In just about six years, from 2015 to 2021, We’ve been able to more than double our net worth.
Mrs. Chocolate likes to say it’s paper money. Indeed, 90% of our net worth is in stocks and mutual funds, primary home and rental properties that will continue to grow but more likely than not are not available to us until we’re in our retirement. Thankfully, with this amount we should be able to reach FAT FIRE by the time we’re ready to retire.
Progress over the last six years:
Purchasing a new home-
we moved three times over the last six years from Texas to Washington DC and now our third location (undisclosed). We bought a house in the DC area, sold it before moving to our current location. We were only there for two years but the house appreciated in value to allow us to do better than break even. Additionally, my wife got a relocation package which allowed us to not have to pay ANY closing cost. This was a huge bonus. Moreover, as part of her new assignment, she got a company car which resulted in us selling one of our cars.
New Home Purchase
In our new location, we purchased our current home. We used part of the proceeds from the house in DC as a down payment. This time around we went with a 15-year mortgage instead of 30. We also decided to put slightly more than 20% as a down payment so that we would have the same loan balance as if we were in our DC home. I think this is a critical step because in the past we’ve just restarted the loan process by getting a 30-year loan. Even though we usually put down the required 20%, it has felt as if we were starting all over again. This time around I was determined to continue rather than restart the mortgage.
Student Loan repayment
After finding Dave Ramsey and reevaluating our progress, we decided to focus on paying off my student loan and our rental properties. We applied for the student loan repayment program with the U.S. Education department and got rejected because of a technicality. We had hoped that $10,000 would be forgiven based on my 10+ year of service in the military. However, they rejected the claim because the loan had not been serviced through them. Since we had the money sitting in an account in the event the claim was denied, we just pulled out the checkbook and wrote a check for the amount (who writes checks these days? We logged on to Navient and just made a payment—very uneventful).
What was eventful, however, was seeing that amount clear the checking account and knowing that we were officially “debt free,” ala Dave Ramsey, since that was our very last consumer debt.
We bought two cars and paid cash for them. This was the very first time we ever paid cash for a car worth more than just a few thousand dollars. We bought our 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid in 2017 for about $21,000 and paid cash for it. When we went to register the car, the clerk at the DMV kept asking us for the bank lien document to add it to the title. Finally, she had to get her supervisor to finalize the title because she wasn’t used to someone buying a car for that amount of cash from a dealer. Perhaps she was new at the job, or perhaps more Americans should pay cash for cars. We also bought a 2013 Acura ILX for cash in 2018. As stated above, we sold this car after my wife got a company car and used the proceeds to help pay off one rental property.
Today, I’m driving a 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid that I paid cash for after we sold the 2004 Honda. In 2018 VW gave diesel owners the choice of getting some cash or turning in their vehicles for a cash offer. We took the cash offer and purchased a 2013 Acura ILX for cash. We have since sold the 2013 Acura after my wife was offered a company car as part of her sales position. From here on out we plan on purchasing cars with cash, including our dream car, which will likely cost around $45,000.
With the sale of our primary home in DC, we used part of the proceeds and the sale of the Acura to pay off the rental property in Maryland. This was a huge accomplishment for us to validate that we were on the path of Financial Freedom. We then focused on paying off the rental property in Georgia and were able to pay it off in May 2020. With the two properties paid off, we’re focusing on paying off our primary residence. There are pros and cons to paying it off and we covered it briefly in one of the posts, but we hope to lay it out fully in a future post.
With that said, here’s the breakdown of our assets and liability.
This is a sobering number considering when we got married in 2005, we had a negative net worth of 34,000. This is also a realization that I didn’t see when I was growing up.
I didn’t write this to brag, far from it. I am writing this so that anyone reading this can be inspired and believe that they too can rise and overcome anything. When I was in junior high school we got evicted from our house and for a short period I was basically homeless. Between 8th and 10th grade we rented different rooms in someone’s house and my brother and I lived in that room. He served as my primary care taker and guardian. Looking back now, that was a true version of house hacking that was popular in my immigrant community. When I got to the 11th grade, we were able to rent an apartment and I got my own room. We’ve come very far but we’ve persevered. The journey is not over.
So keep at it, keep your head down, continue to grind, continue to take small steps, and before you know it you’ll look up and you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come.
3 Steps you can take:
1- Invest early and often. To learn more about investing early, read this blog on compound interest.
2- Focus on paying down your debt, getting the most out of your company’s 401k and building wealth. Learn how to build wealth.
3- Find motivation from others on the journey of financial independence. It’s a movement and there are lots of places you can go to learn and grow.
As always, if you need help, feel free to drop us an email.
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