Achieving Positive Net Worth

Achieving Positive Net Worth

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I Finally Have Positive Net Worth!

It’s been a long-time coming! In the beginning of 2013, I stopped defining myself by my debt and began tracking my net worth instead. I began contributing to my 401-K again. Implemented a plan for paying off my credit card balance. I logged the growth in my Personal Finance Spreadsheet. Soon after, I realized that positive net worth wasn’t that far out of reach. By September, I paid off the balance on my credit card. This left my student loan as my only debt. On the loan, I’ve been making more-than-minimum monthly payments. For the 401-K, I’m putting in the minimum matched-amount.

And now the time has come where the two have finally evened out! My 401-K is now safely more than the amount of debt I have!

Stop Defining Yourself By Your Debt

Using the terms “good debt” vs “bad debt” are rather meaningless. But I am very grateful for my student loans. And have no ill feelings toward them. Student loans often get a bad rep when it comes to finance talk. These are an investment. I definitely can’t wait to pay them off. But no regrets.

So, my 401-K is larger than the amount I owe on my student loans. Yes, I still have debt. But thinking of it that way is completely out of context. Looking at net worth means looking at your entire financial picture. This broad view can help you take your brain from the negative of debt woes, to thinking more about taking advantage of what you can build.

Instead of the goal being “get out of debt.” My goal became, “have a positive networth.” The problem with “get out of debt” as a goal, is there isn’t anywhere to go from there once completed. You are focusing on losing something, not growing something. Once you’ve lost something, it’s over. But paying off your debts is only the beginning.

Focusing on growing something means there is always a next step; keep growing, grow faster, grow in a different way. Now that I have achieved a positive networth, I can just keep doing what I’m doing. I want to continue growing my finances. Not take on more debts. And continue to increase my investments and savings.

Stating the obvious, having a goal for “positive net worth” is literally focused on the positive. When your focus is on losing/crushing/destroying debt, these are pretty negative words. Sort of the semantic equivalent of Go Team! versus Beat the other Team!


Bonus Announcement: Work Promotion

I want to take this happy announcement time to officially announce that I also earned a promotion and a raise at my current job! This is my third year with the company. This is the longest I’ve stayed with a company. The others just weren’t good fits. So this was the first time I had to engage the raise/title change/etc conversation. It wasn’t as scary as I thought. And surprisingly, I was already being considered for it so the process was rather quick. The promotion is valid since my responsibilities have significantly increased from when I was hired. My title has been expanded to Web Analyst & SEO Specialist. Neato.

The raise was rather significant. My rent is now only 42% of my monthly income. All of my utilities & commuting costs come to 9%.

Now that I have hit a financial milestone of positive networth and am earning more money, will my lifestyle change? YES.

My long-term good habits, personal finance knowledge, and frugal sensibilities are not going to be lost overnight. I won’t all of a sudden decide buying a new car is a great idea. Or start eating out every single day for every single meal. However, I might start buying two bagels a week instead of one. Or not panic if I forget to pack a lunch. Or not berate myself for buying a drink after happy hour. That sounds pretty nice to me.

Since I am fairly sensible with my finances, I am planning on putting more into savings each month. And increasing my student loan payment. I don’t think buying an extra bagel will hinder those plans.

These two positive events occurring at the same time really shows how my student loan debt has been a great investment. I’m certain that without my college experience, I wouldn’t be in the position I am now. Statistically, those without college degrees earn less on average. There is no need for me to hate my student loan debt. I accept that I needed to take that risk to move myself further. It has paid off, pun intended, and I will continue to look at it as a positive building block for my financial growth.

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4 Replies to “Achieving Positive Net Worth”

  1. Congratulations on the promotion! Yay for hard work being recognized and rewarded!

    And your hard work on the net worth sure did make a pretty graph. Good work!

    1. Thanks Kira! I wanted to show that it wasn’t a straight line – there were definitely some dips along the way!

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