I was going over some old paperwork from a few years ago and I found an old credit card bill. The bill was from March of 2005, about one month before I started this blog. When I saw the amount on the bill, I started to think about the past 22 months and a how much my financial situation has changed. Here are the details:
In April of 2005:
I had a combined debt balance of: -$11,500
In my checking account, I had a total of: $500
In my retirement account, I had a total of: $12, 500
In my savings account, I had a total of : $0
If you add all of those numbers together, I had a positive cash position of $1500
That’s right. I am married with two children, and I had no savings, a minimal amount of money in my checking account, and 11,500 dollars worth of debt.
As of February of 2007:
I have a debt balance of: $0
In my checking account, I have: $2,000
In my retirement account, I have: $22,500
In my savings account, I have: $20,000
If you add all of those numbers up, I now have a positive cash position of $44,500. In twenty-two months, I’ve improved my cash position by $43,000.
If you exclude my retirement account, I’ve paid off $11,500 worth of debt, and increased my checking and savings by a combined $21,500. That is a $33,000 change in twenty-two months.
I’m super excited that I’ve been able to make some progress, but I’m looking forward to making much better progress in 2007. Looking back, it’s really, really cool to see how far we’ve come, but I also see how we could have done even better. But, I will not live in the “land of regret”. Nope. Everyday I’m learning a little bit more about personal finance. I’m learning about investing, saving, budgeting, etc. I did not write this post to “toot my own horn”. Shoot, in some ways I’m embarrased that my progress has not been more substantial. I wrote this post to encourage those of you who are just “floating along” hoping that your finances will somehow “work themselves out”. The truth is, I had to become accountable for my spending, saving, and investing habits. I had to look at the man in the mirror and remind him of what was (and was not) important. I had to make a change. And I did. And, you can too!
(My wife just read this post and screamed, “Dork!” Her pension, by the way, is excluded from all calculations, becaue it is a mandatory contribution. Our average take-home pay for the past twenty months has been between $4000 and $5000 per month.)