New Net Worth: $468,391.43 (Down $23,000. Ouch?)

Well that was a fun month :)

Actually, this clocks in as the 2nd largest drop of net worth since tracking it over these 7 years (the first was a $40k kick to the gut back in June of ’13), and sets us back to January’s numbers when we were at $462,741.66, sigh…

But as many of you financial rock stars know, none of this really matters until you’re done with your J-O-B and start pulling from it. So when these crashes happen it should be “Yes, yes, OMG – YES!! Stocks are SO cheap right now – Turn on that $$$ faucet please!” Or, as @AndrewsDad puts it:

stocks crash rich poor mentalityAnd I’d like to think we have a lot of rich people reading this :)

When all was said and done though, I have to admit that August turned out to be one of my favorite months. And that’s because a midst of all that market horror, there was one beacon of light that had me grinning larger than a Kardashian booty. And that was our cash reserves jumping up $4,000 – woo!! Marking the fourth consecutive increase after two years of a leaky ship… And God willing, we’ve finally plugged the hole.

Here’s how our net worth broke down:

CASH SAVINGS (+$4,100.19): A nice contrast from *losing* $2,000 every month when we had our kids in daycare and I was mid re-structuring my online projects. And as soon as the wifey gets back into the workforce it’ll be Game On even more… Crazy to think our family of 4 has been supported by my blogging activities all these years, whew… Hopefully we’re past the hard parts!

(BTW, if you’re currently in one of these hard parts, just remember – It’s only a phase! It’s hard as hell to keep that in mind when you’re going through it, I know, but as long as you have a plan and are *working on that plan,* you’ll be on to the next phase in no time. Keep hustling and doing your best!)

BROKERAGE (-$28.50): A little drop here, but nothing compared to what’s below ;) This category here holds our only investment funds outside of our retirement plans – something I started dipping my toes into earlier this year. Can’t tell if I like it all too much (I’m a fanboy for those tax benefits!) but it’s probably good to diversify. I have our Motif Investing stocks here, as well as all our Acorns money (which are invested in ETFs).

IRA: ROTH(s) (-$5,616.30): A much bigger drop here, but it is what it is. Hoping to have enough leftover by the end of the year to max it out again as we have been for the past 5 or so years. A friend of mine once said that if you could max out your IRA and 401k every year you’ll be just fine. And I agree! That’s $23,500 dropped which will grow like a mother over the years… Easier to say than to do, but still very much true.

IRA: SEP (-$21,577.48): Wammo! Haven’t seen a drop like that since Kanye West’s presidential announcement! Which, sure, was only 3 days ago, but still – ACK! Looks like we’re still up since April of last year though when we went the lazy one-fund route:

vanguard index returnsI’ve literally invested $400,000 in VTSAX, one of Vanguard’s total index funds. Thank goodness for those dividends!

AUTOS WORTH (kbb) (-$369.00): Nothing too out of the ordinary going on here… though we did have a scare with my Caddy – yet again – on its battery draining… either something wonky is going on or I suck at turning off lights/the radio each drive. Which very much could be the case, womp womp.

Either way, here are the Kelly Blue Book values of our two cars:

  • Plain Jane Toyota: $4,289.00
  • Frankencaddy: $1,000.00 (KBB shows $1,420… but when your car looks like this, well…)

franken-caddy before after

HOME VALUE (Realtor) ($0.00): Still set at $300,000 which our realtor appraised it at a handful of months ago… I don’t like following Zillow or others just ‘cuz they’re always off for me, but they may be better in your area so def. worth a shot if you’re looking for a way to assess. Really all you want to do is have a general idea of what your house is worth, whether you include it in your net worth or not (some don’t believe they should be included since primary residences aren’t income-generating assets).

MORTGAGES (-$708.12): $700 more chipped away! Our rounding-to-the-nearest-$100th trick continues to pay dividends :) One of the best habits to get into!

Here’s the break down of them:

We can’t refinance, but believe me – we want to. Or better yet – offload the thing ;)

Here’s the journey of our money over the past year:

net worth 12 monthsDown down down in a burning ring of fire! Should make for a fun graph once things are on the up and up again though :) You need the bumps to appreciate the wins, right?

