Stealth wealth and why I'm a sock puppet
My about me page tells you a little about who I am and why I practice stealth wealth savings accumulation. I thought I would churn out a short little post that goes into a little more detail about why I am blogging, why I reveal lots of personal information, but at the same time remain completely anonymous. Maybe I'm scared someone might find out I have a beard!
I also want to talk about an interesting concept that Financial Samurai calls "stealth wealth." Although my family's net worth is relatively low when compared with those making up the personal finance blogging community, we still have considerably more assets than many of the highly-paid people that surround us everyday. Trust me, they complain about how little they have All. The. Time. I wouldn't hear the end of it if they started learning about out little plan to check out of the workforce within the next ten years.
So who am I, why blog, and why am I a sock puppet?
Who I am
I am a college professor in the USA that teaches in one of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. I also run a recently successful consulting business in this same field. I rock a beard, and I do have a doctorate, which gives me the privilege of going by the pseudonym Dr. Beard. That said, no one calls me doctor or beard in real life.
As my disclaimer states, I have ZERO qualifications to offer financial advice. I have no degree or relevant experience in finance. What I do have is personal experience, which I guess gives me some credibility in personal finance. I'm not really qualified for that, though, because I'm just as capable of screwing that up as anyone else.
So what do I have to offer, then?
Well, I have built an academic career writing long, boring, and excruciatingly detailed articles for a reading audience of about eleven people scattered throughout the world. That probably makes me well qualified for blogging!
I also offer a more "normal" take on personal finance than you might find running around the internet. I haven't reached financial independence, so you can follow me on the journey. I'm not an extreme frugal-phile, since my family maintains some fairly normal spending behavior. Better than the average bear, but I've never once fretted about LED light bulbs and we've never hung dried our laundry. I also don't make money blogging, or consulting about blogging, or blogging about blogging. There is no massive online empire here, nor am I really trying to build one.
I don't make insane amounts of income, but I am a professional with a higher than average income. So I really can't relate to someone trying to support a family of four on $35k a year. I'll try, but I will probably fail spectacularly.
Basically, I'm a fairly average mid-career professional with a fairly average financial picture. If that's you, too, then maybe we can learn something together.
I do it for motivation. I also do it as a means to grease the groove for my other writing. It would be nice if I had some little mission about saving the world by spreading lessons on personal finance, blah blah blah. But it's just not true. I blog for very, very selfish reasons.
I also blog because it can be fun. I have a little bearded money dude as a logo. I get to write about silly stuff like beard oil and awesomeness. I can lay out my plans for the future in writing, forcing me to really get the numbers, timelines, etc. correct. Tables and graphs are what nerds consider fun. It's weird.
I work for a university. I also think that most high school graduates would be significantly better off if they did NOT go to university. I'm going to want to write about that. When one of my jobs is recruiting students into a university program, one that I know will have a <40% retention rate and cost tens of thousands of dollars for no real gain for the student, then saying those things loudly might ruffle some feathers. Hey, I have tenure and the academic freedom that comes with that, which is great. But it's still better not to unnecessarily piss off the people that sign your checks.
As mentioned, I also have a consulting business that is gaining in prominence. I am frequently working with companies and school districts. I go into primary and secondary schools regularly. I'm hired often times by public employees overseen by PTA groups that like to get pissy about pretty much anything. Sometimes I work for Christian organizations. Googling my name and seeing it connected to frequent mentions of the word "shit," my lack of any particular religious belief what-so-ever, my past fumbles with debt and money, and my association with a greedy little money beard dude might not be the best way to engender trust among some of this set.
I also like what Financial Samurai says about stealth wealth. I'm not particularly interested in advertising my personal net worth gains. That kinda makes it difficult to write a blog about my journey to financial independence, doesn't it. EVERYONE knows I'm growing a luxurious beard because its right there on my face, but the money thing? Not so much.
Everyone around us thinks its cool we're dropping a car from our life and paying off credit cards. Of course, they could never do such a thing for [Insert Reason Here]. But nobody thinks we're crazy. Tell them you're saving up a cool $1 million over 10 years, and they'll laugh.
I just don't like having those conversations with my friends and co-workers. So, when they Google me, it's best they find my professional work and not a silly little blog about beards and money. So stealth wealth it is.
Besides, we certainly don't look like we're rich. And even when we do hit our goals, we STILL won't look like we're rich. Because we won't be rich the way many people perceive richness to be. "You're free from having to work for money, sure, but you don't have a boat!"
So I'm a silly little internet troll. I hide behind a silly little logo to protect my families privacy, which gives me more freedom to be completely open on this blog. It allows me the freedom to write about our successes AND or embarrassing failures.