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Old 07-02-2008, 02:54 PM   #21
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Exactly! I have the FSM emblem on the back of my car - keeps people guessing <grin>
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Old 07-02-2008, 03:00 PM   #22
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some here would claim that the only real money is g*ld! in which case i have a wedding ring.
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Old 07-02-2008, 03:02 PM   #23
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As others have said, it can cause resentment, envy or anger in many people. Generally, as said earlier, I find it perfectly fine to talk about it when people volunteer it themselves, but to force it or plead it out of someone I find is generally rude and an issue of the privacy of the owner.
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Old 07-02-2008, 03:33 PM   #24
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I believe there's a net worth poll in the board's past. Try searching...
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Old 07-02-2008, 04:16 PM   #25
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Pastafarian?
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Old 07-02-2008, 04:35 PM   #26
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I almost feel bad for asking the question. Sort of like the kid who says something and his parents inform him it is “not proper” to ask that sort of thing! Oh, well. I always got into a lot of trouble anyhow! Why change now!
I've found a handful of threads here where the person introducing themselves or starting the discussion has revealed their net worth, usually in the context of asking whether they can afford to RE.

FWIW, usually my answer is 'no, not if you want to live a decent lifestyle' while most other people here say 'go for it. Everyone else is dropping like flies, so you might as well retire now with whatever savings you have.'

So, I guess that even knowing how much money people have, their calculations are usually very subjective, and often motivated by considerations other than financial.

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So maybe some are reluctant to spew their personal numbers for fear that they will be judged harshly or that their worthiness will be questioned by others.
Sure. And on the flip side, others might have online privacy and security concerns not to reveal the full extent of their financial success.
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Old 07-02-2008, 05:01 PM   #27
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I have found it interesting that in all the discussions that take place regarding money, very few posters (or anyone in a discussion) will ever divulge just how much money they have or are talking about in the discussion. Not always, but most always. There was a post the other day by someone asking what to do with a large sum of money she was receiving but she never did respond to how much “a lot” was. That was an important aspect to her question too!
I generally don't care. What I do dislike is when people post asking for advice, but won't even say where they are. Do they think that some of us are going to hunt them down and rob them? I say be as coy as you want, but answer your own questions in that case.

It takes effort to understand a query, formulate an answer, do some fact checking, and compose and post an answer. I like a little value for value. One valuable thing anyone can give is an on-the-ground description of what their place in the world is like. Very helpful is when someone says "I live on $2500 a month in Chicago", rather than I live on $2500/month. Big deal, some guy in prison lives on even less.

Ha
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Old 07-02-2008, 05:18 PM   #28
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General problems get general solutions, general questions get general answers. Specific problems get specific solutions, specific questions get specific answers.
If you use General information to solve a specific problem you will probably not get too far in any discussion anywhere on the net or in life.
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Old 07-02-2008, 05:48 PM   #29
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A couple of reasons I wouldn't discuss hard numbers:


- It invites judgment. If two officemates have been in the workforce for about the same time and earn the same amount, but one has twice as much in savings, what will be the result? We aren't robots, we have emotions. One of us will feel self-satisfied and maybe a little superior and smug (you might catch a whiff of that on our board from time to time), while the other person will certainly sense this (or believe he does) and things spiral down rapidly.
I didn't consider the judgement aspect. But in retrospect, that would be a very valid point. My train of thought was that we all have the same goals...that is why we come to this place every day isn't it?! But on the other hand, I have had discussions with co-workers about our retirement system and they were not really taking advantage as much as one would hope. (IE; what percentage they contribute to their retirement fund). And maybe I am looking for some level of confidence in my upcoming retirement even though I have crunched the numbers over and over and they work out!
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:00 PM   #30
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I didn't consider the judgement aspect. But in retrospect, that would be a very valid point. My train of thought was that we all have the same goals...that is why we come to this place every day isn't it?! But on the other hand, I have had discussions with co-workers about our retirement system and they were not really taking advantage as much as one would hope. (IE; what percentage they contribute to their retirement fund). And maybe I am looking for some level of confidence in my upcoming retirement even though I have crunched the numbers over and over and they work out!
This is where context comes in. At work, as in this board's community, some people are paying for their own or their kids' college or putting money into a trust for a handicapped child so may be saving less for retirement. Some people use means other than company plans for saving for retirement; some people have received unexpected inheritances so are not saving as aggressively as others. Some are planning to move to a gated retirement community and may need more; some are staying put in their paid-for house and will need less; some are geniuses at lbym. We cannot know these factors about other people (and they do not know them about us), so it is probably best to speak in generalities.

I crunch numbers too and the only things I know for certain from that exercise are that we surely have enough and that we probably don't have enough.
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Old 07-02-2008, 07:06 PM   #31
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I have found it interesting that in all the discussions that take place regarding money, very few posters (or anyone in a discussion) will ever divulge just how much money they have or are talking about in the discussion. Not always, but most always. There was a post the other day by someone asking what to do with a large sum of money she was receiving but she never did respond to how much “a lot” was. That was an important aspect to her question too!
Why do you think that most people don’t go there? Is it for fear it would be construed as boasting? Is it fear that they would be looked at differently…be it better or worse? Or is it just something “not right” to discuss in our current day culture? Am I committing a social error by even asking this?!!
I almost feel bad for asking the question. Sort of like the kid who says something and his parents inform him it is “not proper” to ask that sort of thing! Oh, well. I always got into a lot of trouble anyhow! Why change now!
$3,037,378.76, as of today's market close.

Does that answer your question? Will you sleep better tonight knowing that someone has divulged their number?

