Today my net worth
has exceeded $100,000. I am quite pleased about this, as on July 1, 2007
I was worth...probably a few hundred bucks and a slice of pizza
People in my family have a tendency to succeed
. My oldest sister, who started out her adult life with less than I did, has also racked up a good bit in savings. My other sister is currently struggling through medical school
. When she gets out in 3 years she will also probably make a great deal of money. My parents are the original success story; they came to America in the late 80's with nothing but a dream. Some thirty years later, they are worth almost a million. There seems to be a pattern here.
Strangely enough, none of us kids have ever really cared about money; after all we were raised by immigrant parents
who always seemed to be strapped for cash. I won't bore you with nostalgic tales of exaggerated poverty
, but we really were genuinely poor for the majority of our lives.
Anyways, I was sitting in the living room today when I received a text message from my bank notifying me that a direct deposit had been made into my checking account. Interested in how much I had been paid for the month of June, I checked my balance online. It was at this point that I realized my net worth was over $100,000. Slightly excited by this landmark figure, I decided to share my joy with my parents. They were pleased.
As you would expect, a long and deeply personal conversation pursued, in which many fond memories and some not-so fond memories were discussed. Eventually, the time came for my father's mandatory "moral lesson
" speech. He is well known among my friends for these speeches. Today's edition was quite good.
First, he told me a story of how he had once been coaxed out of $10,000 by a pyramid scheme. He then told me several other smaller instances of fraud that he had either narrowly avoided, or had fallen victim to. The lesson from this part of the speech was "be careful with your money
". The second part of his speech involved a story about a distant relative of mine who, although once commanded the respect of many, is now very broke, and very alone. My father told me this was because of said relative's arrogance
. Obviously, the lesson to be learned from this part was humility.
The last part of his speech had the largest effect on me. He told me to be generous. He told me a few stories of how, although he had been very poor growing up, he had always been generous when giving to people worse off than himself. He told me that the only reason he had any money now was because he had been so kind to the poor earlier in his life. He said, "As much as I have given away to family members or friends in need, that much times 4 is what I have ultimately earned, through some means or another. Call it God
, call it Karma
, call it whatever, just remember that giving money to people with less than yourself is NEVER a bad investment."
At this point I looked back upon my own life and saw the truth in his words. I am usually quite a nice person to be around. I pay for people's meals, give people rides if they need them, never ask for money when I throw a party, etc. I've been like this for as long as I can remember. Sure, in my adult life I have never been truly broke; I have never bounced a check, overdrawn an account, or missed a payment. But I have been close, several times in fact. I remembered one particular weekend about a year ago when I was starting to save up. I was having a bit of a cash flow problem, as I was temporarily out of a job and my savings were running dry quite quickly. Nonetheless, I had enough to get me by for another few weeks. Or so I thought. A good friend of mine was evicted from his apartment unexpectantly and needed money for the security deposit on the new place he had found. He never asked me for the money, but I gave it to him nonetheless. I worried for a bit, but the thought of my friend living out of his Camry
for even a few days bothered me. I didn't think twice about that decision, it was almost impulsive
A few days later, I received two checks in the mail. One was from my school; apparently some scholarships had come through and I had overpaid my tuition. The second check was from my old employer, who had forgotten to send me my last paycheck. Interestingly enough, these two checks alone had been worth almost exactly 4 times the original amount I had lent to my friend. Not a bad investment