In January, 2018 I was curious where I stood financially. I had heard of financial independence and was intrigued. Somehow there were a lot of people in their twenties who were getting rich by saving their money. Wait, what?! This person had $200,000 saved up over here, so and so had $500,000+ saved up over there. Holy crap! God only knows how they managed that but good for them. So I wondered….what could our net worth be? I knew I had recently got a decent paying job, so I was satisfied with that after being in school for a couple years. I knew we had some student debt and recently bought a car because well, I got a great job so isn’t that what you do next? So I decided to add it all up. I used a calculator and a piece of paper, and after writing down all of our cash and investments, student debt, credit card and car loan the calculator said -$65,135. There must have been a mistake, so I started adding it all together again and subtracted the debts. Oh no. That was the actual number. We had more than $73,000 in debt, and I felt like it had owned me. But we had already been paying off our student debt for years. I mean, I knew we would go out to eat, spoil each other during the holidays, treat ourselves after that. We would go away each fall and Spring, during the shoulder season (to save money you know).
I realized that this was the rest of our lives. Sure I had been gainfully employed for about a year now, with not much to show for it. I thought getting my good job after finishing grad school was the ticket we had been waiting for. It became real, really fast. Lifestyle creep had begun and it was too late. We had already filled up our budget with minor things here and there that, we thought, made us happier. A new car, new headphones, clothes, regional holidays, and honestly not much else to show for it. Sure we were happy but I hadn’t considered how much more we could have (in value) if we actually thought about where our money was going before we spent it. This was a harsh realization, but also a turning point. We would no longer accrue more debt. we would begin to pay it down as fast as we could in the hopes of eventually freeing ourselves from monthly payments. I sought freedom from “things” and wanted to do big things in life. Not things that you could do when there was no room in your budget.
Let me be real, I didn’t want to give up those things. I liked feeling like we actually got to do stuff every once in a while, after years as a student. While I was smart about putting any tax returns and gifts of money toward our debt, I think I went through a few months of denial. I tried not to think about our debt situation, yet I was becoming increasingly interested in money, the making of money and the investing of money. After consuming tons of various types of media: mainly podcasts, books and blog posts, two things happened. I interviewed two different financial advisors, and I quickly learned that I needed to focus on paying down our debt before pursuing full-on investing the way I wanted. I was stuck again.
On August 31st, 2018 I discovered Early Retirement Extreme’s 21 Day Makeover. During work I couldn’t pay as much attention to reading it as I wanted.. I emailed it to myself, so I could read it later that evening.
I thought, I might actually be able to do some of the things listed.
I wish I could say it was immediate but it took a few months for me to buy into this financial independence thing, and deciding to prioritize my debt as if it were an emergency. I first trued out YNAB in October 2018 and the first couple months were spent realizing where our hard earned money was going.
Within the first year of dabbling into learning about personal finance, we increased our net worth by $23,427, and over the following 9.5 months, our net worth has increased an additional $29,045 for a grand total of $52,472 since I first calculated our net worth back in January of 2018.
Welcome to my net worth series. Come on in, have a look around, make yourself comfortable. I’m no expert, just motivated and enthusiastic toward living an intentional life while (trying to) make good financial decisions.
This section of my blog shares my net worth updates. As of late 2019 we’re at the stage of debt pay-down (car loan, student loans) and starting to get into investing. We’ve been starting to invest and budgeting monthly as well as for longer term expenditures such as travel, holiday gifts, and car maintenance. It’s not a competition and I aim for this to be a judgement free zone.
Feel free to ask why I do things a certain way or if you want to know anything else. When I started this website I had a decent amount of debt, and you’ll see my savings categories are obviously base don my values – I hope you’ll get there too. Really though, this page is to hold me accountable and track my progress. You’ll be glad to know that my progress has changed from month to month and my partner and I are an average couple with an average annual salary, maybe just above. We’re not it tech and I out-earn my husband, so lets break those stereotypes. If you have a reliable job, we can get you there. I’ll share my journey in hopes it inspires yours.
To track my net worth I input data into an app called “Wealth+” monthly. I have to manually enter my data but once I do, it allows you to view your progress, so it works for now.
From time to time I may also share a little on my perspective, and provide some basic information and inspiration about how to make changes in your own finances to optimize your life.
Please comment on my blog posts, pose questions, share your thoughts, and let me know the type of content you’d like to see to help you on your financial journey!