I wrote recently about how sharing my financial progress publicly on a monthly basis enabled me to better evaluate my life, make better decisions, and grow my wealth faster than if I had kept my progress to myself. Over time, not only did the public display of my net worth and income motivate me, but the transparency became crucial to my philosophy of improving anyone’s financial situation, and the same transparency helped build a relationship with readers here on Consumerism Commentary.
Here’s why I believe this worked. Knowing readers would be looking for positive improvements each month, there is extra motivation not to let them down. Fear of embarrassment can drive better decision-making. It’s rooted in a life philosophy I’ve often heard: “Live as if everything you do could be a front-page story in the New York Times.” This type of motivation may apply not others, not only myself.
A few reasons now prevent me from being just as forthcoming about my own finances today, but I have decided to take this model of transparency and create an exciting new feature on this site. In the midst of writing the article linked above, I came to the realization that the monthly progress reports are and should be an integral part of the identity of this site, and I want to bring them back. At the time, I called for readers to be willing to share their monthly financial reports anonymously.
The response was positive and unexpectedly voluminous, so I’ve expanded the plan. Each month I’d like to track up to five readers’ financial progress. Assuming there are enough readers willing to commit to this tracking for at least year, I will be able to choose those whose life situations are substantially different from each other. For example, one reader might be a single guy looking to quit his job and start his own business, another might be in a family of four with a household income of over $150,000 with investments to track, while yet another might represent a couple nearing retirement with a savings deficiency.
The participants will provide a report exported out of Quicken or something equivalent, which I will format in much the same way I’ve formatted my reports in the past. Each reader will be featured in one article a month, in which they will present their financial update and describe any obstacles or successes they might have experienced in the past month. Each article will also feature feedback from me and a few financial experts I’m recruiting.
I plan for this to begin with the end of 2012. The end of the year is a great point for creating a baseline. It will also be one year after my last personal net worth update.
Even if you have already contacted me to be part of this major new feature on Consumerism Commentary, please complete the form below. It’s important to understand these details about each interested reader in order to select a good mix of financial situations. Continue reading this article to see the form.