How far have you come since 2012?!

Goooood Fridayyyyy!

Had a fun comment posted on the blog this morning and it shot me down memory lane…

Yo J Money. I’m a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA or Nurse Anesthetist). And I have to say IT’S THE BEST JOB I EVER HAD. I’m in the business to better lives and occasionally save a life so the work can be somewhat stressful at times.

I have been a follower of your blog since 2012. Back then my wife and I were worth a minus $150K and 7 years later we are now a positive $350K plus two kids under the age 4. We feel very lucky to have this career that allows us to build wealth even while going down to 1 income. By my simple calculations, my total compensation is closer to $235K per year: 8 weeks paid time off, 401(k) profit sharing of $25K per year, FREE PPO health plan w/ $6K into a HSA, 1/2 FICA taxes, $5K bonus, $2.5K continuing education fund.

In a month, I’m about to embark on a new adventure: become self-employed as a CRNA. This FIRE community has been tremendous on this journey. Thank you!

– Erik

This came in response to our Highest-Paying Jobs With Low Stress article this week, which is obviously paying off well for our friend here (congrats, brother!), but of course I was wowed at the fact that someone’s been reading my blog for 7 straight years now! Haha…


Of course it also means I’m now 7 years older which make me feel old as balls, haha, but hey – that’s how life works, right? Can only go forward – not backwards ;)

Except when it comes to your memories, which is the point of this rambling today…

Do you remember what your life was like back in 2012?? And how much money you had or didn’t have?? How far have you since come?!

I hope it’s improved if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile or else I’m sucking at my job!, but I also  know that everyone’s circumstances are different too and what matters most is that you’re here NOW.

Still, it’s fun to go back in time and remember what life was like all those years ago, so that’s exactly what I’d like to do today before the morning starts to take hold :)

*** If you’ve got a pen and paper handy, jot down what life/money was like in 2012 and then compare to how different/improved it is now in 2019! ***

For added effect – feel free to single out the more drastic parts like I’ve done below ;)

I bet you’ll be amazed at how much things have changed! A lot can happen in 7 years!! If it makes you happy – keep the note in your pocket all weekend as a nice reminder of how far you’ve come, and if it pisses you off, well, feel free to chuck it and then curse me under your breath ;) (Or out loud – it doesn’t matter, I won’t be able to hear you anyways)

Here’s what’s changed for me over the past 7 years…

Back in 2012:

  • Had no kids
  • Ate/slept like crap
  • Invested like crap!
  • Lived in a house I couldn’t wait to get out from
  • Had one income stream while the Mrs. headed back to school
  • Didn’t really know what “minimalism” or “FIRE” was about
  • Was obsessed with hustling 24/7
  • Had a net worth hovering around $300k

And then here’s the picture today:

  • Now have 3 beautiful boys!
  • We eat/sleep much better, forced by having these same beautiful boys, haha…
  • I’m finally back to LIVING more than *working* – my biggest area of improvement!
  • I’m now fully aware, and appreciative of, the benefits of minimalism / FIRE
  • We’re back to having two full-time incomes again
  • Along with two more degrees under the wife’s belt! 💪💪
  • We finally know what we’re invested in and why
  • And our net worth has since tripled into the $900k range…

Other stuff has happened over the years too (loved ones dying, projects not taking off, long stretches of ruts/insecurities, gobs of fails), but the point of this exercise is to focus more on the *positives* to remind ourselves that all this work is indeed paying off ;)

Otherwise, why keep at it? We might as well go back to being consumer suckas again as Mr. Money Mustache likes to say and continue our journey on the hamster wheel!

But bleh does that not sound fun…

At any rate, give it a shot and see what you come up with!

Then feel free to share your results with others here so it inspires everyone to keep fighting the good fight… It’s not bragging if you’re asked :)

(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)

Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!


  1. Dave @ Accidental FIRE April 5, 2019 at 5:25 AM

    In 2012 I was:
    Working full-time as a middle manager, and not enjoying it.
    Approaching Financial Independence but not quite there
    Hoping to start a business, but had no time to do it

    In 2019 I’m:
    Working part-time, and massively enjoying it
    Way past my financial Independence number and continually padding the stash
    Working on my business, and it’s going well :-)

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 12:52 PM

      Now to see if in the next 7 years you actually pull the trigger!! :)

  2. Brandon April 5, 2019 at 6:43 AM

    From $45,000 in 2012 to $440,000 current net worth (home equity included). In 2012 went from two kids to four now. In 2012 I just graduated as a RN and starting my first RN job. Still at that job with a couple promotions. Wife has been a stay at home mom entire time with all our kids.

