07 June 2007

The disturbing side of my net worth growth

I have to say that I'm thrilled with how quickly I'm progressing toward my annual net worth goal. It was an aggressive goal and it looks like I may meet it early (though the market taking a bit of a dive right now is not going to help).

But there's a downside to this. Let me explain. I've been tracking my net worth for less than 4 months and it is up 20%. That's a fast pace, and it has been driven 2/3 by savings, new investments, and debt reduction-- so it's not like it's all about the market. Anyway, if you take that rate of growth back in time, just a couple of years ago I would have been near zero. That wouldn't be a big deal if I were at zero or if there was some reason for having a low net worth that changed only recently.

But there wasn't. When I finished grad school, I had no debt and a good job. My net worth was already positive. That was 4 years ago . . . what the hell did I do with my money for the first 3 1/2 years ? It sure wasn't growing much. If I can grow my net worth this quickly, it just casts a major shadow on my financial life for the first few years after I got out of school. It makes me wonder . . . what would my NW be if I was this diligent upon graduation? Double what it is now? Perhaps. THAT is a depressing thought.

It is also a stupid thought because there's not a damn thing I can do about it now. I made my mistakes and now I just have to do my best to move on and do better. It could be worse . . . much worse. Some people are 40 or 50 before they come to their senses about finances. Some people never do. I only wasted 3 1/2 years or so, and even doing that I didn't get myself into trouble (credit card debt, excessive spending). I just wasn't saving and investing like I should have been.

It troubles me when I think about it, but I'm going to try to just forget about it. Spilled milk and all that. Most of us have to do this from time to time; make a mistake, learn from it, and then just forget about it. Letting it linger is not going to do any of us any good.

So, on to better (and hopefully much, much bigger) things. But I thought I'd share because we've all kicked ourselves (perhaps a little too much) over mistakes that just ought to be dead and buried.

13 comments:

Kevin said...

If you're kicking yourself for the mistakes of your past you are kicking the wrong person.

If you are looking back at your past decisions or actions and wonder how anyone could make those choices then you are clearly not the same person as you were when you made those choices. No reason to beat yourself up over what "past you" did. Now if you only had a time machine so you could go kick HIS butt!

Chris said...

Hehehe.
If I would have educated myself a little better when I was younger, I would have bought some Microsoft Stock. I often said I thought PCs would come on headstrong after a certain amount of time (and this is before Microsoft hit it big).
Unfortunately, I didn't act on my instincts then.
Although I did work for a small company where the owners had invested in Microsoft, and now have between 4,000 & 8,000 shares of Microsoft stock due to the splits. They acted upon their instincts, and I did not.

I do now, and my NW gains are probably in the modest 2%-3%/month. But I must say that most of that improvement is in home equity.

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