This week, my wife and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. It had a surreal feel to it. It is hard to imagine that 10 years have gone by. In all honesty, it has gone by in a flash. This post is a brief review of the past 10 years.
Our Wedding day
My wife and I were married on August 10th, 2007. It was the best day of my life. Sorry, if I sound cliché, but it was the day I married my best friend and the greatest person who I have ever met.
Even though it was 10 years ago, I remember the day like it was last week. Our wedding was on a Friday night and it rained the entire day. My day started by going for breakfast with my dad and uncle who came in from out of town. After breakfast, I had to take by grandmother to the hairdresser. After that, I went home and relaxed. That afternoon, I watched the first 2 episodes of Mad Men and just reflected on my life. At 5 pm, it was time to get ready. I put on my tux, jumped in my car, popped in Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones, and headed to the hall to get hitched.
We were married in an unpretentious hall in Olyphant, Pa. For wedding gifts, both my parents and my wife’s parents gave us each $5,000 to use towards the cost of the wedding. We managed to keep the cost of the wedding close to $10,000. My future sister-in-law paid to have the string section from Marywood University’s Music Department play for one hour while guests were arriving.
When we were planning our wedding, my dad gave us a solid tip. He said that people will be coming after work on a Friday night, so be sure to have plenty of food and alcohol ready for them as they arrive. We followed his advice and our guests were pleased.
Our wedding went off without any hiccups. We said our vows, ate, danced, and had a great night. It was the beginning of a new life.
After our wedding, I moved in to the house my wife owned. My wife had purchased this house from a relative a few years after she finished college. The good news was that she almost had the house paid for. The bad news was that it needed to be remodeled. Over the past 10 years, here is what we accomplished:
Garage door: $1,200
Bathroom remodeled: $6000
Kitchen remodeled: $8,000
Lawn & landscaping: $5,000
Generator: $3000 (following Super Storm Sandy in 2012)
All the projects other than the addition was paid for in cash. A home equity loan was taken to pay for the addition.
Salary & Savings
The first year we were married our combined income was just over $80K. Since then, it has doubled. Every year we have maxed out our Roth IRA accounts. We also fund our 401K/403B accounts. We started by contributing 10% of our salary to the 401K/403B accounts and have increased our contributions to the maximum amount allowed. We also save money in a taxable account. Our savings rate has increased from 40% to almost 55%.
My wife is a public-school teacher in Pennsylvania. To get to the top of the pay scale, she had to complete 60 credits beyond a Master’s Degree. When we were first married, my wife had her Master’s Degree. For the first 4 years of our marriage, she took classes and finished the required 60 credits. She did so without incurring any student loan debt.
When we were married for 5 years, I switched careers from Marketing to HR. My new employer offered tuition reimbursement as a benefit. It was my goal to go to graduate school. I took advantage of that benefit and went back to school to earn a Master’s in Organizational Management. The degree cost me about $2,000 and my employer paid for the rest.
Prior to getting married, my wife did a great deal of volunteering. She did mission work in China where she volunteered to teach English to children in orphanages. After we were married, she has shifted her efforts to volunteer more at her church. She has inspired me to be more community focused. I have become active in helping teach career and interview skills to young people who are developmentally delayed at The Arc of Luzerne County. We also volunteer together and have taken on a commitment to pick up roadside litter as part of an Adopt-A-Highway project.
(Actual Photo of us wearing matching shirts)
It has not been all work since we have been married. We have gone on many nice trips. Here are some of the places we have visited:
San Francisco, Ca (honeymoon)
Las Vegas, NV
Key West, FL
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Ocean City, MD
Virginia Beach, VA
Quebec City, Canada
My wife is my best friend. She is also the kindest person who I have ever met. Our relationship is based on trust, honesty, respect, and communication. We are not perfect, but we try to be good to each other and to be considerate. I am not going to lie, it has been easy. I would not change one thing about her and would marry her again.
Looking back, it has been a great 10 years since we have gotten married. Moving forward, we are planning on doing more of what has gotten us to this point. Our goal is to retire in about 11 years, so we need to continue to work hard, save, and invest. Life is short, so we are also going to continue to travel and enjoy every day we have together.