There are thousands of personal finance blogs out there, this one included. All of them talk about getting out of their own money troubles and provide advice to others. But the issue I continue to find is that the authors of most personal finance blogs are unwilling to share the true specifics of their financial situation.

Without full transparency, it’s really hard to inspire others and relate to strangers. Also, no matter how bad your current financial situation is, being transparent makes it easier for you to correct your money problems. It’s about accountability. Being transparent forces you to own up to your dumb, unnecessary expenses, and causes you to do some serious thinking. You can’t hide behind your money problems if you throw them all out on the table for all to see.

I’m not saying a blogger needs to list every single expense or disclose their exact salary or paycheck amount, but what’s wrong with a ballpark figure? There aren’t any legal implications of stating your actual numbers anyway, so why sweat it? I make a little more than $1K every other week after shelling out money to taxes, retirement and health insurance costs. It isn’t much, but combined with my fiancée’s salary we’re pulling in $4-5K per month and as long as we cut all unnecessary expenses we can throw a huge chunk at debt. And, we are both fresh into our professional careers. The only way to go is up!

So as you can tell, I’m tired of the overall lack of transparency in the personal finance world. What right do you have to explain to people how to handle their money if you aren’t open about your own? This topic could bring us into a totally separate conversation about why our society is so up tight about their salaries – I’ll save that for another time.

The most transparent big-name blogger I’ve come across is Pat Flynn. I probably mentioned him in an early post on transparency, but he’s still the top dog. He provides his monthly income report – awesome – but then again I don’t think he touches on what he spends for his day-to-day expenses. It’s all related to his business. I’m not saying that’s bad, because he’s 100% open with his business financials, but if you’re blogging about your own personal finances, for goodness sake be open about your situation!

My fiancée is about two months away from her goal to compete in an NPC bodybuilding competition in the women’s bikini division. She started blogging about her experience at LiaMarieFitness.com and is totally transparent with her nutrition, body image, and everything else that goes into her competition prep. However, there are people in the fitness space that are totally NOT transparent, so the transparency issue spans across every interest, not just personal finance.

Great leaders lead by example. It’s that simple.

In my next post I’ll detail my expenses and income more specifically than in any previous posts, and outline my specific timeline to be debt-free. It doesn’t sound fun, but I need to do it so it’s in writing and so I can keep myself accountable (and transparent!).

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6 thoughts on “Personal finance blogs lack transparency

  1. I think that most financial bloggers, me included, don’t put financial numbers on their blog post because of links to social media. If Jennifer Lawrence’s phone can get hacked, do you want someone to hack your finances?

    1. I agree to an extent. People have their worries. But I wouldn’t consider the amount I pay in rent, my salary range, categorized expenses, etc. something that would allow someone to steal my identity or hack into anything. I’d be much more worried about what I share on social media. As I said, I’m not saying people need to go into heavy detail. One can be transparent without having to itemize their expenses, name their lendors or the places they do business with. As for Jennifer it sounds like her account got hacked due to weak security questions/answers. Fortunately Apple now offers more advanced authentication.

      1. The other problem with sharing the items that you suggest is it could cause conflict with family and friends. My sister – in -law is already envious of my lifestyle that I don need to rub her noise into it! Sorry, young people share way to much personal info.

      2. Ah, yes. A few blogs and podcasts I’ve read or listened to referenced the same thing. So that’s one part, and then the other as you sort of touched on is the generational difference. As a millennial I probably place way too much trust in businesses (esp. online businesses).

  2. Being on the edge of two generations, I understand both sides. Millennials do share a lot of information openly, and it’s just something that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers don’t (and won’t ever) understand. Baby Boomers don’t like employees talking about salaries. And the last conversation any employer wants to have with an employee is why someone else gets paid more for doing the same exact job. Unfortunately, no one wants to hear or can say, “because they are just better than you and the job” when that is often the reason. And since you probably work for someone in a previous generation that doesn’t get it, before sharing information like that, make sure it won’t affect your employment status.

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