I didn’t start really tracking and budgeting until sometime in early 2015. I always had a general sense of how much money I possessed at any time, but setting up my first adult budget is what got me thinking and eventually leading me to the FIRE path.
Since entering the work force back in 2008 until that first budget in 2015, my records are “exactly incomplete.” With a bit of effort, I managed to pull together a decent pool of data resources and stitched together my net worth since roughly graduation. It is not perfect, it is probably only within 10% of the real value at any time, but it is extremely interesting to visualize.
There are two large dips, which when I see them I cringe, even if just a little. In 2009 I upgraded my car (a year out from school), from the $600 ride I purchased in high school to a low mileage VW, with airbags! I still drive it (we just passed 72k miles), but now know I should have got something a bit (or a lot!) cheaper at that stage of life. (Now moved up again, to a 2014 Prius) Apparently, my debt was not an emergency so I was okay with adding another $275 payment to my monthly budget. Adding that loan to my net worth actually brought it lower than it had ever been!!!
Then when we bought our home in 2010, it was too easy of a decision to get central A/C. In my engineering way I ran many configurations of units to calculate an ROI based on gas vs. electricity cost. In the end the more expensive models won out, and set us back a non-substantial sum for that time. Not only did we install a brand new heat pump, but it was the “best time” to install a new gas furnace as well. FIRE was not even a concept to me at this point, so ROI (no matter how long), was KING! The naivety as a young home-owner and engineer! The only saving grace is that there were some great rebates and all financed on a loan at 0% APR.
There are some other jumps in both directions, but I can’t figure out exactly what they are. Late in 2015 there was an expensive home repair. Just recently my parents gifted me some cash for student loan payments. But the large jump around when I crossed into positive net worth, I am not sure. Might be a typo in my data that I need to check.
As such, this chart is a work in progress. I know it is showing my value higher than it really is, but it’s in the ballpark. It has been a LONG eight years, but with my increasing knowledge and dedication to FIRE I can see my NW finally growing rapidly, right before my eyes. In time I would like to dissect this graph a bit more, but for now I wanted to share my work thus far.