Thursday, October 18, 2007

Towards Success: A Few Notes

Over at the always-excellent Get Rich Slowly, J.D. is running a contest for a Nintendo Wii: tell him about your financial success story. This has me thinking about sucess, financial and otherwise, and about the way I've changed as I've focused on getting my financial life in order.

In one sense, any "success" I've had is not particularly compelling. I haven't had all that many obstacles to overcome. I'm a privileged kid who graduated from a great school with no debt because my parents paid my way. And now I live in New York on $32,000. Boo hoo. I can hear the world's tiniest violin playing just for me.

In another sense, though, I'm very cognizant of the ways in which I've changed as I've begun to focus on money and hone my financial skills, and I think the vast majority of changes are for the better. (I do think there's a tendency of my money management style to validate and even, perhaps, feed my soup├žon of control-freakery.) Like most decisions, my decision to focus on money management and getting my financial life in line was a series of slow behavioral changes, a process in which I developed new habits and jettisoned old ones.

For example: taxi-taking. When I started my job, about two months before I started this blog, I took a ton of taxis. I often took taxis to work. Now? The last time I took a cab was Labor Day. It was pouring rain, and K and I were loaded down with a week and a half's worth of groceries and our bags from the bar mitzvah trip. Before that? I don't think I can remember. More and more, I'm allocating my biweekly $30 for taxis elsewhere at the beginning of the pay period, working on the knowledge that I just don't take taxis that frequently anymore. But I barely even noticed the change. (BTW, for the curious: a big part of it, I think, was chilling out with how often I wore high heels. Another big part was reframing the choice: I choose to save $10 and spend 10 minutes.)

More than any one habit, though, I feel like my focus on finance has reminded me that I'm responsible for my own life, for my own behavior and choices. I think a lot of people think of this in the framework of "being responsible for things is a burden," but for me, it's been incredibly freeing. It's great to feel like good choices and hard work will pay off, that I can make my life into what I want it to be. And that's how all this makes me feel.


Jose said...

At your stage in life you are doing great. Much better than myself whose 26 and have around 12k worth or student loans and credit cards. I'm focusing on saving an emergency fund right now and then I'll tackle my debts head on. I'm following Dave Ramsey's plan.

Great blog, BTW.

VixenOnABudget said...

Wonderful post.

SJean said...

One thing I really like and appreciate about your blog is this: You know you are privileged and you acknowledge it without being braggy about it.
It makes it so relateable, even though I didn't have the same privileges.

Thrifty Penny said...

You're doing a great job. Keep it up! Your net worth is something to brag about.

Wrtier's Coin said...

I agree, it's such a great feeling to be "in control" and aware of where the money is going.
I too am lucky: no debt, parents paid for college, and I became financially aware just in time. Keep on truckin'

Sistah Ant said...

sometimes it's the positive way you feel after making the right decisions that can make all the difference! i'm glad you're feeling it!

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