Tuesday, July 3, 2007

My Identity Revealed.... Grrrr.....

Over the weekend my NYC friend revealed my blog to another friend of mine (not one of his Einstein moments). I've found that generally, the more people know something, the bigger the chance that EVERYONE knows it.

So assuming a whole bunch of my friends know about my dreams to retire young, is that a bad thing?

I guess the one area of concern for me is having my friends know my net worth. Obviously one reason I do not want them knowing this is privacy. Privacy contains some utility all of its own. I would not like everyone to see nude pictures of me, even if I never met any of the people who had seen them.

But the bigger reason is jealousy. I have always been a big believer that human nature is both good and bad, and a big laugher at the people who think that they have somehow overcome the instinct to be bad, its usually those holier-than-thou fools who are the worst sort of humans.

Its human nature to resent people who you feel are comparatively better off, and exposing my numbers to all of my friends just leaves me wide open to that kind of feeling, even though I never sought my friends to know.

So, I probably won't talk about my net worth numbers anymore, except in general terms. Its not worth losing friends over.


Anonymous said...

This is the non-Einsteinian
NY friend. Had I known Alex wanted to keep the blog private I wouldn't have said anything to the mutual friend of ours (it was prior to any sensitive posts). That being said I disagree with Alex's take on human nature. I don't think people always disdain those who are more successful or are striving to be more successful; that is learned behavior. I find Alex's attempt to improve his financial situation admirable. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I know when it comes to what is private and what is not I could be considered an extremist, but, I think your net worth isn't sensitive information to your close friends. I'd go further and say its something your friends should know. Letting your friends know your financial situation helps them better assess what opportunities could be beneficial to you (or mutually beneficial) and also aprises them as to times of concern when they may be of service. It cuts down on the cost and discomfort (that I guess everyone else feels) of acquiring this info. The aversion to sharing this information is an anachronism based on social habit rather then a rational action in the vast majority of cases.

This all, of course, assumes the acquirers of such information aren't douche bags who would seek to do you or your reputation harm or are insecure and jealous. It also assumes that the person whom is giving the information does not want to put on a false facade. I don't believe these considerations are relevant in your case.

If some of your friends fall into these prohibited categories then perhaps you should consider new friends. Winston Churchill wisely noted that "you shape your house and then your house shapes you." Accepting influences that will hurt your ability to improve, particularly at such a young age when your ideals are still malleable, is a price that will cost you and those you care about for a long time. The most insecure link amongst your acquaintances should not dictate your disclosures.

Alex said...

I do think this is probably the reason (among other reasons) why people tend to be friends with people of similar class, wealth, and profession as themselves.

Thanks for the post NYC friend, its given me a good idea for a future post.

Her Every Cent Counts said...

it's pretty much impossible to remain anonymous online. even though i don't reveal my identity on my PF blog, friends of mine have found me out. it's crazy. perhaps it's the way i write... i'm kind of obvious. and i don't go out of my way to hide details about my life such as my career or location. still, i thought i could remain anonymous. i don't really like my close friends knowing about my personal finances. but i don't think you should be ashamed of your friends knowing that you want to retire young. i think that's an admirable goal.


Nice post