I hesitated to write this, as I feel I have done nothing extraordinary with regard to my finances. I have been sucessful, but it seems like it was so easy that it doesn't deserve a story!
I graduated in May 2006 with around 27k in student loans, no money in the bank (literaly, less than a couple hundred), and $500 in debt to my dad! I had never even CONSIDERED an emergency fund (though, at that age, my parents were my efund).
I entered the "real world" and got to work getting my finances in shape. First things first, I signed up for my companies 401k program right away, contributing 12% of my salary and earning. In the first six months I focused on pay my non-government student loans, which were somewhere around 7% or 8% interest. I sent in checks in sums of $500 to $1000 at a time, even though I was in my grace period. By december, they were gone, and I was left with just over 20k in subsidized loans. I qualified as a half time student with my graduate classes, so those have been sitting there with no interest all year.
From there, I started building my emergency fund and opened a Roth IRA. I' ve also raised my 401k contributions to 15%. Right now, I have over 18k in retirement accounts and about 10k in savings account, giving me a net worth of around 8k. I went from -27k to 8k net worth in less than a year and a half.
Yes, this is a success story, but I think the real reason I was able to do this (without feeling like it was difficult) is because of my investment in myself. I went to a state school, nothing fancy, but I picked a challenging major and I made sure I excelled in it. I studied hard, worked part time, joined activities, secured co-ops related to my feild, and even earned an extra scholarship to study abroad.
Though I worked through college and had scholarships to help, I went in to debt to get my degree. Still, because of this debt, I easily secured an engineering job (10 months before graduating) making over 55k a year. My rent is low, even though I live alone, and I have been able to do a lot with my salary.
Now that I've spent a year and a half getting a jump start on my finances (and career), I'm ready to try out the expensive life on the coast. My company counts my hire date from the first day I interned, so I'm fully vested in my company match. I just got word that the company I interviewed with last week is in the process of making me an offer (please please please don't let it fall through!)
I'm grateful for my position in life, and I don't know if I can take credit for much of anything. Thanks to good genes, I excelled in math/science. Thanks to a good upbringing, I am hardworking and self motivated. These things together allowed me to pursue the career I wanted. And thanks to much good advice I found on Get Rich Slowly (and the rest of the personal finance community) my finances are looking pretty bright.
Have you paid off your debt? Managed to save for your dream home? Had an awesome investment pan out? Share your personal finance success stories here.
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