★ Why 185 Bloggers Are Sharing Their Net Worth

Posted November 30, 2015 6:02 am by with 37 comments

bloggers-share-net-worth

[Special report by fellow blogger Mark. A fascinating glimpse into our Net Worth Tracker!]

When I was a kid, I asked my dad what our house was worth. He told me, and I thought about it for a second. Then the light bulb went off. I excitedly told him that he could make a bunch of money if we sold our house. He didn’t seem to share my level of enthusiasm and responded “Do you have any idea what I’m worth?”

I had never heard that phrase before. I wondered how someone could be worth something? You can’t put a price on human life…or can you?

That was my introduction to the concept of net worth, which isn’t necessarily the worth of human life but rather the value of the net assets that a person owns.

How Do You Stack Up?

If you’ve never wondered how you stack up against your peers financially, you are probably not human. You’ve likely looked up the prices of your neighbor’s home values and sales prices. You’ve eyed their new sports cars and tried to make sense of where they are financially.

Knowing where you fall does not have to be a mystery. Determining your net worth is the first step to figuring out where you’re headed and how you are going to get there. It will tell you if you’re on track to have enough to provide you with the type of lifestyle you want for the rest of your life.

Net Worth Explained

Net worth is a relatively simple concept. It is a snapshot of your total wealth at a given moment in time. In general, your net worth is equal to all of your assets minus your liabilities. While some measure success by income, the preferred yardstick of choice is typically net worth.

Assets can be broken out into two types: Liquid and non-liquid. Liquid assets include cash, savings accounts, retirement accounts, taxable investment accounts; these can be converted to cash quickly. Non-liquid assets include things like your home, real estate, business investments; basically, things that can’t generally be converted to cash overnight.

Liabilities are essentially your debts—and mortgages, credit card debts, or home equity lines.

If you were to sell off your assets and pay off your debts, whatever is left over would be equivalent to your net worth.

The most effective way to use net worth is to track your own progress. Comparing your net worth today to yesterday’s will tell you if you are heading in the right direction. If it increased or decreased, you can investigate why and take the appropriate action.

But let’s be honest. While we all know we should really only be concerned with ourselves, what we really want to know is where everyone else is at. So why don’t we take a moment to discuss?

The Ultimate List of Blogger Net Worth

The personal finance community is a peculiarly transparent bunch of individuals, at least in comparison with the average Joe. Hundreds of them frequently share their personal financial information online. Almost 200 of them have voluntarily submitted their net worth to Rockstar Finance’s Ultimate List of Blogger Net Worth.

So who are these people? Are they all rich? Why are they posting their net worth online for strangers?

After working in finance & accounting for several years now, whenever I see a set of numbers or data, I feel a strong compulsion to put them into a chart. The ultimate list of blogger net worth was no exception. I was scrolling through it one day, and my financial analyst inclinations got the best of me. Here is the result:

all-money-bloggers

This is a basic graph plotting out every single blogger on the list according to his or her net worth.

The median net worth of this group of 185 bloggers is $167K. That’s about $100K more than the median net worth in the U.S. Keep in mind that this group consists of people of all ages, different family circumstances, and even different countries.

Grouping the bloggers into income ranges using a histogram yields this view:

net-worth-in-millions

The main thing that pops out at me from this histogram is that over 25% of these bloggers have a net worth between $0K and $100K, which is by far the largest group.

This graph shows the cumulative net worth. It’s just another way to show the data. For example, looking at the 11% intersection shows that 11% of the bloggers have a negative net worth.

net-worth-in-millions-2

Looking at it another way, over 89% of us have a positive net worth. That is a several points higher than that of the general US population.

The difference is not surprising given that our list of bloggers is not even close to a nationally representative sample. Though we are your average office workers, entrepreneurs, moms, dads, and 28 year-olds living in mom’s basement, we are constantly tracking, striving to improve, and talking about…our net worth.

But isn’t that a little bit self-centered and narcissistic?

There is a New Yorker cartoon showing a wealthy man at a fancy dinner saying “Money is life’s report card.”

money-life-report-card

Is that what these bloggers think? Are they just flaunting their wealth?