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But your answer typifies my question : why is that rude?
I think it's like comparing the sizes of erections. Everyone talks about it. It's the subject of endless TV drama & sitcoms. Everyone obsesses over them when they're not functioning as intended and everyone's happy to sell you something to make them work better. Everyone likes bigger ones and no one wants to watch theirs shrink. Some favor a more "hands on" approach, some give it away, while others are happy to let someone else handle the job or even outsource it to a professional. No one wants to see anyone else whip out the evidence for verification or audits, even at parties-- let alone at conferences or performance reviews. No one wants to know what you're going to do with yours (whether it's bigger or not) but they'd like to know how to make theirs bigger more effective. And everyone claims that size doesn't matter-- even though apparently it matters a lot.

Kidding aside: having to figure out someone else's portfolios, along with their expenses and their asset allocation, is too much overhead to offer much benefit to analysis. We're not experts on everyone else's finances, and some of us aren't even experts at our own finances. We'd all rather focus on our own numbers and have someone else analyze them for us rather than be bored with everyone else's inapplicable situations. It's much easier to work with the hypothetical ER with a $1M portfolio and a 4% SWR so that we can begin debating whether or not they should include their home equity in their net worth and if they should pay off their mortgage.

Another issue: I don't discuss our family's finances with my father or my brother or my parents-in-law because they'd be tempted to take advantage of it (more than one family member has already taken advantage of us). It also moves our personal relationships out of the "social norms" and moves them to a business footing... we don't want that either.

This is why we also donate anonymously to charities-- because we don't want to be pestered to death by well-meaning people, let alone the scammers & criminals.
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Old 07-02-2008, 07:29 PM   #32
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$3,037,378.76, as of today's market close.
Nords, I think much more highly of you now than I did yesterday.

Of course, yesterday you were worth $5,567,234.56. And tomorrow you'll be worth $1,239,383.42 so this is all so confusing.
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Old 07-02-2008, 07:37 PM   #33
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As others have said, it can cause resentment, envy or anger in many people. Generally, as said earlier, I find it perfectly fine to talk about it when people volunteer it themselves, but to force it or plead it out of someone I find is generally rude and an issue of the privacy of the owner.
Agreed. Though these days, it's easier to provoke resentment by telling someone you have a large, COLA'd pension.
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Old 07-02-2008, 07:57 PM   #34
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$3,037,378.76, as of today's market close

.
Gee, now I guess I won't retire! Thanks Nords!

Actually my family didn't talk about such things either and where I did teach (or rather try to teach) my kids about how to handle their money, I haven't ever found the need to share much about my own methods/habits/balances other than to say you "must pay yourself also!".
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Old 07-02-2008, 08:02 PM   #35
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I crunch numbers too and the only things I know for certain from that exercise are that we surely have enough and that we probably don't have enough.
Yeah......the number crunch just doesn't do it sometimes! In my "retirement budget speculation" in regard to prices I failed to consider $5.00 diesel!! Now that looks to be a bargain in the upcoming years!

I do agree though with your thoughts on context.....Thanks for the input!
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Old 07-02-2008, 08:10 PM   #36
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I suppose it depends on what one deems an acceptable standard of living. Some people are content with little more that three hots and a cot. Some want to at least own their own home. Some feel they've missed out if they can't have all of the above plus the fifty foot yacht and a Rolls.
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Old 07-02-2008, 10:35 PM   #37
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Several reasons for me.

First and most important, to maintain a degree of privacy. I was raised that it's nobody's business, and people who share that kind of information are gauche.

Second, I've never found it necessary to share my exact numbers in order to ask a question or provide feedback to someone else.

Third, I already know I'm above average with respect to the general population in terms of net worth and income for my age but am average or below average for this board from what I have seen.

Fourth, my own situation is rather complicated, and I'm too lazy to share all the gory detail. I have 47 currently active accounts in my Quicken database.

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Old 07-03-2008, 03:39 AM   #38
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I think if you are really curious about how much the guy next door makes or has, you can always move to Sweden

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden: Wonder how much your boss earns? Is your bragging neighbor as rich as he claims? Does your daughter's boyfriend have any major debts? For Swedes, it takes little more than a few clicks on the Internet to find out.
Personal details such as income, marital status and college grades have long been public information in this tightly structured country. But as credit information sites made the information available online, many Swedes worried the national tradition of transparency was being stretched too far.

Faced with public anger and pressure from authorities, providers of online credit checks last week agreed to alter a service that allowed Swedes to snoop through each other's finances anonymously and free of charge. "Your neighbor knows what you're making, your brother-in law knows what you're making, and people around you can know whether you're on any records for outstanding payments. It's private and a bit embarrassing," said Hans Karnlof, a lawyer at the Swedish Data Inspection Board.
In most case in the US salaries are closely guarded secrets. Although I think in the military people know and I'm guessing most people that work for the Federal government have a good idea of their co-workers salary.

One of Steve Job's companies NEXT actually experimented with completely open salaries for a while, I don't think it was a complete success.
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Old 07-03-2008, 08:09 AM   #39
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I think if you are really curious about how much the guy next door makes or has, you can always move to Sweden

In most case in the US salaries are closely guarded secrets. Although I think in the military people know and I'm guessing most people that work for the Federal government have a good idea of their co-workers salary.

One of Steve Job's companies NEXT actually experimented with completely open salaries for a while, I don't think it was a complete success.
Absolutely crazy, that Freedom of Information Act is ridiculous!
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Old 07-03-2008, 08:12 AM   #40
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I wear a size 10 1/2, will I be able to retire at age 45?
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