A voyeuristic blow-by-blow after the jump…
I’ve gotten a couple of requests for a net worth-over-time type of post, so here it is.
While heavily supported by my parents, I had also agreed to take on 1/3rd of all college-related expenses to the out-of-state university that somehow accepted me. I worked part-time every year doing various jobs, and also worked full-time every summer. By the end I had paid off more than $10,000 in student loans, but I was still looking at about $16,000 of debt. I had managed to avoid getting any credit card debt, only getting a few cards for the free t-shirts. (You may be amazed to know that I used debit cards exclusively during this time!)
Grad School (2000-2003)
Did I decide to get a job and pay it off? No, I loved to teach, so I wanted to be a professor. That meant graduate school. I received a fellowship that covered a significant portion of my tuition and living expenses, and also took on part-time teaching assistantships. Overall, I was making under $20,000 a year.
Soon I realized that in order to get a Ph.D., you had to love the long hours of research and churning out those papers. Teaching is clearly secondary at top universities. Not only that, but professors get zero geographic mobility. If a tenure-track position opens up anywhere, you had better take it. Other personal stuff happened, and I left the program.
Still, by living frugally, I had managed to pay off most of my student loans during that time. I still had some debt, but I also had some money in the bank and a few thousand in one of those newfangled Roth IRA doo-hickeys. I remained clueless about investing.
Single Worker Bee (2003-2004)
I thought about teaching high school, but instead off to the corporate consulting world I went. Triple the salary + bonuses, 8am-5pm, traffic, cubicles, yada yada. Within the first few months, all my student loans were paid off. (Want to know how?)
After that, my bank account started growing… Huh? A four-digit balance? What? A five-digit balance? I bought a few new toys. I started eyeing out the new BMW 3-series. An apartment with a lobby that didn’t smell like urine? Hmm…
Wait, maybe I should learn how to manage my money first. And so, this blog was born. Soon I had some set goals, which led to opening a savings account paying interest and switching my investments into low-cost index funds. I kept my used car and barely-above-code apartment.
Married Worker Bee + Partner Bee (2004-2006)
Tricked a girl into marrying me in 2004 and combined all finances. The net worth you see now on the top right is both of ours combined, even if I use the words “I” or “my” instead of “we” and “our” at times. I tend to do that as I am the only one writing this blog, and otherwise it feels weird.
If you’ve been reading this blog you know 2004-2006 in scary detail. If not, it’s all here in the archives (see sidebar on right). I don’t track my net worth in order to compare with other people, I do it to keep myself honest about my goals.
The future looks bright. I think my wife and I are aligned in our goals. She also has more earning potential than me, and is climbing the corporate ladder. I’m enjoying my new field. (We chose to keep our jobs vague. I don’t think it really matters to this blog.)
We stay focused on the big things that guarantee future success. I continue to enjoy messing around with the little things that make side money (and help make that success come faster). Stay tuned for fun things like house-buying, job-finding, and children!