The short answer is no, not even close. So what’s it all about then? Read on, my friends.

Who Are These Bloggers?

I reached out to a few of the bloggers on the Ultimate List of Blogger Net Worth to get their perspective and learn a little more about what makes them tick. They are all at different stages in their lives. They come from different places and have different goals.

The one goal they do have in common, though, is their enthusiasm for getting out of debt and cranking up their net worth. Though their reasons for doing are often similar, they’re not always the same. Here are a few of the reasons I was able to glean.

Honesty

If you take a look at the first graph above, you’ll see that a small portion of the bloggers who post their finances actually have a negative net worth. If you think it would be hard to post a positive net worth figure, just imagine the courage it takes to put it out there when it’s negative.

Rebecca (net worth $-31K) from Stapler Confessions is one of those bloggers. One of the main reasons that she publicizes her net worth is to be honest about where her family of 4 is in their financial journey. “Net worth is something so taboo to talk about among friends and family,” she says, “but if we were more open about our personal finances, I think our wisdom from lessons learned could really help each other.”

So much of what is presented to us through social media or advertising does not reflect reality. Rebecca makes it a point to include both the good and the bad. Being transparent shows others that though they are not perfect with their finances, by being consistent and careful about their choices, they are steadily building their financial foundation.

Progress

Lauren (net worth $36K) runs L Bee and the Money Tree. She in a millennial who lives in Georgia and runs a business as a content strategist. She stresses that since money is a lifelong process, no one can be perfect all the time. “So I’m of the mentality that it doesn’t matter what you do, but as long as your net worth is going up, you’re at least doing something right,” she said. “ After a youth spent making nearly every money mistake imaginable, my net worth symbolizes the steps I personally take in the right direction.”

Finance bloggers are not perfect. They’ve made mistakes just like everyone else. Lauren mentioned candidly that she feels like she’s behind. (But who doesn’t feel that way?)

Speaking about past mistakes, she said “I bought my first home three years ago at 26 and lost a lot of my savings and went into some credit card debt renovating the home, so I haven’t been able to contribute as much as I’d like. Now that I’m finally almost fully recovered from buying and renovating the home I’d like to play catchup on my retirement. My goal is to have $30K in my retirement accounts by the time I’m 30.”

Hope

Progress is closely related to hope. When we can look back and see how far we’ve come, we feel encouraged with more hope that we can continue on that same path forward.

Cait (net worth $50K) from Blonde on a Budget went from being maxed out with almost $30K of debt 4 years ago to a positive net worth of $50K running her own business writing, editing, & blogging. Speaking about her progress, she said “It’s just the beginning of what I hope my financial future will hold.”

Though she’s still “so far down on the totem pole on our list of Rockstar bloggers,” as she put it, she says that now having a solid financial base and knowing how much money she needs to earn is what enables her to live a happy and fulfilled life.

Motivation

Mark at Bare Budget Guy (net worth $190K. Yes, I interviewed myself) finds saving and increasing his net worth to be incredibly motivating. He’s a small town CPA who works in finance while his wife mostly stays home and homeschools their 3 young kids.

“It can be tough seeing others around you whose net worth values seem to be skyrocketing while you are moving forward much slower,” I said. “There are some things that are more important to us than growing our net worth, but I feel very energized when we can still manage to grow it steadily (though slowly) despite having higher priorities.”

Accountability

Brian from Debt Discipline (net worth $350K) uses net worth as a big picture way to make sure he’s on track with his money. He said that net worth “gets you out of the day to day thinking and lets you take a look at it from a 10,000 foot view.” Though in the 60+ net worth percentile of bloggers on the list, when asked about whether or not he considers himself rich, he answered in the context of his family.

“I do. I have a great family and friends, including my wife and three children. I have a plan for my money and I’m teaching my children more about money than I ever learned at their age. I don’t need a bunch of zero’s at the end of my bank account to feel rich.”

Inspiration

J at Budgets Are Sexy (net worth $500K) is the brains behind the Ultimate List of Blogger Net Worth. He decided to compile and track blogger net worth updates because of the sheer inspirational power that they embody.

