End of Year Net Worth Update: $469,631.26

Another month, another net worth update! Y’all following along on your side too, right? Tracking your progress and making sure things are on the up and up?

If not, stop reading now and do one of the following:

  • Sign up to mint.com (free) and connect your accounts – they’ll spit you out your net worth
  • Sign up to PersonalCapital.com (free) and connect your accounts – they’ll also show you your net worth (especially good for those with investment accounts as they specialize in that avenue)
  • Go old school and download one of these (free) spreadsheets like yours truly uses (the first one)

Okay – now back to the juicy net worth stuff…

Though, it’s not that juicy as we pretty much broke even in December :) On the positive side, however, we DID MAKE MORE CASH than in usual months! That felt good! It seems anytime our investments are down our cash goes up, and anytime our cash is down our investments are up. So weird… But since our cash has been fizzling a lot more so than not, it’s a trade I’m very much okay with ;)

The other cool news is that our Vanguard fund (VTSAX) continues to pay dividends which I’m just getting around to learning about, as sad as that sounds. I get it all in concept, but it’s much more exciting when you see it visually in your own account ;) And Vanguard makes it super easy to see this stuff of course since they’re all about transparency:

vanguard performance

That $4,328.52 number is what we were given since April when we moved all our money over. Of which $1,771.02 came in December, allowing us to snatch up another 34 shares for pretty much FREE! How’s that for cool?? Of course not all funds/stocks give shareholders dividends, but fortunately for us index’ers that’s not the case ;)

This dividend stuff is my new favorite thing to read up upon after seeing bloggers like Jason from Dividend Mantra and others base their entire portfolio off of them. With the intent of living off only the dividends when it comes time to retire early which I just find all kinds of fascinating. I don’t know if I’m totally down for having dividend stocks *only*, but I do need to get on the ball with investing in more taxable brokerage accounts as currently all my money is tied up into retirement accounts. And I definitely don’t want to hit OLD MAN status by the time I for real retire.

I asked Dividend Manta for a couple of tips for a future article and competition I’m about to join with some other bloggers, so look for that to come out here soon… You can never stop learning, right?

Here’s how December went down…

CASH SAVINGS (+$522.70): On the up and up, baby! And I owe it mostly to our weekly Craigslist habit and challenging all those accounts in the latter part of the year. Being able to SEE all the money saved and being earned over time does wonders for your motivation – I’m loving it. And will be sharing the latest account balance with y’all soon – I got rid of a lot more stuff!

529 College Savings: Scroll to the kids’ net worths below…

IRA: ROTH(s) (-$367.12): Nothing new added here this month, though once we finalize tax stuff we’ll be considering maxing this out like all years past…

IRA: SEP (-$1,283.46): Same with this one too. We’ll probably be able to dump $10,000-$12,000 into this account which I have set aside to do just that once we find out the exacts (SEPs are tied to business profit).

AUTOS WORTH (kbb) (-$85.00): Nothing new going on over here as well. Just the cars slightly declining as they always should, with the exception of my Caddy frozen at $1,000 which is what I think it would sell for once it’s time (It’s too old to be tracked by Kelly Blue Book, haha…).

Here are their values:

HOME VALUE (Realtor) ($0.00): Same $300,000 as it’s been for a good chunk of the year. We leave it alone for a while until I ping my realtor to ask for an update. I just try to leave him alone as it doesn’t really matter much until the day it’s time to sell it ;)

MORTGAGES (-$677.05): Operation “round up debt payments” is still in full effect! We chip away almost $700 every month which will eventually knock it down sooner than later if we indeed hold onto the place forever (which of course we’re not). Things have been going okay in landlording so far, but I already know I’m not cut out for it – too stressful.

Here’s what’s left on our two mortgages:

How we ended the year!

net worth 12 months

We fully expect to hit half a million sometime in 2015 :) If we don’t, I’m shutting down this blog… And you can quote me on that!

