I’m barely a newbie in the PF Blogger world—though not so green that I haven’t gotten around to using the apparently preferred abbreviation of “personal finance blogger”! As I have been catching up on what’s out there, I came upon a December 2007 post by FrugalTrader in his Million Dollar Journey blog titled, “2007 PF Blogger Net Worth Comparison.” What he’s done there is look at the stated net worths of the PF Bloggers who have publicly stated them on their blogs (presumably circa December 2007)—and put them in a ranked order by net worth. He’s pretty careful to point out that it’s not all that clear what the net worth of a blogger means—and that different bloggers may be calculating net worth differently.
Millionaire Mommy (of Millionaire Mommy Next Door) ranks first with a stated net worth of $1,617,988; MM (of PF Blog) ranks second with a stated net worth of $875,850; and Sun (of The Sun’s Financial Diary) ranks third with a stated net worth of $614,716. Then there is a gap between third and fourth, with FrugalTrader having a stated net worth of $272,900—and the list rounds out with a stated net worth of $41,800 coming in twelfth.
Looking at these numbers, we would rank #2. That would be calculating our net worth as a couple, excluding personal property (cars, furniture, jewelry, or whatever). And it wouldn’t matter for the ranking whether you included the equity in our primary residence—or whether you included our one modest real-estate investment. Interestingly and perhaps not surprisingly, our ages would also fall between the folks who are #1 and #2 in the rankings: Millionaire Mommy’s age is given as 43 and MM’s as 31. (We’re closer in age to Millionaire Mommy, if you are wondering!) The ages of the folks in the list range from 26 through 43 overall.
Considering that we don’t think of ourselves as all that “well off,” being ranked #2 in any list of “net worths” sounds pretty good to me. Of course, it really doesn’t matter. Everyone on the list is at a different stage of their careers and lives, and everyone on the list has different goals. I gauge us as still being pretty far from our financial-independence goals, so regardless of where we are on any list, we have a lot of work to do. There are definitely PF Bloggers out there who have lower net worths than we do who have already managed to retire. That being their goal, aren’t they ahead of us in what matters? Getting to where you want to go!
And it should be obvious that net worth doesn’t tell you whether a blogger’s thoughts or writing style will be good matches for what you like to read.
The one practical utility of where we fall in the list is that we add a perspective that I believe is not as well represented among PF Bloggers—millionaires (or even near-millionaires). One of the great things about the PF Blog space is the diversity of perspectives, so I like the idea of being able to add to that diversity. The comments to the rankings post show some of that diversity—with folks reacting to the dangers of comparing net worth, whether net worth means anything, and how net worth should be calculated. There was a spirited back-and-forth between folks saying you should include the value of your home and those who say you shouldn't. (See this outside post on whether to include home equity.)
One anonymous commenter even seemed to be criticizing how Millionaire Mommy got to her #1-ranked net worth:
Sounds more like a series of high-risk investments (starting small businesses [presumably with borrowed money], speculating in real estate [more borrowed money], and hand-picking stocks or funds) that happen to have a good outcome in a careful and prudent savings plan.
The characterizations seem to be unfounded and seem to ignore information in the earlier comments—but what if they were fair and accurate? What if it were a series of high-risk investments?
I think it’s fair to say that many individuals should be concentrating on the fundamentals—like a careful and prudent saving and investing plan. But I don’t see why that means we can’t learn from people who do make high-risk investments—or even just medium-risk investments that fall outside the “careful and prudent savings plan.”
If there were only one “right” way to do it, there would be a lot fewer books, TV shows, and radio shows on personal finance—and a lot fewer blogs.
Inside The Millionaire Mind of Mush—How We Became Millionaires
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