He said “the part that inspires me the most is when bloggers share their net worths. Call me a voyeur, but there’s something so captivating about watching people’s money grow (and decline) as the months tick by. It’s just as inspiring to watch them go UP, as it is when they go down – if only to show these bloggers are just as human as the rest of us.”

Control

For Steve from Think Save Retire (net worth $700K), net worth symbolizes his ability to control his life from start to finish. He is a consultant for a database manufacturer whose true passion lies in photography and travel. “The greater my net worth,” he said, “the greater the ability to live my life exactly on my terms, free from soul-crushing full time jobs and the constraints they put on an otherwise productive and fulfilling life.”

In my experience rubbing shoulders with fellow finance bloggers, very few are concerned with keeping up appearances or being “rich.” Steve is no exception. He continued, “Whether or not I’m truly rich doesn’t concern me much.  Am I free?  That’s a question I’m much more interested in answering ‘YES’ to.”

Which brings us to the next point: freedom.

Freedom

Mr. 1500 (net worth $1.3M) is a software developer by day who lives with his wife and 2 young kids in Colorado. He started 1500 Days to document his journey to financial independence. For him, that meant achieving a net worth of at least $1 million which he went on to hit, and then blogged about how he did it here on Rockstar Finance.

That is the number that signified his ability to “pursue life without the constraint of trading time for money.”

Here’s what that looks like for him:

“Each day will be like a Saturday, but amplified. I’ll be able to spend 4 hours on a bike ride instead of 45 minutes after work. I’ll be able to read for hours every day instead of the current 30 minutes before bed. I’ll write code, but for my own projects that really interest me. Decoupling your life from money will set you free.”

It’s more than just wealth.

There you have it. Net worth is about more than just the accumulation of wealth. It’s about accomplishing your goals, whatever they might be.

What does your net worth symbolize to you?

********

About the author: Mark is a CPA who works in finance at a global manufacturing company. When he’s not recovering from skateboarding injuries, he spends his time chasing around his 3 (soon to be 4) crazy kids and trying to get people to share their money details at BareBudgetGuy.com.

Bringing you the best of money! After you’re done reading this awesome article, head to our forums and come hang out :)
★ Get The Rockstar Newsletter ★

Love our stuff? Get our top 3 curated articles + our original series automatically sent to your inbox in one compact email, M-F. You won't ever miss a thing :)
NAME:
EMAIL:

37 responses to ★ Why 185 Bloggers Are Sharing Their Net Worth

  1. Steve @ Think Save Retire November 30th, 2015 at 7:34 am

    Awesome article, Mark, and I appreciate the mention. All of these reasons for sharing our net worths are incredibly powerful motivators. I think the most powerful is ultimately FREEDOM and the ability to truly control your own path in life.

    Awesome stuff!

    Reply

  2. Fervent Finance November 30th, 2015 at 9:31 am

    My net worth symbolizes to me my progress on my journey to financial independence. As my buddy Forrest would put it: “So then I got a call from him, saying we don’t have to worry about money no more. And I said, that’s good! One less thing.”

    Reply

    • Mark@BareBudgetGuy November 30th, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Ha! I love the quote. May we all get that phone call some day…

      Reply

  3. Free to Pursue November 30th, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Net worth accumulation comes from intrinsic motivation, not extrinsic, which we’re all taught to chase from an early age. It takes discipline to focus on accumulating a stash of “financial security” that you can’t talk about to others due to the taboo around the subject of money. Thanks to J$ and the PF blogging community, The Net Worth Tracker is a valuable tool that can help an increasing number of people see saving as a sexy and desirable activity. It’s pure gold in more ways than one.
    Thanks for graphing the numbers Mark. It was a fun read.

    Reply

    • J. Money November 30th, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      I know what us money nerds like ;)

      Reply

  4. Justin @ Root of Good November 30th, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Cool insights into the wealth distribution of the PF blogger community!

    Why share it? In my case, it costs me nothing and provides tons of people the ability to view the possibilities that smart money management can bring about. Yeah, we have a seven figure portfolio in our 30’s, and hey you can too (if you start right out of college in your early 20’s).

