Well, I’ve actually been quite a bit of both. And surprisingly there’s real benefit of each. One of these pictures is from my actual checkbook register, circa 1990 (you know, back when you had to be able to do math to reconcile). And in my case, it was definitely during one of the Poorer times. Side note: look how good I am working with negative numbers! 🙂
Anyway, I had just started my first company. It was a crazy stressful time. I made a grand total of $1,200 that year (and, no, I did not forget two more zeros in that number). I did have some savings to live off, but not much. Remember, I’m 26. I was living LARGE in my early 20’s, so savings was an afterthought.
I eventually made it through these times, made enough in later years to make up for it, and gained some incredible insights to life on both sides of the financial spectrum. I kept the checkbook register as a vivid reminder of the tough times and the sacrifices that sometimes need to be made. It also helped to keep me (somewhat) humble during those mo’ money days. Just as importantly, I came out of those challenging times with two distinct benefits.
1/ I’ve been able to share these stories of the high and low times with my kids. Explaining by examples of real world experiences the true meaning of savings, sacrifice, and success.
2/ During this entire time, Melanie stuck with me. I was a broke mid 20’s dude with vision and passion, but no money to take her out on a date. It’s not like I had ‘Winner’ written all over me. She could (maybe should?) have cut her losses and maybe better enjoyed those lean years. But instead, she lived the true meaning of For Richer, For Poorer. When she committed to those same words in a ceremony a couple years later, she had lived it, so I knew she really meant it.
Now we’re being challenged with the In Sickness and In Health part of those vows, and, again, thankfully, I know she meant it.
That in itself is something that makes me Richer.