And here’s how our little nuggets are doing… (nothing new added):

babies net worth

And that’s August! A little action to make sure we’re awake, haha…

How did you do last month? You lose more than $20 Grand like me? I hope so. Means you have a lot more money than I ;)

Remember that it’s not a race though. It’s fun to look at other people’s money and hopefully be inspired by it (like *ahem*, checking out this list of 180 bloggers’ net worths!), but at the end of the day the only thing that matters is your OWN situation and whether you’re happy with it. If you are, keep on going strong. If not, time for some changes!

(Though do know that some things are within your control, like savings, expenses, etc, while others are not – like when the market crashes/rises. This is exactly why I call August a huge WIN in our household. The stuff we controlled are up (cash/mortgage pay off) and the stuff we don’t are down (stock market). Tracking your net worth is much more than just a number in the end.)

By the way, you can see the past 7 years of my net worth here: J’s Net Worth Tracker

Here’s to a fresh new month!

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. Chris Muller September 2, 2015 at 5:25 AM

    Being down 20k isn’t bad, considering your net worth. Think of it instead as being down like 4.5%. That happened to all of us last month with the stock market getting smoked.

    Now’s the time to invest though!

    1. Dividend Growth Investor September 2, 2015 at 9:15 AM


      My networth was down, but my dividend income is projected to go up. Since I am in the accumulation phase, I am better off if stock prices keep going down for the next five years. I totally agree that people should be excited about prices falling down, and not scared, particularly if they are still saving to invest.

      If I were in the retirement phase, I would just ignore stock price fluctuations and live off the dividends. If you check the historical dividend payments they are almost always going up. This makes them an ideal source of dependable income in retirement for someone like myself


      1. J. Money September 2, 2015 at 11:03 AM

        Damn good strategy too! I always admire all y’all dividend investors even though I can’t seem to pry myself from index funds :)

        1. Dividend Growth Investor September 2, 2015 at 12:34 PM

          Index funds pay dividends too ;-) In fact, VTI/VTSAX has raised annual dividends for 6 years in a row..

          We are very similar, in that we believe buying stocks (individually or through index funds) and holding on to them for decades is the way to have our little soldiers (dollars) work for us..

      2. Jim Wang September 2, 2015 at 1:47 PM

        That’s one of the benefits of dividend investing that can help calm the nerves – especially in markets like this where it’s headline news driving volatility and not underlying economic or individual business performance. Keep cashing those checks!

    2. Stockbeard September 3, 2015 at 4:33 PM

      Yup, I “lost” about 50k as well… I wish it meant I was super rich, but really it’s some of my old “bad” investments on emerging markets (*cough* BABA *cough*) that are taking the most heat…

  2. Chris @ Flipping a Dollar September 2, 2015 at 5:44 AM

    We dropped about 6-7k, but I had my best month re-selling on eBay! I’ll take what I can get.

    1. J. Money September 2, 2015 at 11:03 AM

      There you go! Stuff you can control is UP.

  3. Emma | Money Can Buy Me Happiness September 2, 2015 at 7:21 AM

    Yep we are down too – but debt on the rental properties is dropping too so the gap isn’t so large. Feeling relieved to have investments split across rental property and the stock market right now. That said I’d love to have the cash to buy up big if I could.

  4. Dee @ Color Me Frugal September 2, 2015 at 7:29 AM

    I’m sure we are down, but I honestly haven’t looked yet. Psychologically it always hurts a little to see it fall, even though obviously this is when stocks are on sale. I’m not going to change anything based on whatever the number is, so I just haven’t looked yet. I just wish I had more to invest right now- we are in the last few months of our student loan repayment and we are currently throwing all spare cash at that. But once those are gone we are looking forward to being able to take advantage of volatility in the market!!

    1. J. Money September 2, 2015 at 11:04 AM

      Yup! That’s the caveat right there – having the cash ready to pounce on opportunities :) I’d say you’re doing things just fine w/ your debt mission so keep on killing it all away! Plenty of time to invest as time goes on.

