While searching for insights into small groups working on financial goals, I came across a website called WealthGathering.com. The article that popped up is titled "Social Wealth: Can Facebook Friends Affect Your Wallet?"
In short, the article discussed influence, social contagion, and a few tips on how to maintain one's financial sanity in the midst of a social snowstorm. A specific tip on how to maintain one's wealth habits is to "Share your savings goals with a select group of friends using a tool like SmartyPig.com." I started to think, what if people shared a few other things on more public forums (ex. Facebook, Twitter), say for example, your current credit card balance (and limit), balance in checking account, balance in savings account (compared to one's goal for that account), or the last time you made a contribution (and amount) into a retirement account.
I recognize that money is still on the list of "taboo" topics, yet I wonder what would happen if people openly shared a few indicators of their financial health (and, most importantly, their goals). Would anything change? Would people start paying off their credit card balances in full? Would people start saving on a more regular basis? Would they increase the amount they save?
Although I have no data to support it, I suspect that a "I'll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours" display of financial health might encourage us to change for the better. At worst, people would be so annoyed/ashamed and "unfriend"/unsubscribe/etc.
What are your thoughts?
Would you change your financial behaviors if your friends shared theirs?
Do you think your friends would change their financial behaviors if you shares your own?