I’ve found it’s helpful for me to have a quick background of relevant moving pieces when people talk about their successes (or failures!). Paid off 100,000 in two years or retired at 33? I want to know where you LIVE what you STUDIED just the FREAKIN HOW ON EARTH of it all.
Even when people talk about regular things like losing 100 pounds or cooking gourmet meals everyday, I like to know the background of what happened to get you there.
So that’s what this post is about.
I grew up very very blessed, alhamdulillah. I have amazing supportive (Pakistani! Muslim!) parents (if you know, you KNOW how rare that is). My mama put in WORK to make sure we had an emotionally healthy and fun childhood (camping in the fall, water guns in the summer, that sort of thing) while my dad knew how to hustle. Despite all odds, he managed to get a good degree (thank you, affirmative action) and a decent job and was able to support us for basically ever. Even through job losses and recessions, I watched him fix broken things and sell them on eBay and do what he had to to make it work.
Basically, I had a BLESSED childhood, which makes the rest of my life much easier since he paid for my college education and my car. Living at home and not having student loan debt will naturally propel you further than a looooot of people in this country.
I managed to get job for a whopping $40,000 a year. In hindsight, I was underpaid, but not really by much because of the field I was in (I’ve since switched to a tech role). I didn’t save a dime of my money. After a little over a year though, I left to freelance full time, where my income varied wildly month to month. It mattered a lot less to me at the time, since I was living at home and making enough to continue financing all of my travel, shopping, and going out. But mostly, it was hard to imagine what I’d need the money for anyway. I was young and stupid and even though I knew I should be putting away some money, I wasn’t.
And then I met my husband and we were about to get engaged. It happened reallll fast (a story for another time) and I told him upfront: I would be coming into the relationship with $0.00. We avoid debt like the plague and it was important the wedding be all cash. He felt similarly, so it was no big (we both knew neither of us had student loans, so starting with nothing felt pretty good since it was better than starting with negative dollars).
Getting married, paying for a wedding, moving across state lines is what it really took to get my act together and figure out what we should be doing. I read every personal finance blog I could find but honestly, we had no money to work with and I wanted to like, do stuff. I got a (in retrospect, terrible) job that I stuck out for a year because it was a good career move and eventually we moved to the DMV to be close to (his) family.
I finally scored a better gig late last year, working a job I love making $75,000 a year. Up until this point, we’ve pretty much been juuuust staying afloat. We’ve had a number of laughably high expenses in the thousands (car trouble! And also dental work! And also endless medical bills! And also master’s tuition payments for the husband!) and this calendar year, 2019, is when I finally decided to get.it.together.
I’ve now realized there will be unexpected expenses forever. And ever. And it will never stop. I’ve now learned that if we wait for the elusive perfect timing to start saving money, it will never come. This is exactly how people get to 55 with $50,000 in retirement savings.
I’m here now, and I’m finally beginning to actually look at things like my net worth and where the HECK my money is going every month. I’m working through my September finances so I can post my starting point and man is it sobering.
Here’s to figuring it all out and live blogging along the way 🥳