Not gonna lie, the past week of pre-service (teacher work week before school starts) was so frustrating each and every day. Other than content I had already created and scheduled, I didn’t post anything or even really think about TTM. Usually pre-service is a time of nervous excitement, but this year’s was full of changing information, tech mishaps, and working until I went to sleep. The first day back, there was a nationwide Zoom outage causing our staff meeting to malfunction, and even with school starting on Monday, we have yet to receive a lot of clarification on basic things like details on running Zoom meetings and what each part of the schedule will entail. I’m saying all of this because I know it’s exactly what teachers across the country are dealing with, and I want you to know that I’m there with you.
My money has been the last thing on my mind, and so I’m grateful (more than ever) that I’ve put systems in place to manage my money and I can afford to not think about it. As you all know, I’ve been in many places in my life where money is THE source of stress and anxiety– and I know that so many people are in that space right now. I know that feeling, and I want to help you get out.
For today’s post, though, I’ll update you on my decreasing net worth. A bit of background for those joining for the first time: I get paid over 10 months as an educator, not 12, and so I saved throughout the year in order to live off my savings and take the summer off. This was a huge deal to me– I haven’t done this since I was 16 years old– and it meant accepting that my net worth would decrease instead of increase for two months while I drained one of my savings accounts.
In July, it decreased by almost $800. Here are the numbers for August:
I invested $0 into any of my accounts, including my Roth IRA, 457b, and pension. When I captured these numbers (around August 20th), they had earned $314 in interest on their own. The stock market had a really big week after that point, and so they’ve actually grown a bit more now. My savings are where I really saw a hit, mostly from the ~$3000 I withdrew to live on in August. With that and the few hundred I’ve used from my travel fund for trips to the beach, minus the deposits I’ve made, I ended up using $2,457. With my investment growth accounted for, it came out to a total decrease of $2,119. To put it in perspective:
As you can see, the total decrease for the summer months was $2,897. This is no small number to me, but it is still far less than I earned in April, May, or June. Having accepted that this was the sacrifice for being able to use my summer time as my own, I don’t regret it one bit. I’m fully comfortable, at this point, taking next summer off as well should I choose to.
I remember the anxiety of poverty from my teenage years, of being a broke college student, and of my self-imposed sprint to debt freedom. Every setback or obstacle felt like confirmation that I didn’t really deserve the growth in my net worth, another piece of evidence that my impostor syndrome was actually right. I can’t pinpoint a moment where things switched, but now I can process these decreases without ever feeling like it says something about what I deserve or my worth as a person. And there’s little to no anxiety about money to add to the anxiety of beginning the most chaotic school year ever.
This is what I wish for everyone, but especially those who a) come from a place of scarcity with money and/or b) already have enough anxiety surrounding their lives without even thinking about money.
So, if you want to someday find the peace of mind that I have with my finances, a good place to start is making a budget. Next week, you’ll see a model of this process when I share my September budget. I’ll see you then 🙂
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And if you need more guidance with goal setting, mindset shifting, and budget brainstorming, you can purchase my Money Map Workbook for just $9 🙂