I’ve been thinking about this matter recently, especially since last week’s Sunday Conversation with Frugal Dad. I had been emailing (read pestering) him for advice on all things blog related and this was the last topic I questioned him about. Part of his response intrigued me.
“Early on every personal finance blogger has to make a tough decision – to remain anonymous or not. I started out blogging anonymously, but had a few media interviews that wanted to use my real name. Fortunately, I had decided not to include any “real” numbers such as my salary earnings, networth, etc. so I really had nothing to hide.”
Does including “real” numbers require anonymity? I guess for many people it does. When I started this blog, I chose not to give my name or my exact location precisely because I was going to be talking about my budget and my money issues in detail. But as I’ve been blogging along, I’ve grown more comfortable with the idea of being a bit more open; most of my friends and family know about this blog. Now, with just a few minutes of digging, you could easily find my last name and the city I live in. Although I don’t publish this information here, it doesn’t bother me that it can be found, otherwise I wouldn’t have put it out there in one form or another.
I think this is because I’m abnormally open about money in real life relationships. I talk about our financial ins and outs and ups and downs with friends and family. In fact part of the impetus for blogging was to relieve them of hearing me talk about money quite so much! A recent commenter wrote: “Would love to be so forthcoming about our finances but wonder what others (friends who read my blog) might think about sharing so much”.
In our society, and by society I mean the Western European and North American countries that make up my readership, talking about money is taboo. Giving specific numbers, except for very tightly scripted circumstances, is just not done.
Imagine the difference between “Great coat! How much did it cost?” and “Great coat! Where did you get it?”. The decision to reveal, or not, is then on the discloser not the asker. That is what we feel comfortable with. I can’t imagine that people feel as uncomfortable hearing about how much other people earn as they would with having to give up that information themselves. That is why so many bloggers who divulge everything, divulge everything except their name.
Far be it for me to argue the point one way or another- each blogger must decide the question for him or herself. But I also think that the larger question raised, that of how society talks about money, is important and worth examining.
Do you blog anonymously? Do you give specific numbers in your budget? How and why did you make this decision?