Here’s how our boys fared this month as well:

boys net worths

And that wraps up 2014! An increase of about $40 Gs when all was said and done… not $100k+ like previous years, but hell – who am I to complain? I did a $hitty job of earning money compared to them! And all goes back to the fact we go through different phases in our lives… Ups, downs, and all arounds. As long as we’re aware of *when* we’re in them though, and actively trying to better ourselves, we’ll be just fine in the end ;)

As always, you can find all of my net worth updates over the years here, and the big honkin’ Blogger Net Worth Tracker here. People are hustling a lot more than me out there – and it shows!

How did you do this month/year?

j. money signature


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PS: If you’re just getting started in your journey, here are a few good resources to help track your money. Doesn’t matter which route you go, just that it ends up sticking!

If you're not a spreadsheet guy like me and prefer something more automated (which is fine, whatever gets you to take action!), you can try your hand with a free Empower account instead (formerly Personal Capital)

Empower is a cool tool that connects with your bank & investment accounts to give you an automated way to track your net worth. You'll get a crystal clear picture of how your spending and investments affect your financial goals (early retirement?), and it's super easy to use.

personal capital dashboard

It only takes a couple minutes to set up and you can grab your free account here. They also do a lot of other cool stuff as well which my early retired friend Justin covers in our full review of Empower - check it out here: Why I Use Empower Almost Every Single Day.

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  1. How To Save Money January 5, 2015 at 5:15 AM

    Wow! What a great note to end the year!

  2. My Money Design January 5, 2015 at 5:47 AM

    Nice work again this month. Dividend investing is great. I’ve been doing it for a few years now. Receiving +$1,000 is pretty awesome.

    Good job building up the boys’ accounts as well. It looks like they are well on their way to having funds for college.

    1. J. Money January 5, 2015 at 12:06 PM

      Cool! I really want to learn more about this dividend stuff. Not that it would steer me away too much on what I’m doing now, but I’m fascinated with all the different strategies people use to accomplish the same thing in the end – financial freedom.

  3. Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way January 5, 2015 at 6:07 AM

    A very good net worth update J! As usual, you always have a perfect figures!

  4. Jon @ Money Smart Guides January 5, 2015 at 6:56 AM

    Our month was good as was the year. We missed our savings goal – saved 60% of it – but it was a lofty one from the start. The good news is that for the year, our net worth grew 13% for the year. I’ll take that any year!

    1. Jay @ ThinkingWealthy January 5, 2015 at 10:54 AM

      60% is a crazy goal. Good news that it soudns like you got close.

      Mine is more like 30%….

      1. J. Money January 5, 2015 at 12:07 PM

        Hah yeah – 60% is killer! As is, 30% for that matter :)

  5. Mrs. Frugalwoods January 5, 2015 at 7:05 AM

    Looks like you had a pretty great 2014! I remain impressed with your Craigslist hustling. I’m sloooooowwwwly planning on doing some of my own. Slow being the operative word.

    Congrats on your trajectory to $500K–seems imminent and I’m sure you’ll get there this year. Or, it could be your way of securing donations to Budgets Are Sexy… I’ll shut down this blog unless you contribute $20 or something I can sell on Craigslist :). This could work…

    1. J. Money January 5, 2015 at 12:07 PM

      Let’s try it out:

      F’woods – I’ll shut down this blog unless you give me $20. Deal?

  6. Mr zombie January 5, 2015 at 7:07 AM

    Smashing stuff there bud. A nice upwards slope :)

    I only started tracking my NW halfway through the year so not sure what the total was, but it’s been positive.

    All the best for 2015

    Mr Z

  7. Jim January 5, 2015 at 8:07 AM

    As I said I would, using your posts to make sure I’m tracking mine!

    December was good, some additional travel expenses and purchases for upcoming weddings, but received a Christmas bonus and picked up YNAB for $15 on the Steam sale. Plus it is a new year and open for possibilities!

    Debt is now $137,957.17 reduced by 0.9% in December.
    Low cost loans are stable, CC balances up a little, but knocking out our higher cost wedding loan (I know, I know…).

    Net worth is now $-89,361.46 (+4372.32 | 4.66%)
    The big gains were in contributions to 401(k) with matching and just working a ton of hours. Here’s to a more wealthy 2015!

