As someone who is self-employed and the sole income provider for our household, I am always watching and worrying over our finances. Like many of you, I have a mortgage, a couple of cars, a wife, and two kids that are the center of our universe. They are involved in just about everything you can imagine and are never left wondering where their next meal is coming from.
We have insurance for our house, cars, health, and even our lives. Man, that is the business I should have gone into... Insurance!
With whatever is left over, we try and save for our kids education and the hopeful idea of retirement, but it's not always easy.
In an effort to sleep at night and keep my inner demons at bay, we met with our financial advisor who very seriously punched a bunch of numbers into his computer to try and determined our "net worth." Truly, a number this small should have not required this much work! My first grader, using his fingers and a couple of toes, could have figured this one out. Let's just say, we won't be yacht shopping anytime soon.
"That's my net worth?" I said in disbelief.
Had we missed something? Did I mention I have a shoebox full of baseball cards from 1976 in my closet? How are those not worth something? I have a mint condition Reggie Jackson and a Pete Rose still in the package WITH THE GUM! This can't be real! I mean, each and every year we cut a few corners and save a little more and this is what we have to show for it?
In a nutshell, your net worth is really everything you own of significance (your assets) minus what you owe in debts (your liabilities). Assets include cash, investments, your home, cars, or anything else of value you own minus your liabilities and obligations.
- What about my beautiful wife and two knucklehead kids?
- What about all of the people I love and love me back?
- What about all of the memories I have made with my wife and kids?
- What about the students I have taught and the music we have made?
- What about the places we traveled and the things we saw?
- What about the early mornings, late nights, and long weekends we spent together?
- What about the leadership retreats, honor bands, and private lessons?
- Are you telling me those have no value? That they aren't worth anything?
It was then that I realized that my net worth had nothing to do with my self worth. Yes, I was reeling from the fact that my net worth is so small, but beaming from the fact that my self worth is so large. Given the choice, I will take the latter every time.
As a teacher, you will always struggle with your net worth, but should never question your self worth. You can't calculate your worth using a computer and an algorithm. You can't place a numeric value on your impact on the lives of young people. You can't confine your life's work to an Excel spreadsheet.
You are measured by more than your net worth, you are measured by your self worth.
Have a great weekend everyone!