A book I am reading has a rather hardcore plan to financial independence. It has nine steps, they do not have to be done in order, doing even some can help one realign with money and its importance (lessening it) in life.
Goals are to figure out net worth, and face a dare: What do you have to show for it? Step 1 is to come up with a number that equals how much money I have made in my life. I've spent time tracking down as much as I can, because they want everything as best you can figure, meaning things like babysitting money when I was 14, summer jobs, that last necklace I sent out, gifts, winnings, part time stuff, that time I did nude modeling on a lark my junior year in college, along with the "grownup stuff."
This part I have completed. The number was shocking prematurely. I can see where this is going. Of that number, how much of it is gone on stuff I didn't really need, or didn't truly improve my life? What do I have to show for it?
After this, the next part is to take stock of everything owned. Even things one might think is pretty useless, in terms of market value. That wall art my Mom just sent in the mail, the dishes, the amount of the house owned minus the liability of the remaining mortgage. All the books on the shelves. The clothes in the closet. My share of the stuff stowed in the garage. The car. The bike (I'm going to try to do just my stuff here, since I don't have DLJ's financial total history to add to the figure, I can't take it out, either. That part is going to take some time.
Then you find all your liabilities. That's where the mortgage goes. Any outstanding credit card debt, loans, In the end, you find out if you have net worth, from the assets minus the liabilities, or if you've overspent from that first figure. Having a high first figure or a low one doesn't matter in itself. It's just a number, have to remember that.
That's when you start thinking about the value of the things, what they are worth, and most importantly, if you even want them anymore, or if they are clutter.
Then you make a balance list of all the things (clothes, car, compost crock) and all the savings (bonds, funds, etc.) This is the "What do you have to show for it?" section. With that very first number of all the money you have ever made, this is what you have to show for it in terms of "things," items that are gifts nonwithstanding.
Lots to do, and I'm sure, lots to ponder as my balance sheet, fixed assets, and net worth parts become completed projects.
But it feel so good to be on the road.