I’ve been posting monthly status reports for over 5 years now. I was inspired by bloggers like the Frugalwoods, Mr. 1500, J. Money and others. It was so helpful to see what successful people’s budgets and net worth progression looked like. I got so much use out of their reports that I started publishing my own each month. Check out the first one from March 2015!
In March 2015, I was 24, still in the Air National Guard, gearing up for my (first) Chautauqua trip later that year, renting a single family house, in and out of short-term relationships and driving my old car. My net worth was around $50,000.
Now, I am 30 years old. I’ve moved roughly 8 times in the last 6 years, changed employers 3 times, bought a house, sold a house, bought another house, bought a new car, and have really found who I am as a person.
When I started my FIRE journey, blogging about my finances was an excellent way to stay engaged with my personal finance journey. I basically hyperfocused on early retirement for 6 straight years. I was stoked to update my spreadsheets the first day of each new month. I loved seeing the numbers go up and up and up each month. I got a lot of validation and approval from people which encouraged me to keep going.
But there were months when the numbers didn’t go up. There were months when I didn’t want to share my finances, either because I gave away a bunch of money and didn’t want to look like I was bragging, or because I spent a bunch of money on something and didn’t want the peanut gallery chiming in on something that wasn’t “FIRE optimized”. Rarely were the comments rude or mean but when they were it cut extra deep. There were months when I was freelancing where the money on hand just went down, down and further down, while the money coming in was a small trickle instead of multiple streams. So much of who I was as a person was tied into being a person who was good with money that it was even more embarassing to post “bad months”.
Now that I am an 30 year old with a partner, a house, and a higher net worth than average, it feels more wrong than right to post the status updates. My finances aren’t mine alone now. My partner has never said anything against it, but they are a pretty private person in general and I don’t feel like it’s something they’re entirely comfortable with. I am also concerned posting so much detail online as a higher net worth woman. It’s different when you’re 24, just starting out and only have $50k. (“only have $50k”, I know.) So many of my friends aren’t anywhere near my net worth and I feel bad (even though I absolutely shouldn’t because we have very different lives). The higher my net worth gets, the more it feels like bragging to me, and I don’t want that.
I also don’t need the status reports to keep myself inspired and on track anymore. I’ve figured out what works for me, what doesn’t work for me, and put everything on autopilot. Money comes in, money gets redirected, money goes back out. I don’t need to spend so much time on my finances anymore — which is excellent since I don’t have the same time available to me now.
I am incredibly grateful to have such detailed records for the last 5 years though. It’s been really helpful to be able to go back and look at each month to see where I was in life. Like a detailed, public journal for my finances!
So, the last spending report I posted was the last. I’ll maybe do a spending report at the end of the year, but it won’t be anywhere near as detailed as years’ past. I want to move to posting better articles on a less consistent basis. Monthly status reports are great blogging fodder, but I am no longer being fulfilled by them, so it’s time to let them go.
Don’t worry, I’ll still be updating my spreadsheet each month and keeping track of everything. I just won’t be compiling the results here on the blog anymore.
As Dobby said, “Master has given a sock. Dobby is free!”