Thursday, June 26, 2008

Once Upon a Time...

... there was a little fairy princess named Madame X. Okay, she wasn't really a fairy princess, but she lived a long time ago and far away. And okay, I'm only talking about 16 years ago and a few hundred miles, but sometimes I look back at my younger self and feel as though she is some strange creature out of a story!

I was going through some old notebooks again, and found a page of financial notes, the beginnings of which seem to date to 1992. I was living with my parents at the time, and looking for my first apartment of my own in Boston. Here's what I wrote:

----- rent $850 tops if no T pass
540 exp or 510 if no T pass
$800 if T pass needed

also account for utilities
if included
figure $600 expenses + RENT

GOAL: 7/17/92
bank balance ~4250
by 6/1/93
target bank balance $11,500
if no bonus
if bonus
~ adjust for 401k?

DONATE $100/yr to charity.

actual 6/1/93 approx $4,000!
6/95 approx $6,000
3/96 $13,000+
-- apt. down payment

7/97 $8,800

10/97 pd off $3,000 student loan

10/97 appr. $5500 savings + [$2000 CD]
On another page of the notebook, I'd written this:
Bank Balance-- checking 4971.90
savings 2650.00
total $7521.90

401k + pensi0n -- ?

Goal: $10,000 in savings by next April

April 95-- have about 6000 checking and savings comb.

3/96-- $13,000-$14,000

7/97- $8800
Obviously I am now a lot better at keeping financial records and at setting realistic goals! But still, it's neat to look back and see that even then, I was managing to slightly increase my net worth. I can't believe I set myself a budget of $850 maximum for an apartment, though: my salary at the time was about $19,000, though at about that time in 1992 I may have just gotten a promotion that brought it up to $30,000. Either way, the apartment I ended up renting only cost me $600 a month and I still found it tough to save.

It's also interesting to think about how much my life changed within the first 6 or 7 years after getting out of college. I went from being someone who was unemployed with a couple thousand dollars of credit card debt to someone who was making $19k and had a few thousand dollars in the bank, to someone who was living in NYC, making over $30k and had a few thousand dollars plus some unknown amount in a 401k, to someone who was making about $45,000, had $8,800 in the bank, co-owned her first home, and had paid off her student loans a few years early.

Add another 10 years to the calendar, and I'd become someone who was making just under 6 figures, owned her own condo, had traveled to 7 or 8 more countries, spoke two more languages, had loved and lost and loved again, and had a variety of bank accounts and investments generating a net worth of around $350,000.

It does kind of sound like a fairy tale, doesn't it?


Anonymous said...

I am 6 years out of college and totally unsure of where I stand financially; it scares me. Seeing this helps. I have $12,500 in cash, another $11,000 in IRAs (a Roth and a rollover), but I've been in graduate school (tuition free) and am concerned that I am not in a financially stable position. Oh, how I worry about this ...

Anonymous said...

It's always fun looking back, I almost wish I had a journal or something. It's cute when I look at my wife's journal though, so I can live vicariously. :)

Anonymous said...

You've come such a long way! Thanks for letting us follow your financial (and life) journey.

Unknown said...

Nice to see where you are coming from. I am 1 year out of school- work for a non-profit with a non-profit salary (under 30K). Co-own a house- have roomates who pay rent, and have about 6k in checking/mutual funds/stocks/savings. I also have around 23k in student loans. Anyway, it is nice to see the picture of where you came from. Oh, and by the way, I am also single ;)

Grace. said...

All this, and you didn't even need Prince Charming to help fund it! That's MY kind of fairy tale.

Madame X said...

Jim, I hope your wife knows you're peeking at her journal!

David-- send in your personal ad!!

And yes, to those who are younger, I hope this helps you remember that things will get better!

Anonymous said...

Dear Madame X:
Would you please share the list of books and websites that you found helpful in helping you learn about money for those of us who still have a long way ahead of us? Thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

@ Jim - I agree, I should have kept a journal myself. If only to prove how foolish I was.

S said...

reading this kind of entry makes me want to do it myself. It even made me start my own blog! I just wish I was not so naive during my college years with the way I spent money, if I just set goals back then and made a budget, the present time would not be so hectic. But time to make changes moving forward! Thanks for direction.

Dolly Iris said...

Good post! It does give me hope! :D

Super Bowl 2013 Fan said...

Hi Madame X, I was visiting technorati and saw your blog. It's really interesting to find people with the same mindset as I do. I would like, if ever you permit, to link exchange with you. My blog is entitled "Aspiring Entrepreneur" In this blog, I share my own experience on investments, entrepreneurship, personal finance, money management and achieving financial freedom as I take my own journey towards becoming a successful entrepreneur. Hopefully, you can pay a visit. Thanks and hoping to get linked from you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Madam X
I am 59 years and will turn 60 years next year. My finanaces are in shambles and do not know anything about finances. I do not have enough to retire on, however I do have a couple of properties.
Is it possible to advice me further to get a clear understanding of my finances and planning for my retirement? I live in Canada therefore if you can help me I would really apprreciate it. I have been reding you blog and your "my dollar Plan" website and am tring to find out my own budger etc. However I believe I need a lot more help to sort myself out. Also any books and website would be most helpful.
Many thxs Taz