    1. J. Money January 5, 2015 at 12:09 PM

      $4k increase is definitely huge! Way to go man… I want you cracking -$50k by end of year, okay? :)

      1. Jim January 6, 2015 at 1:46 PM

        If I can hold as well as December, that should be possible! This year should contain a bonus, promotion, and home buying, so we’ll see how everything balances out.

        1. J. Money January 7, 2015 at 1:29 PM

          You had me up until “home buying” haha…

  8. Chris @ Flipping A Dollar January 5, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    Gotta love those dividends. It’s like free money! I just checked mine and we got over 1k in 2014. Awesome! It really seems to offset some of the risk associated with stocks, ESPECIALLY when you aren’t going to touch them for 25+ years.

    1. J. Money January 5, 2015 at 12:09 PM

      For sure… plus it just adds to the compounding effect too :)

  9. jestjack January 5, 2015 at 8:32 AM

    Congrats on a good year. For whatever reason my Tiaa-Cref goes crazy in December like your Vanguard and the statement for the month comes in with a lot of activity…..and more shares. As for investing might want to consider some Exxon or Oxy as the price of gas and oil has plummeted these guys have taken a hit. Exxon’s dividend is like 3.3% and my money market is paying like .5%…IMHO oil prices are not going to stay depressed for long…..

    1. J. Money January 5, 2015 at 12:11 PM

      I agree with you. Definitely seems like a good time to pick up oil and oil-related stocks, though I’m done trying to time markets so I just stay the course and not worry too much :) I’m okay losing some gains because I know in the long run I would have lost a lot more by going that route!

      1. Dan January 6, 2015 at 9:07 PM

        You already own the biggest company’s in the world with VTSAX:

        1 Apple Inc.
        2 Exxon Mobil Corp.
        3 Microsoft Corp.
        4 Google Inc.
        5 Johnson & Johnson
        6 Wells Fargo & Co.
        7 Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
        8 General Electric Co.
        9 Procter & Gamble Co.
        10 JPMorgan Chase & Co.

        1. J. Money January 7, 2015 at 1:32 PM

          Awww yeahhhh son! I’m so smart and I didn’t even know it! ;)

  10. John @ Frugal Rules January 5, 2015 at 8:33 AM

    Nice work J! You have to love those dividends. :) I have a few solid dividend paying stocks on top of my index investing and love seeing those payments roll in and go directly to buy me more shares. We had a good end to the year and just waiting to see what little bit extra we can throw into our SEPs for 2014.

  11. Brian @ Debt Discipline January 5, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    A good looking year! Almost at 1/2 millionaire status. :) Our month was good, clash flowed all the Holidays celebrations, gifts, dinners etc. No Holiday hangover for us!

  12. C@thesingledollar January 5, 2015 at 8:57 AM

    Woo! The retirement accounts are just noise (and you had a great overall gain for the year); in cash and mortgage you made actual progress, which is great :) I love that the kids have their own net worths, too. Starting them off right.

    I had no idea I was going to get a dividend from my Vanguard account! This is the first year I’ve had one, so it was a total surprise to me. But an awesome one. Shares for free? Yes please.

    1. J. Money January 5, 2015 at 12:14 PM

      Right?? It’s my first year with Vanguard too and making me more and more confident that it was the right move to take. The dividends are just icing on the cake!

  13. JM January 5, 2015 at 10:15 AM

    Nice work on a successful year, J! On a serious note, please don’t *actually* shut down your blog if you don’t reach $500,000 (which you will!) because then we won’t have anything $exy to read!

    I’ve started a side hustle this year and am hoping to setup an IRA SEP, but to be honest, I don’t really know much about it other than some basic googling. Do you have any tips based on your own use of it to support $exy FIRE?

    1. J. Money January 5, 2015 at 12:15 PM

      I don’t I’m afraid because I just hit up my accountant for all SEP knowledge cuz the intricacies bore me to death ;) But it’s probably a smart thing to read up on – no doubt about it. Good luck with your new hustle – extra money is always a good thing!