    I also think the taboo on discussing money is stupid. It’s counterproductive if your goal is to grow wealth. How can you learn if everyone around you (who make good AND bad money decisions) is tight lipped?

    Reply

    • Mark@BareBudgetGuy November 30th, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      Totally agree on the counterproductivity. It is one of the things people need the most help with, and yet it is one of the things least talked about.

      Reply

  5. Dividend Wisp November 30th, 2015 at 11:12 am

    I share my portfolio for a few reasons, I like that I am able to easily track where I was, and the trajectory of where I am going. It also provides me with an online backup, as well as being able to get comments and grow a discussion between other fellow bloggers.

    And I know that I like seeing what other people are doing, seeing how they develop along the way, so I share so others are able to see the same about me.

    Reply

    • Mark@BareBudgetGuy November 30th, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Exactly, a journey is not much fun if you have to travel it alone or in secret.

      Reply

  6. Dominic @ Gen Y Finance Guy November 30th, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Great write up!

    I share my net worth to provide context around things I talk about on the blog. I think people relate better when real numbers are used. The transparency also helps build credibility (I think).

    There is also the public accountability that super motivating. When you put it all out there, every decision becomes a bit more thought out, at least in my experience.

    And lastly, it is fund to measure the freedom that the net worth figure represents.

    Documenting progress is fun!

    Reply

    • J. Money November 30th, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Yes – nothing like holding yourself accountable when you know thousands of people will see it! Haha… It’s done more for my own wealth than anything else.

      Reply

  7. Alain Guillot November 30th, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    I share my net worth to make myself accountable to the community and to myself. Also, I can serve as a motivation tool to my friends and people in my surrounding. I tell them: Look, if I was able to save money with my miser earnings, you can do it too.

    Reply

  8. Ms. L November 30th, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Love this!! I am part of all the categories above and also use it to remind me that this is where I am now, tomorrow has great potential and I am so far from where I was 5 years ago I can’t forget that progress. Thank you for the reminder.

    Reply

  9. Jim Wang November 30th, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Here’s an interesting thought experiment for those on the list… at what dollar amount would you stop sharing your net worth?

    Reply

    • J. Money November 30th, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      when my wife forbids it :)

      Reply

      • Hannah December 1st, 2015 at 5:55 am

        My husband told me if he ever comes up with a patent that he sells for millions of dollars, then we need to stop sharing our net worth, so I expect to stop sharing any day now :)

        Reply

    • The Roamer December 1st, 2015 at 6:36 pm

      I already battle. I shared it at the beginning of the year and will do a year update…. But I feel I’ve already hit the number. I need to do some more investigation as I’d really like to know how many bloggers blog anonymously. Specially at the top of the list of networth.

      Reply

    • Millennial Moola May 20th, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      I think at the point where your net worth was high enough that someone could easily recognize you from your online persona and could use that data against you is when you would stop sharing. Probably anything north of $5 million you would rather keep quiet about

      Reply

  10. Michael @ NTPNW November 30th, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I share my net worth and a few other reports for the fact that it helps me to track my progress and holds me accountable. But the number one reason I have decided to share is that I hope to help others realize that they too can live a debt free life and build wealth. Like folks have said before if we don’t help one another to learn and grow our wealth then getting to the finish line will certainly take longer without knowing what to do. When it comes to money and personal finance in general we should be open about what has worked and what hasn’t so others may learn. J great article I enjoyed reading it.

    Reply

  11. StudMuffin November 30th, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Wow!!! I ain’t doin’ nearly as bad as I thought. I tend to beat myself up over the thousands of stupid decisions I’ve made over the years. Some of them I liked so much that I did them more than once too.

    I am a 58 y/o divorced male. Excluding my paid-off condo, my net worth is $175,000. At age 40 I declared bankruptcy. At the time I was a single parent too. Maybe I should start a blog?

    Reply

    • J. Money December 1st, 2015 at 6:36 am

      We can never have too many people spreading the good word on $$!

      Reply

  12. Freedom 40 Guy November 30th, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    For me tracking Net Worth is all about measuring my progress along my path to achieve financial freedom. I’ve tracked it for years, long before I ever posted anything publicly on the internet – and it has always served as a constant monthly reminder of where I stand.

