Net Worth Updates

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August 2008 Net WorthBack on track and headed in the right direction again after my first down month in roughly a year.

Here’s how my finances break down at the start of this month:

Not a lot of movement here. Mostly because I had my checking account riding high at the end of last month for use on vacation and this month was a 3 paycheck month — I “topped-up” yesterday. I’d expect it to hover back around the $2k mark for September’s update.

Slight recovery. In June, I “borrowed” $1500 from this account to pay for vacation. This month I returned just one third of that. Not great, but better than nothing.

Gov’t Bonds:
No action here. I’d pull the money out since I find I-Bonds dreadfully boring, but they’re earning a decent return right now so it wouldn’t make sense to move then.

Still technically losing money here. Not as badly, but when you’re contributing around $1k each month and seeing the balance only go up around $500, well, it doesn’t feel like such a good idea. I say that, but I’m not anywhere near holding back my contributions. In fact, while I’m already at the point to qualify for the maximum employer match, I’m on the verge of taking it one step further to hit the federal $15k limit.

Still dropped in value, but not that much. In fact, during the month it was down a lot further only to recover about 2 weeks later. Perhaps it has something to do with my neighbor’s house now on the market

Auto 1:
My little Scion xA has retained its value pretty well — back up a nudge this month. It’s nice to know that I was a good two years ahead of the curve when I picked up this little fuel efficient 4-door hatchback.

Auto 2:
It blows my mind that KBB thinks my BMW Z3 only has a trade-in value of $6290. Sure it’s over a decade old and it’s been in an accident but it’s only got 37k miles on it and runs like a charm. I know I could throw a “For Sale” sign on it and get some sucker to pay 5-figures for it any day. I’d pay that much for another one! Even still, as it’s paid for already, I’ve no problem letting it sit in the garage until it starts to appreciate. I’ve no doubt that it will sooner or later.

Credit Cards:
Right back to zero. It may look like I only paid off $601 this month, but once everything we spent on vacation cleared, the total bill was just shy of $2200. Wiped out. Too bad the rewards don’t amount to a pile of beans

Auto Loan:
Stepped up the pace on this one. Breaking the $4k mark puts me in the red zone. By October’s update, this number will be zero.

Other Loans:
Zero. Been that way since May 2007.

Tons of progress here, but no reward. I’ve never sent so much extra towards the principle before but this was a failed attempt at having the PMI removed from my mortgage. I’ll go hard again this month (to the tune of around $2k) and hopefully that will push me over the edge and put that useless insurance behind me.

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Net Worth UpdateBeginning this Friday, I’ve decided to simplify my monthly net worth chart.

Who really cares about the numbers at the start of the year? And are all the percentages really necessary?

I don’t think so.

So starting August 1, the chart will only display the past month’s progress. Really, that’s all that matters anyway.

Maybe at the end of the year, I’ll do a full year recap with a big confusing chart where I’m the only person who can make sense of it, but maybe not.

The past few months, a number of PF bloggers have stopped reporting their net worth all together. Most recently, Lazy Man comes to mind.

The greats, like JD from Get Rich Slowly or Trent from The Simple Dollar have never really done monthly updates at all — and they’re still great!

But there’s something to be said for sites like Consumerism Commentary where Flexo has illustrated how he’s taken his net worth from as low as $13k in December of 2003 all the up to nearly $156k just last month — month-by-month.

It gives his words, stories, and advice, I don’t know, some credibility, I guess.

It gives you that, “Hey look what this person did… I can do that too!” feeling.

Some might find the monthly updates to be boring posts, but for me, the real numbers people use on their own sites are most inspiring in a “keeping up with the Joneses” sort of way…

Maybe it’s just me…

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July 2008 Net Worth
The streak is over. I’d plateaued for a few months, hovering around a net worth of $180k, but the last week of June took it’s toll.

An over $5k loss on the assets side was too much for me to overcome. The value of my 401k dropped an all time high of $3712 and the vlaue of my home continues to fall a pretty decent clip as well.

There was some good news too though…

The liabilities are continuing to fall. Switching gears from the auto loan to the mortgage is inching me closer to crossing off a few more 2008 goals.

In fact, I’m confident that the PMI on my mortgage will indeed be eliminated this month.

You may notice that I took on some credit card debt last month — this was because I was on vacation. It’s been paid off in full already and I’ve also replenished much of what I took out of savings.

I haven’t gone through all of the spending on vacation just yet, but it cost a lot less than I expected. No, really… The price of gas shouldn’t be an issue for anyone.

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June 2008 Net Worth Update

Wow — talk about squeaking one out in the end…

As hoped for, the seemingly common end of the month upswing in the markets propelled me to yet another positive month — up just $42.

It’s not great, but I’ll take it.

Obviously the huge drop in the value of my home had a lot to do with this month’s totals — it’s not easy to cancel out a $4500 drop in value. Thankfully, the 401k did manage to cancel out over half of it!

On the plus side, motivation-wise, I’m pretty happy that I was able to reach my short-term goal (since readjusted) by knocking $1000 off the car loan and adding $1000 to savings.

I’m also quite proud of the fact that I was also somehow able to wipe my credit card balance back down to zero after racking up over $1k in charges just a couple of weeks ago.

In the end, June is looking to be a rather bland month financially. Sorry — not too much excitement on the horizon.