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 1:07 PM

      Sounds like the good life for everyone there :)

  3. Chadnudj April 5, 2019 at 7:14 AM

    I think I’ve been reading this site maybe that long….I can’t go back quite that far in terms of the financial picture (wife and I combined finances in 2014, which is when I started tracking), but:

    – Wife and I got married (half the year was wedding planning stress, the next half life as happy DINKs)
    – No kids
    – Owned a 1 bedroom, 1 bath condo together, and a rental house in Florida (a huge money mistake by me), plus 2 rather old (both near 10 years) cars
    – Working as a lawyer; wife as executive assistant

    – Still married
    – Just moved (Nov. 2018) to new dream house out in the burbs: 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, plus office, on 3/4 acres in great neighborhood/school district (we lived in a 3 bedroom condo for a period in between)
    – Own 2 newer cars (2016 Ford Explorer, 2019 Toyota Camry hybrid)
    – Finally sold the Florida rental (more or less broke even)
    – Now have 2 kids
    – Still working as a lawyer (different firm though that I like MUCH better), wife still working as executive assistant

    In terms of net worth progression (from April 2014-April 2019):
    2014: $100k
    2015: $119k
    2016: $176k
    2017: $329k
    2018: $464k
    2019: $434k (loss mainly due to moving/selling the FL rental and 3 bedroom condo and having to take out realtor fees from my net worth calculations…and the month isn’t done yet, so I could end up in better shape)

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 1:19 PM

      Those last few years though are heating up!!! so crazy how fast it goes once you get past the first $100k or two…

      Thanks for playing along (and congrats!) :)

  4. Bryan April 5, 2019 at 7:34 AM

    I’ll keep it brief.
    2012 – Stupid Sucka
    2019 – Stealth Wealth Baller

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 1:19 PM


      **starts slow clap**

  5. SL April 5, 2019 at 7:36 AM

    Back in 2012:
    New job
    New state
    three dogs
    Kid a senior in HS
    Just started a new 401K – about $45,000 net worth
    no Savings

    same job almost eight years and loving it
    live alone
    Home owner
    net worth about 700K
    six month emergency savings
    can “buy what I want” and find I don’t want much :)
    lost my last dog about three months ago – waiting to see if I should invest in another.

    Found this blog — maybe 2014? I think? (I have slept since then; seems like I have followed you forever :) )

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 1:31 PM

      Best line right there – “can “buy what I want” and find I don’t want much :)”

      It’s a beautiful thing!!

  6. MK April 5, 2019 at 8:01 AM

    2012: Just coming out of a didn’t-see-it-coming divorce at age 50, I was scared to death about retirement (he had the big 401k and handled the investments). I had a good job so I wasn’t worried about regular expenses, just the future.

    2019: I’ve educated myself & taken REAL control of my financial future. My work 401k has a healthy balance, got rid of the bad investments I inherited thru the divorce, and established a trust. Best of all, my financial advisor thinks I can retire 2-3 years EARLIER than originally projected!!

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 1:36 PM


      Look at that turn around – congrats!!!

      Such a beautiful thing empowering yourself like that :)

  7. Sharon April 5, 2019 at 8:07 AM

    Mixed bag results
    Last daughter in college
    working towards letting me stopping work before full retirement
    living in custom house we built on 11 acres

    needing to work til at least 65 in a job I’m tired of
    decreased contributions to retirement due to only 1 income
    only major expense is mortgage which is affordable, hoping to pay it way down before retirement
    children all self supporting and productive members of society
    retirement funds will be sufficient since we lived before our means before my husband died

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 1:37 PM

      Damn – sorry to hear that :(

  8. Rho | Their Money Goals April 5, 2019 at 8:19 AM

    -finishing my first year of law school headed into my second
    -no job
    -dating my boyfriend from college
    -no kids
    -student loans
    -didn’t know about FIRE

    -working at a firm I love
    -4 years into marriage with the aforementioned boyfriend
    -2 kids and a pup
    -own our home
    -paid off my student loans (still working on hubby’s)
    -actively pursuing FI

    We didn’t start tracking our net worth until 2016, but it got worse from 2012 to 2016, while we continued racking up student loans and a mortgage. Now we’re working to improve it.

