2008-03-25

Where’s Their Money—What Makes Up PFBloggers’ Net Worth? (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this post, I explained that I thought it would be interesting to look at what makes up personal-finance bloggers’ net worth—and explained what data I gathered to do it (and what some of the ranges and distributions were). Now let’s drill into what makes up these folks’ net worth.

Here are the averages (mean and median) for the NetWorthIQ categories for the 25 PFBloggers I reviewed:

PFBLOGGER NET WORTH
(AVERAGES)

Mean

Median

Cash

$50,118

$22,698

Stocks

$155,264

$12,592

Bonds

$4,181

$0

Annuities

$2,362

$0

Retirement

$183,466

$195,442

Home

$321,703

$280,000

Other Real Estate

$103,085

$0

Cars

$14,578

$9,018

Personal Property

$11,863

$483

Other

$37,712

$10,000

Assets (total)

$884,333

$816,253

Home Mortgage(s)

($188,8590

($148,025)

Other Mortgage(s)

($74,347)

$0

Student Loans

($1,360)

$0

Credit Cards

($15,253)

($5,779)

Car Loans

($5,473)

$0

Other

($10,201)

$0

Debts (total)

($295,493)

($256,204)

NET WORTH

$588,840

$556,032

NET WORTH (excl. home)


$455,995


$390,471

For “Net Worth,” I used the listed net worth just as it was given. For “Net Worth (excl. home),” I used that same number but excluded both the “Home” (asset) and “Home Mortgage(s)” (debt) numbers. As a note, how people interpreted NetWorthIQ’s category for “Other Mortgage(s)” looked inconsistent to me. Most folks appeared to put all of their mortgages for their primary residence in with “Home Mortgage(s)”—and used “Other Mortgage(s)” to show loans on investment property. But a few appeared to have put their second mortgages on their homes in with “Other Mortgage(s).” (This is incorrect, according to NetWorthIQ’s instructions.) Ah, the limitations of using self-reported data in broad categories…

This is a fairly well-to-do group, with mean and median net worth over $500,000. Many of them blog about saving and investing—so what are they doing? Well, every single blogger among the 25 had retirement savings—so that’s comforting! Twenty of the 25 had stock holdings (outside their retirement accounts). Only seven of the 25 had bonds (outside their retirement accounts). And eleven of the 25 had real-estate investments apart from their homes—which (if they followed NetWorthIQ’s categories closely) would include investment property as well as holdings in REITs and other real-estate funds.

Now let’s look at the allocation of those assets/investments as a percentage of net worth:

PFBLOGGER NET WORTH
(ALLOCATION AVERAGES)


Mean

Median

Cash

9.98%

5.41%

Stocks

16.80%

3.27%

Bonds

0.78%

0.00%

Annuities

0.77%

0.00%

Retirement

36.31%

36.49%

Home Equity

26.23%

21.35%

Other Real Estate Equity

5.55%

0.00%

Other

5.46%

1.64%


For “Home Equity,” I used the “Home” (asset) number minus the “Home Mortgages(s)” (debt) number; and likewise, for “Other Real Estate Equity,” I used the “Other Real Estate” (asset) number minus the “Other Mortgage(s)” number. It’s too bad that the “Retirement” category lumps together all retirement-account assets, because it means we can’t really dissect what the overall allocations are. For example, we can’t see if the split between stocks and bonds is as weighted toward stocks as it looks.

By the averages, the retirement holdings are the largest portion of the PFBloggers’ net worth. This is not a shocker for me—but if I had had to guess beforehand, I might have predicted home equity would be the biggest component. Even though real estate has been softening lately, it went on a run for quite a while. So this finding seems to indicate a particularly strong emphasis on retirement savings in this group. Which is what you might expect—or have hoped!

In the next and last part of this post, I’ll break these out further among subgroups within the 25 PFBloggers making up our data set. For instance, are the millionaires more heavily invested in real estate than the average of this group? This next part may take a little longer, as it’s going to require more work. In the meantime, please let me know if there are particular things you’d like me to look at in the data.

For Part 3 of this post, please click below:
Lessons from the Millionaires — What Makes Up PFBloggers’ Net Worth? (Part 3)

Related Posts
What Makes Up PFBloggers’ Net Worth? (Part 1)

(Editor’s Note: Please let me know if the table gridlines are not showing up properly for you. They show up fine for me in Mozilla Firefox, but there may be an issue in other browsers.)

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