect more will find out about it slowly, but it doesn’t seem like a big deal to keep it our “secret project”.

      • Actually, none of our closest friends know about the site-we disclosed to Mom and Dad, and have made some friends through the site as well.
        Mr PoP @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..How Much Money Do You Make?My Profile

    • My 10 closest friends? sure.. if they asked. It’s not something I’d volunteer out of context bc that’s kindof weird. Though realistically, most would find it pretty darned boring. =)

    • I wish I could talk about it more with them, but money is pretty taboo. Can’t help but think it would be obnoxious if I just started peppering them with personal finance questions!
      Mr PoP @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..How Much Money Do You Make?My Profile

  • LOVE this post. We are definitely very open with our finances. People either love it or hate it, and I’ve had quite a few people tell me that I’m crazy to publish my income reports each month. I don’t care though, I know it helps others and myself, so why not?
    Michelle recently posted..10 Things I’ve Done To Make Extra MoneyMy Profile

  • I’ve just started my blog and I haven’t overshared yet. Well I guess everyone knows I made $0 as a stay at home mom. I think we’ll definitely share our spending and budget, but maybe on a annual basis. Income and net worth, probably in time.
    Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom recently posted..Guess How Much We Cut Our Electricity BillMy Profile

    • What are those studies that say what the equivalent pay of a SAHP should be? It’s always insanely huge =)
      Figure out what you’re comfortable with in terms of sharing before diving in – and make sure both you and the spouse are on board. Mr PoP had to convince me initially to be okay with sharing financial information with the internet, and I’m glad he didn’t jump right into it without my okay.

  • I am new to the scene and have been struggling with this exact thing. It’s hard to figure out what parts of our finances to share and which things to keep private for security reasons. Personally I LOVE how you have full disclosure and share your spending and income. It really gives a realistic idea of where you’re at and where you’re going and is very motivating. Very refreshing!

  • My salary is public information since I’m a state employee.

    I don’t mind sharing my income IRL if someone asks (most economists don’t– though I’m underpaid as an economist!), but I don’t want to share it for my anonymous online persona. Why? Well, I’ve noticed that when people like me do (mommies, academics) that people can get pretty bitter about it if their families make less. And they can get disappointed if they think you make more (there are definitely folks online who seem to think we make more than we actually do). And as a hobby blog, we don’t really feel the need to deal with those kinds of emotions if we can avoid it.

    I don’t think the emotional comparisons are as much of a problem in the high-end personal finance blog area (you, Leigh) or if you make less than the median income in the rest of the personal finance area. And people love seeing what freelancers bring in and all those details because it seems more like the result of work rather than of luck and there’s a thought that, “I could do that” and “That’s something to shoot for” for people not making as much in their wage jobs.

    But that’s just an area I don’t want to deal with on our blog. So we give general ideas but not specifics, like the fact that we changed tax brackets when DH got a new job.

    I can tell you that the last time I did a reckoning, we spent ~72K/year as a family of four with two kids in private school/daycare, though I think some of that was saving (required mortgage principal, targeted saving). That is a lot of money!
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted..I used to like people moreMy Profile

  • It’s been really fun becoming more and more open about finances with my boyfriend. I really need to tell him about my blog, especially now that he knows everything I talk about!

    I have never gotten negative comments. A few people have said I’m an inspiration, which is pretty cool! Someone criticized my clothing spending once (I think I spent $600 in one quarter that I grossed $60k?) and that’s really the only criticism I’ve gotten. I don’t disclose my exact income or my location, so in a way, you guys are less anonymous than I am.

    I wish more people talked about money more openly, though a fair number of my friends do and it’s quite fun. We don’t disclose net worth or exact incomes, but do share savings percentages and overall strategies.

    I spend about $40k per year including trips and housing costs for one person, with a net worth around $500k and an income around $160-200k at age 26. I’m quite happy with my lifestyle and don’t have plans to increase or decrease it any time soon. My spending should drop to around $36k per year when my boyfriend officially moves in, which I would say is pretty darn good for my income and city. (I have some friends who as a couple bought a place for 4x the cost of mine, while my boyfriend and I are perfectly happy with my two bedroom place.)
    Leigh recently posted..Q3 UpdateMy Profile

    • I’ll be curious to hear what the boyfriend thinks when you tell him about the blog – though there probably won’t be any surprises in there for him!

