Category Archives: abundance

Miel’s Million Dollar Net Worth

Miel Net Worth One Million

This is the first time that I’ve really shared about my net worth directly on Sustainable Family Finances. I was actually one of the first finance bloggers to share their net worth publically (on my old site DINKs Finance). I’ve continuous posted about my net worth for ten years. I’ve also been featured on J Money’s Top Net Worths for Finance Bloggers on RockStar Finance, coming in at number 11 of the 180 finance bloggers who publically share their net worth.

This is also my first time posting my net worth as an individual; previously I had always posted a joint net worth, but that is no longer the case after my recent divorce. This started at $300k back in 2005 and was  tracked over time to hit the Million dollar mark in 2013.

It is bold to be the first. It is also a bit scary. It also doesn’t matter how much money you have or don’t have. Yes, if you are wondering, I have been criticized for sharing. I guess it came off as bragging, even though I had considerable less than I do today. But I also feel a certain obligation to myself and know if I track my progress and create goals for myself, that I can take what I have and grow it into whatever I can dream it to be. I also hope that it is helpful for readers to see what is feasible over a decade.

My first official individual net worth comes in at $1,058,434. My ability to grow and create wealth so far has been pretty impressive. (Darcy is giving me a virtual high five…this is huge!). I’ve worked my ass off for sure. I’ve never really ever had just one job. I’ve always juggle a few different income generating activities. Being a landlord for 12 years should say enough. I started saving for retirement at $25 a month and grew that to over $300k.

Miel Hendrickson Net worth 10282015

As you can see, the more you have, the more you owe. Making money is not for sissies. Owing nearly a million dollars is not something to take lightly. Wealth comes with a great deal of responsibilities and its own set of challenges.

My net worth gives a pretty candid look at where I’m at financially. What it doesn’t show is what comes next. I’m at a space in my life where I’m looking at this question very closely. How best do I leverage what I have to create financial stability and long term wealth creation? Follow along to find out!

Cheers,

Miel

Reflections on Our 5th Year Blogiversary

Miel and Darcy Go Ducks Jan 12, 2015

Go Ducks!

Wow. I can hardly believe that we launched this blog five years ago. It frankly feels like an eternity ago. So much has happened…so many dreams have come true, as well as disappointments and recurring financial frustrations.

I blogged like a madwoman for the first several years. Miel was already a successful blogger (earning $2k per month at the time) and had convinced me when I started that I needed to write a post every day in order to be taken seriously and have any earning potential. So, I diligently cranked out twenty posts a month writing almost every evening. I was determined to prove that I could be a professional blogger, and I do think that some of my best posts were published before I ever had many readers (We have 418 posts and another 80 in draft form!)…I still need to find a way to share our archive better…here are my favorite dozen posts from the first year.

Looking back I have no idea how I managed it to create/maintain such creative stamina (blogging really does take a lot of creative juice). Especially during a time when I was out the door at seven in the morning to bus/bike to office and up on my laptop late several nights a week blogging. Kevin thought I was crazy, and his doubtfulness has been a source contention/frustration (he’s only ever read a handful of posts).

Yet, for as much as I’ve written, I feel like it’s taken me five years to truly find my voice. In my first year I blogged under the alias “Green Mama” and was honestly terrified of criticism. I started off declaring my desire to save up $7500 for a family trip to Denmark fearing that people would label me an elitist for having such a frivolous financial goal. Then we unexpectedly inherited what felt like a shitload of money and I seriously questioned whether I could continue to write for a blog where I no longer felt like my readers might not relate me once I wasn’t a so-called struggling working mama (all the struggle does continue, just in a slightly different income bracket with a few family businesses to manage on top of it all!). Next we somehow manifested our dream beach cabins, and then I planned my exodus from full time public service to become a Certified Mama Bliss Life Coach. Yet, lately we’ve gone to feeling nearly broke and sharing about our family finances has continues to require some serious “courage in action” (one of my favorite mantras that I use as I publish a post or send an important email).

In revamping our blog, Miel began writing together with me (yay!) and we went out on a limb and shared literally every Money Story we could recall in an effort to clear our subconscious from the money baggage we all carry. And yet, I’ll speak for Miel as well, we’ve both struggled to fully share our current money stories. It’s partly because our lives have been moving at such a fast pace in recent months (Miel moved across the country and landed her dream job, and I’ve been busy launching my coaching practice, and we’ve taken on fully managing our beach cabins…) Our lives seem to be happening so fast that it’s hard to keep up, let alone post blogs in a timely manner.