  5. Elise@ Simply Scaled Down September 2, 2015 at 7:38 AM

    Blah, mine dropped, as well…it was rice and beans for us until I smacked myself upside the head and told myself 1)rice and beans are gross and 2) we have plenty of time in the market to make it up.

  6. Brian @ Debt Discipline September 2, 2015 at 7:42 AM

    Going to crunch the numbers this weekend. Good news just don’t panic and remember investing is a long term game. :)

  7. Ramona September 2, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    He he, loved the ‘stocks are cheap: buy!” attitude. If you are investing for the future, these high and lows are just part of the ‘game’. The finish counts.

  8. Kate @ Cashville Skyline September 2, 2015 at 8:08 AM

    Yup, red arrows everywhere! But I’m on the hunt for some deals. I’m hoping everything stays discounted before my next paycheck. My home continues to increase in value as $400K properties are springing up all around me. I get letters from developers almost weekly, but no offers have motivated me enough to sell.

    1. J. Money September 2, 2015 at 11:10 AM

      Good position to be in :)

  9. Michael September 2, 2015 at 8:12 AM

    Nothing that won’t look like a speed bump in a few years from now. You’ll be looking back in 3 years and be wondering what the dip that happened was from.

    Saw a similar dip to you J Money in my overall net worth but it was to be expected. Still have a bunch on cash that I have sitting around so been trying to use this market to my advantage. Last Monday got some great steals on individual names.

    Hoping for a bigger pullback from ATH in the 20% range to really justify this rough patch we are seeing. All fun and games at the end of the day.

    To continued personal control and enjoying what life throws at us!

  10. Free to Pursue September 2, 2015 at 8:14 AM

    “Yes, yes, OMG – YES!! Stocks are SO cheap right now – Turn on that $$$ faucet please!”

    HA. You read my mind. I’d also argue that everyone needs to think that way, regardless of where they are on their FI journey, as what we draw is such a small amount compared to the entire portfolio. Sometimes it will be more than the target percentage and some times less. To freak over the value of the entire sum at any one time, as too many people do, kinda misses the point and would make anyone feel they’ll never have “enough”.

    1. J. Money September 2, 2015 at 11:14 AM

      True true… though once you’re retired and pulling from it you don’t have extra $$ to dive in and scoop up more :( Unless you continue The Hustle too, which I’m sure most of us will to the end of days :)

  11. Steve Miller September 2, 2015 at 8:17 AM

    I feel your pain, brother, our portfolio hit the skids by $84k. Not worried though, we have money in cash and bonds to carry us over so we don’t have to worry about selling anything to live on.

    I saw your article about rounding up the 2nd 100th, pretty cool idea.

    1. J. Money September 2, 2015 at 11:15 AM

      thanks man! wanna trade portfolios? :)

  12. Justin @ Root of Good September 2, 2015 at 8:52 AM

    Oh, only $23k? That’s not too bad! :)

    I had to check mine and it’s not as bad as I thought. “Only” down $74,000. Though Sept 1 saw another huge drop of $35k or so. Literally the price you pay for having a 7 figure stock portfolio.

    It’s really not that ugly at all yet. We are just as wealthy as we were in February of 2015. And I felt damn good about our finances back then. So today I’m going to keep enjoying early retirement, do nothing financially, and get back to relaxing (which at the moment, relaxing = helping my 3 year old learn ABCs and then play some computer games and read a good book).

    1. J. Money September 2, 2015 at 11:16 AM

      I hate you sometimes, you know that? :)

  13. Will September 2, 2015 at 8:55 AM

    Bah – you’re so much better than me!!! I only ‘lost’ $11,000 in the stock market slide. I bought something like 9k promptly afterwards.

  14. Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies September 2, 2015 at 9:01 AM

    Our Roth IRAs took a bit of a beating, too, but I’m not dwelling on it. Definitely focusing on the long haul. Thanks for always being so open about your finances. It’s really motivating!

