A New Way to Track My Progress Join Me Fellow Private Personal Finance Bloggers!

A New Way to Track My Progress Join Me Fellow Private Personal Finance Bloggers!

Zero

When I first started my blog I was very open with my credit card and other types of debt providing hard numbers and rates, but as the credit card debt disappeared I became more and more tight lipped about my assets.  I was even called out by fellow Personal Finance blogger, Mike,

Even, with all due respect – why do you bother with these updates? You aren’t willing to share any specific info which makes these posts a waste of time. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with not sharing, but saying stuff like: “don’t feel comfortable providing my exact mortgage information That doesn’t even count the $x,xxx I have put towards it since July. I am not comfortable providing my cash account details. The account is tiny” is useless.

Despite getting my name wrong, Mike made a fantastic point.  I even get a little jealous when I read bloggers that give all those juicy details that I feel uneasy sharing (Amazing Examples 1, 2 and 3).  But I think I have come up with a good way to share with everyone, and hopefully, other bloggers can use the system.  I am going to take a page out of fight club and zero myself out.  I am going to take what I consider my net worth and make it zero.

This way every month I can share how well I did in comparison to the month before and our base of January 2011, and to be honest it doesn’t matter if you are worth $200,000 like J$ or approaching $400,000 like Flexo, it is the growth month to month that really excites me when reading those update posts.  Now, I can provide my readers the growth.

What I will Include my Net Worth

What assets am going to include:

What liabilities am I going to include:

What is missing?

  • Credit Card debt – Don’t have any except a revolving AMEX account so no reason to put it up
  • Checking Accounts – Always changing and moving kept low on purpose so no reason to track it
  • Cars – I have no idea why people count cars as an asset.  Its transportation not an asset.
  • Jewelry – I joke that The Wife’s hand is worth more than my car…but there is NO way anything is being pawned/sold so why list it as an asset?

Is this a waste of time since I am not providing real numbers? or does this interest you at all? If you are a blogger would you consider using this technique?

42 Responses to A New Way to Track My Progress Join Me Fellow Private Personal Finance Bloggers!

  1. “Cool” idea. I’m interested to see how you implement it. Is the zero-reset a one time thing and then you just reflect your increase in real terms from the date you reset?

    • I am Zeroed Out from 1/18/11 so I will post my change Month to Month and from that date.

      This way people can see my increase percentage

    • I am going to just use percentages so if I go up 50% it won’t people know if I went from negative 60K to negative 30K or from +500K to +1mil, but still get people involved how Evan is doing month to month and hold me accountable if I shit hits the fan

      • I think if you’re doing it that way, then you might just want to not do it, b/c it won’t be very insightful for the readers who see a +5%, -5% etc b/c they will have no idea as you say what it equals to.

        You’ll end up frustrating readers imo. Just get the NetWorthIQ thing and keep it private for yourself to consume.

          • I look forward to seeing what you post and seeing if there is any value to it. I think putting $ instead of % adds more value BUT this is your blog not mine.

  2. I completely understand how you feel!

    I feel a bit weird posting my net worth updates online too. I might consider this zero balance thing too :) I’ll let you be the guinea pig first.

  3. Evan,
    An interesting concept. Mrs. SPF and I have gone back and forth discussing Net Worth updates. Mrs. SPF is definitely uncomfortable posting such data, even though we write anonymously. Her concerns are:
    a) what if someone figures out who we are (which we suspect at least 1 person to have done)
    b) what if we decide we want to share our success (or lack thereof!) with our friends and family – and our readers are anticipating net worth updates.

    Anyhow, I subscribe, so I look forward to seeing how you implement this idea in the near future, and perhaps Mrs. SPF will like the idea too.

    • I have the same fears as Mrs. SPF. I feel uneasy to put my cash account out there and then a buddy finds the site and boom he or she knows how much I have sitting in cash?

      Send Mrs. SPF this post I am sure she’ll love it…wait I take that back I never know what a woman will love or hate, ask The Wife

    • Why not use the ZERO based net worth then? No one will know how much you have today….nor will they know how much it goes up (or down), since you’ll be just using %s?

      Then you can credit this awesome guy!

      • I’ll have to think about it. It just seems like a lot of work, and then I’m still not giving all the information I think people would want. I’ll have to see how yours looks before I start to do one on my own. :)

    • No need for a widget – just open a spreadsheet calculate your net worth and make that zero. Then track your growth.