And, yet, Miel and I are ready to really dig deep in order to finally bring ourselves (and this blog) into our full blossoming potential. Here’s our plan:

  • Divulge Our Net Worth – Miel was one of the first financial bloggers to start sharing her net worth publicly (nine years ago). Money is still taboo in our socio-economic circles, and she was in fact very bold to publish her private finances. I remember having conversations with close friends/family who were aghast that Miel would both share her net worth and her desire to become a millionaire. In starting this blog, I had several conversations with Miel about how essentially “there was no way in hell” and Kevin and I would share our net worth publicly. Yet, I’ve come to realize that I/we need to be fully conscious of our finances in order to create our future financial dreams. So, we will both start posting our net worth every quarter.
  • Be Truly Authentic About Our Finances – Just knowing/sharing our net worth is not going to help us reach our financial dreams though. We’ve come to realize after being truly honest in sharing our money stories that it somehow feels harder to be authentic about our current financial stories. It’s partly because we each face frustrations at different levels (This past fall we dealt with fraud, Miel getting her stuff stolen, bouncing the cabin bank account, plus the expense of Miel’s maternity leave/move, trying to afford a nanny, oh and Miel’s new dream job meant a 50% pay cut). So, our lives are simply filled with blog fodder, but we’ve both felt challenged by how to share our stories when they feel so raw and personal. So far we’ve tried to be a resource to our readers, but in truth generic and impersonal advice is just that, generic and impersonal. We hope that by being truly authentic we’ll finally be able to connect at a deep level with you, our readers (Please, people can you finally show us some love and start to comment?!).
  • Hold Each Other Accountable – But we’ve come to agree that sharing our net worth and the complicated feelings is the only way to hold each other accountable. It’s really helpful to have a look-alike to mirror your desires and fears, and we indeed to push each other into full bloom.
  • Manifesting Our Dreams – We’re also going to go out on a limb and start sharing about our next financial dreams and the steps we’re each taking to manifest them. While we are starting with different lifestyles/finances, we still have very similar dreams (like retiring part time in Hawaii). Even though we may face some critics, we are excited to fully embrace our ability to create the reality we envision for ourselves.
  • Giving Back – Miel and I are both very passionate about giving back, both locally and internationally. I’ve been a Rotarian for three years now, and Miel followed suit not long after (We’re very excited now that we can attend the same weekly meetings in the Pearl). She’s now a two-time Paul Harris Fellow (which I’m admittedly a little jealous about, and plan to catch up as soon as I can…). When I was working at the City, I was donating to five organizations I think do great work: Rotary International, Friends of Trees, Oregon Environmental Council, Mackenzie River Trust, and International Medical Corps (where Miel used to work). I also started my own Kiva Experiment when we received our inheritance. Recently I gave a spare $20 to Green Empowerment, since I couldn’t help but support Miel’s new amazing work. Plus, we’ve been tithing to our church, Grace Memorial Episcopal, for several years (although in December we did suspend our donation until we can afford it again). In the end Miel and I truly believe that our work and our money will make the world a better place.
  • Divesting From Carbon & Becoming Carbon Neutral – As long time readers know, I’m actually more passionate about environmental sustainability than finances (Part of my challenge initially was that I focused more on sustainable family lifestyle post than on actual finances…but I digress again). So, for as much as I’m excited to finally embrace our finances (as a means to creating our dreams), I’m also still deeply passionate about doing everything we can to slow global warming. In first launching this blog, we did a lot of home/family sustainability projects, but I’ve kind of plateaued. Just last week the founder of 350.org came to talk to our Portland Pearl Rotary Club. While I had organized a community event (planting natives at a park that I helped create), I’ve mostly been an on/off online activist lately. So, when he talked about the need to divest from carbon, it really resonated with me as the obvious next step for me to take action on. I’ve also had the desire to become carbon neutral for a long time (I blogged early on about calculating our carbon footprint). Every time I made a pot of Portland Coffee Roasters and see the carbon neutral label, it gives me a big smile. Also, Miel’s nonprofit, Green Empowerment, made the same commitment to lead the carbon shift. I saved this goal for last, because I know it’s the most long term goal. But we are in this for the long haul. Five years has felt like a blip, and we’re excited to walk our talk by making these commitments.