      Love the comment on your clothes spending… I think the ones I remember the most are on months where Kitty PoP doesn’t have any expenses and people assume we stopped feeding him for the month. =)

  • Ivy

    I have used existing opportunities to share anonymously and get feedback – one was the (now on hiatus) excellent blog of Free Money Finance – he had a series where readers reviewed individual financial situations and offered advice, also another series on high net worth people (millionaires) and high income people. Also on the Bogleheads forum anybody can put his financial situation out there and get smart advice, be it on budget or investments allocation or anything else. It’s incredibly helpful.
    For me the above options met my needs for getting advice from people who are smart on financial matters and have mindset similar to mine, while preserving our privacy.

    Sharing my financial details with close friends I would never do.
    First, most of my friends have very different financial mindset from me and my husband – whether in spending or choosing investments (not necessarily worse, just different), so I have learned not to offer advice unless asked, and I don’t think their advice will be to our liking.
    Second, while we are all doing well financially, I think my income is probably higher than their combined ones (we are a one income family), except for one friend who is in the 1%:-) – so there is a very good chance that any sharing will come through as bragging, and in our culture you just don’t brag about financials.
    Lastly, maybe I am overly cautious, but if people knew our financials we would be way more worried about safety – now we live in a middle-class neighborhood, drive relatively cheap cars and nothing in our lifestyle makes us a target (aside from being able to live fine on one income). Maybe this is paranoid but better safe than sorry

    • You’re right – there are some excellent places to share this info anonymously that can help, too! FMF’s reader profiles were excellent – such a shame that he put his blog on hiatus. And Bogleheads are great too for investment advice. MMM forums are also pretty good if you’re okay with people REALLY judging your spending harshly (don’t think ours would pass muster to many of the more hard core members there).

  • Hah! You beat me to my own post on this which comes out tomorrow 😉 Though I did just pimp it on http://RockstarFinance.com – Brilliant article/idea for sure.
    J. Money recently posted..WTF Wednesday: Five-Finger FreshenersMy Profile

  • We are less open on the income and expenses. Mostly because Mrs. Even Steven is a very private person and she knows that friends and family also read our blog. I usually run things by her when I use numbers, but I don’t see it changing to much in the future.

    I think sharing my vision and my stories is my choice of writing style and I think for everyone it depends. Some people say I make XYZ with a Net worth of ABC! Others give % of XYZ or paid off % XYZ, I don’t really see much difference and in fact I’m a little anti-net worth as I believe it can have a negative effect especially early on, especially with different goals ie early retirement I’m not as concerned about my net worth for example
    Even Steven recently posted..Early Retirement Extreme Book ReviewMy Profile

    • You’re right that there are many different ways to share and there is value to be had in all of them. Hope you guys find the level of sharing that is right for both you and the Mrs!

  • Like in writing, I enjoy describing a scenario rather than telling a scenario. It’s fun to read other people’s reports though. I think after a certain income or net worth level – maybe $300,000+ and $3 million net worth – it becomes a less useful exercise because so few people are there.
    Financial Samurai recently posted..Do You Have The Right Money Mindset To Get Rich?My Profile

  • MomofTwoPreciousGirls

    PRETTY sure the whole “keep what you make hush hush” was instilled by EMPLOYERS! I ended up in a situation where I was a manager, got displaced and then took a lower level job back. In my time as a manager I learned what my employees, who are now my co-workers made. It’s disgusting knowing the people who have many years of incredible service make bottom tier and those that get hired now with less experience start at 12k/year more. I also know that people I hired make more than I do, again with more experience. Companies don’t want employees talking about their salaries bc they would have revolting on their hands!

  • I am not anonymous so I only report blogging income on the blogs, rental and other incomes are just vaguely mentioned, because for Guatemala, I already make a ton of money and you never know… But when people ask me in real life I am open about where I earn money from and how much. Just not as good as you at keeping track of every cent so it is more a rough estimate than exact numbers.
    Pauline recently posted..Of course the rich want to keep the middle class down!My Profile

  • Debbie M

    I think one important component of sharing your financial information is sharing it with yourself: keeping track and knowing where you are and seeing where you’re going. Telling strangers on the internet is another step up from there. Telling people who share your finances (spouse, children) is also a step up. And then telling other people is another step up. I expect that each of these different categories of revelation have different effects.

    To answer your questions, I feel that I am financially open, but I do understand that there is a taboo. I feel that most people don’t want to know my numbers, but if they do, I can tell them. I make far less than most of my friends, and I have deliberately asked some of them. So now I know I make 1/3 to 1/2 the salaries of most of my friends. (Or at least I did a few years ago.) It works out that they accept my frugality and I accept their willingness to work way too many hours sometimes.

    I share with family, too, though not frequently. Generally when one of us gets a new job. My boyfriend knows everything.

