1995, I graduated from college with an MS in Engineering. Unbeknowst to me, I was about to start the rat race. Living at home with my parents and having no student loans I was able to begin saving right away. My starting salary was $35,000 a year. At this time I began saving money and purchasing mutual funds and stocks. After saving over $10,000 I did what any young kid would do, I went out and bought a Lexus!
1997, I changed jobs and my salary had increased to $42,000 a year. I still continued to invest in high tech stocks like Intel, Microsoft and AOL. I took some stock market money, sold my Lexus and bought a used 2 seater sports car. The car was $40,000, throw in the wheels, tires, exhaust and suspension and the car came out to over $50,000. Insurance was $1,000/year. Boy, was I really in the rat race now! I read “The Millionaire Next Door”. I contemplated selling the car cause now I was feeling guilty. Looking back, I realized that I wasn’t ready at this time to sacrifice to get out of the rat race.
1999, News of my first layoff came. The good news is that my severance package was 6 months salary + 1/2 bonus. All came as a lump sum, totalling about $26,000 (before taxes). Got a job the next week as a contract employee for $37/hr. At this point I bought my first house for $230,000 using the severance money as downpayment. Got a regular job again for $58,000/yr.
2000, News of my second layoff came. The good news is I got 7 weeks severance this time. Why is that good news? Cause my next job was at a dot.com. Joined a start-up dot.com at $70,000/yr and 10,000 shares of stock options. Everything was looking good…
2001, Dot.com bust happened, out of a job on 2 hours notice. I got 4 weeks severance this time. By this time, I was weary of working for employers and then getting nothing. I’d become immune to the corporate ladder and was seeing that I work only for me. Corporations need to look out for themselves and will cut you in a second. It doesn’t matter that you put in 70 hours last week and skipped a vacation.