December 8, 2011, 6:00 am

The Benefits of Being Transparent– Plus a Challenge

by: MD    Category: Other Financial Articles
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“Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don’t have brains enough to be honest.” — Benjamin Franklin

There seems to be an influx of transparency in the blogging world. There are more blogging income reports, people taking pictures of their guts as they try to lose weight, and posts about some sort of truth that I wouldn’t even share with my shadow. I wanted to join in on the fun. I’m not going to share any income stuff because I’m sort of private about that. I did want to be transparent about something else. But first…

Why should you be transparent? What’s the point of even being transparent at all?

You show your weaknesses.

We all love to see the flaws in others. None of us are perfect. We like to see that others are going through the same struggles as us. It’s comforting to know that we’re not alone when dealing with specific issues. When you’re fully transparent, others will see where you’re not strong and it’ll show the world that you’re not perfect.

You build social proof.

If your results are impressive, you can build some serious social proof through being transparent. Transparency can do wonders for your brand when you show how much money you’re making, how many email subscribers you have, and how much work you put in. Being transparent when the results are outstanding also serves as a great source of inspiration for anyone that’s just getting started or feeling down and in need of a boost.

You build a unique connection.

When you open up with your readers and completely reveal everything, you’re building a unique connection. It’s rare to find authentic and genuine people sometimes. This is why I feel that so many online users are gravitating towards those that are being fully transparent with everything that they do.

With that being said, I wanted to get into my own attempt at being transparent.

My own transparency report.

I wanted to run my own transparency report on here. Instead of using my transparency report to brag, I wanted to share the details about something I’m weak at. I spend a fortune on food. I train hard and I’m always on the go. As a result, I eat a lot. I eat well. I eat lots of protein. I don’t mind spending money on food. With that being said, I definitely eat out far too often.

I wanted to share with you how much money I spent on food in November. This is why I signed up for a Walmart credit card and used it to track my spending on food in the month of November.

I spent $394.25 on food in November.

This includes going out a few times,  protein shakes at the gym, grabbing my own groceries always, and the coffees that I grab. I didn’t want to bore you with the details. Let’s just say that a $30 dinner on a Friday night doesn’t help my food bill. Neither does grabbing a few cups of coffee a day.

I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. I guess it really depends on your situation. I wanted to be honest about one of my flaws. If you have any tips on how I can cut back on my food bill then please do share.

My transparency challenge.

My challenge is simple. Reply with a transparent post on your blog or a comment of something completely honest below. I encourage you to open up and share with us.

Did you spend too much money this month?

Did you do something dumb?

Are you proud of something?

Share it here.

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Is that $400 just on you Mike? For a family (of 4?) this doesn’t seem like a whole lot to spend!

Hey Simon!
My kids are on a diet lol!
the post was written by MD (Martin), not me ;-).

I probably spend that on a week! hehehe

I am always open about money on my site. If people don’t see what I am doing right, why should they trust me?

There is such a thing as too much transparency when it comes to finances. I don’t really agree that bloggers need to be sharing all of their private information — unless, that is, they are trying to write about making money online. Then, maybe, it makes sense. 🙂

This is one of the biggest issues for me in the finance + money online space – I have noticed your blog for a while and I follow how you are doing and one thing that I liked was the money online reports you would make for each month.

To me, this makes you credible because you are a financial blogger.

What I don’t understand are the bloggers who talk about their net worth (for example, net worth up X% but they don’t put the figure it has gone up to). It’s nothing personal but I don’t think that makes them credible especially if they are have a goal in mind on their personal finance blog such as early retirement. I am not saying people have to disclose their income but definitely if you are trying to get your net worth to 1 million GBP/USD/EUR or whatever, shouldn’t you be saying exactly how far you are not the percent?

I don’t think people need to disclose their incomes by any hard and fast rules but many people who blog about finances and money are definitely cagey about it online.

I get the issue about tax etc but transparency goes a long way too.