But there is one area where we've actually been smart. And today I want to announce that those smart decisions made early on are worth celebrating today!
Stay with me for a moment here while I give you some backstory....
I graduated college and entered the workforce at the age of 21. I was young and stupid. It's okay...most of us are at that time in our lives. One of the wisest things I did though was to start investing in the company-sponsored 401k as soon as I was allowed by company policy. They had an outstanding matching policy and I fully took advantage of (I invested the full 8% that they matched dollar for dollar).
When we moved to Savannah and I changed jobs, we rolled our retirement savings into IRAs (Roth and Traditional) and I started a 401k here at my new employer. They have a match that is not as good as my previous employer, but is still free money that I wanted to take advantage of. They match 50 cents on the dollar up to 10%. I continued the 8% investment that I was accustomed to. Yeah...I was missing out on some free money, but that is the decision I made and it worked well for a while.
I am now 31 years old and still a long way from retirement, so that means that although now I've cut my contributions back to 1% (to avoid the stop/restart investment paperwork but to maximize what I could send to debt repayment), I have always invested aggressively, knowing that the market would fluctuate. I would lose money. I would gain money. I'm still young enough, though, to ride it out, so I do.
One year, I lost a LOT of money (was that 2008, I think?). Last year...gained it all back. It's still growing today.
So what does all of this mean today?
Well, because we have become wiser and started knocking out our debt aggressively and because those investments are still growing and providing passive income for (not much) later in life...
$101,008.53 to be exact.
What does this include?
This includes the following assets: home, cars, retirement accounts, and cash.
It also includes the following debts: mortgage, timeshare, and 3 credit cards (one with $0 balance).
We have no car loans. We have no personal loans. We have no student loans. We have no medical debts. Those have all been paid off.
In the last 16 months, we have paid off $19,254.20 in debt and our net worth has increased by $39,287.85.
Did you notice that our net worth increased by more than $20K more than our debt repayment? That's our retirement funds working FOR us, people!
So if you haven't started saving for retirement yet, just because you're young...don't think it will not make a difference. It will make ALL the difference.
We're living proof!
Have you ever calculated your net worth? Were you happy or upset by what you found?
Photo credit: RambergMediaImages