4 min read
I have noticed a recent trend of financial bloggers sharing personal net worth journeys using one chart.
I decided to hop on the bandwagon.
Here’s a look at my net worth journey over the last 24 years:
Now for a bit of explanation…
The First 16 Years
My net worth for my first 16 years on earth was a whopping zero dollars. I knew absolutely nothing about money and I could not have told you what “net worth” even meant at age 16.
Do I wish I had known the importance of money during my childhood?
Honestly, not really.
I had a fantastic childhood. I grew up in a middle class family. My dad worked at the post office and my mom stayed home with my me, my twin sister, and my older brother. We never had a lot of money, but it was never a concern either.
I don’t regret being ignorant about money as a kid. I was too busy playing video games, hanging out with friends, and enjoying myself.
Age 16 to 18: The Referee Days
When I turned 16 I became a soccer referee. This was my first time earning any type of income and it was actually an incredible gig to have as a teenager.
I would typically get paid between $18 – $24 per hour just for being a sideline referee. When I was the head referee in the center of the field, I would make closer to $24 – $30 each game.
Side Note: If you enjoy soccer at all, becoming a referee can be a pretty phenomenal side hustle. I met plenty of fellow referees who would work all day Saturday and Sunday at weekend tournaments and bring home $400 – $500 in a single weekend. That beats working at a retail job earning minimum wage any day.
Even though most of my earnings went towards buying video games and Chipotle burritos, I did manage to save close to $1,400 at the peak of my early net worth days.
Age 19 to 21: The Negative Net Worth Years
When I started college, my positive net worth took a nosedive into the negatives, as I took on student loans.
Fortunately, I made the decision to commute to a college near my hometown and only had to take on $3,000 of student loans. I paid for the rest of my tuition through a combination of referee gigs, retail jobs, and scholarships.
It was during my junior year of college, at age 21, when I first discovered Mr. Money Mustache while sitting in the back of a statistics class. That’s when I first discovered the true power of money. I began to see dollar bills as something that could buy freedom instead of stuff.
I started to save the small amount of income I was earning and began paying off my student loans while I was still a student. Slowly I worked my way up to a positive net worth by age 22.
Age 22 to Now: A Financial Rocket Ship to the Moon
I turned 22 as I was starting my senior year of college. This was when I landed my first real internship as a data analyst at an insurance company and started earning $15 per hour. By living at home I saved virtually every dime I made. This was the starting fuel for my financial rocket ship.
From age 22 to 23 I saved as much as I could, but I wasn’t getting rich making $15 per hour. By time I turned 23 I had about $9,000 in savings. Good, but not great.
Fortunately this is when the rocket ship really took off. I started working full-time at my insurance company, earning a respectable starting salary of $52,000. I continued living at home as I pursued a Master’s degree at the same college.
This is when I started saving thousands of dollars each month and piece by piece began to lay the foundation of my financial future.
Let’s zoom in on this two year time period:
My net worth was ramping up nicely as I continued to save, picked up stats tutoring gigs, and kept living at home.
Once I graduated, I had a net worth around $30,000. It was at this point that I learned my next promotion at the insurance company was well over a year away, and I made the decision to pursue a higher-paying job elsewhere.
This past summer I landed my current job as a data scientist and bumped my salary up to $80k. I also started earning some decent dividend income from stocks and REIT’s. My blogging income has steadily risen over the past few months as well.
These three income streams have sent my net worth higher at a faster pace than ever before.
My current net worth is hovering a little over $68,000. I hope to reach $100,000 by time this summer rolls around.
These past two years have been a wild net worth journey for me and I hope the next few years prove to be just as exciting.
Thanks for reading 🙂
Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
His favorite investment platform is M1 Finance, a site that allows him to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free, has no trading or maintenance fees, and even allows him to set up automated target-allocated investments.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
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