My education in finance continued from there
By mid-2007 we had saved close to $30,000 for a down payment on our first house. In ’09 that invested sum got cut to about $10,000. We were young and invested aggressively so the crash hit us HARD.
After gradually dipping one toe at-a-time back into the investment pool, we were able to recoup our savings and eventually buy that home we had saved for. We just had to wait 6 more years.
We were lucky
In 2009 we were 23 and 21 years old. This meant 2 great things for our family:
1) We were young enough that most of our income producing years were in front of us (knocking on wood profusely while writing this). We still had time to invest and take advantage of the all-powerful – compound interest.
2) We got an education via the school of hard knocks without it breaking our backs.
Many weren’t as lucky
I couldn’t imagine being close to retirement and losing 25-75% of my net worth. This crash made that nightmare a reality for many. Retirements either got pushed back a long way or pared down to the point that what you had planned to be your lifestyle may now just be a dream.
A job loss for me would’ve been bad, but wouldn’t compare to a parent trying to provide for their family. Clara (our daughter) wasn’t in the picture yet and we didn’t have a great deal of debt to worry about (that has changed since, though).
The crash forced us to adapt to the changing environment
Because of the Great Recession, many families changed their investment strategy, job situation, feelings on retirement, etc… You buying the point that it was terrible yet? OK, good. Let me tell you why the crash could’ve been the best financial moment of our lives.
That education I referenced above was different than anything I had read in a book. We lived it. Every dollar mattered and every decision had to be evaluated for relevance and importance.
The recession forced us to go lean and eliminate unnecessary spending – it wasn’t a conscious choice, there just wasn’t money enough to do everything. Big parts of every month felt like a spending freeze
Living an ultra-lean lifestyle wasn’t what we had in mind long-term, and needless to say, we were done with feeling powerless to money.
We needed to prepare. I’m no futurist and I can’t predict what the next crash will be or when it will come, I just assume it’s on the way at some point. I wouldn’t call this pessimistic, just being financially prudent. Because of this, we wanted to learn how to live a lifestyle that was insulated from the next potential recession. This way we’re either prepared when it happens or thrilled when it doesn’t.
The present-day look at our financial situation
Our financial situation has changed considerably over the last decade and a half. No offense to Mr. Chalker, but we’ve upgraded our entrepreneurial drive and started our own family business
As the CEO, it’s my job to make sure our team has all the needed support, tools, and energy to best serve our clients. On top of that, I’m managing our finances and debt as my business partner (read: wife) and I work together to handle the big-picture and long-term thinking for the business.
What do we want our culture to feel like? Can we afford to hire X or buy Y? And where do we see ourselves in 10-years as a business and brand?
Decisions about healthcare, retirement plans, wages, benefits, when to buy new equipment, and negotiating relevant deals have all given me a legitimate reason to do the things I actually enjoy as hobbies… Reading widespread economic articles and listening to all the financial podcasts I love so dearly.
So why do I tell you all of this about my financial past
I say all of that to add context. To let you know that when I say I’ve taken financial risks, had great successes, and made large mistakes – I’ve learned from all of these experiences. And I’m fortunate to say that these experiences have been vast.
What’s more is that we are by no means done with expanding our business, paying off student loans, saving for retirement, or exploring other opportunities. So, you know what? I still have mountains of financial and business lessons to learn.
How does this help YOU – the MikedUp Blog Team
I’m going to keep writing about all of these experiences. The ones we’ve learned from, the ones we’re going through, and the hurdles to come. All the highs and lows. The good times and the bad. In sickness and in health… Wait, I’m going back to our marriage vows there – my bad.
But I do that to make a point. I’m committed to this blog. And the purpose of this blog is for me to help YOU find a better version of yourself. In the case of this post, we’re here to learn financial lessons so that you can take what applies to your life and use it to tweak your process or improve your current position.
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Also – this post is 1 of 4 that I’ve designated to describe my “Why MikedUp Blog is here”. I’d love it if you’d check out the other 3 and my “Start Here” page – which is a quick summary of the blog and what you can expect to find. Thank you in advance!
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Thank you for being here! Thank you for reading – it means the world to me! Now let’s get out there and make some serious financial progress together!