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Ungrateful Ninja…

I went out to dinner with some friends the other night. Yeah, believe it or not, I actually have friends! One of them is a pretty consistent reader/commenter here on PDITF (shout out to MattyIce). We were talking about some of my recent blog posts when he said, “Ninja, you are sooo good looking and you smell amazing”.

Okay, you caught me. He didn’t say that, but wouldn’t that have been really weird if he did?

This was our actual conversation…

Friend: One of my buddies reads your blog and he made some comments to me about your recent budget posts.

Me: Oh yeah? What did he say about them?

Friend: He said you seemed super stressed about your post-marriage budget even though you anticipate having about $2,000 in left-over income each month.

Me: Yeah. He’s right. It does stress me out a little bit.

Friend: He also said he can’t believe you seem stressed about having such a large surplus when he doesn’t even make $2,000 in a month.

Me: Hmmm. I guess I may have came across as a little ungrateful. I should probably blog about this.

Friend: Yes. You should. Because I love your blog and it is what gets me through the day. It’s the wind beneath my wings. I love you. If it were possible, I would want to bear your child.

Yup. That’s EXACTLY how our conversation went down the other night. Moral of the story mi amigos is this: I’m a crapbillion times more excited about my income than I am stressed about it.

If I have ever came across as ungrateful, unappreciative, or even snobby, then I have failed yet again at communicating my thoughts.

Just last week I wrote an article about how it is difficult to verbalize financial success, but easy to communicate financial turmoil. Well, I think this is probably why I may seem more stressed about our budget than I actually am. It’s a lot easier to say “Oh man this variable income thing kinda stresses me out” than saying “Wow, Girl Ninja and I are going to have an incredible income.” I’d feel weird proclaiming the latter statement as people may perceive that as arrogance. But ya know what? I shouldn’t be afraid. It’s time to just lay it out there and tell you how I really feel.

I’ll be 25 when I get married this summer and Girl Ninja will be 23. I expect our 2010 annual income to be approximately $85,000. Next year, 2011, we should hit right around $100K. Our income level for our age is WAAAY higher than I would have ever expected. I am totally stoked on our generous income, but I also believe it’s important to temper that excitement with reality. The reality is, our income could decrease at any moment with the loss of job, medical issues, etc.

With a generous income, a great deal of responsibility follows. How should we save for a house? How much should we contribute to retirement? How much rent is “too much”? When you have a smaller income, or a lot of debt, you don’t have the need to stress about such things. Instead your wondering “Can I afford my water bill this month?” of “Will I be able to make my car payment?”

Now obviously I’d much rather worry about retirement and down payments than putting food in my mouth or gas in my car, but an increasing income doesn’t come without its own unique issues. Transitioning from ‘frugal bachelor’ to ‘upper middle class husband’ is a pretty big change. One that I like to share here on the blog. Please forgive me, however, for focusing on the things that stress me out about the transition, when I should be writing more about the joy and gratefulness I feel.

I’ll do better. Pinky promise 🙂



  1. Its funny how everything is relative. I know a ton of people around here who are unemployed, so I cannot say a word about finances because they are fighting to save their homes. Some have filed for medicaid insurance for their kids. So, me complaining about the 30 dollars I got ripped off by comcast for my ‘triple play’ probably sounds pretty darn stupid. (I will be calling again to get my 30 dollars back by the way.)

    You are not ungrateful. You have worked hard for your money and you want to make the most of it. However, it is good to try not to stress by looking at those around you who are getting by on less because then you know it can be done if you are ever reduced to one income.

  2. i think youve done just fine in keeping yourself in check. If you only focused on the positives, it can get veyr easy to lose track of your goals, which are saving for the future (house, retirement, etc.) thats why i think its great you dont dwell on how much money you make, but rather how much you are saving towards your future goals. keep it up.