  14. Slackerjo January 5, 2015 at 10:23 AM

    How is the real estate market in the area where your house is? Has it recovered or are there still bargain prices available due to foreclosure?

    1. J. Money January 5, 2015 at 12:17 PM

      I don’t follow it that closely anymore now that I don’t live there, but I think it’s finally stabilized and the prices are creeping upwards again. We had a ton of foreclosures back when it all hit, but haven’t heard any news of newer ones lately. I’ll be pretty happy once it’s off our plate, to be honest.

  15. Tiffany A. January 5, 2015 at 10:27 AM

    Congrats J! My NW has been flat given my low (aka nonexistent) income… haha… Hopefully once the real estate market ramps up and I jump in with both feet we’ll get that # rockin’ and rollin’ :)

  16. Rebecca@TheFamilyFinder January 5, 2015 at 10:52 AM

    I love that you are tracking you kids net worth! What a great lesson for life.

    1. J. Money January 5, 2015 at 12:19 PM

      I’ve started my 2 year old on coin counting too now ;) Gotta make sure he loves this stuff now before he gets old and thinks I’m a big ol’ dork! Hah!

  17. Fig @ Figuring Money Out January 5, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    Wow! What a great way to end the year J Money! That’s pretty awesome that you were able to grow your net worth that much last year. I’m so excited to see where you end up at the end of next year! There will be a different number in the front and that’s exciting. :)

  18. Jeff January 5, 2015 at 11:40 AM

    Tough seeing a bit of a decline this month but great job on the year. I don’t know if Christmas is an expensive time around your house but for me it is usually a financial setback, that being said, I love buying gifts for people, even if they get a bit expensive.

    As always I look forward to seeing you move up the list on your Rockstar page, hopefully by the end of the year we can both see a jump!

    1. J. Money January 5, 2015 at 12:19 PM

      Indeed my brother, indeed!

  19. Nicola January 5, 2015 at 12:06 PM

    Great way to end the year! I think it’s amazing that you can grow your net worth so much in one year. You’re nearly a half-millionaire! :)

  20. Christine @ The Pursuit of Green January 5, 2015 at 12:41 PM

    Wohoo! Good job on the net worth!!!! I still need to do mine to see how I fared for 2014. It’s been crazy with the holidays and soon as we got back from vacationing we have been dealing with the final aspects of a refinance on our mortgage. Fingers crossed that it will go well! A lower rate will definitely help us chip away at the mortgage even faster!!!

  21. Dividend Mantra January 5, 2015 at 1:09 PM


    Congrats on the $40,000 increase in net worth. That’s a yearly salary for most people, before factoring in taxes, expenses, etc. Meanwhile, your actual worth grew by that much. Excellent work!

    Appreciate the mention. Dividend investing is exciting because the dividends are tangible and passive. And focusing on the increasing cash flow removes a lot of the emotions that watching the day-to-day stock market oscillations can bring on.

    Looking forward to what 2015 has in store for all of us. It’s a whole year of opportunities! :)

    Best regards.

    1. J. Money January 7, 2015 at 1:33 PM

      “Tangible” – yes. And that’s HUGE with money – sometimes you need to see it to really appreciate and “get it.”

      Here’s to a prosperous new year for both of us, eh?

  22. Shannon @ Financially Blonde January 5, 2015 at 1:15 PM

    This is exactly why I work so hard with my clients on their cash savings. We can’t control the direction of the market, but we can control the direction and trajectory of our cash savings. Btw, I am not sure if I said this in past net worth updates, but glad you finally segregated the boys from yours since it’s not really yours at the end of the day. Hopefully 2015 will be your year to become a half millionaire!

  23. Brad January 5, 2015 at 2:11 PM

    I’m a current Mint user and while I’ve been using it for a few years, from time to time my accounts have trouble connecting to the bank. As a result, I figured I’d delete and re-add my accounts. I didn’t realize that doing so would wipe out my historical data and there’s no way you can get it back (I asked). When you add an account to Mint it only grabs the past 30-90 days of data, depending on the bank. So, my question for you would be if you know of a quick way I can get a more accurate picture of my net worth over time? It’s totally wrong in Mint and it drives me nuts! Actually, it doesn’t need to be quick. Any ideas will work. I would really like to see the numbers. Thanks!