    1. J. Money September 2, 2015 at 11:17 AM

      I’m so glad! I sometimes feel that my #’s don’t relate to as many people as they used to when i first started this blog, but we’re all in different phases and so my hope is that it does encourage others to keep on going strong :) Including myself! There’s nothing like sharing your #’s w/ the world to hold yourself accountable, haha…

  15. Mrs. Budgets September 2, 2015 at 9:06 AM

    I haven’t calculated ours yet, but I am not worried. The only thing I worry about right now is how I can come up with more money to invest now well the market is done.

  16. maria@moneyprinciple September 2, 2015 at 9:10 AM

    My heart goes to you, darling! (And I feel your pain completely; many of my accounts are down as well.) But it will recover eventually.

  17. Jason @ Phroogal September 2, 2015 at 9:11 AM

    Congrats on every aspect of life you can control being on the up and up.

  18. C@thesingledollar September 2, 2015 at 9:16 AM

    I had a similar month on a much smaller scale. I lost about $1200 in my retirement account, but did well at the things I do control (spending etc) so I’m not upset about it.

  19. DP @ Someday Extraordinary September 2, 2015 at 9:53 AM

    The market really took it’s toll the last week of the month, but I was lucky enough to buy into it and gain a little on the rebound. It’ll all come back . . . just takes time.


  20. John @ Frugal Rules September 2, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    Relatively speaking, I don’t think you’re that bad off as Chris mentioned above. We were down as well, but really couldn’t do anything about it – not that we could have even if we wanted to anyway. All of our accounts were in the process of being transferred to Vanguard so we couldn’t trade. Now that everything is there and we’ve maxed out the Solo’s for the year I’m a kid in a candy store. :)

    1. J. Money September 2, 2015 at 11:19 AM

      Lucky timing!!!

  21. Mrs. Crackin' the Whip September 2, 2015 at 10:07 AM

    It’s always so inspiring to check out the net worth posts! Congrats on the cash increase!

  22. Mr. Utopia @ Personal Finance Utopia September 2, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    Having your net worth drop that much in a month can be psychologically unnerving, but as long as you know the primary reason for it is nothing that will impact you long term (and you obviously know that) then it makes it easier to brush off.

    Almost all of us got hit just as hard. Just think how much fun it will be too see your net worth go back up again during the rebound!!

    1. J. Money September 2, 2015 at 11:20 AM

      Hah! Good point… hadn’t even thought about that :)

  23. Luke Fitzgerald @ FinanciallyFitz September 2, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    August was a great win. You’re exactly right – control what you can control. If you’re doing that, you have nothing to worry about. The stock market will come back like it always does and you’ll be sittin pretty.

  24. Tawcan September 2, 2015 at 10:30 AM

    Sucks to see such drop but that’s what happens when the market drops. Our net worth probably dropped quite a bit as well (only track every quarter). Like you said, people should focus on buy when the market is down.

  25. Maggie @ Northern Expenditure September 2, 2015 at 10:39 AM

    Unfortunately we don’t have enough to lose over $20,000…. YET! We’ll get there. I love the graph tanking down to the pit of despair! We saw some major dippage as well, but I’m hoping the market stays down until October 1 when we get our PFDs…. then we can drop all of them into the market on the cheap! YAY!

    1. J. Money September 7, 2015 at 12:21 PM

      That’s going to be a fun transaction!

  26. jaclyn September 2, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    August is always my worst month too. Seems like things are just quiet. but should even out for the rest of the year since I picked up so new projects.

  27. Kayla @ Kat Script September 2, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    Ouch! At least your NW will be back up when the stock market rises again. :)

  28. Syed September 2, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    I’ve been invested in VTSAX as well for about 5 years now and this was by far the worst month since I started :-) Why the smiley face? Because everything is on sale like you said! My monthly contributions will buy even more shares of the fund which will mean bigger increases when the market goes up. And the dividends are a nice stabilizing force.

    I also like your friend’s idea of focusing on maxing out your Roth and 401k. That’s exactly what I try to do since they both offer incredible tax savings and ability for growth. The contribution limits also go up every few years so you’ll be automatically contributing more and more if you continue to max out.