    Everyone seems to be forgetting or ignoring this question: Are you willing to break a huge taboo and share what you earn, spend, and your net worth with us today? I can. Y’all are an easy audience!

    Salary: I gross $2250/month. I used to make more, but switched to a lower-stress job which also happens to be only 30 hours per week. In the past I used to compare my salary to that of first-year teachers in my city. I could not catch up to them until one year when I got a promotion and they got a salary freeze. After that it was neck-and-neck until I quit that job.

    Other earnings: I also earn a puny amount of additional income: so far this year I have averaged almost $14/month interest, $25 dividends, $14 credit card rewards, $4 Swagbucks, $0.16 bringing my own bags to the store, $0.02 found money, $0.22 from selling books, and $2 from a promotion from my bank. I also have significant dividends and growth in my retirement accounts. (Hmm, looks like only 3K.)

    Spending: I calculate spending in two ways. One is actual expenditures, which has averaged $946/month so far. And the other uses savings for certain categories instead of actual expenditures. For example, I haven’t paid property taxes yet this year, and that’s going to be $4,000. Also, so long as I want a lifestyle that involves having my car and housing maintained, I save a certain amount for those purposes. I also save a certain amount toward my next car. Sometimes actual expenditures exceed this value (often by a lot), usually they don’t. That calculation, which I consider the true cost of living my lifestyle, has averaged $1700/month. So you can see I’m cutting it pretty close each month. But this current job will last only three more months. Then I retire to actually about the same gross, but I’ll have fewer deductions from my pay.

    Net Worth: 476K as of the first of last month. I’m almost 52 years old, so I’ve had a lot of time to save up, plus I’ve had no dependents and no expensive medical conditions. Almost half is my house, which is now paid off. Almost one third is my Roth IRA, which I have been maxing out since it was invented. Most of the rest is my pension, which is way more valuable than it sounds because the amount I can withdraw does not include the company matching, and the amount I will get per month is based on state worker average lifespan, so it’s more than I could give myself with the same money because I’d have to assume I might live longer.

  • Some of my friends and family read my blog, which is open about my net worth. My grandfather was so moved by my debt-payoff entry, in which I admitted we were now a bit cash-poor ahead of a big move, that he sent me $1000, so I guess it paid off :-).

    I’m in the same age range and have also never been quite clear whether I’m a “millennial.” Nice to see that Mr. FP, as an experienced public schoolteacher, makes well over the median for a college grad his age. (He does, however, have a master’s degree. I have two myself.)
    Frugal Paragon recently posted..October 2014 Net Worth Check: Still RisingMy Profile

  • I’m pretty financially open on my blog right now, but that’s partially because I’m still (mostly) anonymous. If I blogged openly I might be more closed off about putting my entire financial life on my blog…
    Kayla @ Femme Frugality recently posted..Frugal Ways to Not Drive Drunk This HalloweenMy Profile

  • While I would definitely not call it “cheating,” I do think that tying this type of financial information to your real identity if a different ball game than sharing it anonymously. It’s still beneficial to you and your reader to do it anonymously, but I think you benefit in a different way and reach more ‘regular’ people if you do it IRL. I actually learn more from my local friends than my internet friends because our lifestyles are so much more similar, and I find it much more gratifying to ‘convert’ my sister to being financially awesome than talking with virtual strangers who are already on the same wavelength. That’s not to say that you don’t do that stuff too IRL, but I just think it’s quite different.

    We would and do share our income and net worth with anyone who expresses interest, IRL or online, but I generally don’t want to force that info on people because it might make them uncomfortable. However, I did recently stand in front of a group of 60 people and declare my whole income and net worth history from the end of college to the present, and I plan on doing it again when I give my seminar on personal finance at my university next month! I really believe we would all benefit from more openness about money.

    Oh, and since you expressed interest… I earn about $500/month now and my husband’s salary is $42,000/year. We spend somewhat less and report it every month on our blog. Our net worth as of this morning is $121,914.69 (according to Mint, not including our negligible property).
    Emily @ evolvingPF recently posted..PhD Stipends LaunchMy Profile

  • I am overly cautious with sharing information on my finances. I write online about my investments in general but sharing specifics about my complete portfolio and income makes me very uncomfortable.

    I tried being a bit more open in the past but found that the information shared ended up being a problem later when I did not want to do something. That has taught me to keep my finances to myself.

  • Mama Pop

    As I was growing up, money was a total secret at home. It was only as Dad way dying that he began to share information with me because I was the natural one to handle the finances. That catapulted me into years of learning (Motley Fool, John Bogle style) about investments.