    2016: approx. -$340,000
    2019: approx. -$95,000

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 1:39 PM

      All that love from the husband and kids and pup probably helps a lot :)

  9. Adam April 5, 2019 at 8:23 AM

    Oh man…

    ∙ A year and a half into a 30-year 4.375% mortgage
    ∙ Spending money left and right on takeout lunches to eat at my desk
    ∙ Relaxing 35-minute bus commute to my office
    ∙ Combined household retirement balances around $60k, barely five figures in cash
    ∙ Big stupid consumer sucka — fortunately not in a hole as a result

    ∙ Four years into a refinanced 15-year 2.625% mortgage
    ∙ Cooking every damn day and loving it
    ∙ Down-the-stairs-and-turn-right commute to my home office
    ∙ Combined household retirement balances around $340k, a year’s living expenses in cash
    ∙ Still occasionally a stupid consumer sucka… but 95% of the time I recognize what’s going on, smile, and then don’t buy the thing

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 1:42 PM

      Awesome you’re enjoying cooking so much!

      I’ve started dabbling in it myself, and while still far from decent at it at least I can prepare a few meals for the family :) Especially if you count breakfast meals haha… (can anyone say Waffle Wednesdays??!)

  10. Tracy April 5, 2019 at 8:28 AM

    The timing of this post cracks me up as I just did a post this morning talking about how I found you in 2013 and how your site changed our lives. By tracking our net worth using your tracker, we have gone from owing twice our worth (although we were never in negative net worth) to being worth four times what we owe. We started tracking in August of 2013 and have never looked back.
    2012 = following all the standard rules and paying minimums on student loans
    2019 = only debt is mortgage debt and putting extra into retirement accounts
    2022 = plan is a “sabbatical” and exploring our national parks

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 1:45 PM


      THAT’S COOL!!! Just went over now to check out – THANK YOU! :)

      What a compliment, geez…. Had no idea it helped you out so much, thanks for letting me know.

      Completely made my day :)

  11. Paul April 5, 2019 at 9:15 AM

    2012 – Wife worked, we paid off 30K in debt and saved $50k in cash in that year alone. NW roughly $100K dollars at this point.
    2013 – 3rd child, moved to a regular sized house, wife stops working, barely treading water
    2014 – Avoid consumer debt, marginal Increase based solely on housing principal reduction
    2015 – Start business, start making enough to relax the budget a bit
    2016 – 4th child, put $45K away in solo 401k
    2017 – put $70K away into our combined solo 401ks
    2018 – put $75K away into out combined solo 401ks
    2019 – puts $20K away in solo 401k, will lose business soon thanks to going all in on 1 client, a non-renewed contracts due to a restructure. Will probably go back to putting $0 away and analyzing every penny spent (oh joy)… I did find a decent job but I’ll never make as much money working for another person…

    Current net worth ~$500K, I can only imagine what it would have been if we had we not operated at 50% capacity for 10 out of the last 13 years… I’m glad my wife got to spend time with our children for sure, but if you can’t tell, I’m ready to stop being the only income provider in our house. I think after a decade I have the right to say that out loud. Its too much stress on one person, and I did my time, 10 years is enough.

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 2:48 PM

      I’m sorry man :( I really hope things start changing for you guys soon!! Especially with the change in business/9-5 stuff going on! That does not sound fun!

  12. Slug April 5, 2019 at 9:26 AM

    Been a long time since I wrote or commented on PF. These days it’s getting harder to stay away. I find myself with so much to say.

    Dec 2012
    On the right path financially
    Driving ’98 4Runner
    Corporate job
    Playing around with a startup on the side
    Married, 1 kid
    Assets: $709.300 (valuing startup at $5k)
    Liabilities: $352,154
    Net worth: $357,126

    Dec 2018
    On the right path financially, intrigued by FIRE
    Blog sadly dormant for years now
    Driving ’98 4Runner
    Fully self-employed as a consultant
    Startup now at seed stage with ~$2M from outside investors; 60+ paying customers
    Married, 1 kid
    Assets: $1,608,339 (valuing startup at $10k :-)
    Liabilities: $250,655
    Net worth: $1,357,684

    Just noticed Net worth increased by $1M over that time period. Pretty incredible. Beyond grateful to the PF community for all the tips and learning.

    Far from finished. -Slug

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 2:57 PM

      There you are!!

      I remember reading your stuff back in the day man – nice to have you back :) I think you need to copy/paste all this into a new blog post and announce your return from retirement, haha… Blog title: “I’m a millionaire now”. Doesn’t get much juicier than that ;)

      1. Slug April 9, 2019 at 4:56 PM

        I hear you. I’ve got content on paper. No time like the present but mostly hoping for summer or early fall return when the consulting work might slow.

