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Very interesting personal financial history

June 18th, 2013 at 06:43 pm

I posted this to the forum but I know some only hang out here and I think this is worth sharing.

Something possessed me to pull out my file of financial spreadsheets tonight. This file dates back to October 1992 when I had handwritten records that later transitioned to computer generated reports. At first, they were updated weekly, then monthly, then less often than that. Reviewing the numbers was like opening a financial time capsule of our lives.

These reports strictly tally our financial holdings - savings, checking, money market, stocks, and bonds (including mutual funds). It doesn't include other assets like our house, cars, etc. The reports also list our debts but I'll leave that part out of this post.

We were married on July 12, 1992.

The first report is from 10/15/92. Total assets = $8,195.21.
We first hit 5 figures on 2/14/93 with $10,098.46.
The next milestone was on 12/12/93 with $25,064.02.

We bought our house in spring of 1994 so on 5/1/94 we were back down to $11,720.47.

I finished residency and started in practice in July 1993.
By 12/12/93 we were back up to $32,502.16.

9/3/95 we broke 50K with $51,039.00.
5/17/98 we passed 100K with $104,912.72.
Then 150K on 12/31/99 with $152,896.84.
And 200K on 11/14/03 with $200,761.12.

300K came just over 2 years later on 2/10/06 with $300,096.47.
We peaked on 5/6/08 with $400,810.10.
Then came the crash.
On 12/31/08, we were down to $280,208.22.
But we didn't panic and run screaming for the exit.
We hung in there.
On 12/31/09, we were back up to $395,673.33.
We hit a new all time high soon after that despite the crash.

We topped 500K sometime in early 2012. I don't know exactly when.
But by 12/31/12, we were at $578,177.09.
And as of last week, we were at $634,130.87.

To add to the story, I also have a record of what % of income we were saving starting in 2001. I don't seem to have it recorded before then. The dates are when we upped the percentage.
5/01 - 10% of take home
1/02 - 12% of take home
1/03 - 12% of gross (all subsequent numbers are % of gross)
1/04 - 13%
1/05 - 16%
1/06 - 17%
7/07 - 18%
7/08 - 19%
1/09 - 20%
7/09 - 21%
7/10 - 22%
7/11 - 23%, which is where we remain today.

We started our lives together with next to nothing. Of that $8,000 in 10/92, a few thousand was from wedding presents and that was 3 months after we got married. The total was considerably lower on our wedding day. With careful spending and dedicated saving, our holdings have grown and grown through up markets and down markets, through debt repayment (over 100K in student loans for one thing), through buying our home, having a child, owning a few cars along the way, home repairs, medical bills, travel, parties, charitable giving, and everything else that life has brought us (or thrown at us). We've been able to steadily increase the percentage of income being set aside for savings from well below the recommended 15% of gross to well above it.

For those just starting out, don't get discouraged. Do what you can. Increase it as you are able. And just keep at it. Over time, it really does add up. Compounding is a wonderful thing.

7 Responses to “Very interesting personal financial history”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Thanks for sharing! I could tell a very similar story of our assets. We have almost hit $250K, but we are younger than you. I'm glad to know that someone keeps increasing the amount set aside as we do, although we are not yet at 23%, which is very impressive. And yes, compounding is a wonderful thing!!!

  2. My English Castle Says:

    Indeed 23% is a lovely thing! And the three of you seem to have such a good handle on money and life balance. Thanks for posting this for all of us.

  3. Jenn Says:

    Thank you for sharing. It's encouraging to see how quickly progress can be made when the effort is focused.

  4. twest Says:

    Thanks for sharing this. It is nice to see the progress and gives me hope for the future. You have probably told us before but your 23%...is that just strictly retirement savings or does that include your regular savings as well?

  5. Looking Forward Says:

    Thank you for sharing. Very interesting and encouraging. Smile

  6. disneysteve Says:

    twest - the 23% is everything. In reality, though, we actually save more than that. That is 23% of my gross income that I specifically designate for savings. That doesn't include the fact that for the past 6 years, my wife has had 50% of her gross going to her 401k. It also doesn't include the fact that every month I make extra payments on our mortgage and for the past year, extra payments on my car loan. So that really counts as additional savings. Our true number is more like 25-26%.

  7. LuxLivingFrugalis Says:

    I too occasionally look back and agree that it is an interesting study and validation that keeping at it does pay off!

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