The personal finance community is great in that there are now plenty of resources for advice on money and pf bloggers are more than happy to share their methods of money management. Particularly, it has become more commonplace now more than ever for pf bloggers to share actual numbers: debt, net worth (guilty) or income. On the flipside, readers get a front row voyeuristic view into a pf blogger’s financial picture, whether positive or negative.
Voyeurism in personal finance
I am guilty of posting my net worth numbers. I do it anonymously and to keep myself accountable to an audience. I’ve received a lot of feedback, some public (from the comments) and most of it private (emails, private fb group messages).
Young fresh law graduates mostly b!tch about the low entry level salaries being offered at law firms or a lack of savings due to being full time students at law school. Other young readers share their inability to save. The common theme is the low net worth due to a perceived low income. Income is relative.
One reader shared how she’s been working for almost ten years at a corporate job but hasn’t even come close to a million peso net worth. She all but asked me to manage the nitty gritty of her finances! Unfortunately, that’s not my job. I’m a lawyer, not a personal finance manager. Lol.
It’s really all relative. I personally feel that net worth wise, I have a long way to go before early retirement can be possible. As a pf enthusiast myself, there have been times in the past when half a million net worth felt so out of reach! Reading net worth updates from others inspired me and showed me how a good net worth could be achieved even at a relatively young age.
The dark side to all this transparency in money matters is that others may feel disheartened due to their perceived net worth / low-income / high amount of debt. It’s easy to get frustrated when you feel like your numbers are down at a certain moment or other compared to someone else of a similar age or circumstance.
The economic cycle of life.
It’s okay to be where you are! Life for me has always been like an economic cycle of ups (peaks) and downs (troughs). There are also lulls (consolidation periods) where no matter what you do your net worth just doesn’t budge or moves in a sideways pattern of volatility.
There have been periods for me of rapid progress and times of consolidation. Upon taking on consumer debt (car loan), I felt a slight consolidation in my economic cycle.
For others, a large unmanageable debt may feel like a huge dip (trough) and feel like such a heavy burden especially if you compare yourself with others. If you find yourself at a trough, that’s okay. It’s fine to be where you are right now. That’s not permanent as life is an economic cycle of ups and downs. Hopefully your emergency fund was sufficient to cover you, if not, then try again in future. Your efforts at managing your net worth and money haven’t been for nothing, unless you give up.
Comparing one’s self with others is never good for one’s self-esteem. The same goes for your numbers with the pf bloggers that you read. Your circumstances may not always be parallel. The blogger may be at a peak while you currently experience a trough. Take the pf blog as an inspiration to elevate yourself instead of seeing it as a validation of your failure. As a pf blogger myself, my posts have always been aimed at inspiring others and sharing financial knowledge. At the end of the day, the personal finance community is supportive and never critical of one’s mistakes.
Try not to worry too much about what’s ahead. It’s okay to be where you are.