Today is my birthday, but more importantly, it is about a year from the day that I decided to do something with my financial life and increase my financial luck. I have blogged about my decision in the past, especially close to the beginning of this blog but now I can actually look back at an entire year and see how much I have accomplished.
I wrote in my last article that it takes 6 years to become an overnight success. Just yesterday I read an article by Mobhappy who quoted Joseph Licklider that “People tend to overestimate what can be done in one year and to underestimate what can be done in five or ten years …”. He also mentions that Bill Gates wrote in The Road Ahead “People often overestimate what will happen in the next two years, and underestimate what will happen in the next ten”. With all of this, I can look back at the last year and be happy with what I have accomplished and not worry that I have not accomplished my ultimate goal of financial freedom.
In “My Goals List and the Mapquest of my Life”, I wrote that for most of my life I was just coasting by and living day to day without really thinking about the future. Around my last birthday I woke up and realized that this cannot go on forever because eventually I will want to retire and without advance planning, it will never happen. I did a lot of researched and didn’t figure what I needed to do but I did figure out that I needed to do a lot more learning and research to figure out what it is that I needed to do. During that short period of discovery, I learned that not only was retirement possible and very achievable, I also learned that If I work on it, I can get lucky, become financially free and retire really early.
Twelve months ago I was completely financially illiterate. I didn’t know how to budget, I didn’t have any savings accounts earning interest and I definitely didn’t have any passive income. The only investment I had was a government bond of a few dollars that my grandparents gave me when I was younger.
Over the last year I have probably learned more about money and finance than I have learned in my entire life up to last year. Here are some of the things I have accomplished over the last year:
1. I started two blogs, this one and Sucky Poems. Both blogs have close to 80 posts on them. I own the domain names, I host them, I found nice themes and tweaked them to my liking and added tons of features to each of them. The blogs don’t bring me in a whole lot of money (yet) but they do bring in some passive income and the learning that I have accomplished to bring these blogs to what they are now is priceless. They bring me to my next accomplishment.
2. Because of everything I have learned by building my blogs such as some basic programming but much more so, how the internet and websites work, I have had many ideas for new businesses that I am either thinking of, or in the process of starting up.
3. I learned that you don’t have to trade hours for dollars or your time for money. I realized that I don’t want to work for the rest of my life but I want to make a living for the rest of my life. This can be accomplished by creating an income that scales well such as writing a book and getting the royalties for as long as it exists or owning a rental complex and making passive income off of the renters. My businesses are all at least leaning in this direction.
4. I bought my first stock last year and in the last few months have built up an impressive portfolio (at least for me). I have watched my stocks go all the way down and then soar higher than I could have imagined and then back down again but I have been learning about the stock market every step of the way. I am confident that in the long run, my portfolio will do me well.
5. I set up savings accounts that give me significant interest, at least in this market. I also set up regular automatic transfers from my checking account to my savings to keep increasing my savings.
6. I started measuring my net worth monthly in December and have since almost doubled my net worth. I found out that for something to increase, it must be measured. By measuring my worth every month, I am more conscious and careful about where my money goes.
These were just some of my accomplishments. Have they made me successful overnight? NO! Have they made me financially free in a year? Not even close! Have they built a solid foundation for becoming an overnight success in 6 years? I hope so!
One way or another, I will continue to learn and trek along the road to financial freedom. If I take what I learned this past year and add the compound interest of the time spent, who knows where I will be next year, five years down the line or ten years in the future. I can honestly say that this has been the best year of my life. I’m also expecting my third child in a couple months with the most wonderful wife I could have possibly asked for, which makes everything worthwhile.