So, whether this is the first post you’re reading of ours or you’ve been following us for years, we’re happy you’re here with us. We look forward to engaging our readers with truly authentic posts that will bring us all closer and closer to our financial dreams. 🙂 🙂

Happy Blogging!

Darcy (and Miel)

PS A side note: I do still feel shame around the fact that date this blog has earned very little, and was told long ago that blog that doesn’t earn money is either a hobby or a charity. Meanwhile I didn’t want to “sell my soul” by writing posts to please an advertiser. So, we are finally ready to start partnering with sponsors who resonate with our message and simply want to support us in reaching our readers.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend Melody Beattie

No matter what your spiritual beliefs, the holidays can be an opportunity to refocus on what truly matters to your family. It’s also a good time to set some gift guidelines for yourself and your extended family, then practice being grateful for whatever you receive.

Create Traditions of Thanks

This year we’ll have a record number of people at our holiday gathering, and are excited to start some new family traditions. Here are some ideas we’ll be using:

  • Thanksgiving Tablecloth – Take a simple tablecloth or sheet, make a creative grid with fabric markers, then let the kids/guests sketch out their thank yous, leaving room for future years.
  • Cupboard Collage – Make a collage on the inside of your pantry to note everything for which you are thankful. You can incorporate cards you have received.
  • Community Gratitude Tree – Work with your family to make colorful gratitude cards for each other, then tie them in a streetside tree. Share your gratitude by leaving out some extra supplies for them to add their own gratitude notes. (Depending on the weather we might make one inside…)
  • Manifestation List – Rather than a wish list, create a manifestation list to note what you would like to bring into your life, whether it be money, joy, relaxation, or something you have always dreamed of.

Practice Gratitude

One of the ways we like to remind ourselves of all I have to be thankful for is by writing personal thank-yous for any occasion that warrants one. Sending your appreciation via email can do the trick, but don’t underestimate the power of personal mail. Plus, kids learn gratitude by watching us practice it.

In our experience, giving thanks on a daily basis is the best way to expand your abundance perspective. Your acts of gratitude can be big or small, personal or public, but the key is to act. A purse-sized notepad does the trick just fine, or you can log on to gratitudelog.com. We are most thankful this year that Miel’s family has recently relocated to Portland after more than a decade in Washington, DC.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Darcy

Money Stories: Round 1

 

I’m sooo thankful to have been turned on to Denise Duffield-Thomas a.k.a The Lucky Bitch. My Mama Bliss Coaching School teacher, Ms. Kathy, put it on her list of recommended reads for the course, and I couldn’t be more grateful. The book is both very simple and very profound. I’m only half way through, and I can already feel shifts.


So, one of the core exercises is writing out ALL of your negative money stories in order to clear out your subconscious self-sabotaging money habits. I did something similar a few years ago on paper, but there is something about typing that just helps my voice flow through my fingertips (Hubby loves to call me his “tip-tapper” because I type so loud when I get in a groove).

As a twin, I quickly realized that half of my stories are really “our” stories. It’s partly because we love telling stories, but our list of money stories is getting seriously long. So, we are going to break them down into a series of posts from early childhood, adolescence, early adulthood and married life. Our shared memories are in blue, Darcy’s memories are in purple, and Miel’s are in pink. Hopefully this will help you/us keep our stories straight!

Early Childhood Money Stories & Lessons: 

