At the end of each calendar year I review our financials, update my Excel spreadsheet, and calculate just how much Girl Ninja and I were able to increase our net worth (NW) by.
We started 2014 with a NW of $234,000, and ended with a NW of $288,000.
In other words, we improved our financial position by $54,000 last year, an average of $4,500 per month.
You wish you could be like me.
I mean, we managed to increase our NW by more than the 2014 national median household income ($53,000). That means half of the households in the United States couldn’t save as much as we did, even if they paid no taxes and saved 100% of their GROSS income.
Like the title of this post says; You Wish You Could Be Like Me
…or do you?
I hope for your sake, you were nothing like me in 2014.
While increasing our net worth by $50,000 in a single year might be impressive, it becomes significantly less so when you consider we made about $110,000 in 2014.
Girl Ninja and I were fortunate to have a healthy income, so it only makes sense that were are able to save and invest more than many other American families could.
An increasing net worth on a $110,000 per year household income shouldn’t be something to brag about.
It should be expected.
You see, our big financial gains in 2014 are only really half of the story.
…The better half.
…The prettier half.
…The half that I like blogging about.
But there is another side to this personal finance tale and it is ugly.
How ugly you ask?
Try $45,000 ugly.
That amount represents exactly how much money Girl Ninja and I spent on our credit card last year.
We use our credit card for virtually everything we can and pay the balance in full at the end of each month.
I’m used to seeing a couple thousand dollar balance each month, but I had never taken the time to figure out just how much we were charging over the course of a full calendar year.
$45,000 makes me sick to my stomach. Especially when you consider that doesn’t count any of the money that came out of our checking account, which would be another $30,000 or so for mortgage payments, utilities, and the occasional check or ATM withdrawal.
Sure, Girl Ninja and I improved our financial situation by $50,000 last year, but we spent nearly $75,000 along the way.
I write about the “Joneses” as though they are some family that Girl Ninja and I are nothing like, but numbers don’t lie.
When you spend $75,000 per year, you are a Jones.
At the time I was justifying purchases with thoughts like…
…”We’ve worked hard, it’s time to upgrade to a more sophisticated couch” ($1,700 in July)
…”Our kitchen isn’t how we want it, we have the money, let’s improve it” ($4,000 in August)
…”Baby Ninja’s upstairs is the worst part of our house, let’s demo it” ($5,000 March)
…”We deserve a vacation. Let’s go somewhere.” ($4,500 in April)
While I believe an occasional splurge is appropriate every now and again, Girl Ninja and I could hardly argue that our splurges were limited or appropriate.
To put it bluntly I’m embarrassed by my failed leadership.
I have a responsibility to ensure Girl Ninja and I are being good stewards of the finances we have been granted. Somehow, I lost sight of that.
And that really makes me sad.