Found this list skimming through some old journals last night and couldn’t help but smile :)
First – because it’s just so dang nerdy!!
But second – because it’s amazing what can happen when you actually put things down on paper and then GO FOR IT.
We’re still a ways away from hitting that Double Comma Club, but it’s fun to see how many of these we can now cross off after 11 years of paying attention. Something I completely owe to this financial community here which really woke me up and forced me to realize just how important this stuff is. Especially in getting started *early*!
Here’s a copy of the game plan from all the way circa 2008:
Fun to see that top half there when I was scheming to eek out every last dollar from that insane 401k plan back then, as well as other things I’ve long since forgotten:
“Brother’s condo investment” – This was actually a loan I gave my brother when he first bought his condo, but I guess since there were monthly payments coming in to me every month it *felt* more like an investment, haha… He eventually paid me back in full earlier than expected, so I probably only made like $20 of interest off it ;)
“$1 a (work) day” – This was one of my earlier experiments to try and save even more every month, and my guess is that I chose to only do this on *work* days since it fit my daily routine of reading blogs in the morning while at work, and also while I had spare change on me from eating out almost every single day ;) I would have been better off just saving the lunch money, but hey – baby steps! And it opened up the gates to dozens more challenges over the years which I still to this day enjoy doing…
“Save all bonuses” – I’m still rocking this bad boy, though it’s more like saving “extra money” that comes in vs “bonuses” since my current boss is a real a-hole and never gives me any… ;) (for those new to the site, my boss is ME, haha…)
“Years to 1 million” — 25!! Wow!!! Crazy to see how drastically that was cut down over the years, even with contributing much less than $37k most times… Who knew we were right around the corner from one of the best comebacks in the stock market’s history though! Something I purely lucked out with on that one… (though at least I was smart enough to be investing when everyone else was freaking out! Haha… Another benefit of paying attention to money blogs back then! :))
“Current age: 28” — Oh to be in my 20s again! Haha…. I’d give most of it all up to gain 10 years of my life back ;) So long as I can keep my memories and kids! Something good to keep in mind whenever you catch yourself comparing your $$$ to others though – especially to millionaires and billionaires. They may have more money than you right now, but they’re also decades older!! And I bet if you ask them to trade it all back they’d say yes in a heartbeat too.
The second half of this page is also pretty interesting – at least to me ;)
Check out this list of “2008 goals” I was aiming for as if I could really pull them off that year, haha…. (PS: I didn’t!)
Emergency fund: $5,250 — That $5,000 was ALWAYS the hardest for me to hit! It just seemed like so much money at the time, and then as soon as I started investing it only made it harder since more of my money would end up going there instead… Probably because it was much more fun to do than just add it to “savings” :)
Pay off all credit cards: $2,000 — I was never horrible with my money before stumbling across finance blogs, but I wasn’t ever *great* at it either. I was closer to Even Steven with things, with some months having extra money, and others down a few hundred… When I scribbled this one it looks like I was currently down, probably with the upcoming wedding just around the corner…
Net worth: $100,000 — The 2nd hardest number for me to hit! But boy does it speed up from there once you cross that threshold, wow… Here’s a post I wrote on it once which explains why I think that is (and still do to this day): Why the first $100,000 is the hardest
Read more financially — Still doing that one to this day! But have to remind myself that just because you *learn* something, doesn’t always mean it’ll have any real effect on your life/finances. In order for that to happen you actually have to TAKE ACTION or it’s just stuck there in your head! So if there’s something you’ve been over-educating yourself about lately, please for the love of all momentum, DO SOMETHING about it right now!! Yes you’ll probably mess up and it’ll be scary and weird and unnerving, but better to be living it out in the real world than in your head all the time! Some things can only sink in once they’ve become a reality!
Will — And speaking of realities, this is still the ONE major fail in our financial lives, although I swear to you it’s on our list to knock out next month as soon as we’re moved in… You might recall I got serious about this a year ago with Baby Dime coming into the picture, but alas we didn’t want to deal with the hassle/costs of setting it all up only to re-do it again when we moved states, so we decided to risk it for one more year and then knock it out ASAP once the deed had been done. Quite literally ;) And now we’re 3 weeks away to that so you can hold me accountable so long as I still remain alive!!! Knock on wood!!!
Manage both incomes — This one took us a few years to finally get around to, but we did end up combining it all and it’s been rolling smoothly ever since :) Mainly because I *love* managing our money and my wife *doesn’t’* haha… I don’t know what would happen if we both wanted to be in control?!
And that catches us up to today!
A lot has changed over the years, but a lot hasn’t as well. I still max out my retirement accounts every year because it’s the foundation of our wealth (as long as you do just that one thing you will be fine over the years!!), but long gone are the credit card bills or even drooling over what it would be like to be a millionaire one day.
Having more money is nice, but what’s nicer is waking up to your ideal lifestyle and not even thinking about the money! Which is ironically where we’re at now!
So that’s the biggest takeaway here, at least for me… Realizing that I now focus much more on my LIFESTYLE than I do the bank account, even though of course it’s still humming there on the side…
I really do think this line I often repeat here is incredibly true: Life > Money > Things! Teen-me wanted the things, 20s me wanted the money, and now 30s me very much just wants to enjoy The Life :) We’ll see what 40s me wants around the corner, but I can tell you it won’t be chasing the money anymore, that’s for sure…
If anything, I’ll probably be chasing my youth!! Haha…
PS: If you’re just getting started in your journey, here are a few good resources to help track your money. Doesn’t matter which route you go, just that it ends up sticking!
- The "Budget/Net Worth" spreadsheet - the colorful Excel template I personally use.
- The "Money Snapshot" spreadsheet - a simple Excel template I created for my former $$$ clients
If you're not a spreadsheet guy like me and prefer something more automated (which is fine, whatever gets you to take action!), you can try your hand with a free Personal Capital account instead.
Personal Capital is a cool tool that connects with your bank & investment accounts to give you an automated way to track your net worth. You'll get a crystal clear picture of how your spending and investments affect your financial goals (early retirement?), and it's super easy to use.
It only takes a couple minutes to set up and you can grab your free account here. They also do a lot of other cool stuff as well which my early retired friend Justin covers in our full review of Personal Capital - check it out here: Why I Use Personal Capital Almost Every Single Day.
(There's also Mint.com too btw which is also free and automated, but its more focused on day-to-day budgeting rather than long-term net worth building)