Net Worth Updates

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Well, being that it’s been two years since I last posted an update, I know I’m not taken aback by the HUGE sways in the chart over there.

I mean, a lot has happened over the past two years…and my finances certainly show that.

Let’s start at the top… My checking account balance is dreadfully low. I’m still on one of those plans where if my balance drops below $1500, I get charged a $14 maintenance fee.

With so many “free checking” options out there, I should probably inquire about switching the type of account I’m on as it’s been a monthly trend for me to drop below that threshhold — though I must admit, I’m not ususally *this* low.

That said, my spending has changed drastically since November of 2015. DRASTICALLY. I’ll share that news soon.

Regarding savings, yep, you’re seeing that correctly. My stash in savings dropped 6-figures…but it was money well spent. Remember that garage I fantasized about for years? Well, we built it. And it cost a lot.

The “Lending Club” line is new. Much like my experiments with stocks and i-bonds in the past, I dipped my toe into the peer-to-peer lending pool to see if it there was any easy money to be made.

The answer to that question is…no. But I will say, after 18 months or so in the game, I’ve figured out what not to do…so my tiny earnings will no longer disappear due to loans offered to deadbeats.

As for stocks, yes, somehow the $9 I had in my ShareBuilder account two years ago is still worth just $9. Actually, it’s $8.92. I rounded up.

And my 401k is on the up-and-up. I’m sure President Trump is who I should give the most credit to, huh? Yeah, that’s not going to happen. Ever.

Oh, the credit cards. For someone that’s dug themselves out of $30k in credit card debt, fully documented on this site, not once…but twice, I’m sure it’s hard to fathom that I currently find myself nearly $40k in credit card debt alone today.

Well, that garage we built was expensive…and we didn’t finance any of it (besides the second mortgage we took ouy years in advance) so I was using the plastic exclusively for a long time.

The good news is that the garage is 98% complete and 98% paid for. The fact that I’m only $40-thousand in the hole as a result makes me feel pretty okay. I’m in pay down mode now. You’ll see. Stick around for the ride.

You’ll notice a couple of lines for auto loans. Well, those are new too.

See, my trusty Scion xA (that I paid off in 2008) left me stranded a few hundred miles from home a few weeks back and I had to buy a new (to me) car in a hurry.

Then, this past week, the Swagger Wagon my wife drives (that we paid off in 2015) was hit by an uninsured driver. Wonderful.

Still waiting to see if it’s going to be repaired…our insurance company is taking their sweet ass time but I think the writing is on the wall — we’re going to “add” two auto loans within the span of one month.

And the mortgage balances are what they are.

Truthfully, I thought a two year gap would show more progress but the fact that I’m sending minimum payments in — wisely, I might add — is likely to blame.

Once that credit card debt is gone, Mortgage 2 will be the primary target. It’s currently my largest monthly bill coming in at $573.48…and I hate it.

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November 2015 Net Worth ChartOnly a few weeks late with this…

Pretty good month that was greatly swayed by the recovery of the markets that caused my bottom link to tank last month (and the month before).

That (out of my day-to-day control) nonsense aside, I had a good month.

Granted, it was also a month with three paychecks which also swayed the numbers, I still spent less than I paid back on all of my open credit car accounts — one of which I paid off.

I’m thinking I should resurrect my monthly spending reports to really make myself more accountable for my spending.

Really, shame is a great motivator. I truly hate having to explain my frivolous expenditures when, deep down, I know exactly how frivilous they are…

I also want to show off how much fast food I’ve been eating.

It’s crazy.

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networth201509Yeah, so last month I was pretty confident that I’d turned a corner and was well on my way to building wealth again…and then I ended up down another 8 grand…

Granted, the markets continued to tank so my 401k kind of acted as an anchor of sorts but I also spent a TON this month.

Back in August, I mentioned that my oldest son would be trying out for a travel hockey team. Well… he made the team which is so awesome as he’s “playing up” (basically playing at a level above his age group) but with that come some pretty hefty expenses…you know, to the tune of $3000.

On top of that, my middle son’s hockey season is another $500. Yeah, this isn’t like the $60 town league soccer program…

So that was the main budget buster, though much of it is hidden in this update as I paid down the balances prior to the end of the month — as much as I could, anyway.

We also purchased a new mattress from Casper.com. I’d heard enough good things about them and knew that, since our staircase is so narrow, we needed something that we could get up into the room without causing all kinds of damage to the walls and ceiling.

It came in a box that was manageable in size and enlarged once we cut it open. Pretty cool. Pretty comfy. And, thankfully, a purchase what we’ll make maybe once per decade.

Outside of that, it’s business as usual around here…

Oh, have I mentioned how nice it is not having a car payment again?

Yeah, that’s pretty sweet.

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September 2015 Net WorthWhat a month!

Now, usually, I’d be pretty upset about falling nearly $10k in the span of 31 days but not today.

I haven’t really set financial goals since, hmmmmm, probably 2008 (which has probably been a HUGE mistake) but back in April of this year, I set a goal of paying off my remaining $11k balance on an auto loan by summer’s end.

On August 7th, I did just that.

So, while my credit card balances are a little out of control and the savings balance is below the $150k I think I’ll need to fully finance the garage project, my auto loan is gone.

That opens up a lot of cash to pay down the loans and bloat the savings in a hurry.

And, on the bright side, had it not been for the market woes at the tail end of the month, I’d have actually had an increase this month.

Pretty good feeling considering that I kinda felt I’d stretched myself a little thin…

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New Worth 2015-07I often say that “Data Don’t Lie” but sometimes it’ll really surprise you.

