Right from the start, let me say that I don’t plan on getting carried away with the numbers in this entry and you shouldn’t either. I’m not digging into how much money I make or any of that type of stuff, so don’t look for that information here. Frankly, it’s none of your business. However, when I was going over some personal finance stuff with GGL earlier today I thought that it would be interesting to take my message to him and create an entry on the blog from its contents.
And so here we are.
In the last two days I’ve done really well in the stock market – like absurdly well. Granted, I’ve only been investing for about fourteen months, but yesterday and today were significant. I managed to bring my total earnings back up to above 100%. Most investors get excited about 10% – 15% gains and I am admittedly greedy by looking for triple digit percentage gains, but it’s my money so of course I want it to be wildly successful in the market! And yes, I understand that this is the market that we’re talking about and that there’s a strong chance that I’ll lose much of the last two days worth of gains in the next two days, but that’s part of the game.
Anyway, it got me thinking about my overall financial situation in a much larger picture. Since I started college in Fall 1999, I’ve been at a negative net worth. When I graduated Graduate School in Spring 2006, that negative net worth was approximately $121,000. That’s pretty bad. In fact, that’s absolutely horrendous. However, that negative net worth was comprised of 100% student loan debt. In the last few years, that number hasn’t really moved…until 2009.
In 2009, I rid myself of an automobile that sucked my savings account nearly dry, I committed myself to at least doubling the funds in my savings account (I wound up tripling them), and I lived according to an extremely strict budget which I planned at the beginning of the year and then micromanaged daily throughout the year.
But what’s interesting to me (and what prompted this entry) is that in 2009 I also committed myself to donating more money to nonprofit organizations. In other words, while I was trying to increase my net worth from a negative number to a positive number I was actually giving money away! Though I haven’t run the final numbers yet, I think that 2009 might have been my most charitable year on record. I might have given away more than $7,500 last year. For a guy who began the year with a net worth that was already $100,000+ in the hole, that’s an incredible feat.
Then I see days like today and yesterday where my stock portfolio jumps.
Then I think about how I know that I have another check already sitting at one of the student loan payment centers which will allow me to make another announcement about my total student loan debt dropping before the end of January.
Then I think about my negative net worth slowly inching towards a positive number.
Then I check my 401k and realize that it’s not doing so bad, either.
And after all of that I begin to see much more clearly that my total student loan debt (which is my only debt) is measurably decreasing while my investments, savings, and retirement funds are measurably increasing. That’s significant. That’s the result of creating a budget and micromanaging that budget throughout the year. That’s the result of making a plan and sticking to it – of committing yourself to being in a better financial position tomorrow than you are today.
That’s something to be happy about. 🙂