    Reply

  13. Leigh December 1st, 2015 at 9:55 am

    I’ve tracked my net worth since I was a teenager! I’ve always enjoyed adding up all of my bank account balances to see how much money I had ;) I track it publicly because I want to show that you don’t have to spend all of your income to have a good life and now, what several years of a good savings rate gives you.

    Reply

  14. Derek December 1st, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    I like this.

    Reply

  15. The Roamer December 1st, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Great write up Mark. Love the graphs!

    And another post where I go… ” why didn’t I think of that ?” In regard to graphing all the numbers.

    Reply

  16. Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor December 1st, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Though we have yet to share our net worth, I agree it is a more objective measure of your financial situation than simply account balances. So it is definitely helpful to track because it motivates continued progress.

    Reply

  17. Brian @DebtDiscipline December 2nd, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Nicely done Mark! I like having the big picture view of my money, good to step back from the regular day to day at least once a month and make sure you are on track with your goals.

    Reply

  18. Financial Samurai December 16th, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Nice profiles Mark!

    Did you speak to anybody who felt embarrassed posting their net worth, either too high or too low? Do you think there’s a point where one shouldn’t reveal their net worth if it’s too much over the median or average? Thanks

    Reply

    • Mark@BareBudgetGuy December 19th, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Thanks Sam! Everyone I talked to was on the list and not shy about their net worth, large or small. In general, I don’t think there is a point where someone should refrain from sharing, although I think I could write a whole book on that subject because it’s not that cut and dry. I know I’ve read some of your thoughts on that, and I find it to be a very interesting concept.

      Reply

  19. Ed Mills January 10th, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    J$,
    The main reason we share our net worth is show educators that, contrary to the social narrative, teachers can really build wealth while actually working in the field of…education! (As Bill Murray would say, “Get out of town!”) We also hope to show people that you don’t have to be a genius to achieve financial independence. Until our mid-30’s, we were classic examples of “smart” people doing really dumb things with our money. Nonetheless, we were able to make financial headway in spite of our idiotic money mistakes. Finally, these days we realize how many life choices we have now that we have no debt, a financial cushion and an awesome frugal lifestyle. This new-found, FIRE freedom is exhilarating.

    Millionairely Yours,
    Ed

    Reply

    • J. Money January 11th, 2016 at 6:45 am

      I love it man. And you do a fine job of it too! Always impressed reading your articles and mentality on stuff. Thanks for dropping in :)

      Reply

  20. ZJ Thorne May 27th, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    I share my negative net worth because I hope to get positive AND to show other folks what it is like to pull yourself out of a very negative hole. I was inspired by J Money and tracking it has already changed my behavior.

    Reply

    • J. Money May 28th, 2016 at 10:42 am

      Love to hear that! So glad you’re tracking it now!

      Reply

  21. Ten Factorial Rocks August 13th, 2016 at 4:59 am

    I just read this article through a different link, so I missed it earlier. Great work Mark and J. You have put a beautiful lens on the entire PF blogging slice of the digital world. I would rate in the top 5 of the list of 185 net worths you have listed but I don’t consider ‘rich’ because that’s a meaningless descriptor for me. Having the ability to pursue all 10 factors (which was a featured article on this website) in my life journey is more important to me than where I rank on this list. There are so many money traps out there for good people to fall into that I would be happier if I could help other people avoid them and add value to their FI journey.

    Reply

    • J. Money August 15th, 2016 at 6:29 am

      Amen, brother. Been really enjoying your blog lately – nice to have you on the scene!

      Reply

  22. Brandy August 16th, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I don’t have a blog but I like to keep track of where I stack up compared to other people who are also trying to get out of debt and grow their net worth. If everyone went up 10% this year and I didn’t, how come? What can I do different? Am I catching up to someone that has $100k more net worth than I do or am I falling behind? It motivates me to look at my budget and see what I can change and improve.

    Reply

    • J. Money August 17th, 2016 at 7:03 am

      Good! Sounds like you’re doing it in a really healthy way too – thx for sharing :)

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *