Monday, March 05, 2007

The Savings in Accountability

One of the maxims my father frequently repeats is, “People do, not what you expect but what you inspect.” His years as a manager of people proved the truth of this as he went from desk to desk, asking how things had been going since their last catch up.

Part of the value of supervision, mentoring—call it what you will—is knowing we will have a regular inspection or a discipline of accountability.

Some people who have major difficulties with money trickling through their fingers have submitted to a novel method of self-imposed accountability (or punishment?) in their efforts to get back into the black.

John Leland has reported recently (February 18, 2007) in The New York Times and the editor is now following the progress of people who have started their own debt blogs to share the most intimate details of their finances, hoping their online confessions will help them develop some self-restraint with the purse strings.

The Times reports today, “Every time the bloggers reach for a credit card, the realization that they will have to confess any splurges is supposed to give them pause. The 29-year-old woman who writes — identified only as Tricia — keeps a running tally of her obligations in the upper-right-hand corner of the Web page (just over $22,000 right now, down from almost $38,000). Right below that is the button that allows readers to sign up to receive updates: 349 regulars are keeping a watchful eye.”

This blogger is serious about wiping out her debt.

It is not necessary to have 349 accountability partners and a site meter measuring the 101,000 times that people have checked in to monitor your financial progress! But willing accountability and confession is good for the soul (as well as the pocket).

Source: ‘Blog the Debt Away’, The New York Times, March 5, 2007

Image: ‘Forgive us our debts…’