Today, I tell you about why I beat the crap out of some kid in the 4th grade. First though, I have a question:
Just kidding. I promise to stop with the Airplane quotes after this post. Maybe…
While I’m sure at least one of you knows how to fly a plane, the real business we must get to is last week’s question when I asked you about your net worth. I didn’t expect anyone to answer. Boy, was I wrong. The post had more responses than any other I’ve ever written (over 100 just from readers!). Here are my favorites:
Joe from The Well-Examined Life:
At the time of this writing our investments hover around 225k without our (nearly paid off) primary residence.
In some ways I’m proud of this number. I’m a high school teacher and my wife is a commercial photographer. Our earning potential from our careers is capped. We own a rental property with a healthy cash flow, have less than a year on our primary, and stuff money into investments.
Still, while we seem to be on much more solid footing than even our high-earning peers IRL, I feel behind in the FI community. We’re in our early 30s and have been thinking aggressively for fewer than five years (I spent most of my 20s in unhappy careers, bouncing between low-paying jobs).
We’re making up ground fast, but damn I’m jealous of some of you out there.
I think Joe is doing wonderful. The average family has under $100,000 saved, so Joe will be just fine.
Congratulations Reader Cash Collector on closing in on the Double Comma Club. The first million is always the hardest:
Closing in on the first million. As of January 1st, net worth was $966,532. Zero debt of any kind.
I am more concerned with the amount of passive income my savings and investments are able to generate. Depending on the type of investment, a $500,000 net worth could generate massively different levels of passive income.
This is a great comment that was echoed by several others! If your passive income generates enough money to pay the bills, net worth doesn’t matter. I have a big nest egg because my investments don’t generate income.
Mr. Tako has a big one:
We’re worth a little over $2.5 million these days, and $2.1 million of that is in liquid assets (stocks, bonds, cash, etc).
tilMan is well adjusted, not like this guy:
I’ve found that FI isn’t about the money at all. My path to FI has increased my happiness by helping me discover what really matters to me. A true exercise in self-awareness
Hey Brian (Debt Discipline):
Reader SusieQ has the biggest egg:
$5M to add to a $1.5M recent inheritance. Retired 6 yrs (54 & 64). Monthly income $18K (pension & deferred comp $ payout).
SusieQ, may I borrow some money? Just kidding. Maybe…
Finally, some readers expressed sadness that their net worth wasn’t so great or that they were struggling. I thought a lot about some of these comments over the weekend and this is what I came to: If you’re one of the ones who is doing fantastic, never forget to be grateful for your position in life. And if you see an opportunity to help someone who hasn’t done quite as well, grasp it. An hour of conversation could change someone’s life. I’m doing just that in a couple weeks which brings me to my question for today.
How do you Conquer Fear? (and the Time I Beat the Crap out of Someone)
The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That is the moment, you might be starting to get it right. –Neil Gaiman
When I was a young child, I loved public speaking. In the first and second grade, I remember looking forward to show-and-tell and other chances to speak in front of the class.
About the time I hit the 3rd grade, it all changed. As a kid, I stuttered. Then, the orthopedic doctor prescribed leg braces like young Forrest Gump. It was during that time that I learned that kids love to torment the stutterer with the goofy leg braces. I also learned that beating the hell* out of one tormentor quickly shut the rest of them up. However, the damage was done. I receded inside myself.
I wasn’t so social after the 4th grade, even when the braces came off and my speech got better. I hated talking in front of others from that point on. The last time I gave a speech was when I was about 20 and had to take a public speaking class in college.
However, I wanted to push my comfort zone, so the Frugalwoods and I volunteered to give a talk at the FinCon conference a couple years ago. When we were turned down, I was a little disappointed, but much more than that, I was relieved. I told myself that I’d never speak in public again. Not so fast…
About a month ago, I received an email from someone at Colorado State University inviting me to come and speak. Here is part of it:
I was terrified and excited all at the same time. Sure, I dislike public speaking, but I love the chance to help some college students out. If I can just get through to one of them; just convince him or her to save instead of spend when they’re young, I could change that person’s life in a huge way. I quickly knew that I had no choice but to accept.
And then the terror of public speaking filled me. None of the typical advice has has ever worked:
- Imagine the audience is in their underwear
- Concentrate on one person
Blah blah blah, all of that is useless for me. Then, I read something in the Tools of Titans book (full disclosure: I’m currently obsessed with this book). It’s on page 137 where Tim Ferriss interviews Dr. Adam Gazzaley. Dr. Adam had this to say about advice he would give to his 30-year-old-self:
…have no fear. I mean, you’ve got one chance here to do amazing things and being afraid of being wrong or making a mistake of fumbling is just not how you do something of impact. You just have to be fearless.**
This went right to my heart. The thought I had was this:
It’s completely ridiculous to be afraid of this presentation. Fear is dumb and will inhibit my performance. Grow a pair and stop worrying dumbass.
Whenever the fear comes back, I think of Dr. Adam’s quote and tell myself to knock the shit off. I just won’t allow myself to be scared. And it’s worked so far. I realize the proof will be in how well I do at the presentation, but I’m feeling pretty good about it now.
So how about you Readers? Tell me of a time you’ve been fearful of something and overcame it.
*I don’t advocate any forms of violence. Stupid people fight, smart people find ways to avoid fights. With that said, I hope you learned your lesson after school that day kid.
**Mrs. 1500 note: One of my favorite quotes – the one that I think of when I need to put my fear at bay – is from Coco Chanel who said,
I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.
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