        Your perseverance and consistency. Damn. I tip my hat sir.

        1. J. Money April 10, 2019 at 7:19 AM

          Well it does help that it’s now my “real” job :) So I’d be in trouble if I stopped! Haha…

  13. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life April 5, 2019 at 9:33 AM

    Comparing right now 2019 to 2012 – Q1 2012 was a heck of a year for me. Mom had just died a few months earlier, I was in stunned grief, I was bucking for a huge promotion at a horrible workplace *and* my work world fell apart. All in one quarter. I was a newlywed with no kids, still supporting my dad and brother financially, and my health was beyond terrible and I really wasn’t sure I’d see 40 with any mobility left.

    Now? I’m healing from Mom’s passing, I’m healing emotionally now that I have cut off dad and brother, have found / taken a far better for my health work situation, am investing aggressively to make up for all the years dad essentially stole from me. I think our NW is 10x what it was in 2012, but can’t be sure because I lost most of my reports from 2010-2014.

    We’re in a much better place now and I hope it’s just going to keep improving!

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 2:59 PM

      I really hope so to :) I remember all of that back then and how hard it was on you… Let’s pray the next 7 years more than makes up for it!

  14. Lazy Man and Money April 5, 2019 at 9:38 AM

    We’ve had a pretty similar last 7 years. Although we only added two boys, we tripled our net worth as well.

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 2:59 PM

      I think you know what you have to do next, then ;)

  15. Brandy April 5, 2019 at 9:41 AM

    Oh boy- I only found this blog in 2014 so I can start there- talk about big changes.
    In 2014:
    broke up with boyfriend
    $15k on line on line of credit
    No Emergency fund- why would I need that!?!
    3 dogs
    Barely 6 months into a 15-year amortized mortgage on a house I just bought (no extra payments)
    Net worth: barely into 6 figures

    Single – and happy
    4 dogs – they make life interesting
    $0 on my line of credit- I don’t plan on ever using that again
    A five figure Emergency Fund- I sleep much better these days knowing I have this
    Money in a separate Pet Emergency Fund
    Actually making contributions to retirement accounts beyond the employer match
    Making extra payments on my mortgage- should be paid in 4 years
    Net worth: double from 2014 -due to growing investments!

    All thanks to blogs like yours that help keep me focused!

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 3:01 PM


      That’s what I like to hear!!

      Gonna have SO MUCH MONEY to play with too once that mortgage is gone!!! I want an email if you’re still reading the blog then! :)

  16. Joe April 5, 2019 at 10:18 AM

    Life can change a ton in 7 years. You have to be flexible and make it better.
    – I was working full-time and stressing out a lot. Physical and mental issues.
    – We had a baby.
    – Net worth was good. We achieved FI.
    – 3 cats
    – I’m retired and blog part-time from home. Life is great.
    – Our son is a mouthy little boy…
    – Net worth doubled! That’s pretty amazing. Tripple sounds better, but wouldn’t have been worth 7 years of full-time work.
    – Only one cat left. She’s 18 and is starting to be very noisy at night.

    Keep at it!

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 3:01 PM

      I didn’t realize y’all were FI back then? Very cool…. and I hear you on mouthy boys ;)

  17. Liz April 5, 2019 at 10:22 AM

    I LOVE this J$!

    I’ve more than doubled my invested net worth–with three of these years being retired that feels good! Real estate values have gone up too.

    But here’s the best part: The home we loved visiting on vacation is now our full-time winter abode, we found our tribe and are truly living our dream. Oh and I get paid to teach financial wellness–does it get any better?

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 3:02 PM


      So glad to hear, Liz! When should I come visit?? :)

    2. Minimal Millionaire Mom April 9, 2019 at 5:22 PM

      I would love to hear more about getting paid to teach financial wellness!

  18. B.C. Kowalski April 5, 2019 at 10:32 AM

    In 2012 I had a negative net worth, I don’t think I had even started saving $25 out of each pay check to go into an “untouchable” fund (which I planned to invest when it grew large enough), owed a small amount of student loans (non-trad, mostly got grants but had some loans to cover gaps). Living in an apartment aimed at student housing where I was often kept awake at night and making far less than a college graduate should make. And I had a job that mostly required me to drive to work, with crazy long hours and a high stress level.