My new focus will be more on the mortgage, but at a very relaxed pace as we’re also going on vacation this month, so the more I have in the checking account available to me, the better…

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May 2008 Net Worth Update

Well, April 2008 goes down as a pretty decent month for me financially. It was my first full month without a credit card balance which sounds like it should be a good thing, but in actuality, it kind of left me in a haze.

I didn’t really know where to send my money at the start of the month, made a couple bad decisions midway through, and I’ll be correcting them this month.

I also found that I wasn’t keeping track of my accounts as diligently as I had in the past. For months — years even — I’d routinely log into each bank’s website each morning to check on my balances. Now, with so many of them just reading $0, I’ve lost interest. That’s not a good thing.

But the numbers don’t lie…

While not falling as aggressively as in the past, I still managed to knock another $1722 from my debts. In the coming months, I’ll begin to focus a lot more on the auto loan rather than the mortgage so as to free up more money each month (which will then just go towards the mortgage).

See, the mortgage payment isn’t about to change but by eliminating the auto loan, I can relieve myself of a $289 minimum payment each month.

On the assets end of things, though the total went dipped into the negative, everything that I can control was a plus. I’ve worked my checking account back up to $2000 and I’d replenished my savings account back up to $1000. Combined, that’s within $50 of where I started off the year (except now I’m not carrying $8k+ in credit card debt).

The markets were kind this month — my 401k balance jumped over 6% and I reached, then surpassed, my all time high.

The value of my house, however, dropped quite a bit. Maybe it’s the media’s housing crisis finally catching on in my neck of the woods and, honestly, even if it is, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest — I’m not looking to sell anytime soon anyway. I’m also not about to just stop paying the mortgage either.

The trade-in value of automobiles also dropped significantly this month, with my daily driver seeing a double digit percentage drop. I suspect that has a little to do with me surpassing the magic 30k mile mark. That’s okay though. As long as both vehicles are running just fine and I still owe less than they’re worth, it’s not something to worry about.

With the added padding of the Tax Stimulus check in May, I can’t imagine I’ll take a turn for the worse in the coming month…

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April 2008 Net Worth Update

As has been the case of late, almost in a routine fashion, the end of the month upswing in the markets has bailed me out of another negative month.

The train keeps on rolling… not a single down month since July 2007 and that was due to a siding payment. I’d be shocked if I can go a full twelve months with the current market turbulence, but we’ll see.

In the end, March 2008 moved my net worth up another tiny fraction of a percent. Just $128 dollars. I’m not real impressed, but I can’t complain either.

The mover on the liability side was the credit card debt. It’s gone. Eliminated. El finito.

That’s a *huge* load off of my shoulders.

The mortgage balance also fell a little bit extra due to the fact that there were 5 Monday’s in March. (I make automatic principle payments each Monday.)

The shaker for the month came on the assets side in the rows I have essentially no control over.

Using my outrageously unreliable and terribly un-scientific home value calculation, the value of my house fell another $1500. My two cars also lost substantial value.

Neither, the drop in the house or the cars, really matter though as I’m not looking to rid myself of any of them.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how things progress in April. I still don’t have a real concrete plan in place, but I think I should start seeing the pendulum start to swing from the liabilities side and towards the assets side of things in terms of growth (which has remained relatively static for months).

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March 2008: Net Worth Update

Well, not much to report for February…

It was neither a good month or a bad month with less than a 1% increase in total net worth.

And had it not been for my federal tax refund coming in on February 29th, it would have been a down month — my first since July 2007.

The best news is that the credit card balance is on course to be paid off this month and that will free up a lot of cash that can then be directed elsewhere — like the auto loan followed by the mortgage.

I’m nearly 5 months ahead of schedule on my original debt snowball plan and things are definitely picking up speed with each passing month *and* there are no large expenses on the horizon. Always a good thing!

March may shape up to be a down month in the end, but with $0 in credit card debt, it certainly won’t feel like a down month… No doom and gloom here.

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February 2008 Net Worth Update
January finished with a very impressive and unexpected 8% networth increase.

Things progressed nicely on the liabilites end of things and that was expected.

Total credit card balances are now under $5k, and I’d have to say it’s been over a decade since I was last able to say that. It feels good and I can finally see the finish line. By next month, my total non-mortgage debt will be under $10k. It’s exciting.

The cash reserve on the assets side is due almost entirely to the fact that January was a three paycheck month for me, so the numbers are slightly skewed.

The last minute recovery of the market lessened the blow considerably as well. At one point I was down over $6k this month but it finished up down only $2290. Is it just me, or has it been a routine for the markets to recover lately at the tail end of each month? It sure seems that way to me.

Housing slump? What housing slump? The value of my home skyrocketed this month. I’m not 100% sure why.

Back on January 9th, when I initially checked in on the numbers, it had dropped $12k. Ouch.

But last night, when preparing this post, it had made a nearly $30k swing in the opposite direction?! The fluxuation is making me consider dropping the home value from these updates again, but quite honestly, I haven’t noticed a housing slump in my part of the country.

Homes that are on the market are selling, and for prices higher than I’d ever pay for them, so for now, I’ll take the good with the bad. And this month, it’s all good. Besides, even omitting the huge increase in home value from the totals, I still somehow mustered a 1.4% net worth gain this month.

Here’s to hoping I can keep up the progress in February…

Can You Dig It?