It’s time to get Naked With Cash!
No, none of us at Consumerism Commentary will be removing our clothes and swimming in a pool of hundred dollar bills. Naked With Cash is the new series in which the public will be able to follow the financial progress of up to seven Consumerism Commentary readers who agree to bare all, from an inside-the-wallet perspective, every month for the entire year.
I’ve chosen the participants from among those who responded to last month’s “casting call,” I will begin to introduce them to readers tomorrow. Some of the names should be familiar to readers who frequently follow the discussions on this website, but anonymity allows total freedom when sharing financial details, with no fear of potential employers or family members learning one’s intimate financial details.
I started Consumerism Commentary to track my own finances publicly. My goal was the improve my own money management skills, while learning about debt management, wealth building, and investing in the process of reaching that goal. While I wouldn’t say the journey for me is complete, I have entered a phase during which I can’t and won’t share the most intimate details of my bank account publicly. This type of journey is exciting to follow, however, so to bring it back to Consumerism Commentary I’ve opened the door for readers to take the lead.
Starting in January 2013, Consumerism Commentary will feature a financial update from each of the reader-participants in the first week or so of each month. These monthly reports will look similar to my net worth updates, though the stories will be varied. In each article, the participant will be invited to discuss the financial decisions he or she made over the previous month and talk about the personal issues that drove those decisions. The article will include a net worth table or balance sheet that breaks down each participant’s wealth into categories, like savings accounts, credit card debt, and mortgages. A chart will help visualize the changes from month to month.
Each participant will also have a Certified Financial Planner available for guidance. The financial planners will offer the first points of feedback for each participant. Each expert will have a “team,” so several will be assigned to each CFP, with the expert having some say in the choice. I will introduce these experts and the participants in upcoming articles before we begin Naked With Cash in earnest in January.
The purpose of Naked With Cash is to help the participants to whatever extent might be necessary for each individual. Personally, I attribute much of my financial stability to the fact that I was able to truly focus on my financial decision-making and make the best choices for dealing with my money when I was publicly accountable for those actions and the results that followed. The thought that I would have to account online for my failure to grow my wealth from month to month prevented me from making some poor decisions.
I believe this is a great exercise for anyone who wishes to improve their finances as well as their thought processes, and opening up the opportunity for readers to be as open as I was, in a forum with a wide audience, is exciting for everyone involved — me, the participants, and the experts.
Although this isn’t a competition by any means, I plan to have some fun with the structure of the series, and if the series goes well, there will be some interesting incentives revealed throughout the year. Follow the participants on Consumerism Commentary throughout 2013 as they get naked with their cash — metaphorically, of course.
Updated January 7, 2013 and originally published December 17, 2012.