    Raising the boys, I tried to be open about our finances, but they appeared to be mostly not interested, apparently since I was “taking care” of it all. What a thrill to find out that Mr. PoP was interested in learning about money after all! Largely due to Mrs. PoP’s mathematical ability and analytical optimization techniques, I have really enjoyed reading their blog and having financial conversations with them.

    I am currently in the throes of organizing my retirement finances, which has consumed more time that it should have. Imagine my surprise yesterday when I received a notice from my pension fund that indicates that I will get $1500 or $1600 LESS per month than they had estimated last summer!

    I think that sharing information about your financial specifics becomes easier if you are talking with people who understand what you are saying. This eliminates all of my friends/relatives except Mr. & Mrs. PoP.

  • I don’t share on the blog because a lot of family and friends read and don’t want to share that with them, but I am happy to share with readers if they email me

  • […] shared their income to demonstrate their net worth progress. It’s very interesting to see their awesome progress on their net worth over the […]

  • May

    I recently shared our net worth online and I am amazed at how interested readers are in this information. I have spent a lot of time thinking about it and I guess it is because it is so taboo to talk about and you can look at the stats but you don’t really know how well (or not) you are doing because you can’t compare your progress to “real” people. Also, working on your finances, as important as they are to our lives – is a pretty lonely endeavor. Who do you go to for advice or to share your triumphs or problems? The people offering advice often have other motives (i.e. selling you a product) and IRL people don’t want to talk about it.
    I am anonymous and not sure I would overshare if I was not. Today I read about a giant fraud ring that used pictures people posted on instagram of their first paychecks to perpetrate fraud on a massive scale so you need to be careful.
    May recently posted..Financial Independence Ruined My LifeMy Profile

  • I don’t share my personal finances online because (1) I haven’t made any real efforts to blog anonymously and (2) I didn’t think anyone else would be interested in it! I must admit though, I’ve been coming around to seeing the value in it, both from an accountability perspective and as a way to openly connect with others. I’ll probably start sharing my personal investments and my goals, but don’t expect I’ll go as far as sharing income / expenses just yet.
    Jason @ Islands of Investing recently posted..Confessions – my biggest investment mistakeMy Profile

  • […] This week I read a great post by the Pops over at Planting Our Pennies. I always enjoy reading their posts because they are personal in nature like I try to keep mine. This week they talk about asking people “How much money do you make?”. […]

  • I think the biggest value is just from tracking them personally-if you’re tracking your finances every month it will change you mindset and bring your spending closer in line to your goals. Beyond that the accountability is nice, joining a like-minded group of people is even better. I will say that the income/expenses are easier to share than the net-worth.
    Mr PoP @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..How Much Money Do You Make?My Profile

    • I actually find that we accumulate more if I only look at our overall finances whenever we have to make a “can we afford it/how much can we afford” decision (something that happens generally once a year, give or take). Perhaps that means we’re underspending compared to our income (because we feel less wealthy than we actually are). But I like the freedom that underspending gives us because it means I can say, take next year off without pay and live someplace expensive without hurting our long-term strategy. Or DH can take time to find a new job after leaving an old one.

      When we had less income, I did know where every penny went, because the can we afford it question came up every week at the grocery store. Now we can afford the grocery store so I don’t need to ask. It’s only “can we afford to take a sabbatical” or “can we afford to do cosmetic home repairs.” That sort of thing.
      nicoleandmaggie recently posted..link love of the deadMy Profile

  • I’m pretty open about my income and expenses, but it’s true that being anonymous makes it easier to talk about money; it also helps because I’m not worried about what certain family or friends would say, do, or ask for if they knew this information.

    Personally, sharing my numbers keeps me accountable and more aware because I have an audience (however miniscule) to report to, and that makes me think twice about where to spend the money, and I take comfort in the PF blog community because we all kind of support each other regardless of identity.
    Gia T. recently posted..Expense Report: October 2014My Profile

  • I don’t share my income on my blog because it’s mainly travel related with a sprinkling of personal finance but I love talking about money. Maybe it’s a Kiwi thing – but everyone I know in New Zealand talks about what they earn, spend, how much their house cost. My husband is Irish and his family are the complete opposite, so guarded with talking about money. I’m sure comfort levels with discussing money are specific to culture.
    Emma @ Life. By Emma recently posted..In My Neighbourhood: DaimúsMy Profile

  • My long-term girlfriend and myself make a fairly solid combined income. Sadly the people who I know would react the worst to knowing how much I have saved (age 28) would be the individuals who manage their own finances the worst.

    I believe that the day in age we are in today, people are very self-centered, and the only thing I would net out of sharing would be a lot of negative responses.

    I think people want you to be “well enough,” but peers always commonly make a competition.

