Net Worth Updates

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fin_2007june15.gifNot much movement on the bottom line so far this month.

Lots of movement within though, as I’ve been moving money over to my checking account from credit cards and my ING Direct account to pay the last two-thirds of the home renovation that should be complete over the next couple of weeks.

That’s when the bottom will fall out and I’ll be right back where I was in January 2007 hovering around a net worth of $50k and carrying a lot of credit card debt.

The difference this time? I have a nicer house, I have a savings account generating interest, AND, best of all, all of the credit card debt is at a low rate.

Though it’s now very unlikely that I’ll reach my 2007 goal, I’m still feeling pretty confident.

Back in September of 2004, my various credit card balances put together topped out at over $26k. And all of it was sitting there at 15.99% or higher. Oddly enough, I was never in a panic mode.

The situation I’ll find myself in later this month is nothing compared to that. My income has increased a bit since 2004 and my expenses have definitely decreased since 2004. (Oh, and have I mentioned that I own my own plane now too?)

This time, I should be able to chop the balance down over a few months, rather than a few years.

Just a bump in the road.

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June 2007 Numbers

Another month passes, another step in the right direction.

A gain of roughly $4k was less than I’d hoped for, though it’s been our average gain for the first 5 months of the year, but we’ll need to step it up a bit if hitting $100k by the end of December is going to happen.

Since the mid-month report, I’ve added back in the trade-in value of my second car that was involved in the accident. We don’t have it back yet from the body shop, but apparently it’s going to look as good as new — but with that amount of body work on record, it’s value dropped over $1k. That’s okay though — I can’t say there was ever a real solid plan to sell it or trade it in anyway so it will continue to “decorate” the garage.

Another good month on the stock market too. While the 401k didn’t go up as much as it did in April, it’s still becoming very apparent that the secret to wealth lies there. I really don’t have much in there and I’m sadly not contributing much while I attack my debt, yet it manages to go up well over $1k per month consistently — and almost $2k for the past two.

On the liabilities side, we wiped out the home improvement loan I’ve complained about, which is a huge load off of my shoulders. Since March, we took it from over $8k down to nothing, perhaps making this the last month (finally!) of really aggressive debt reduction. Right now, we don’t have anything left sitting at a rate higher than 5.35%.

On the flip side… there is the credit card debt. It nearly doubled this month, but that’s due to the 0% transfer we’re taking advantage of to finance the home improvements we’re planning to make this summer. The balance is currently sitting in an ING Direct account making us about 77 cents each day so it doesn’t really feel like debt. Get back to me on that next May!

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Ouch. Sorry, had to say it again.

This time I’ve highlighted the negatives.The largest loss was due to the accident I was in this past weekend. I still haven’t heard yet if my insurance company considers it totalled, but until then, I’ll consider it a total loss.

Also relating to the accident, having to put a rental car on plastic, even just to get home, threw that all off track as well. In the coming week, I’ll also be taking a cash hit as I’ll have to pay my deductable on the insurance policy.

Not looking to be a great month financially.

On the flip side, the balance on the original home improvement loan continues to shrink.

I think we’re still on track to finish it off this month barring any additional unexpected expenses relating to the car accident.

I’m still overpaying the auto loan each month — and thankfully the automobile in the accident was paid for — but it’s not really beneficial as the rate is so low anyway.

Last week I also stepped on to the 0% balance transfer bandwagon. I applied for one of the CitiBank cards that boasts 0% for balance transfers for 12 months with no transfer fees.

Unfortunately they only gave me an insultingly low limit of $6800. I was hoping for more, and expecting more, but I guess it’s probably a better thing that it’s not a lot of money being tossed around on my first go around.

Right now, we’re thinking to just use $6000 of it and drop it into an ING Account until we’re ready to tackle phase two of our home renovation.

That way, we’ll have over $10k available in savings and some additional cash from my wife’s side to pay for the work. (I don’t include her finances in these reports as we don’t have any joint accounts, and, if we can manage to survive and gain wealth on just my income, well, the money she brings in is just a total bonus!)

When it comes time to pay back the roughly $5k balance on the 0% transfer twelve months from now, I’m confident we’ll have saved up enough to pay it off entirely and not have to pay a dime in finance charges.

We won’t make any money on the transfer like some people do, but it will give us the funds NOW and at no cost — which is exactly what we need.

Another scenario would be to pay down the credit card debt I’m carrying, but I’m reluctant to do that as it’s not reported on my credit report.

I own my own company and $7k of the credit card debt is on the company card.

My personal credit cards are used for gas, to pay the home internet bill, and the monthly fee for a storage unit I rent… oh, and unexpected car rentals! How could I forget those?