The fact that I squeezed out a positive number last month is quite shocking to me as it was a month when my property taxes were due and I guess I kinda felt like I was spending…and spending…and spending some more each month.

So, just a few explanations on the movers and shakers…

The savings dropped so much because, as I mentioned, my property taxes were due. I don’t have my real estate property taxes built in to my mortgage which basically means that my mortgage payment doesn’t have anything going into an escrow account.

The upside is that my mortgage payment is under $500 per month and stays the same regardless of whether taxes go up or down. The downside is that, twice per year, I need to pay my taxes myself — out of pocket.

If you’re pretty good with your money, it might be something to look in to. I love it.

Connecticut, the state where I live, also applies a property tax to automobiles so those were paid too.

On the liabilities side of things, I’m thrilled to report that I knocked another $2800 off of the auto loan.

The downside is that when I started rapidly paying that balance down (from $11k), I had pretty much zero credit card debt. Now I have over $7k owed at a relatively high interest rate.

It’s okay, though. (I’ve explained my reasoning in the past)

A few more weeks down the road when the auto loan is gone, the credit card balances will start to fall quickly.

I’m on the right track.

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July 2015 Net WorthAnother month, another net worth update.

So, I dropped $1196 overall but that’s almost entirely due to the situation in Greece and the inexplicable reaction to it in the North American markets earlier this week.

If you’re not following, the decline in the value of my 401k is because the markets dropped a little over 2% in reaction to the most recent round financial woes in Greece.

How a country like Greece can effect the markets over here is a discussion for another day…

Aside from that, though, I was pleasantly surprised with what transpired during the month.

See, while I’ve been focusing nearly all of my attention towards paying down the auto loan, I’ve been using my credit cards with, what feels like, reckless abandon and not really paying much back towards them.

Or so I thought…

I expected my credit card balance to be far more than $441 deeper in debt.

Truthfully, I was prepared to be $1k more in the hole.

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June 2015 Net WorthSo the good news is that I’m still on the up-and-up when it comes to the bottom line.

Clearly, my all out assault on the auto loan is making a HUGE difference with just shy of $3k falling off of the balance during the month of May.

On the other hand, it’s apparent that I’m not paying down my credit cards very much at all and, to my surprise, actually, I’m using them more frequently than I thought I was.

This is due largely in part to expenses incurred during a last minute mini-vacation we took during the Memorial Day weekend, a tablet purchase for my son’s 6th birthday, and some rather expensive license renewals for my side business.

Thankfully, if they’re not annual expenses, they’re really infrequent ones so the month of June should look a lot more attractive.

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May 2015 Net WorthWould’ve been neat to see my progress during the past couple of years when I was essentially “ignoring” my finances.

‘Ignoring’ is too strong of a word. Let’s just say…I didn’t have any direction. Now, hopefully, I’m back at it.

So, unlike when I previously did this, I’m going to ignore assets like the house and the cars.

Mostly because it was such a hassle to calculate their values but also because the values I came up with could so easily be questioned.

I mean, that Land Rover valued at $4500 only really got me $1500 as a trade-in. Kelley Blue Book – you’re dead to me.

Honestly, though, I’m also leaving them off because I know I’m currently in the black without them… No need to “pad” the numbers.

Hooray for getting older and wiser, err, wealthy!

(pretty sure everyone gets wealthier as they get older… if only I could’ve been where I am now when I started this place 8+ years ago…)

Here’s the breakdown:

Checking
My day-to-day cash lives here. It’s also where I deposit my paychecks. Basically, I just try to keep this above $1500 at all times since that’s the threshhold where BoA will start charging me maintenance fees. Most months, I come within a couple hundred bucks of getting charged.

Savings
This looks awesome, doesn’t it? Well, truth be told, a vast majority of it is money I owe on a home equity loan so it kinda cancels itself out on the liability side of things. The plan is to use all of this (and then some) to finance building a HUGE addition on our home.

401k
Considering I barely contribute to this (as there hasn’t been a match for years now), I sure am glad that I got as much in there as I did when I was still in my 20’s. Really, this is a testament to starting early on a nest egg. Not necessarily continuing (as I have not), but starting early.

Stock
Not sure why I still have this paltry amount sitting in a Sharebuilder account. While I’d love to brag about how much money I made selling my Tesla, Chipotle, Lululemon, and SolarCity stock, well, those earnings may as well be ancient history at this point…

Auto Loan
Primary target here — this thing is dropping fast. While I’m barely a week into my aggressive payment plan, this 5-figure sum will be reduced to nothing before the summer is over.

BoA Credit Card
This is a business card that I use as a business owner mostly to make tracking my business expenses super simple since they’re all on one statement. Thankfully, I’ve gotten to a place where I pay this one in full each month — that is, if my clients pay their invoices promptly.

Chase Credit Card
My card of choice lately which is why it’s carrying a balance. It doesn’t have the lowest rate or the best rewards program but they sure do make it easy to pay them back and, often times, they have the best “transer your balance” offers. As a result, I’ve had this account open since I was 21 years old. For those counting, that’s 17 years ago.

Citi Credit Card
This is my other go-to card. It has a pretty sweet rewards program but the interest rate is ludicrous compared to my other accounts. As such, since I’ll be carrying a balance for a few months, this card doesn’t venture out of my wallet much these days.

Mortgage 1
My primary mortgage, the one that, post-refi, has a $498/month payment. Staying the course on this one as I’m sure that in 10 more years, a trip to the grocery store will be comparable in price. *So* thankful I refinanced when I did.

Mortgage 2
This is what’s left to payback on the Home Equity loan we secured back in December of 2013. We still haven’t used the money so, in theory, I could pay it back tomorrow.

Can You Dig It?

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