Truth Be Told

Dennis Friedman

I WASN’T COMPLETELY honest when I wrote a recent article. HumbleDollar’s editor asked why I reduced my stock position in 2017 from roughly 50% to 25%. He suggested I should mention it in my article. My answer: “At the time I made these changes, I was losing confidence in the sustainability of the bull market and wanted to reduce my risk.” That was true—but it wasn’t the whole truth.

There’s another reason I initially left out the explanation for reducing my stock exposure: I’m simply not comfortable discussing my finances in great detail. There are only two things I will not talk about: my sex life and personal money matters. And it isn’t necessarily in that order. It’s one reason I write mostly about my life experiences that don’t reveal too much about my money. I did write a blog that revealed a little more financial information than I would like. It was uncomfortable. But I thought it was necessary.

Some of my friends are very open about their money. I sit there like a bump on a log, amazed at what they are telling me. I feel guilty. But I just can’t share my personal financial information with them. It’s not because I’m stingy and trying to hide my money from my friends. When I go out with them, I usually pick up the tab or pay a portion. I have also helped friends who were going through difficult times with their finances.

To be honest, I don’t want to know about their financial situation. When I hear them talk about their money, it sometimes makes me jealous. I feel that I’m not doing as well financially as I should. But in truth, I shouldn’t be comparing myself to them. It’s a shame, because I find myself avoiding them. I use the same approach that I use with my favorite baseball team, the Cleveland Indians. When they lose, I avoid reading articles about the game.

There is only one person who knows about my financial affairs. It’s my close friend, with whom I’m planning to spend the rest of my life. I feel she needs to know, because we are in this together. She is the only person with whom I’m an open book. I think it is important that your spouse or significant other knows your financial life. If something should happen to you, he or she needs to know where to go to access the assets to support him or herself.

I have given a lot of thought to my reluctance to reveal information about my finances. I haven’t come up with a good answer. I do, however, know this: In our society, we are sometimes judged by the type of car we drive, the house we live in or how much money we have. Maybe I just don’t want to be judged.

Dennis Friedman retired at age 58 from Boeing Aerospace Company. He enjoys reading and writing about personal finance. His previous articles include Mind Games, Looking Forward and More Than Money.

Browse Articles

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Free Newsletter