A Brief Period of Positive Net Worth

Five years ago I took out massive student loans to get a graduate degree, and my net worth has been negative ever since. Payback is a long, slow trudge—half of every month’s loan payment doesn’t even touch the principal. I’ve settled in for the long haul of being in the red.

But last Friday, a glorious confluence of financial conditions pushed my net worth into the black—for a weekend.

1. Semi-Combined Finances. My boyfriend proposed last summer, and in a baby step toward combined finances, we opened a joint checking account. My net worth basks in the glow of this shared account, but in this pre-matrimony period, it’s not yet subject to any of my fiance’s financial liabilities. Best of both worlds!

2. Tax Return. My fiance and I both enjoyed sizable refunds this year: his because of his student status, and mine because I accidentally allowed myself zero exemptions when filling out tax paperwork. We both filled out returns promptly this year and threw the money into the joint savings account—wedding fund.


3. Pay Day. I get my monthly paycheck on the last Friday of the month. In March, the automatic deposit dropped on the 29th.

And thus: When I checked my Mint.com account on Friday, habitually gloating in the post-payday/pre-rent bubble, I noticed an unprecedented number in the left hand column under net worth. An unwontedly positive number. I had a net worth of $735.

It dipped back into the red once the joint checking account took the monthly rent hit of $945. But for those three days after my paycheck cleared and before I wrote a rent check, I commanded more capital than I owed. It felt peachy.


Megan McGlynn is a librarian in Michigan.


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