Jimmy’s History of Personal Finance

Jimmy’s History of Personal Finance

[What up what up! Been getting a TON of response from our post the other day on the history of our net worth, so thought we’d continue the fun and share another person’s financial background today 😉 Can never see too many numbers about money, am I right?! Take it away, Jimmy…]


Inspired by J. Money’s recent, “How we grew our net worth to $900k,” I offer the following: “Jimmy’s History of Personal Finance.” Below is a quick summary on my $652,000 net worth and how I got there. I am 52 years old and a native Texan.

Retirement account ($253,000) – I’m a career educator and probably the best financial decision I made was maintaining my participation in the Texas Teacher Retirement System. Current assets are at $253,000, however, I will draw a six figure annual pension based on my 30 year career as a teacher and administrator.

Tax advantaged accounts / 403(b) ($180,000) – I began investing in tax advantaged accounts my first year of teaching, but I have never maxed out those contributions. Big mistake! Let’s compound that mistake with a divorce at 46 that reduced the account by 50%! I have always viewed this money as that which will buffer my TRS retirement pension and provide cost of living adjustments (COLA) which is not in the pension plan. Kids: Start maxing out your tax advantaged accounts immediately and don’t get divorced.

Taxable accounts / Roth 403(b) ($20,000) – Retirement investors should max out tax advantaged accounts prior to starting taxable accounts. I did the opposite; started a Roth without maxing out tax advantaged accounts. Not sure why other than bad planning and lack of understanding. Silver lining: I have avoided some tax consequence in retirement via the Roth 403(b) and will likely continue to invest in Roth IRA’s after I retire from TRS.

Cash on hand ($23,000) – I maintain this cash on hand as an emergency fund and am on track to build to $40,000 prior to retirement.

Texas Tomorrow Fund ($90,000) – One of the best financial decisions I have made was investing in this tuition reimbursement program sponsored and underwritten by the state of Texas. I enrolled both my daughters in the plan which charged a nominal monthly amount ($236 total for both girls) and froze tuition and fee rates at the date of purchase. I invested $48,000 for enough tuition credits and fees for both daughters to earn bachelor’s degrees and the investment grew to $90,000 over 20 years. Not the best investment on percentage increase, however, significant peace of mind and a great insurance policy on college tuition and fee increases.

Windfalls ($120,000) – I have benefited from two cash windfalls in my life: a vacation buyout at work ($30,000) and proceeds from an inherited oil and gas lease ($90,000). My former spouse and I spent $70,000 of the total on house upgrades, car debt and tithing, and maintained $50,000 as part of our emergency fund. When we divorced, we split that $50,000.

Cars and houses (net $81,000) – Ah, cars and houses. I have been blessed to drive paid off cars since 2011 and will never purchase a new car again. I currently drive a 2008 Honda CRV with 110k miles that is probably worth $5k. I have purchased three homes in my life and netted $35,000 on the first sale, $0 on the disbursal of the second due to my divorce, and currently live in the third. I hope to pay the third home off in the next 5 years.

Health Savings Account ($5,000) – Enrolled in this tax advantaged opportunity as soon as it was available with my employer and have accrued $5,000 thus far for future medical expenses. I anticipate continued growth here as my daughters become independent and assume responsibility for their own medical needs.

Tithing ($15,000 a year) – I am a Christian and have strived to tithe 10% of my gross income over the years. It took a long time to make it adding 1% a year. I include tithing here as I believe tithing is part of my financial plan and has had a positive impact on the bottom line in my net worth.

Life and disability Insurance ($0k) – No cash value here as the policy is a 15 year term and not whole life insurance, however, incredible peace of mind for my children in the event of debilitating illness or untimely death.

Budgeting and expense tracking ($0k) – I have budgeted money and tracked expenses since I began getting paid for my work time when I was 12 or 13. While I have it as zero monetary value, the behavior of tracking expenses and budgeting is a foundation to my net worth.


Ranking my behaviors on the scorecard below. I feel good about the positives, want do overs on the negatives, and sure would like to have worked that windfall differently. All in all, I’m going to give myself a low B- or a high C.

jimmys scorecard


Thanks Jimmy! That pension and tithing is off the chain!

If anyone else would like to divulge their financial history with us, hit me up and we’ll make you famous.. In the meantime, here are other fun financial snapshots to ogle: Other People’s Money Series


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