Cynical Thoughts of an Anonymous Personal Finance Blogger

anonymous-blogger

Recently I’ve been thinking about my rationale for writing this blog anonymously. Most likely these thoughts are flowing because in six weeks I’ll be putting myself out there to engage with other bloggers at FinCon.

REAL LIFE HUMANS!

While I’ve attended conferences professionally before, they always increase anxiety given my introverted nature and slight social awkwardness. This feeling of excitement balanced with nervousness is probably something that all first time FinCon’ers go through. In some ways, coming out from behind from the curtain will make this personal finance blog become much more real. 

For those who may not be aware, FIRE is an acronym for “Financially Independent, Retire Early”

Blogging Anonymously

So why do many of us write money-related blogs anonymously? From what I gather it’s usually because of a job or family situation. For me, it’s about the potential of a conflict of interest with my employer. I also worry if my management or co-workers discover the blog it could hinder future career opportunities. What if I miss out on a promotion because I’m looked at as a flight risk?

Here’s the thing, I really like my job. I’m not pursuing financial independence to run from a job. (See, it’s weird that I have to specifically mention that I’m not running from a job to dispel some of the perceptions around financial independence.)

I know as a society we don’t talk about money openly. However, what me and my family are doing shouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary. All we’re trying to do is live debt free and build passive income. In some bizzaro world this perfectly rational way of living has become somewhat of a controversial topic. Instead of being proud of our accomplishments, we try to downplay or hide our success.

Be Proud of Your Accomplishments

Ask any high income earning FIRE blogger about their salary and watch them dance around the question (I do it). Instead of being proud of all the hard work that was put in to obtaining that high income, we instead focus more on the privileges that have allowed us to get to that point. While it certainly is true that the path to high income likely involved a mix of privilege, hard work, and luck, we still shouldn’t be ashamed of our accomplishments.

FIRE is a fantastic key message. It has helped bring the financial independence movement closer to mainstream.  The thing is when individuals achieve financial independence almost nobody actually retires early. In fact, sometimes it results in individuals working even harder. I know the point is that financial independence can help a person “retire” from the 9 to 5 lifestyle. However, when the common person hears retirement, they imagine you lounging around and letting time go by. This perception is often met with resistance among the general public.

The Alternative

For those of us who enjoy our jobs, becoming financially independent could mean being willing to take more risks at work, which usually ends up being a good thing. Alternatively, it could simply mean not having to live in fear of getting fired for reasons outside of our control. Later in life maybe its being able to step away from a job we love to take care of a sick family member. Regardless of the situation, financial independence opens up a world of options that aren’t possible when you are buried in debt and reliant on a single income source.

What’s Your Point?

Good question. I guess the point is how did we get to a place in society where living a debt free lifestyle, caring about personal finances, and building passive income streams puts us in the vast minority? Maybe there are more of us out there, but people are reluctant to talk about money and share success stories.

I’ll admit that I’m one of them. We just paid off our mortgage and didn’t tell anyone in “real life” about it except my parents. With that being said, I just signed up to help teach a Financial Peace University class at my church and am excited to start spreading my story in the real world.

Kudos to the army of personal finance bloggers out there promoting financial literacy. Together we can help show that living below your means, saving/investing, and building wealth leads to prosperity in many different aspects of our lives. Maybe one day I’ll be bold enough to step out from behind the anonymous blogger curtain.  Something tells me that being at FinCon will be the first step in that direction.

If you plan on being a first-time FinCon attendee I’d love to hear about how you’re feeling right now. Especially if you are anonymous.

As always, if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading!

27 Comments

  1. When I first started blogging in 2007 I did it anonymously. It wasn’t a blog related to personal finance, but like you, I was concerned about missing out on advancement opportunities at work if they knew. Turns out I wound up leaving that job a year and a half later. For me the biggest down side to not sharing my identity on the site was how it impacted my networking and ability to truly connect with other bloggers. If you’re going to FinCon you’ll obviously connect with a lot of others in person, so it will be interesting to see what direction you head after that.

    1. I agree that it’s more challenging to build effective relationships blogging anonymously. To a certain extent I think it can also be more challenging to connect to readers without a face. I’m not really sure what to expect from FinCon though I am excited to have the opportunity to meet the people’s whose blogs I’ve been following regularly!

  2. Yo! See you at FinCon 🙂 Excited to meet a ton of the newish bloggers in the community and can’t wait to chat. It’s really interesting – I had an employer I was interviewing with find my blog and they didn’t know if I’d be happy staying there for a few years. It didn’t work out. My current employer doesn’t know though…

    1. Thanks, Erik! I look forward to meeting you and many others as well.

      That’s my big worry is that if someone found the blog at my work that they’d question my commitment to the organization. That really shouldn’t be an issue but just looking at the sound bites of my blog people can think this is an escape. I would love to work at my organization for the next 20 years, but am also not foolish to think that things outside of my control could impact that plan.

  3. Interesting take on blogging anonymously. I have had my own share of weighing the pros and cons of having my face out there…particularly employment-wise. When my about page started to show up as #2 on Google search when you type in my name, I had to make the page “no-follow” so Google bots could stop crawling and indexing it. It’s a tricky business!

    1. Interesting perspective. I guess that’s a good problem to have but also something to watch out for. A tricky business indeed!

  4. I enjoy the freedom of blogging Anonymously. It allows me to share openly about my net worth, building wealth, and reaching FI. I think that there is a safety element too. I don’t want to put my life at risk by announcing my net worth online. There are bad guys online too. You never know who might stumble upon your blog.

  5. Frogdancer Jones here! Definitely my real name!
    Actually… no. I started blogging in 2007 and chose my name because I didn’t want my ex-husband or students finding my blog. Now that I’m writing about FI/RE, it makes sense to keep it going.

  6. I am always grateful to all the bloggers and their blogs, in a short period of time I learned a lot. I know I have a lot more to learn that is why I continue to browse, read and understand everything you guys share. Being anonymous is fine with me. If only I have the time, I would start my own blog anonymously too. But you know, my son is still a baby and needs a lot more time from me so I set aside the plan first. Thanks for sharing, keep posting!

  7. Great post. You make some really good points about talking about finances and blogging anonymously. I’m very new to blogging (first post today!). Blog will focus FIRE and more general lifestyle choices and happiness. I’ve chosen to go semi anonymous (not my face or first name but I don’t think it would be hard for anyone who knows me to figure out who I am. I think (for now) I’m okay with that. There is something liberating about putting your thoughts and opinions out there and backing them up with your name/face. Although the world is a harsh place at times, especially when your views are in the minority/controversial. I’m excited for this blogging adventure. Enjoy FinCon!!

  8. i think if you are delivering the right content to you readers doing anonymously won’t make much difference but yes if show your identity that makes more authentic. there are many huge website who are running so well yet there is no face.

  9. Thanks for the read. I find myself also writing anonymously because of conflicts of interest with work. For me, it is because I work in the financial world and I do not want my words to reflect my employer. Thank you for putting my thoughts into words on the screen.

    1. Thank you for reading! My reasons for blogging anonymously are similar to yours. It’s a tough balance because many days I’d like to be more open about my blog in the real world, though I’m not quite ready for that yet.

  10. Personal finance is just that- personal. It’s all about you and your money; about what to do with it when it comes in, and how to keep too much of it from going out. The better you handle your personal finances, the more freedom you have. And, of course, the opposite is true- the worse you are with you money, the harder it will be to do and have the things you want most in life.

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