I read a lot of personal finance blogs, and one theme that’s common with many of them is providing a monthly net worth update. The idea is that by providing monthly updates, they’re being transparent while providing inspiration. If your favourite blogger is saving so much money, you can too right?

To be honest, I used to love these posts. When I started my blog, I debated providing net worth updates, but I just never got around to it. A few months back, I seriously thought about writing my first net worth post, but after consulting Twitter; I decided that you’ll never get a net worth update from me.

Things are different for everyone

The biggest issue I have with writing a net worth update is the fact that it would only apply to me. I’m obviously writing about my own experiences, so all the numbers I provide are coming from a unique situation that can’t be replicated.

I’m not suggesting that everything needs to be identical for net worth updates to matter, but I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to really compare yourself to others. My wife and I are in a dual income situation and we both graduated debt free. My parents also taught me about money at a young age so I naturally had a higher savings rate.

I personally think it’s much more important for me to share lessons I’ve learned or the things I’ve done to save money with you as opposed to how much I’ve saved in the last month. There’s less of a personal touch with these kinds of posts, but I prefer to write practical information.

Accuracy matters

Let’s be clear. I think net worth updates are very valuable. One of the blogs I first started following was Million Dollar Journey and it was his net worth updates that encouraged me to get serious about my money. It takes a lot of courage to post what you’re worth and have people openly criticize your progress.

What I don’t like is when net worth updates are not accurate. It’s not like I expect them to be exact to the penny, but I’ve come across a few posts where the numbers are clearly inflated. The savings rates listed just aren’t possible and when called out on it, the author will give a vague answer that doesn’t make any sense. When the regular public is calling you out, you know there’s a credibility issue.

It’s also interesting how some people calculate their net worth. If you’re a single blogger, then it makes sense to only present info that relates to you, but once you get married, I think you should be adding the assets of your spouse. Think about it, why would you include the value of your home in your net worth update, but not your partner’s TFSA, or RRSP investments? Honestly, this is another reason I didn’t bother with a net worth update. As soon as I got married, my net worth jumped significantly.

There’s obviously no set formula when it comes to net worth updates, but you can see how one small thing can either undervalue or overvalue your numbers. 

It’s important to know your net worth

Despite the fact that I’m not interested in sharing my net worth, I think it’s absolutely vital that everyone knows what theirs is. This isn’t for bragging rights, but rather, it’s a way to keep you on top of things.

I recently spoke to my financial advisor and we went over my net worth. As it turns out, I was doing much better than I expected. It’s not like I didn’t know what the value of all my individual investments were, but when we put everything on paper; my wife I had a higher net worth than we expected.

Now think about this from your own perspective. Some people are stuck at their jobs because they think they need the money. If you calculated your net worth and speak to a financial advisor; you might find out that you have enough money to quit your job and pursue something else instead.

This can apply to people at any age. Your net worth is a way to guide you to your goals. If your RRSP or TFSA is doing well, maybe it makes sense to put money towards your mortgage instead. Without knowing your net worth, you’re sort of flying blind.

Final thoughts

It’s not like I’m anti-net worth updates, they just aren’t for me. I do admit that I still enjoy reading them from certain people because I do think the journey is important. Maybe I’m just not that interesting or I’m afraid that you guys will troll me.

Why You Won’t get a Net Worth Update From me

10 Comments

  1. Mawer Money on December 26, 2017 at 5:46 am

    Great post Barry – I feel the same . I started my consulting firm at 28 (www.mawcons.com.au) and am not the average finance blogger. But I have spent most of my adult life reading,experiencing and refining all facets of personal finance. I asked on the socials a while ago whether people wanted to hear from successful people who had achieved FI (or well ahead for their age) or those on the journey’ ‘in the struggle’. And I was surprised that it was the latter. When I want to learn about investing, I don’t ask the bloke at the BBQ about Bitcoin. I read about people like Warren Buffett.

    • Barry Choi on December 27, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      Mawer,

      You raise some very good points. I agree that I’m interested in hearing from experts, but it has to be in the right context. I feel like net worth updates can sometimes be something similar to keeping up with the Joneses.

  2. Vito on December 27, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Great post Barry,

    I’ve often asked myself when reading these kinds of websites from “experts” if what they are showing is accurate and that it almost sounds like a competition. I do think that many are there to keep themselves accountable and perhaps offer some inspiration to others (like me) to start or make changes to existing situations, but I get your point on that its like keeping up with the Joneses.

    I’m the type where I am more interested in the knowledge, rather than make comparisons of what I have vs what you have, I don’t think that’s healthy; which is one of the reasons I enjoy reading your posts because they are more content driven and not filled with fluff.

    You mentioned one blog you follow(ed) are there others that you like you wouldn’t mind posting?

    • Barry Choi on December 27, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      Vito,

      I’m sure people always try to be accurate, but accurate may have different definitions for some people. You’re right that some people do it for themselves to try and keep themselves accountable which is probably the best reason to do so.

      Other sites I follow on a regular basis are Boomer and Echo, My Alternate Life, Money After Graduation.

  3. GYM on December 28, 2017 at 12:18 am

    Keeping up with the Joneses’ I think everyone is fascinated by them- we all have a sense of innate voyeurism for net worth updates, makes sense why the Rockstar directory is such a hit! I think as long as everyone understands they are on their own path and these are all very individual numbers, I think it’s all in good fun.

    Whether it’s debt payoff numbers, net worth numbers, or even blog stats, age when FIRE happened… I find them interesting. I think most bloggers preface their numbers with their background but I agree that there is a high degree of variance and the numbers can’t be compared.

    • Barry Choi on December 28, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Gen Y Money,

      I seriously thought about writing a net worth update but then I realized how silly it was. I’m sure a few of my readers are interested and want to learn, but I sometimes feel like it’s more of a competition between bloggers.

  4. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life on December 28, 2017 at 2:57 am

    I’ve questioned a few times if I should carry on with mine and always get readers chiming in that they want to see it so I’ll keep writing them but I do a monthly net worth update where I talk about the aspects of spending, saving, investing etc that impacted our net worth and don’t share the actual numbers because my readers don’t want them. That works for me! I also share a monthly roundup of thoughts on money or life that wouldn’t make it into a regular post of their own.

    • Barry Choi on December 28, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      Revanche,

      If your readers are asking for it, then I think it makes perfect sense. Talking about the aspects of spending and saving are very important to some people. I’d read that!

  5. […] Choi writes about Why You Won’t Get a Net Worth Update from him.  I understand that net worth updates have a lot of variability and are subjective (e.g. […]

  6. Maria on July 25, 2019 at 12:04 am

    Totally understand not wanting to post a net worth update. I agree that your net worth is personal. I do however think calculating your net worth is very valuable for knowing where you stand as you mentioned.

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