FI Personal Finance

Why I’ve Never Posted Net Worth Updates

Photo by Lukas at Pexels

In the personal finance blogosphere, net worth updates are the norm. Bloggers happily reveal all when it comes to their financial lives—and I think it’s awesome. 

This transparency has started new conversations and is helping to break down money taboos. All of this leads to greater financial literacy and more people improving their financial situations. 

How could I not get behind that? It’s amazing what these bloggers have done!

My hesitations

While I’m in full support of my fellow bloggers, I myself have never released a net worth update. Why is this?

Well, it all comes down to one simple reason: I’m not comfortable revealing our actual numbers! And since I wouldn’t be including numbers, I figured my net worth updates would be boring and unhelpful… so I never released one.

Why I’m keeping our numbers private

I’m all for transparency, but for now (and likely forever) I’m keeping the numbers behind our net worth and annual spending private. Here’s why:

  • If I was 100% anonymous, I’d happily reveal all. But I’m only semi-anonymous, so I’d prefer to keep our numbers under wraps.
  • M loves his job and plans to continue working even after we reach FI. Revealing our net worth could give people the wrong idea and jeopardize his career options. 
  • I’m lazy, and math isn’t my strong suit! Reporting my numbers accurately each month would be time-consuming and I’d constantly worry about making a mistake.

A change of heart

My decision was made: I’d never post net worth updates. But over the last couple of months, I’ve had a slight change of heart. 

You see, as I started following more FI bloggers, I noticed something: the numbers in their net worth/monthly spending posts weren’t all that important to me. 

What I really enjoyed were the life updates that went along with these net worth/spending reports. It was fun and interesting getting little glimpses into these bloggers’ lives—and a big part of why I keep coming back to their blogs. 

(I’ve been especially inspired by Sam’s updates at A Simple Life. Every time I read one of her posts, I feel like I’m in the English countryside!)

Through Sam and other bloggers, I realized net worth/spending updates aren’t just about the numbers. And that meant it might not matter if I didn’t include numbers in my monthly updates. 

Hmmm… the gears started turning.

The grand plan

After mulling it over, I decided that I could post monthly updates—even if I didn’t share actual numbers. And they can still be helpful and interesting by including a few key things:

  • A chart to show our progress to FI (with a percentage to indicate the increase/decrease in the value of our investments).
  • Updates on the money and FI-related goings-on in my life (with commentary on the why and how behind our decisions).
  • Actual numbers for some of our expenditures. (I figure randomly revealing some of our numbers won’t be revealing too much—I’m comfortable with that!)

My goal is for these updates to both inform you and help you get to know me and my family a little better—even without the numbers.

My first-ever FI progress update

With all that said, I wrote my first-ever FI progress update! Click on over and give it a read. (And please let me know what I can do to make future updates more interesting or useful.)

What do you think?

Do you share net worth updates on your blog or with family and friends? How do you feel about all this financial openness? Comment with your thoughts below!

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Samantha
    May 7, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    Chrissy, honoured to have inspired you and caused a change of heart. As you say, it is not just the numbers, but a glimpse into people’s lives once a month. For me, seeing how much people spend in different categories makes me question my own spending and I think that we can learn from seeing how others manage their money. It can often lead to questions about how they achieve such a low spending rate or suggestions about how they can decrease it even further.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      May 8, 2019 at 5:38 am

      So true Sam! I didn’t include much in the way of numbers this month, but I see the educational value in doing so. Moving forward, I’ll share some numbers for exceptionally low/high expenses. 🙂

  • Reply
    Savvy History
    May 12, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Great topic! Oh my gosh! Your reasons are the same as mine (semi-anonymous and at least one of us working until 55 because we like it)! How do you feel about revealing numbers from your past? For example, I know J from Budgets are Sexy as a series and I was thinking about participating as my 26-year-old self with a photo of a journal from the first time I found our networth.

    I may start talking in percentages or fractions at some point (as in, we’re 1/3 our way to lean FI) and stuff like that. I’m still sorting this out (so I’ll be watching and learning from you)!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      May 12, 2019 at 3:39 pm

      @Savvy History: I hadn’t heard about the series at Budgets Are Sexy. Send me the URL if you can—I’m curious about it now!

  • Reply
    Savvy History
    May 13, 2019 at 8:27 am

    I just went to the site and it doesn’t stick out as prominently to me as it did in the past. I think it’s under “Other People’s Money” somewhere in the blog archives. I remember him looking for volunteers on Twitter several months back before I had a blog. I wasn’t ready to dive in at that point but I made a comment on Twitter something.

  • Reply
    Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early
    May 14, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    I’ve actually found that sharing my FI journey at work has been a very positive thing specifically because I don’t plan to quit work when I hit financial independence. There’s something powerful about being able to tell your employer that you don’t HAVE to be there (even hefty FU money works) but letting them know that you still WANT to be.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      May 14, 2019 at 5:04 pm

      I love that you shared your insight on this Angela! You’ve got such a positive, constructive outlook on the issue.

      Have you ever written about this on your blog? (If not, it’d be a great post idea!) I’d love to know how your colleagues reacted and if there have been any after-effects—good and bad.

  • Reply
    Chris @ Mindful Explorer
    May 15, 2019 at 6:57 am

    I don’t think people care too much about net worth and just like you said, and for the reasons I have a few bloggers I follow in a dedicated fashion is authenticity. We can say a lot without actually saying it, we can share where we are on the path and share how we feel about the progress. That being said it is the daily life and the emotional side that we often most connect with.

    Find your own path, embrace it and love it.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      May 16, 2019 at 12:10 pm

      “Find your own path, embrace it and love it.”—well said, Chris.

      I also agree wholeheartedly about being authentic. I hope my nerdy keenness shows through in every post here!

      Thanks for sharing your wise words.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    May 15, 2019 at 7:11 am

    I’m sort of in the same boat as you. I went back and forth about how much, if anything, to share on our blog about our finances and came down the compromise of spending percentages as a function of income and a chart showing our progress to our fi number as a percent. We don’t share the actual numbers month-to-month, but sometimes I’ll do a deep dive into our number when I’m talking about a particular topic (if that makes sense). I totally agree that the reasoning or the story behind the numbers — however shared — is the most interesting and helpful part of the story.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      May 16, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      Based on the comments I’ve received, it sounds like many of us are in agreement: we love the life updates, and real numbers aren’t necessary. I’ll have to pop over to your blog to check out how you handle your updates. Thanks for coming by!

  • Reply
    Rohan
    August 9, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    I’m with you! I’m not comfortable revealing my net worth either. I might look into doing what OP is doing and post-net worth as a percentage of FI number- but don’t want to get into actual numbers.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      August 9, 2019 at 10:00 pm

      Hi Rohan—it sounds like many of us are in the same boat! Every month when I post my FI progress reports, I think over the decision again. But I always come back to keeping the net worth number private! Maybe I’ll change my mind when my husband reaches FI. We’ll see…

      Thanks for coming by to comment!

  • Reply
    Liz
    June 28, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    I can completely understand this perspective. I have yet to share any numbers (other than the amount of debt I paid off). This was primarily because our lives are a bit chaotic and all over the place at the moment (moved countries, went from working to not, and now about to move to another country). But it’s something I may consider doing once we settle.

    But I agree with you. Sometimes numbers are interesting to look at and I love that it breaks that money taboo barrier, but it’s not really what I’m interested in from a blogger. Even if I read a post with a net worth update, I’d be looking more at the written content. I gain value from their personal stories, experiences, methods and strategies when it comes to finances – not their net worth.

    Great post – thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      June 28, 2020 at 11:09 pm

      Hi Liz—I can see why you’ve decided not to share your numbers for now. You’ve had so much going on in a very short amount of time! I think it’s a very personal decision to share/not share net worth. I admire the bloggers who put it all out there, whether it’s their identities, net worth, or both!

      I find I get value from other bloggers as long as they’re being honest and transparent about most things. We don’t need to let it all hang out to be helpful to our readers! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. 🙂

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