It’s a fairly common practice amongst personal finance bloggers to offer all the details of their financial life online. From sharing net worth, to counting down the days until debt freedom is reached, there’s a lot of sharing going on.
And that’s ok, if you’re into that sort of thing.
I’ve been asked why I don’t share this information. Anyone who knows me is aware that I graduated from college with credit card debt — but they don’t know how much. And I’m fine keeping it that way. I also don’t share how much I’m paying in student loans, or what I still owe on my car loan.
And, on the flip side, I don’t share information about earnings. It’s enough, I think, that people know I can make a living doing what I do, and that about 85% of it comes from being a professional blogger.
But I don’t share specific numbers, and for two (what I consider) good reasons:
1. I Don’t Want People to Know
Really, I just don’t want people to know. The debt part of my life is, frankly, a little embarrassing. I’m known, to some degree, for my work ethic and discipline. So it’s a little silly that the credit card debt got out of hand. Plus, I had a scholarship and a cushy job while in college. Why do I have student loan debt from my undergrad years?
When it comes to my income, I just don’t want people to know what I make. We live in a modest home. We drive reasonably priced cars. There’s no reason for our neighbors to know that we, technically, don’t “belong” in our neighborhood. Plus, there’s a certain element of just not wanting friends and family to know. Sharing that sort of information is an invitation to be hit up for money.
Do we discuss money at the dinner table? Sure. My husband and I talk about money, and we discuss important matters and financial concepts with our son. But we don’t go around sharing specifics about our situation with others outside our immediate family — not even our parents.
It’s just easier to not share that information, especially since I don’t want others to know what’s going on. Really, it’s none of their business.
2. I Don’t Want to Deal With an Audit
I also don’t want to put any information out there that could be found by the IRS and trigger an audit. I report all of my income (my accountant is regularly impressed by our honest reporting), so I don’t have much to worry about, but I still don’t want to deal with a possible audit. And publishing that information is just an invitation for closer inspection.
Do I think the IRS is going to find me on their own through what I share online? No. But there are rewards for whistleblowers, and just one whistleblower thinking that they know something that doesn’t mesh — and then using my net worth report to back it up — can tie you up in red tape for weeks (or months). Even if it turns out you’re clean and honest.
What do you think about sharing financial information? Where’s the line between being honest, and being a little too honest?