    1. J. Money January 7, 2015 at 1:38 PM

      Yikes – sorry man :( I hate when things get jacked up and you’ve got to start over…

      Have you looked into Personal Capital yet? I can’t remember how it stores/holds transactions, but their features are pretty cool (and can easily pump out net worth too).

      Another thing to consider is YNAB – It’s the complete opposite of automating (you have to manually do it all), but people swear by them. Millions of users… (if you end up signing up, use that link and you’ll get $6.00 off).

      I’m sure there are other decent companies out there, but those are the ones I usually recommend.

      1. Brad January 7, 2015 at 6:04 PM

        Yea, Personal Capital doesn’t list one of my student loan lenders and that’s where a LOT of my debt comes from so that’s a no-go.

        I’ve heard of YNAB but don’t use it. Maybe I’ll look into trying out their demo. I’m really looking for a more robust tool for tacking rather than budgeting. Thanks for the link!

        1. J. Money January 8, 2015 at 12:11 PM

          Let me know what you think if you end up trying it out :)

  24. Tawcan January 5, 2015 at 2:37 PM

    That’s a good jump in your net worth. Definitely agree that it’s important to have a good cash saving. Right now I track Baby T’s portfolio as part of our net worth, it might be a good idea to start tracking it separately like you are doing. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Even Steven January 5, 2015 at 4:15 PM

    Climbing that Net Worth Ladder, great year. Can I ask what’s the point of the 37K in cash is that emergency fund or ? Just curious.

    1. J. Money January 7, 2015 at 1:39 PM

      Yup – emergency fund + padding since I’m self-employed and the bread winner of our family of 4 ;)

      Good thing we have it too – I’ve spent $30,000+ of it over the last year or so with all the changes going on over here… I should actually blog about that – it’s pretty scary, haha

  26. Ryan @ Debt Free Hustle January 5, 2015 at 7:22 PM

    $40k increase is awesome! If I can get that in 2015 I’ll get to that positive net worth I’m shooting for this year. That’s my goal, just get into the positive by 2016! Keep it up bro.

  27. Kate January 5, 2015 at 10:48 PM

    I just logged into my Vanguard account, and I have dividends, too! It’s like Christmas all over again. Haha.

    1. J. Money January 7, 2015 at 1:40 PM

      The Best!!! Haha… rarely do we get *positive* surprises in life ;)

  28. Jeremy January 6, 2015 at 8:04 AM

    Dividends are wonderful. Your money just keeps making more money, and that is the kind of side hustle I like the best

    This year dividends pretty much paid for our whole core cost of living. How sexy is that?!

    1. J. Money January 7, 2015 at 1:40 PM

      Answer: VERY

  29. Kayla @ Everything Finance January 6, 2015 at 12:22 PM

    I haven’t been tracking my net worth, I spose it’s because I don’t want to see the negative figure, but it’s something I should consider doing.

    1. J. Money January 7, 2015 at 1:44 PM

      You’d be surprised how much your mindset changes over time. Yes, it’s scary at first, but it’s also EMPOWERING to grab hold of it and then watch it get better over time. And believe me – if you track it monthly and pay attention, it will get better :) Not all months, but many months.

    2. Jeff January 9, 2015 at 3:02 PM

      Kayla, I have to agree 100% with J$. Every year up until 2014 at tax time my wife and I would look at how much we made and shake our heads because we had no idea where the money had gone. This was a significant amount of money and something had to be done. By keeping track of everything you know exactly where everything goes, and if you are able to make up a bit of a budget you know exactly how much of your cash can go to spending it on fun stuff. Like J said, there will be months where it goes up and some months where it goes down (I just got out of two consecutive losses) but at least you know.

      Not “seeing” your net worth, being positive or negative, will hurt you in the long run. You don’t have to display it to the public, just keep it to yourself and keep yourself accountable for what is happening to it.

