It’s long been considered taboo to disclose too much about your personal finances in public, but one site is starting to change that and, in the process, make consumers more attentive to their bank account.
NetworthIQ.com is essentially Facebook for your finances. Like other social networking sites, users can pick a screen name and provide personal information like how old they are, where they’re from and in which industry they work. But the site also allows users to create a profile that features a rundown of all of their major assets (cash, stocks, personal property, money saved for retirement, etc.) and all their major debts (mortgages, student loans, credit card debt and more).
Once users have plugged in these numbers, the site will calculate your total net worth and create a chart to illustrate how that value changes from month to month and year to year.
On the surface, this might seem like the most boring social network in the world. When I was younger, nothing put me to sleep faster than watching my dad balance his checkbooks. But for those on the site, it can be exhilarating. “The net-worth number… is more appealing when you have someone else’s to compare it with,” Ron Lieber noted in a recent New York Times story about the site. “We tend to have an intense curiosity about our neighbors and friends, especially those who seem to earn about what we do but spend a lot more.”
Lieber spoke with several users who confessed that having their net worth number in plain sight forced them to be more money conscious and in some sense, to compete with other users on the site and improve their finances. “I know people are visiting, and it makes me want to pay something else off so I can post another entry that’s something good,” Stephanie Grant, a user with a net worth of negative $23,000, told the Times.