Time Machine – Net Worth Update 2009

TARDISI’m a huge numbers nerd and I love reading net worth updates. If you’re unfamiliar with net worth updates, they are a popular feature among personal finance or FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) bloggers. Each month or quarter the blogger will essentially get financially naked and reveal the specific details of their net worth (all their assets minus all their liabilities).

They’ll usually compare it to the previous month’s numbers and explain any unusual discrepancies that might appear. If you aren’t a numbers nerd, I can see your eyes glossing over already.

They’re actually my guilty pleasure. It’s a bit like being a financial voyeur. You get a front row seat to watch others reach goals and cross milestones. It’s akin to watching The Biggest Loser when you yourself are trying to lose weight. You celebrate their success and commiserate in their setbacks. All the while you are being fueled to succeed in your own journey.

My Net Worth

Despite the hypocrisy in it, I won’t be starting my own series of net worth updates. There are a whole host of reasons for this, but the 2 biggest excuses reasons are, first and foremost, I’m not sure a monthly net worth update fits with the premise of this blog.

Second, while this blog is currently anonymous, that anonymity won’t last forever. Eventually our family and friends will find out and then co-workers. I ultimately don’t want people to see or treat us differently.

I reserve the right to change my mind on this in the future, but as of right now, I just can’t bring myself to publish our current net worth.

Time Machine – Set Course for 2009

That doesn’t stop me from getting in the net worth time machine and giving you a glimpse into the past.

The year was 2009. Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga were battling it out at the top of the billboard charts, while Avatar was breaking box office records.

In financial news: the housing market was continuing to bottom out, as was the US stock market.

Personally I had ticked all the boxes of the things I was supposed to have done as an adult.

Get a “real job”…check

Get married…check

Buy your first home…check

Have a kid…check

I loved every minute of it. The wife, the new baby, building equity instead of paying rent: it was great. But it wasn’t all bunnies and rainbows. While I wouldn’t start tracking my net worth for another 7 years (I started thanks to J$), I was aware enough of our financial situation that I can give you a glimpse into what we were facing.

I knew our net worth was on the wrong side of zero. In my Debt Merry Go Round post, I provided a general overview of the total debt we’d taken on over a five-year stretch. However, I noted that we didn’t carry all that debt at one time. Well, 2009 represents the financial low point for our net worth.

We had ignorantly bought our house right as the housing market was crashing in 2007. To add insult onto idiocy we not only took out a first mortgage, we had also added a second mortgage. After starting a new job in late 2008, a job that provided little to no income for the first few months, I thought it would be a good time to finance a car.

Liabilities:

1st Mortgage – $195,000

2nd Mortgage – $18,000

Car Loan – $11,000

Student Loans – $87,000

Total Debts – $311,000

Believe it or not, we had made some pretty good financial decisions as well: paying off close to $30,000 in credit card debt in 2007 and paying off my wife’s car loan of $10,000 in 2008. But I certainly wasn’t feeling too good about things with over $300k in debt to my name.

Maybe the assets would help offset this bleak picture. Unfortunately due to the housing crash and subsequent stock market plunge, our assets weren’t looking good either.

Assets:

House – 2 years after buying it for $245,000 it was appraised at $167,000. Which was all the more painful since we still owed $213,000 for it.

My 401k – $5,000 (with the market crash, so did my already paltry 401k value).

Wife’s 401k – $8,000

Brokerage Account and other savings – $3,000

Total Assets – $183,000

This put our net worth at $128,000 below zero. Ouch.

Fortunately things moved in the right direction after that. We didn’t take on any more debt and began to slowly claw our way back to the right side of zero. Time to hop in the TARDIS and return to present day. Thanks for traveling through time with me!

Let me know if you liked this trip down memory lane? If so, I might get back into the net worth time machine and revisit another point in our net worth journey. Anyone else brave enough to share their net worth low point, I’d love to hear from you below!

8 Comments

  1. As a FI nerd, I enjoy reading about others net worth progress as well as tracking my own.

    My blog is also anonymous because nobody other than my wife, parents, and a few close friends know about my financial situation. I am going to try my hardest to keep it that way. I will most likely never become MMM, so I am not too concerned at this point.

    1. I love net worth updates too and debated doing a monthly one myself, but eventually landed on maybe doing an occasional Net Worth Time Machine post instead. You’re slightly less anonymous than I am, I’ve only told my wife. We’ll see how long that lasts. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Let’s see… in 2009, I was probably right there with you. My home was WAY underwater. Here in metro Detroit, we got it bad (like Vegas and South Florida). I would say I had a -$100,000 net worth. Super sexy. Despite my massive debt and my inability to scrap together a couple bucks, the love of my life still went for me! We got married the next year.

    Together, we made some massive shifts in our finances and together we’re rockin’ around $650k now. I hope to hit the $1,000,000 mark before my 40th birthday. We’ll see!

    Oh, in 2009, I was in an awesome cover band too! Good times. Ah, 2009 …

    1. It’s crazy how big a difference 8 years can make. From -$100,000 all the way to $650k that’s a three quarters of a million dollar improvement in your net worth in just 8 years. Absolutely amazing!! I really appreciate you checking out my blog. As you already know, I’m a huge fan of your podcast.

      Any readers of my blog should check out what Andy is doing on the Marriage Kids and Money Podcast. Really good stuff!

  3. Creative post from a great perspective. Our second property is somewhat of a mistake as well (we owe 60K more than the worth of the house) but it takes mistakes to light that fire under your bum and hustle smarter.

    The best part of your post was being able to read “things moved in the right direction after that.” Truly happy for you and your family!

    1. Thanks Lily, I appreciate you stopping by. I’ve learned that if you keep doing good things, good things will happen. Not always in the time frame that we want, but they’ll happen. Hang in there with your house, it’ll all work out if you keep doing the right things!

  4. Ouch on the loan to value amount on your home. 🙁 A very close friend of mine went through that too. He finally clawed himself out of it earlier this year after about 3 years of wanting to get out of his that house.

    1. Yep, we bought just as the market crashed. Fortunately the value of the home has recovered to at least what we paid for it, if not more. And we’ve paid down a large portion of the mortgage, so we are in much better shape now.

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