      Let me know if you do it I’d love to link you here.

  4. I like the idea- especially of using % gains/losses. I just started up my PF blog and have been struggling with the idea of sharing ALL of my financial numbers. I think it is important for readers to track monthly progress. Cheers.

  5. I post it like it is. It’s been good for me even though I already had it in Quicken. Writing about it and making a plan on the blog has much more accountability …

    I am anonymous and one closed friend found out. We already shared plenty and he won’t talk. If I had to become public, I would yank it out though. I’d keep my dividend income but my network would create too much of an issue at the office I think.

    There is a magazine in Canada that did that for family (by replacing the names) and I really liked it. Not the prying but to see other income and what it meant. So I thought it could be beneficial, on the other end, since I started blogging, I am not sure there is benefit for anyone other than me now …

    • Once its out there buddy it is out there.

      “If I had to become public, I would yank it out though.”

      By the time you yanked it every one of your neighbors would know all your information. That is fine if you don’t care like the examples I provided.

  6. Hmm No one knows except for my family and boyfriend (and they don’t bother reading my blog), but I agree, I would definitely feel uncomfortable having people know how much money I have sitting.

    Though it is helpful for me and maybe helpful for readers.

    But I have been having serious doubts about continuing to share this information. I feel that I am put under a microscope and being judged to high heaven (some other people in Canada have been reading my blog and saying that I am foolish for buying a house in Vancouver at this time… mainly pro-renters and anti-homebuyers… but still. It hurts my feelings :( )

    It’s a weird feeling, that’s for sure!

  7. I think one of the reasons that you might be uncomfortable is because you’re comparing yourself with others and you might feel embarassed about your particular situation. But a big part of the usefulness of the self-worth exercise from the blogging community is coming to terms with the truth of your particular financial circumstances, whatever they might be, and then exposing them for all the world to see. Simple to do, but undoubtedly not easy to open the kimono like that.

    • “I think one of the reasons that you might be uncomfortable is because you’re comparing yourself with others and you might feel embarassed about your particular situation.”

      1000% not the issue.

  8. I personally won’t use a method like this as I don’t care if people know what I make. Then again I work for a Crown corporation that post my annual compensation in a public report, so if people really want to know what I make the information is in the public domain.

    Also I feel that without actual numbers some of the context is lost. A 5% gain in a month might be huge at $500,000 net worth, but tiny at $10,000. Without context the usage of the information drops off.

    Also does it matter that your numbers are public? I do some masking of my numbers by rounding things up and not including everything in the net worth statements just to avoid posting anything that could be used to steal my identity. But I also write under my real name since I’ve done posts for the Toronto Star newspaper.

    I don’t care if people know my mortgage balance is about $83,500. That information isn’t me, so why freak out about people knowing who you are. It’s just a number.

    Anyway, my two cents.

    Tim

    • I am glad you are ok with your friends, co-workers and children knowing how much money you have sitting in your checking account. I am not.

  9. I’m thinking about doing something similar. I don’t want others to know my net worth (esp. family and friends), but I want to display some type of progression on my site because I think others would find value in it.

    Currently, I track my dividend experiments (and I have been doing this for months). I have other investments and some are in other dividend stocks, but they aren’t really relevant to my site.

    So, I think you have a great idea, and I think it will add value to your site!

  10. Interesting idea…I’ll look forward to seeing how it works.

    Like Canadian Dream, I’ve worked for government agencies for years — my salary is a matter of public record. When I worked at GDU, you could get to it through a link at the local newspaper’s website; bestir yourself to walk into a library and you could get a report that would let you look up my name and see all the details of my compensation. So I’ve become inured to having the whole world know what I make. ;-)

  11. I certainly don’t feel comfortable putting my net worth out there for all to see. I understand where you are coming from.

    If you’re talking about debt then it’s great seeing how you climb out of it.

    I think starting at zero is an interesting concept. Of course if you’re not really worth anything then it’s easy to increase your percentages but I have a feeling that’s not the case with you.

    Using a percentage will give you a nice look at what your growth is month after month. A dollar amount doesn’t always mean much in the big picture.

  12. I never disclose anything financial about ourselves, too many people close to us read my blog.

    It is your site, and I say do with it what you want. If people don’t get anything out of it, you’ll know. Maybe you will start a whole new movement…

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