    The only people I feel comfortable sharing with, are my parents, being that my father has a fairly solid financial IQ.

  • I think people should be more open discussing finances; perhaps more discussion would help avoid those news reports about how little the average American saves or how little they are prepared for retirement.
    I have not had any problem sharing my financial information on my blog and I don’t think I would have a problem sharing in real life either, but, like you said, I would not be an initiator of such conversations. One situation I would definitely not be willing to share my income is with coworkers, I would be happy to discuss other financial aspects, investing, frugal living, etc, but I would not feel comfortable sharing my income with them.
    Nick recently posted..What Does Net Worth Say About Your Life’s Story?My Profile

  • I was chatting with a friend the other day, and she expressed concern about how much her boyfriend owes in student loans. I asked how much, and she said “dude, I wouldn’t tell you that!” I was pretty surprised by her shock. I might hesitate a bit or give a rounded ball-park number, but I see no embarrassment in sharing that kind of info. It’s just one piece of info about a person.

    Anyway, that’s just to say that most people are uncomfortable talking about money. I’ve learned not to lay it all out there, but I’m fairly open with people. I’m careful with money, and that’s good.

    That said, the higher my net worth, the less willing I am to mention that. Talking about spending, student loans, and even earnings feels a lot more comfortable than discussing my nest egg. It’s not massive (nowhere near yours!), but I think it’s large compared to most people I know.

  • Kim

    I have shared net worth a couple of times, and have mixed feelings about it. I think it’s a good motivational tool to keep us focused on our goals. If I write about it, I’m going to do my best to make it happen. My parents were and are very closed about money and always taught us not to share, so I think that does stick with you as an adult.
    Kim recently posted..Cut Your Grocery SpendingMy Profile

  • I used to share dollar amounts when I reported my net worth every month,especially when I was paying off the thousands of dollars of family debt and loans. Now that it’s not just me, I’ve gone to percentages while I decide whether or not it’s worth the risk of sharing real numbers.
    I want to, actually, because it feels more real and I can celebrate milestones! But I haven’t decided yet.

    It’s weird that I’d be far more willing to share online, despite my very real concerns about being outed and security, than I would share with any family or most friends. Unfortunately, we’re so different from our family with regard to financial attitudes that I suspect there would be far more commentary, resentment and judgment about our life decisions if they knew. Much like Nicole and Maggie note, people tend to have reactions when they see your income that are very informed by their own circumstances and often they ignore context. Then too, like Leah, I hesitate because I’m not sure if it’d be alienating to readers.

    In any case, we make a very decent income but we also live in the SF Bay area which is expensive and support two adults and another household. And we’ll be adding another to our household. So while we spend an average of $80-90k per yr and I think that’s excessive, it covers a lot.
    Revanche recently posted..Pre-parenting: Work, leave and budgetingMy Profile

  • I am still on the fence. I actually really want to share but I also sort of want my family to read my blog and that would leave me in hot water with some people.

    Also I find it interesting how some people have mentioned they only share their spend and savings rate. Well that might not reveal your net worth but it sure does reveal you income. I mean its simple algebra. Right?

    Truthfully most people won’t do the math. Just wait to see the number. But unless I suddenly became very bad at math. ( please do correct me) you are revealing a ballpark of your earnings by providing those 2 figures.

  • Heidi

    As long as Kitty PoP doesn’t stay anonymous by having his cute photos on the blog, then I say what you guys are doing is awesome!
    Personally, I wouldn’t share that much financial info online if it weren’t anonymous for safety reasons.

  • […] Mr and Mrs PoP asked an interesting question about how comfortable you’d be sharing your income. I’m not totally sure that anyone’s actually interested in reading these Net Worth posts but I’m still on the fence about declaring actual numbers. Seems like it’d be more useful (to me) but I’m not sure. Pros? Actual milestones! […]

  • I have a colleague of mine post about how much she earns in one of her side gigs and I was surprised that instead of feeling envious (well, maybe a little) I was actually more motivated to do harder on my end. Personally, I’m still apprehensive about sharing what I earn and would rather discuss about savings instead.
    Mimi recently posted..Finance 101: Understanding Your Flexible Savings Account (FSA)My Profile

  • […] to make doctor or lawyer money to build a large nest egg. While I’ve never divulged my income, I make far less than the Penny Planters (180-200K/year). It’s all about saving until it hurts when you’re young. Then, save a little […]

  • […] Well, our blog is about growing our wealth (planting our pennies, as it were). But truth be told, talking about money can get boring, so we like talking about happiness and kittens […]

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  

  

  

CommentLuv badge