You have to measure it to expect progress.

Turning 30, I thought, would be a difficult birthday to digest. It represented not necessarily the beginning of the end. But, perhaps, the end of the beginning, to paraphrase Churchill. A distancing from youth and innocence. As it turned out, turning 30 was a breeze – it was turning 29 where I had the challenge.

At 29 I was staring 30 in the face. I thought, where did I think I’d be when I was 30? I remembered when I was 20, I wasn’t sure what I would be doing. But I was confident I would be worth $100k. But was I?

I had no idea. I had been contributing to my retirement plans (RRSPs and 401k) and I had purchased a home. But I had no idea what I was worth. As a CPA, I was a little embarrassed. So I quickly pulled together a Statement of Net Worth.

I wasn’t worth the $100k I expected. I was quite a bit short. But after I knew how much I was was worth, I charted back over the past 8 quarters to see how I was progressing. And over the next year, my behaviours changed building my quarterly net worth – topping up my retirement contributions, paying down debts, I even bought an investment property.

I still do a Statement of Net Worth each quarter. Its been the greatest motivator driving growth in my family’s wealth. And its simply measuring something, you drive progress.

Personal finance is 80% behaviour and 20% math. Focus on the things that drive the proper behaviour and the math will take care of itself.

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