    Fast forward to today: Positive net worth, no debt save a small 15 year mortgage, around 10 years to FIRE, 50 percent savings rate, a house where I can actually sleep at night, and I can bike to work most days. Still a high stress job, but not quite as crazy and all consuming as the last job, and I make nearly double my 2012 salary. I’m healthier, wealthier, and hopefully a little wiser (and maybe slightly less of a wise-ass!).

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 3:06 PM

      Haha… but it’s that last part that we like the most about you! ;)

  19. SMS April 5, 2019 at 11:19 AM

    Battling cancer
    Owned home free and clear, but very little retirement savings or EF
    NW: about 300k, mostly home equity

    Cancer free, although health issues took their toll, which is why I retired a little earlier than planned.
    NW: 600-700k

    The years have mostly been good to me but I worry about not having enough savings.

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 3:07 PM

      That cancer def. likes to F it up :(

      Are you able to enjoy your retirement days though?? I’d imagine it’s easier on your body and soul?!

  20. NormaL April 5, 2019 at 11:35 AM

    2012-married, making enough to waste a lot of money and save to go on vacation.
    2015- divorced and refi from 10 yr to 15 year to absorb debt. Started tracking income and saving almost half my income.
    2018- health took a turn. Refi to 30 yr :( and retired early.
    2019- l am living on what was half my salary (pension) and not spend from small retirement acct. Still able to go on vacations (went to Germany to meet grandbaby), and pay extra to mortgage.

    This is a great reminder to be grateful and remember how blessed i am.

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 3:08 PM

      Sorry to hear about your health, but yes to being blessed!! Who knows how much any of us have left on this earth!

  21. LL April 5, 2019 at 1:52 PM

    Starting reading this blog and tracking net worth in June 2012, when we got married: ~$22,000. A PhD, mortgage, puppy, paid off student loans, and several promotions for each of us later: ~$330,000.

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 3:10 PM

      Well done :)

      Glad you’re still enjoying the blog – that’s a long time!

  22. Steveark April 5, 2019 at 4:26 PM

    2012, wow, our parents were alive, they have passed now. My net worth was seven figures then but has tripled now. I was working my nine to five then but am slightly early retired now. I was pretty stressed then, but not at all now. Had no blog then but have one now. Son was an engineer then, now he’s an MD. I was running marathons every year then, knee limits me to eight miles now. Been a few changes, but more things haven’t.

    1. J. Money April 5, 2019 at 4:53 PM

      Losing loved ones is the saddest part of time travel… Although I suppose all the new babies coming into the world tries to balance it out? The circle of life?

  23. Josh Hastings April 5, 2019 at 5:26 PM

    2012 – 3rd year teaching, finished masters, making about $52K. Car almost paid off, student loans in deferment and owned a home. Met my wife in 2012 too.

    2019 – 10th year teaching, $72,000 salary, no car payments, no personal student loans, wife has $120,000 left from doctorate, home is below $125,000 owed and networth is over 6 figures for first time ever

    1. J. Money April 8, 2019 at 6:54 AM

      I would say that was a productive 7 years :)

  24. Nords April 5, 2019 at 8:15 PM

    J$, I remember meeting you at a USAA conference in 2011. Whenever you get to feeling old as balls again, you can come sit next to me!

    Daughter a mouthy college sophomore
    Eating and sleeping… meh
    Investments still recovering from 2008-09
    Just finished the home renovation from hell, still cleaning up the debris
    Retired for 10 years
    Blogging for 18 months
    Net worth 150% of what we needed
    Surfing 3-4 times per week, which was all I could handle.

    Daughter launched, off the payroll, married three years, leaving active duty for the Navy Reserve
    Eating and sleeping… much better
    Investments rising rapidly and in a simpler asset allocation
    Still enjoying the benefits of that home renovation
    Retired for 17 years
    Blogging for 8.5 years (about a century of Internet years, right?)
    Net worth 250% of what we need
    Still surfing 2-3 times per week, which is all I can handle.

    Over the last seven years our net worth has risen by another 57%, mainly because we’re not spending it fast enough. Our 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate has steadily declined since 2002 and is now lower than the dividend rate of the stock market.

    In a word, “sustainable”. Life is better than ever.

    The water’s fine, come paddle out with us!

    1. J. Money April 8, 2019 at 6:56 AM

      Isn’t that so wild??? All that growth even though YOU’RE RETIRED!!!!

      I do hope to be like you when I grow up :)

  25. Nomads with a vision April 6, 2019 at 12:07 AM

    Hey, J$!