  • We were born into a wealth of love, but not money. Our parents were the definition of hippies. Our biological father, Wally, was a tree planter and our Mom was already a Mama of three adopted children (ages 15, 14 and 5 when Miel and I were born). Before getting pregnant our Mom had made some money by cooking for the crew of tree planters, and she was/is very crafty. So, she made ends meet creatively, but it was definitively a subsistence lifestyle. She also owned the hippie commune land, so she wasn’t end entirely a vagabond. They were living off the grid with NO utility bills, and had a grocery bill that averaged less than $100 a month. This taught us that you don’t NEED much money to be happy.
  • It’s always felt like a very crazy part of my/our life story, but when our Mom went to the hospital to deliver us, our older teenage adopted sister decided that it was time to fly the coop. She ran away, and quite literally stole all of our Mom’s savings from underneath her mattress. We didn’t hear from her until we were seven. The idea of our Mom being/becoming broke upon our birth has always felt a bit unthinkable. Thankfully, our Mom was gracious enough to forgive her for it, but it’s still a negative family history connected to money. This taught us to forgive too (plus being twins had hardwired us for trusting and forgiving).
  • By the time we were toddlers, our Mom was ready to leave our father when our Dad came into our lives. (I always love how he freely admits that he fell in love with us before he fell for our Mom). He was gifted mechanic, but worked odd jobs until we were about 7 or 8. He got a job at a auto shop in the town nearby. Yet, in high school (after our house caught on fire!), he shattered his ankle falling off a ladder and basically never went back to as a full time mechanic. This taught us that you need to work hard to pay the bills.
  • With our Mom leaving our Father, Wally, when we were so young, some of our first money memories was about child support. As a tree planter, Wally didn’t make much money and what he did earn was very seasonal. Yet, when our Mom made it clear to him that visits would be on her terms, he took her to court to seek regular visitation rights. Along with that privilege came the responsibility of child care. He paid the $100 for a few months, and then our Mom began a ledger to track his back child support. Her favorite saying was “You Can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip.” She had a lot of resentment and was pissed about paying more lawyer’s fees than she ever got back in child support. She was also pissed because Wally’s parents were wealthy, but never offered to help in any way. This taught us that sometimes life isn’t fair and as a woman you need to be able to support yourself.
  • At age four we moved from a cabin off the grid to a house across from the Days Creek School when we are almost four (living briefly in a bus for the summer). We liked to tell people that we lived in “The White House in D.C.” When we moved in our Great Grandma bought our first refrigerator, and gave our parents $100 for groceries, which felt like a lot of money. This made us aware of our lack of money and the kindness of generosity.
  • The house had been a three bedroom farm house on one side with an add-on for a feed store, and a shed bathroom tacked on the back. There was a gas station that had been been shuttered for decades with a shop where our Dad could work on cars. The house was being remodeled for most of our upbringing, which was often a point of frustration for our Mom and us. This taught us that money trumps desire and that you can’t always afford what you want.
  • We didn’t get a phone line until we were almost seven. Shortly after, we got our first used TV as a gift to Dad that Mom found at a bargain. We never had cable, and had a antenna to get ABC, NBC, and PBS. When we didn’t have a TV, I remember watching the news or knowing that their parents watched Cheers and Mash. Later, Mom got into watching Dallas like most housewives of that generation. This taught us that we didn’t have a typical upbringing.
  • Until early grade school our Father lived in a house truck, and even though it was pretty darn fun when we visited, I remember not wanting friends to know he lived such a nomadic lifestyle. I felt relieved when he rented his first place around age 8, and then loved the house he rented from age 9 until he past away three years ago. This taught us that being poor is embarrassing, and you need to keep your poverty a secret.

So, according to the Lucky Bitch, the power isn’t in writing down the story or even sharing it, or even in the lesson (positive or negative) that we learned. But writing down the story and feeling the emotions leads us to being ready to forgive. For each of these stories, we each read them and said, “I forgive you, I accept you, and I love you.

Everyone has money stories…have you released your money blocks?

Darcy and Miel

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Sustainable Family Finances 
Growing abundance while living down-to-Earth

My New Title: Mother/Blogger/Coach/Small Business Adventurer

I finally did it. I quit my “day job.”

The writing had been on the wall for the past year and a half, after I made the first tiny leap by sharing the seeds of my new dream, and then proceeded to plant them. It took many months to convince Hubby, and my Sugar Daddy Scenario helped him see that I wasn’t going to send our family off a personal fiscal cliff.


So, after taking my full unpaid maternity leave, I sent my farewell email to coworkers, which included a quote that I had posted on a vision board my cube:


Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. – Steve Jobs


I had a very sweet outpouring of replies from coworkers, but this one is a quote that I will keep forever as a reminder of why I am taking this leap of faith to pursue my dreams:


Please do not stop being part of something bigger. Your kids are clearly your joy and you are a wonderful mommy and earth friend. Sharing those parts of yourself really helps those of us totally clueless to find little bits and pieces we can start changing to be better.


Take care and bless you for making the choice right for you. I hope it is everything you wanted and is a lifetime of joy.


This came from a coworker who is on leave battling cancer, another reminder of how we only have this one life.


So, I am embracing a new title: Mother/Blogger/Small Business Adventurer


And while I haven’t earned a penny yet, I feel more abundant than ever before.


I hope to finally have the time and energy to bring this blog to the next level, and would love ideas from my few faithful readers.


What’s your personal title? What quotes inspire you?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.