The first two weeks of January were like Christmas all over again. Did you see how many financial year-end reports updates were published?? Did you read any? How many? I read a ton! And I was still all over the blogosphere in search of the next one (well not really I do have a full-time job, but it felt like I did). What do you think? Do I suffer from PF blog “voyeurism” syndrome? Do you?
PF blog “Voyeurism” Syndrome?
I know it is not the prettiest term but this is the reality of it; we live in a society of internet/social media voyeurism. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; we all want to know what everybody else is doing. In the PF blog world, we are mainly interested in knowing about everybody else’s financial situations and how they got where they are or how they plan to get there. Not in a creepy way (well not for most of us anyway), just in a very informative way. We are all looking to validate that what we are doing is right or that we are at least headed in the right direction. If we happen to find a group of like-minded people along the way: our tribe! Then that is even better!
Last week, I was watching my daughter going thru pictures on her phone. I glanced at one picture and didn’t recognize the girl on it, so I asked: Who is this? Daughter: I don’t know mom, someone I follow. Mom: Why do you follow her if you don’t know her? Daughter: Because Mom! (Apparently it’s an answer!). Mom: And why do you care about her pictures or what she does (again, if you don’t know her)? Child: Oh Mom, that’s just Instagram!!! Did that make sense to you?
I just don’t get it! Oh, but wait a minute; who am I to judge?? I read personal finance blogs of people I have never met, reading everything from their grocery list to their last major investment. I even feel connected to some of them (yes YOU!). They don’t live anywhere near where I live, in
some most cases their lives are total opposite to mine but I am still interested to know how they manage their life and money. I want to find out how they got to where they are, whether it’s a better place than the one I am at or just a different one all together (maybe something I never thought about and may consider afterwards). And are they happy?
Most Of My Friends Just Don’t Get it!
I know more about personal finance bloggers’ financial habits than I do about my closest friends and family. Not that I wouldn’t like to know more about my friend’s net worth and spending habits but they would probably all think I am a little (or very!) weird if I was to start asking!
The other day I went out with one of my girlfriends and she was telling me about that guy she is dating. Apparently he is great but she had one problem with him…He is frugal! I almost choked! Hmm, what is the problem? I asked her if she meant cheap? People get confused sometimes so I just wanted to check. I mean who wants to date a cheap guy! She confirmed he was frugal and she didn’t really like that. She is still my friend:) But we may avoid money talks in the future! And I will keep reading my PF blogs.
So for me it’s not Instagram, it is PF blogs and related social media. I am addicted! How about you, are you a blog addict? . And the more I can read and find out about how other people earn, save, invest and spend their money while enjoying life, the better.
PF Blog Mandatory Disclosure?
My problem (one of many of course!) is that sometimes I can get a little greedy on what I would like to see. For example whenever I go to a new PF blog, I get disappointed if I can’t find some basic financial data quickly (or any data for that matter).
So going forward, wouldn’t it be great if all PF blogs would:
- Have an additional page title “About My Finance” that would include a breakdown of the blogger’s net worth and include all sources of income. If it also includes full details on investments’ allocations and how they spend their money, that would be a bonus! I mean why stop at the net worth!
- Standardize Net Worth calculations. One method only, not that wishy-washy stuff we get where nobody seems to use the same asset base. (Should your car be included?)
What are your thoughts? Should we lobby for a standard mandatory disclosure requirement for all PF bloggers? (Of course I am kidding!)
Why I Don’t Share Everything!
I should be a little ashamed of myself, because while I wish all PF bloggers would disclose their financial situation; I don’t even share my net worth. It’s not because I don’t want to , but I am so paranoid about the internet that I am not comfortable putting all my numbers out there. I mean I won’t even use Personal Capital because of it. Which is too bad because they have a very lucrative affiliate program (just check some blogger’s income report!). I am already sharing more than I was planning to and not ready for net worth numbers yet. Maybe eventually I will get there.
Personal Finance Blog “Voyeurism”?
We all suffer from PF Blog “Voyeurism” Syndrome and there is nothing wrong with it!
Knowing about bloggers’ financial situation can be very helpful to use as a guideline. Many bloggers are trying to assist readers in various finance area but if no financial data is provided how would we know if their method works or not. Getting actual numbers gives us concrete example. For example if a blogger tells you how to start saving 50% of your income, why would you do it if you don’t even know what their income or expenses are? He/she could be earning double what you make or not have the same need as you do, how would that work?.
Seeing other bloggers data is what got me motivated to start saving a LOT more, I realized I could do so much better. It helps validate what the blogger is doing, right or wrong. Obviously we are all different and at different stages in life; there are a lot more factors to consider than just numbers. But seeing how others are doing is helpful to keep us motivated to do better and adjust as needed. You take some and you leave some, it’s all about balance.
You also learn a lot from reading about other bloggers’s experiences. At first, I thought FIRE was what I wanted but after reading many other blogs I realized I was not that interested in the RE (Retire Early) part. I actually enjoy working! I am happy being FIRO (Financially Independent, Retirement Optional) right now, and still pursuing Financial Freedom (FFRO? Financially Free, Retirement Optional) so I can be in a position to truly do whatever my little heart desires!
Still sometimes I do feel I know more about other bloggers’s financial situation than I should, but I guess this is just the way our society works. If they keep publishing , I will keep reading.
I also remind myself how easy it is for bloggers to only share what they want to, we may not always get the full picture so I try to always take everything with a grain of salt.
So how about you, do you also suffer from PF blog “voyeurism” syndrome?