October 11, 2003





Ten years ago, did you imagine yourself in the financial position you're in now? If not, are you better off than you thought you would be, or worse off?

Ten years ago I had imagined that I'd be a bit more in debt than I am today, but making much more money than I am now. I'd say I've broken about even financially because I've gotten my debts way down, but don't make the kind of money now that I had hoped for back then.

Fisch, 47
Preston, CT USA

I think I pretty much saw myself where I am now. I wanted to be self-sufficient, own my own car and home, have my student loans paid off, have some money towards retirement. All of which are true. I didn't and never have imagine that I would be wealthy or have tons of excess cash. Then again, money has not been any marker of success for me.

Felicia, 37
Lowell, MA USA

My financial planning has proved to be accurate--and private.

Jill, 61
Saylorsburg, PA USA

I was concentrating more on other things back then.

Alias Irrelevante

Ten years ago, I could not picture myself married, so I don't imagine I could have pictured where I am today. We are not well off, but we are comfortable. In my early 30s I dreamed of success as a writer that would bring wealth, but I don't think I ever believed that would happen. I just liked thinking about it. Like winning the lottery. Unfortunately, as in the lottery, you have to participate to win.

Cindy, 41

Let's see. Ten years ago, I was 14. I was still planning on being a vet, so I would have expected to be in vet school right now. That would probably mean dependence on my parents. As it is, I have a job, but I'm mostly dependent on my husband. Still, we live in a house of our own, and money is kind of tight, but we have really nice stuff. So I think I'm better off than I expected to be in more ways than one.

Karen, 24
Ames, IA USA

About the same.

Jane, 63
West Linn, OR USA

No, I didn't think I'd be in this financial position. I'm better off financially than I thought I'd be. My
husband died - I got his life insurance. Then, a few years ago, a couple of hard-working brokers got everyone in my old neighborhood to agree to sell. Our old neighborhood of 41 homes is now a neo-traditional housing development of about 800 units, and I got double what my house was worth on the open market. These guys were the third or fourth real estate company to try, and I honestly didn't think they would succeed. I got a financial adviser because I was afraid I would waste the insurance money and the house windfall. She made me dump a lot of tech stocks and balance my portfolio before the bear market, so I lost very little and most of what I lost I've regained.

Cathie, 53
Novi, MI USA

I think when I was 13 I probably imagine that by the time I was 23 (it seemed so old then!) I would be able to afford to have my own place, and not be still living with my parents! How wrong I was.

Cardiff UK

Things are definitely better now. The kids were small so I worked part-time and freelanced so I could be home during the day for them. My husband works construction and work was slow for him then. Now I am working steady full-time and making a decent salary. Time to start saving for college for the kids.

Janet, 46
E. Brunswick, NJ USA

I thought I would have had more money, but didn't think I would have seen so much of the world. So not too bad of a trade off.

Ryan, 29
Riedlingen GERMANY

I think I'm pretty much where I thought I'd be. Comfortable.

Stephanie, 27

I'm just about where I thought I'd be. Maybe a little more in reserve for retirement, but I'm not too far off.

Laura, 38
Lowell, MA USA

I thought I would be less financially stable. Thank God!


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