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  3. Ninja, I know exactly how you are feeling. I am 25 and getting married this fall. We have already combined our savings, money, etc. It is stressful planning all of your finances out! We make about 95k combined and after accounting for all of our expenses, there is not a lot left over at the end of the month. I think that it has to do with us including savings as an expense. We have quite a bit of money saved, but sometimes I feel sick when I look at the things we need to buy to start a household. I tend to think the same way that you do about money……A lot of our friends make much less, but do not seemed stressed about money. I do not know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

  4. I agree with the reader’s comment in that you have seemed a little oblivious to the “majority”… but that’s not to say you’re ungrateful. If anything, it’s ignorance… but it’s an ignorance you maintain because you DON’T want to be broke. It drives you to work hard and manage your money meticulously and put together a really great blog with a unique perspective. It’s noble and refreshing.

    You can’t make all the readers happy. Perhaps the reader needs to ask himself why the discomfort exists. Is it because he is unsatisfied with his life? Is it because he is jealous? Is it because he does not believe he can manage his own money? Make the most of what you have; don’t persecute others for having what you do not.

    Debt Ninja: Never let others come down on you for your success.

  5. I think everybody who’s well off can come off as ungrateful when they talk about their financial worries to somebody who’s not doing as well. It’s like someone talking about a stubbed toe to a guy with a missing leg…but you know…it’s personal finance. You have worries and a blog…it’s natural that the two would come together, right?

    My husband and I make a combined $78k-$80k a year in Houston, TX and live on $2500-$3000 a month…which means that we also have monthly extra. BUT, I still have money worries and I still talk about them on my blog. Isn’t that to be expected? Otherwise my blog would be boring…no personality and just article reviews all the time. Who’d want to tune in then?

    I’m glad you are happy and grateful. I am too. But, I still wonder if paying off my husband’s car with most of our emergency fund is a good idea. I still wonder if we’ll be able to retire at 52. I still wish we could max out two Roth IRA’s every year without having to give up something major. Sure, these “problems” seem silly to someone wondering when their electricity may be turned off, but they are still my worries and that’s what personal finance is all about. 🙂

  6. You are very blessed my friend… so much so that you probably need to have children soon for the tax break. Otherwise, uncle Sam and Obama are gonna notice, “Ninja and Girl Ninja make to much and don’t own property or have kids… let’s take more from the Ninja family”.

    That would blow… trust me, I experienced it this year after having a child, making to much, and paying almost 4K when we filed our taxes.

    If you aren’t careful, you’ll have no money for a frosty.

  7. I remember reading once that your income will equal the average of your 5 closest friends. In my experience, it’s true.

  8. It’s a tricky situation revealing your own income b/c there will always be people who will not have as much.

    The more you make and have, the more people will not have as much. Hence, we I keep my finances hidden.

  9. Interestingly enough, I think I may be that person MattyIce is referring to…

    I have been reading this blog regularly for a while now, shoot, actually a really long while now (I have an easy job, unfulfilling job). So what happens next, once you’ve punched debt in the face? To be curt, I’ve found this blog to be pretty interesting, but more and more I’m seeing it as out of touch.

    Maybe it’s just me. I think you’re still relevant and all, I mean, seeing a 25 year old ninja murder his debt away is inspiring and encouraging… but yeah, whats next for the PDITF readers?

    Also, it blows to make less than 2k take home a month. just sayin…

  10. oh yeah, and i dont think you’re ungrateful per ce, i just felt that some of your posts seem like you aren’t connecting with reality. or rather, your stresses arent mine. hahah. either way, its a dope blog, keep it up.

  11. Trying to make this short as possible. If you always spend less than you earn no matter what you earn, you will come out ahead. We made the big bucks for years, lived frugally anyway, socking away for the day… like now ~ we get one of our usual two week paychecks a QUARTER now. So like 1/7th. our old income, and yet because we have no debt, and own our house, it’s a struggle, but it’s do-able. We carpool, I make bread, and cook at home, use coupons, only buy something with some sort of discount, etc. Sure I miss some of that stuff, but I figure I really have it good compared to some. And not having house, car, etc. payments is really easy to get used to!

  12. I don’t pick up ingratitude from PDITF. A little bit of out-of-touch-ness, yes, but I mean… you’re a young, intelligent guy with a $42k net worth and a beautiful woman you’re about to marry and have kids with. That’s enough to make anyone giddy! Life deals hardship to different people at different times in different ways.

  13. Remember Girl Ninja income is less than permanent if operation “baby” was to succeed. We bank all of my GF’s salary and live off mine. That way we’re used to living off one salary

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