A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

Back in the days before the Internet, it was rare to know what someone paid for a home, what their income was, what they paid in taxes, or how much they spent on their Christmas shopping. Finances were generally a private concern, discussed only amongst immediate family, if then. People who discussed money were considered uncouth or braggarts.

Now, thanks to search engines, public tax records, aggregation websites, and plain old over-sharing on message boards and Facebook, it’s possible to know how others are doing financially, or at least make an educated guess. You can find out what your neighbors’ home sold for, what they paid in property taxes last year, whether they have any


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2 Responses to A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

  1. Alexandria says:

    I think people *THINK* they know more in this information age, but generally they do not.

    For one, not all data online is accurate.

    Secondly, when it comes to cars, who knows how old they are, etc. My last vehicle was bought one-year-old at about 50% the cost of new. We always pay cash for our vehicles and I was open about it, but wasn’t prepared for the jaw drops when it came to this vehicle. Over time it became clear to me that everyone thought either the car was BRAND NEW or that we paid a hell of a lot more than we did. For us, that applies to just about everything because we get a lot of things used/deep discount or FREE is many instances. There is a lot of stuff we buy that we wouldn’t pay anywhere near full price for, in comparison (just wouldn’t have the means!)

    & like you said, WHO KNOWS if someone has an inheritance, etc. My salary is decent, but I have no benefits to speak of. So, you can’t even compare salaries apples to apples unless you are comparing benefits and everything. Just another example.

    So yeah, unfortunately I think people think they know more, but they mostly know squat.

  2. bobebob says:

    While I will cop to checking out what homes sold for in my neighborhood(mostly just to track the value of my home), I don’t have any particular interest in seeking out further financial information on my neighbors.
    I don’t get much into the social websites, I get a few updates on friends in Facebook. I can’t remember anyone giving away any fiscal secrets, but perhaps that’s because I wasn’t looking for them.
    If such information were to be revealed to me I would take it with a grain of salt since it may or may not be true. And it wouldn’t affect my personal spending habits.
    If seeing a portion of other peoples’ financial pictures causes you to re-evaluate and change your spending habits (IE. spend more to “keep up with the Jones'”), I would hazzard a guess that you have underlying psychological issues. I mean if you’re hunting down and going through all your neighbor’s online posts(the online version of going through their garbage) in an effort to pan for their financial information – get some help to address your insecurities.

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