    2012- Just finished my medical training and started my first job with net worth -250k, all school debt. Bought a house and started proceedings to adopt a couple of kids from Nicaragua in addition to our three homeschooled kids.

    2019- Now debt free and net worth significantly positive. Wasn’t able to adopt from Nicaragua due to the adoption program shutting down after we waited around six years. Have since visited Hawaii and Alaska, making all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Czech republic, and Honduras. Just gave my notice at work to end my job in June 2020. Bought an RV and planning to sell the house and move the family into the RV and travel. Plan to work around 8-9 months per year taking temp jobs (locums). Maybe in the next seven years I might find it in me to write a few more blog articles…

    1. J. Money April 8, 2019 at 7:00 AM


      That is so cool!!!

      I hope you do find the time to document this journey more – we need to be reminded there’s so much of life to be enjoyed vs stressed all the time!! :)

  26. Jonathan April 6, 2019 at 3:19 AM

    Hey J. Money,

    Cool to take a step back and see, hey where was I 7 years ago? That seems like an awful lot of time but on the other hand I remember it like yesterday. Here is my “evolution”

    2012 :
    approx 60 000 eur in net worth (including home)
    I just started a job as a purchaser in the oil and gas industry
    Lived in Norway
    No drivers licence
    some savings but not much
    Not invested in the stock markets, nor any other investment venture
    things were going well and I was working hard and enjoyed it a lot

    2019 :
    lived in Paris, Oslo and moved to Luxembourg last year
    Procurement lead in another energy company
    drivers licence (finally!)
    Divers licence as well (awesome)
    Discovered the wonderful word of Personal finance online
    Started a blog
    net worth around 300 000 EUR
    have experimented with a variety of investments : parking rentals, cryptos, real estate crowdfunding, Stocks, 6 months in savings
    Launched a side business linked to the blog
    things are going well

    2026 :
    I´ll come back and keep you and myself posted! ;)

    All the best,


    1. J. Money April 8, 2019 at 7:02 AM

      Hahaha yes – please do!!

      I want to see all the new investing experiments you try ;)

      You’re much better at that than I am – I’ve turned into a wuss in my old age haha…

  27. Nita April 6, 2019 at 4:43 AM

    2012 was graduation year. It might have meant terrible finances and student debt, but I was already careful, working a little bit and getting a state stipend for my studies, so I never took any loan, was debt-free and relatively ok in terms of savings.
    Good thing because it almost all melted within 3 years, while searching for a permanent and sufficiently-paying job (combination of terrible job-search advice and big unemployment rates post-2008), and making pennies in the meantime.
    Now I’m building it again, just higher and faster. Ironically, I’m more in debt than 7 years ago, with the mortgage. But I’m fine with that.

    1. J. Money April 8, 2019 at 7:05 AM

      That’s the key right there – “fine with that” :)

      Debt is totally fine when it’s a part of a larger game plan! Congrats!

  28. Nathan @ Millionaire Dojo April 6, 2019 at 10:54 AM

    In 2012 I was 18 with no job and no driver’s license because I got a DUI. Had no money saved up and wasn’t going to college.

    In 2019 I’m married, have one more class to take to get my degree, working as a systems engineer, growing a blog, eBay business and Trying to get some clients to run Facebook ads for. We’ve got a combined net worth of $100k and on our way to FIRE!

    1. J. Money April 8, 2019 at 7:06 AM

      heyyy that’s a nice comeback!!! congrats man!! it’ll be interesting to see where you are again in another 7 years!

  29. Ethan April 6, 2019 at 4:35 PM

    2012 was still in pharmacy school so accumulating those student loans! Today almost done paying them off and about 200k in retirement assets.

    Also I should mention that getting a pharmacy degree is definitely worth it. I work retail so I accepted the stresses it comes with but you can do a lot more with a PharmD degree than people realize. Don’t want people to write it off! There is a lot more to pharmacy than the corner CVS.

    1. J. Money April 8, 2019 at 7:07 AM

      I’ve heard it was a pretty awesome gig!! What other avenues can you go in in case others are reading this/interested in pursuing?

  30. Little Seeds of Wealth April 7, 2019 at 3:52 PM

    7 years is a long time.
    2012: just graduated and started my career in a modest job paying 45k/year. Paid off my small student loan. Net worth is 0. Knew nothing about FI.
    2019: came out of a difficult 6 month unemployment period due to visa issues. I’m now making 6 figures in my full-time job and saving 50%+ of my income. On my way to FI.

