An update to my net worth post
This is a follow up post to my 2021 full year net worth update, which is far and away the most engaged post on social media. I think there was some curiosity as to how we managed to achieve this number without including our property and retirement accounts.
If you read that post with some skepticism, you should! I wouldn’t just believe a drawing of a loaf of bread on the internet either! I thought I’d provide some information about me to help contextualise the numbers.
I’m turning 38 this year, and have been working at full time “corporate” jobs since 2009, 12 years is a long time to let your savings build up!
I hang out in the FIRE subreddit quite regularly, and whenever people post relatively high NW figures, they tend to come from tech jobs at FAANG companies, so I totally get it when people roll their eyes.
I’m not one of these people. I studied marketing & communications in school - marketing departments are generally considered cost centres in businesses, no one joins marketing to make money.
I graduated right after the 2008 financial crisis. My first job paid about $21,000 after taxes. To be honest, it didn’t feel like a big deal at the time. The economy was so bad, I was just happy to have a job.
I slowly grew that over the past 12 years. Whenever I switched jobs, I never accepted anything less than a 20% increment. I’m currently in my 4th job, which I started in 2015, and only started earning over $100k from 2018.
Another cliche within the FIRE subreddit is that people seem to frequently come into money via inheritance.
My folks are still alive, hopefully for awhile more, and they provided a very comfortable lifestyle for their kids growing up. It’s not like we were rich by any means, but money was not an issue growing up - and that is such a privileged statement to make.
Thanks to my parents, I didn’t have to take on any student debt, and truly that’s one of the biggest gifts they gave me.
That said, they were never indulgent. We could get whatever we needed within reason and if we could prove that it added value to our lives, but it wasn’t the case where we could get whatever we wanted if we just asked for it.
I’ve never been one for material things. I don’t mind splurging on stuff that will be really useful or that I really want, but in general, material stuff doesn’t do it for me.
I still wear clothes from university 12+ years ago (much to Mrs Money Loaf’s chagrin), I’m still using an iPhone from 2018, and only just changed my laptop after using it for 7 years, and even then I only caved when the battery literally couldn’t hold a charge anymore.
Most importantly, I married someone who shares the same values when it comes to spending. Mrs Money Loaf is fairly minimalistic, so collectively we just don’t buy much stuff.
Don’t confuse that for deprivation, though. We travel internationally 3x a year (pre-covid), we enjoy having $5 coffees and dining at new cafes. It’s all about spending on stuff you want to, and saying no to the rest.
Final point is on investing. I honestly don’t remember what the trigger was, but for whatever reason, once I saved up my first $1,500 - I used it to buy stocks in Johnson and Johnson (JNJ).
Yes, commissions were a thing back then! It was $15 to buy stock, so I waited until commissions would only be 1% of my total investment.
I’ve been invested in the market in one way or another since 2010, which has played its part in growing the portfolio.
That’s not to say the investing portion has been smooth-sailing. It’s had its ups and downs including one huge down that I’m not ready to talk about yet, but let’s just say it was big enough to push back our FIRE date by a number of years.
All this to say, there’s nothing special about me or our numbers. There’s no secret sauce, no 100x crypto returns, no FAANG stock options - it’s just discipline and consistency over a decade.
All my social profiles start with “A regular guy on the journey to FIRE”, and I do think that’s what I am. I started this blog because the majority of people I saw online were already successful content creators with huge audiences or affiliate marketing programmes or digital products. It’s easy for them to talk about financial independence!
The biggest motivation for me is to show that anyone can work their day job, save and invest their money and still achieve FIRE.
Anyone under 30 on the path to FIRE who sticks to the plan is likely to be on a similar trajectory by the time they hit 38 (or earlier, if they don’t make silly money mistakes like I did).