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rant

I like to write about money, finance, my life, and typical suburban living. I don’t pretend to be a finance expert. Hell, I am not even close. I don’t pass judgement on someone based on a single decision they have made in their lives. It would be ridiculous to do something like that without knowing all of the facts yet people pass these kind of judgement everyday.  I bring it up because of a comment I got on my Friday Finance Followers post last week.

Generally speaking I am pretty debt averse. I don’t like having it hanging over me but I am not a hardcore Ramseyite either. I believe in the responsible use of money to better your life NOW as well as in the future. In that vein there are several things about me that are somewhat anti-frugal/not hardcore PF. Of course these are things not so surprising to most people but the hardcore crowd would scoff at my choices. Lets look at the two biggies:

1.) I just bought my wife a car, and took out a loan… GASP, SHOCK, *faints*. Wait, but not only did I buy my wife a car I bought her an Infiniti QX56. Oh Snap, its a luxury car too I must have gone off my rocker B. It is funny because people already start to comment about this car. The fact is it is an expensive car but not ridiculous, our payments are less than payments on our previous car and all told, interest included, we will not be paying more than the blue book value of the car when we bought it. I know it will depreciate yadda, yadda. The kicker on that is that we aren’t changing our saving habits (they will actually be increasing), just our spending habits (decreasing baby). You see not having any debt has actually been kind of bad for us. When you know there is nothing coming out your spending starts to creep up. In my opinion that is actually worse than having a loan. We will be getting our spending back in check to help pay for the car and bring reality back into focus. Our mission is to eliminate the car loan in 2 years or less, look for a goal meter to be popping up next month.

2.) I own a boat. Yupper baby, my own floating money pit sitting right in my garage. In comparison to my wife’s new ride our boat is more like like a Chevy or a Ford, it runs great but isn’t that flashy. I am not ashamed to say that I will probably have a boat in my garage for a very long time. Not necessarily that boat but A boat. I have very few true obsessions in my life. Just my wife, kids, computers, and being on the water. It brings me great joy to hit the water and relax. That joy is worth the pain of owning a so called “money pit.” If I spend all of my time stashing away EVERY penny I am going to lose out on a lot of things I can do now but may not be able to do later. I am probably not going to be wake boarding at 50 but in my late 20’s it is fair game.  I would like to enjoy life a little now, and a little bit later (within reason).

The key with personal finance, as with the rest of your life, is to be responsible. Be responsible with how you spend, save, and interact with money and you will be better off. I know from looking at my cash flow right now that this is not in any way irresponsible of me. The loan I took out was minimal and well within the responsible range. I have not in any way over extended myself or put my family in a position where we would have to decide between food or transportation. Having debt is not irresponsible, having so much debt you can no longer control the spiral is.

That is my two cents, what do you think? Should I give up blogging about finance because I took out a loan?

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I know I have probably written about this before but the way people interact with money is amazing. Even people who say money won’t make them act a certain way allow money to influence their interactions with people. I am most reminded of these kinds of interactions around the start of every month when people are posting their net worth’s and I am compiling the wealthy blogger list. I am not an anonymous blogger, my family, friends, and neighbors all know about my blog. Some of them even take the time to read some of what I write. Every now and then a few of them even post comments.

It actually makes me anxious when I hear about one of the people I know reading my blog. There is no good reason, I just don’t want them to think something I wrote was stupid. If random people I don’t know have a problem with it then I am all good. This brings me to net worth’s. I regularly post my net worth on my blog. Once a month, every month, like clock work. Until this month no one has ever made a comment about it. This month a comment was made, nothing bad or judgmental. It was just a comment that made me realize these people really are reading and now they know approximately how much money I have stashed around in different places. It makes me happy to know they are reading and enjoy it and I was glad for the comment, it made me snicker.

I have been thinking about it for a while and I realized that my money and how much or little of it I posses doesn’t define me. I am not defined by money and I try not define anyone else by theirs. I see no problems in displaying my net worth because if you want to judge me by the number of zeros on my bank account I don’t need you around. WE ARE NOT DEFINED BY OUR MONEY. I like to have money, cash and investments, as a security blanket of sorts. If I didn’t have that money I would be much more on edge and worried than I am now but the person I am wouldn’t change.

I write on this blog to talk about how I interact with money and hopefully to help a few people learn a couple of tricks to better their financial situation. If me posting my net worth every month can inspire one person to start saving, or open a 401k, or take their debt column to zero then it is worth it. So what if you know how much money I make or cash savings I have. Does it really matter?

I have had several people mention to me that they don’t share that kind of information publicly because they don’t want their family to find out about their money situation. I can kind of understand this but I also don’t think it should be necessary to hide this information from family. I would like to think that my family doesn’t look at my balance sheet and judge my success or failure. I also hope they don’t expect that I will bail them out when they are in financial trouble just because I have more money than them.

I want you the readers, in the comments, to tell me WHY does it matter if people know how much money you have? What are you afraid of? Are you ashamed or just trying to avoid being boastful?

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