    1. J. Money April 8, 2019 at 7:07 AM

      Yeah you are! 50% is no joke!

  31. Andy April 7, 2019 at 7:28 PM

    >Total Networth = $85,000
    >Living in Calgary, AB Canada. Freezing to death for 6 months of the year
    >Blindly drifting along in a job I had been in since 2005 with no real ambition or drive to improve
    >No real debt other than a manageable mortgage on a 1 br condo.
    >Still subscribed to the “conventional wisdom” of saving about 10% for retirement, although in my defense I had moved to low fee funds by then.

    >Total Networth = $261,000 and climbing on average by about $600 per week now.
    >Living in Auckland, New Zealand. Not dealing with snow and ice anymore
    >Surrounded by job opportunities and confident enough to job hop for the right one
    >Small car payment is only debt.
    >Discovered FIRE movement in 2016 and now saving 40% to 50% of take home pay and investing it all in low fee index funds
    >Met love of my life in 2017 and never been happier.

    1. J. Money April 8, 2019 at 7:08 AM

      YAY!!!! Awesome journey so far – and i’m sure it’ll only continue getting better! :)

  32. Sarala S. Sarah April 7, 2019 at 7:55 PM

    This is an awesome post idea! Loved reading everyone’s success story.

    Made $27,000 a year
    Had 5 roommates
    Lived in the outskirts of DC
    Had a 2007 Honda CRV that I desperately wanted to upgrade

    Started a blog!
    Make considerably more money thanks to 3 different career changes in 5 years
    Have my own apartment with 0 roommates!
    Live in center city Philadelphia (best city ever!)
    Still driving my 2007 Honda CRV, but now I love love love it! Seriously, I park in the back with the Porches. Invest all my extra income that could have gone to a new car into my retirement account.

    All about FIRE baby! :)

    1. J. Money April 8, 2019 at 7:11 AM

      Stealth wealth, baby – gotta love it ;)

  33. Kris April 8, 2019 at 8:01 PM

    In 2012:
    Just got out of student loan debt
    Net Worth was only in the 4 figure range
    No Kids
    Got Married a year ago

    In 2019:
    Still no Debt since that student loan wipeout in 2012
    Net Worth in the 6 figure range and on our way to 7 figures in hopefully 5 years
    1 Kid going on a 2nd baby later this year
    Going to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary this summer

    Love the progress!! :)

    1. J. Money April 9, 2019 at 6:13 AM

      Very fun!! Congrats on that new babe about to make an appearance! :)

  34. Minimal Millionaire Mom April 9, 2019 at 7:30 PM

    Wow! Just finished reading everyone’s comments. A lot of life, good and bad, can happen in 7 years.

    This is how ours worked out.


    Married 14 years
    6 year old
    Not a lot of sleep – 6 year old loved getting up early
    Definitely not minimal
    Husband had office job life – 60 hr weeks
    No budget
    Boat owners
    Lots of debt
    Not saving a lot
    Net Worth around $314,000


    Married 21 years
    Teenage son, takes mouthy to a new level
    Sleeping pretty well, teenager sleeps in
    More minimal and lovin’ it
    Husband does consulting work from home – for half the salary
    Budgeting, planning like crazy
    No longer boat owners
    Started a blog…why not?
    Not a runner – yoga and hiking are my thing
    No debt
    Saving about 55%
    Net Worth around $1.37 mil

    Hopefully will be blissfully retired in another 7 or less!

    1. J. Money April 10, 2019 at 7:20 AM

      Hot damn!!! Now that is a powerful 7 years! Haha…

      Well done! :)

  35. Alaska49 April 9, 2019 at 10:01 PM

    2013 – 48 yrs. old, year I started tracking finances
    3 boys, 2 still at home
    Mortgage -$150,000
    Two cars – paid for, 2002 and 2010 Toyota’s
    One parent passed
    Retirement and savings, $311,00

    2019 – 54 yrs. old
    1 boy at home
    No mortgage – house value $300,000
    Second parent past
    Heart by-pass surgery
    Cars – same two cars, Frakin-Toyota’s
    Retired two years – working only enough to top off Roth IRA’s
    Retirement and savings, $715,000
    Pention, $50,000

    1. J. Money April 10, 2019 at 7:21 AM

      Nice on having that mortgage paid off now!

      Not so much on the parents now being gone or surgery :(

      Hope the next 7 treat you well over there!

