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A few years ago, out of curiosity, I sat down to figure out what my net worth was. Net worth of course is simply what you have (money and assets) minus what you owe (credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, etc.). I was shocked to find out that I was worth a total of $500. According to a CNBC.com article, "you should have at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency fund, and also be on your way to saving $1 million for retirement." Needless to say, I was far from that. I made a decision, though, that I was going to get out of debt (at the time I was several thousand dollars deep) and that I was going to build up my savings. I had roughly $200 in savings at the time. I am now down to just $2,000 in debt, I own 3 houses that are paid for, my car is paid for (I paid cash for it), and my net worth now is just over $100,000. This all on a $36,000 annual income. In the following I will tell you how I got to here from there. Granted I'm still not where I need to be in terms of my retirement goals, but I am much closer than I was just a few years ago. Hopefully, my story will inspire others to make the right decisions when it comes to finances, so that they too may one day reach financial independence.
One of the first things I decided to do was to never borrow money again. Except in some dire life-and-death situation where borrowing money was the only way to live, I determined I was not going to sign on the dotted line ever again. Since that time I have only borrowed money twice: once for a car (that I paid off in about 4 1/2 months), and once for a house (which I paid off in about 2 1/2 years). I will go into details about those two loans later.