Forget the House— Financial Achievements to Be Proud Of Now

Audrey Dundee Hannah
4 min readMay 3

Remember when you still paid bank late fees?

Buying flowers at Trader Joe’s is a luxury and no one can tell me otherwise. Photo by author.

Buying the house, funding the wedding, paying for the kid, and joining a coveted urban country club — we Gen X and Millennials of one bedroom rentals and day jobs and scuffed Converse don’t know this life. We can sit around sad in our thirties, forties, and fifties that we don’t have that slice of American Dream or we can laugh every time a shiny flyer for a local $1.15M property shows up in the mail or — this is what I really want us to do — we can look back over all we’ve accomplished financially thus far and be proud of ourselves.

When I could barely buy groceries and pay my landlord — let alone get myself any medical care — I decided that when I could waltz into Whole Foods and wantonly buy a large container of wild blueberries I’d know I made it. This was one of the smartest insights my anxious twenty-seven year old brain ever produced; as a result, I have tracked much more closely my real great good fortune rather than comparing myself to the Joneses; which would invariably lead to meeting my demise via Capital One.

Here is a by-no-means-exhaustive list of financial benchmarks that if you have accomplished you can wholeheartedly feel very, very, very proud of yourself for having made happen:

  1. You pay your rent every month on time. You don’t have to worry that you’ll default and get kicked to the curb. You’re on it. Maybe you even have some savings to reassure yourself that a bad month or two won’t render you homeless.
  2. You don’t have to count every dollar as you pick out black beans and red leaf lettuce to put in your basket. You might not have an unlimited food budget or be able to splurge on more expensive items but you can definitely get the things you need without involving mental math.
  3. You either have paid down all your credit card debt or are on a steady track to this end. You don’t freestyle shop online like you want to ruin the life of your future self; and you value the peace of mind that comes with being free of owing (and paying interest on what you owe).
  4. You’re at ease sticking your bank card into a gas pump. No need to go inside with a twenty only to ask for five back and the rest to go into your tank. No…
Audrey Dundee Hannah

Actor (“Bones,” “9–1–1”), satirist (Slackjaw, Points in Case, Flexx), entrepreneur (of many stripes), community organizer (parrots, googly eyed objects).