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I think I’m going to start doing an update twice per month…

I spend so much time looking over and keeping track of my finances, it’s hard to wait an entire month for status reports — especially when I feel as though I’m “this” close to ridding myself of the debt nightmare I dug myself into.

Exciting in a nerdy sort of way.

Not a great finish for the month of April…

Negligible gains in our savings and our checking account took a monster hit — though much of that is answerable to the sizable decrease in the balance of our home improvement loan. In the end, a modest 2.36% gain.

In regards to the home improvement loan, from Bank of America, it was originally $12k at 15.5% (that was the best rate we could get on an unsecured loan — ridiculous) back in December of 2006, we’re on pace to be done with it later this month. Thank heavens.

For the next round of renovations this summer, we’re going to try the local credit union and probably charge a pretty fair chunk on plastic too if we need additional funding.

The credit card balance tipped to the wrong side for the first time in over a year during this period. I had an unexpected expense for a design project I’m working on — a project that unfortunately I’d already been paid for, so this cut heavily into the profit. Drat.

Hopefully, in the coming weeks, a few more April invoice payments will roll in allowing us to get back on a more aggressive track.

Seven more months to come up with another $33k to reach our goal for 2007.

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I was thinking that I should probably post my financial goal for 2007.  Sure, we’re well into the calendar year now, but it’s not to late to set a goal for the year.

It’s been a long journey since I decided I’d had enough of debt. Sometimes I wish I’d logged it all better so as to pick up more momentum just from looking at the results.  It’s all in there in my Microsoft Money file, and I can tell you, once you decide to change your ways, there really is a snowball effect.

To think, no long ago, I was shelling out over $400/month in finance charges to credit card companies. 

That’s over $10/day… for nothing!?  Nothing?!   Never again.

So, my goal for 2007 is to raise my net worth, not including the mortgage or house, to $100k.  It’s not a very ambitious goal, but we’ve got some expensive home improvement projects coming this summer and likely our first child on the horizon in 2008 as well.

The digits for January 2007 are on the right. As of the numbers on April 15, I’m 31% of the way there having increased the net worth $15375.

By January 2008, I hope to have the credit cards hovering around the $300 level and ‘other’ loans (currently a home improvement loan at 15.5%?!  Ouch!) at $0. I’ll keep paying the auto loans regularly as the interest rate is so low (less than I’m currently making in an ING Direct account), there really isn’t any advantage in paying them early.  If all goes as planned, the additional home improvement will be paid out of pocket for the most part and contributions to savings and the 401k should increase as the debt disappears.

Something I thought I should mention — I’m afraid some readers might look at these numbers and finance posts as “bragging”.  Far from it.  I know we’re doing alright, better than a lot of households across the fruited plain, but at the same time, I’m also aware of the fact that $1 million dollars is within grasp of nearly every resident in the country, regardless of income.  I’d bet everyone reading this has a neighbor that has over a million in the bank somewhere.  I’m not there yet, not even close, but I’ll get there, and logging it all down along the way will help keep me focused.  Then, maybe then, I’ll have a number worth bragging about.

Point being, these are not high numbers in the grand scheme of things, and I’m not looking to brag.  I’m looking to show how easy it is to accumulate wealth — if you’re willing to put in the effort.

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April 2007 Financial Specs

Nearly three years into this, I’m starting to actually see the light at the end of the tunnel of debt I managed to find myself in. It’s funny, once you change your whole outlook on money and finances and the ball gets rolling — and you keep track of the progress — it starts to become, well, almost exciting and fun at the same time. Maybe it’s just me…

One million dollars is actually a very easy, not to mention realistic, amount to reach for nearly anyone. Income doesn’t really matter so much, and I’m aware that I won’t be able to retire early on it or anything, but for now, it’s a goal. A reachable goal. One I don’t think I’ll get bored with and abandon in a couple of years. When I hit it, I’ll raise the bar.

While I’m still tanking on the Assets side of things, over the past month I managed to put a pretty large ding in the debt I’ve been carrying. Being that this is the first mention of my finances, it’s basically been like this for the better part of three years — so when it’s coming down in $6k increments and there’s only around $21k total in non-Mortgage debt, well, it’s almost time to celebrate the first leg of the climb and prepare for the next climb to $1,000,000.

For explanation sake, since this is my first financial update, I don’t include the house as an Asset. Mostly because it’s too much of a pain to figure out what it’s actually worth on a month by month basis, and even if I were comparing it to local real estate sales, it’s really a hit or miss guesstimate. The actual mortgage, however, is something that’s easy to track, so I include it as a liability.

For the total Net Worth though, I omit the mortgage from the calculation, as technically the Asset of the house should theoretically cancel out the mortgage and then some. Make sense? I hope so.

Hopefully, a few more months from now I won’t be so cash poor.

Can You Dig It?


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