A few days ago, someone commented on an archived post:
“At first, this blog seemed incredibly useful. However, I find it hard to use your blog as a useful tool as it leaves out information about the most important factor in balancing one’s budget: income. We can see how much you spend per month, but we can’t see how much you earn, so there’s no context. Would you consider providing that information for readers, in order to make it a more useful tool (or maybe it’s here but I’m just missing it).” — Nora
I posted the gist of her comment to my site’s Facebook page to get some additional opinions.
I wanted to know: when reading finance blogs, is it actually helpful to know a blogger’s household income so you know how she prioritizes her spending and saving and the sort, or does it really matter?
Some folks said it was nobody’s business and I am entitled to some privacy. Some said percentages could be helpful, perhaps. Others said that income dollar amounts are only relevant to people who live in the same area I do. Similar expenses, tax rates, etc.
I’m inclined to agree. I don’t think sharing Shane’s exact income does much to help keep my story in context and I don’t think it particularly helps any of you with your own financial goals. In fact, Nora was the first person in almost 5 years of blogging here who wanted to know income specifics.
I know some people openly and willingly share how much money they make, and they don’t think anything is wrong with that. It’s just a different perspective, I guess. Maybe a cultural thing?
As for me, I prefer not to disclose it. Actually, I felt more comfortable sharing our income when we were first starting out but as income increased, I’ve wanted to keep that to myself a bit more. (I have disclosed my blog earnings, but I feel that’s more meta. I blog, and I feel just fine telling you how much money that earns me).
Oh, and as far as percentages go, I’m not sure since we’re still coming up with a new budget. (Shane’s income will be variable — he has a base salary and then a bonus for billable hours worked). But for percentages sake, I’d estimate our new budget to include:
– Roughly 5% income invested for college (total, not per kid)
– Somewhere around 20-33% invested for retirement. It will depend on his bonus. Doesn’t look like there’s an employer match for Shane, as far as we know, and there’s not even a 401k yet but that’s in the works. So we want to increase our contributions now and let time work in our favor.
I don’t know the percentage for other savings goals right now. And since I told you how much we have in expenses, I can’t tell what % of our income is basic expenses :p.
What about you? Do you tell people how much money you make, or do keep that private?