  36. Moneybee April 11, 2019 at 1:29 PM

    Ha, funny the year we’re talking about is 2012. That’s the year I usually name as the worst year of my life. And it was all a matter of perspective…

    Bee in 2012:
    High school senior/college freshman
    About $2,000 in the bank, saved for… savings…?
    Basically no expenses, not tracking transactions
    No debt, had never paid off any debt
    No job (ineligible for work study)
    No car
    Desperately waiting for her second chance with the only boy she could ever possibly love
    Planning to move back to her hometown after college and stay there (no reason to move anywhere else when she loved it and that’s where OBSCEPL lived)

    Bee in 2019:
    College graduate
    About $11,000 in the bank, $1150 saved for short-term goals and the rest as emergency fund
    Over $1k a month in expenses including debt payback, tracking transactions and reviewing monthly
    $30k in debt, $10k of debt already paid
    Solid, interesting job
    Driver of a shiny happy crossover, 30% paid off
    Solid relationship of six years with a man she met in college, when he was was about to start medical school, so:
    Living 500 miles away from her forever hometown, and (aside from missing her family) loving her current hometown

    (and in January 2019 the about-to-be-med-student of yesteryear passed his last exam to be a licensed physician)

    1. J. Money April 11, 2019 at 6:25 PM

      Heyyy that’s exciting!! Go former med student!!

      Funny indeed how stuff works out :)

      You ever find out what happened to the old boy??

      1. Moneybee April 11, 2019 at 9:22 PM

        He eventually got back together with his first girlfriend (they dated in middle school, then in high school after whatever-it-was with me) and they’ve been together for two years. Bee of 2012 would be beside herself, haha. “He *did* get back together with someone from high school but it wasn’t me?!”

        1. J. Money April 12, 2019 at 6:41 AM

          His loss! ;)

  37. Bernieb April 12, 2019 at 2:08 PM

    Jan 2013 NW ~ 1.2m

    married and 5 year old son
    No debt
    6 year old tacoma
    Dual income and own our home
    times were good times were bad.
    spouse wonders why we are saving $ for retirement
    built a cottage and sold it because I felt financially insecure and a little overwhelmed with the task. Maybe spouse was right!

    Jan 2019 NW ~2.2 m

    married and 11 year old son
    cant believe how busy life has been with an active child
    12 year old Tacoma
    Dual income and in the same house
    built another small cottage with 2 partners for some of grid activities when time allows
    approaching 49 years old and thoughts are turning to life post work……
    Wife still wonders why we are saving for retirement….. Now I’m not sure who is right, but she usually has better instincts than I.

    1. J. Money April 12, 2019 at 2:34 PM

      Haha… Fun to see the progress over the years though – especially with that $$$!

      Fun times of less work and more playing in y’all’s future! :)

  38. Jim April 12, 2019 at 6:32 PM

    2012 was about putting my life back together again after getting divorced. Netwealth wealth was around $260k, living in an apartment with 2 kids part time.

    Today – netwealth over $800k, married to the most wonderful woman in the world, 4 kids (yes, 4…..) and we own our house. Life is great.

    1. J. Money May 6, 2019 at 7:39 AM

      WOW!!! That’s a nice turn around – congrats!

  39. Peej May 5, 2019 at 11:13 PM

    Woof. Thinking back to 2012 financially makes me a bit sad, because things in that arena were a lot better for me then than they are now, not that now is bad, but in 2012:
    – Making enough to save ~$1,000 a month cash, not counting 401(k) contributions
    – Had a side hustle of ~$10k/year that was just banked.
    – No credit card debt
    – Owned a house that we had just refinanced to lower rates

    Fast-forward to 2019, after a failed, bootstrapped small biz launch, a slight career pivot, two house sales, and a move to a high-cost, high-tax state:
    – Paying off ~$10,000 in credit card debt
    – Making $20K less than in 2012
    – Paying 2x in rent vs. our 2012 mortgage payment
    – Still side hustling, but at 1/4 the work/income
    – Refinanced student loans at a lower rate, but that still means $62k to pay over 10 years
    – But for the most part, healthier and happier and a mile from the ocean (plus wife’s income is up significantly from 2012 and we still have $40k in bank from home sale that is waiting to be put to good use)

    Hoping the 2026 check in is a bit sunnier. Maybe this film I’m making will turn from all expenses to some actual profits.

    1. J. Money May 6, 2019 at 7:41 AM

      That sounds exciting!!! And don’t forget about everything I”m sure you’re LEARNING too!! Most people never get out of their comfort zone like that, especially after some fails… So cool to see you’re still trying out new things and going after what you want :)