      1. Money Letters January 24, 2015 at 5:30 PM

        It is motivating to finally see your net worth in writing…even if you’re like me and not quite ready to publish it for the rest of the world to see.

        1. J. Money January 31, 2015 at 8:51 PM

          yup! net worths are really ONLY for us. some whackjobs just like sharing it with the world for some reason ;)

  30. Jon January 6, 2015 at 2:27 PM

    You can actually still track the Frankencaddy’s worth on kbb.com. KBB apparently changed recently and you can now check values on cars back to 1992.

    1. J. Money January 7, 2015 at 1:44 PM

      Ooooh really??

      Will check it out and start tracking it again then – thx homie!

  31. Mr. Captain Cash January 6, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    J. Money,

    Really solid performance throughout 2014 increasing your net worth by $40,000. With your net worth almost reaching the $500,000 mark it will be interesting to watch it pick up speed and start to increase more quickly in value if you keep doing what you’re doing.

    Nothing better than craiglist hustling, great savings and profit to be had. I use Kijiji instead of craigslist though from being up north.

    Mr. Captain Cash

    1. J. Money January 7, 2015 at 1:45 PM

      Thanks man :)

      Heard great things about Kijijij too!

  32. Martin January 6, 2015 at 3:03 PM

    Keep on kicking ass my friend! Just throwing in my encouragement.

    1. J. Money January 7, 2015 at 1:51 PM

      Thanks man! Better than you *kicking* my ass! I never want to end up in that ring with you, Mr. Wrestler star!!

  33. James@StartingNegative January 6, 2015 at 11:19 PM

    Man, $40k in a year. If I hit that, I’d be on the positive side of the ledger and then some. I guess that’s what 2015 is for. Can’t be sad about my $29k gain, though.

    Looks like a million’s coming up for you. Don’t forget about us when you start rolling around in vault of cash!

    1. J. Money January 7, 2015 at 1:52 PM

      Of course not! Y’all will be joining me in that vault swimming! What’s the point in doing it all by yourself? ;)

    2. Jim January 7, 2015 at 2:51 PM

      Hey James, I just read through your blog and added it to my reads. I’m in a similar point, not quite as many prior mess ups, but a bunch more (largely student) debt. Looking forward to reading your future posts!

  34. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank January 7, 2015 at 4:14 AM

    J Money, your net worth is awesome. The line has no other direction to go but up. Very impressive! Mine is not that good as yours because I still have student loan and credit card bill to pay. That being said, I am planning to pay those off this year. So, I am hoping to have that kind of graph like yours.

    1. J. Money January 7, 2015 at 1:55 PM

      We’re all in different stages, my man – you just keep plowing ahead and you’ll get to where you’re supposed to be in no time :)

  35. EL January 8, 2015 at 9:30 AM

    Hey J. congrats on the great year 40Gs up is awesome. As far as dividends go, you could be rocking it a little better as you have over 300K in mutual funds. On average someone with your net worth can pull in about 12K a year in dividends, obviously depends on the funds distributions per share. If you switch over some funds into a vanguard REIT or Utility fund, you may have a higher dividend with a little more risk. I ended my December with 1550 in dividends in one month. Good Luck in 2015.

    1. J. Money January 8, 2015 at 12:13 PM

      Yeah, you’re probably right on that one, but I’m hardcore about indexing right now so won’t switch just to get more dividends :) Perhaps in my new non-retirement account I’ll be opening up soon though?

  36. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom January 8, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    $40K is nothing to scoff at! Nicely done. Looking forward to following along this year.

  37. Jackie January 24, 2015 at 5:20 PM

    New to your site and I LOVE your net worth updates! Also, thanks for combining and publishing a list of other PF Boggers net worth.

    1. J. Money January 31, 2015 at 8:24 PM

      Glad to hear it Jackie!

      I love net worth stuff A LOT so it’s super fun to track everyone else’s too :) And it’s fascinating how different they all are too, even outside of the #’s. We all seem to have our own thoughts on what Net Worth should include, so it’s cool to see the other perspectives.