    1. J. Money September 7, 2015 at 12:22 PM

      Yup! Pretty cool you’ve been invested in VTSAX for so long too – I hope to say the same one day! With an additional zero, perhaps :)

  29. Michelle September 2, 2015 at 12:39 PM

    I didn’t lose as much as you, but I also don’t have as much saved :) I like to think about how everything is on sale though!

  30. Fervent Finance September 2, 2015 at 1:03 PM

    My ride has been even more volatile since I hold some individual stocks that have been seesawing recently (hopefully sell out of these in next 12 months if tax implications aren’t too bad). I like my Vanguard mutual funds a lot more who only change in value once a day :) Hopefully the market doesn’t get any ideas and have a sharp rebound, want to put money to work on the cheap!

    1. J. Money September 7, 2015 at 12:24 PM

      Haha yeah – you only get to see one updated # compared to a BAZILLION with individual stocks! Per second! :)

  31. Jim Wang September 2, 2015 at 1:45 PM

    Seeing that number for me was a tough pill to swallow too (for me it was about a 3.8% drop, vs. your 4.8%) but things are on sale if you have cash on the sidelines. If you don’t, mind want to rebalance now too. I realize it’s market timing but everything in life is about timing. :)

    One benefit of your set is that a lot of your investments are in retirement vehicles so you have a structural reason not to act rash and to think more long term.

    1. J. Money September 7, 2015 at 12:26 PM

      Yep! All by strategy too when I started paying attention to this stuff. Didn’t want to be tempted to pull from it earlier on! Now I need help *spending* money, haha…

  32. Dividend Mantra September 2, 2015 at 1:58 PM


    Short-term volatility is nothing more than a long-term opportunity.

    Love the poor people/rich people tweet up there. Couldn’t agree more. :)

    Keep plowing your cash into those accounts.

    Best regards.

  33. Kapitalust September 2, 2015 at 2:03 PM

    To put it another way: you’re only down a Honda Civic!

    1. J. Money September 7, 2015 at 12:26 PM


  34. ChrisCD (@jumbocds) September 2, 2015 at 2:11 PM

    So why can’t you refinance? I didn’t think we could either, but was able to two years ago.

    cd :O)

    1. J. Money September 7, 2015 at 12:29 PM

      We don’t qualify for any of those refinance packages that came out a few years back as we had already refinanced a year or so before they came out (when we were REALLY underwater). For us to be able to refi now we’d need to bring like $90k to the table since we barely have any equity :(

  35. Jeff @ JS Builds Wealth September 3, 2015 at 12:37 AM

    Hey J, sorry to see that going down I am scared to do mine. Just a little blip on the radar, we all say we hope that the market stays low during our buying years but when it goes down it still hurts.

  36. Joe September 3, 2015 at 12:59 AM

    Our net worth dropped about 80k in August. We have been really busy so I haven’t thought much about it. I took the opportunity to contribute some extra money to our Roth IRA and i401k, though. I have been through a few crashes so I’m confident it will be fine in the long run.
    I’d love to pick up more shares, but we’re low on cash now.

    1. J. Money September 7, 2015 at 12:30 PM

      What I love about your “busy” is that it’s all from enjoying life and doing whatever you want, haha… All your hustling back in the day is paying off in dividends! Both figuratively and literally! :)

  37. Million by 30 September 3, 2015 at 7:24 AM

    $10,997 AUD on the 1st of September (up from a low of 8.2ish at the start of last month). Stock market is keeping me pretty stagnant but managed to find myself a cadetship whilst studying so I’m set with money going into the retirement superannuation account every week and a good starting salary.

    New car is looking very tempting at this point (current 1990 Corolla got a fair thrashing during my multiple money making schemes over the past twelve months), but will probably try and hold off a bit longer so I don’t break the bank.

    1. J. Money September 7, 2015 at 12:31 PM

      That sounds like a good plan… I like to hold my cars until they die out before picking up another. That way there’s no back and forth wondering if it were a smart move or not :)

  38. Michelle September 3, 2015 at 9:23 AM

    Frankencaddy is…special LOL! You’re in it for the long haul re: the market and that is obvious by your reaction. Money decisions are all about keeping cool under pressure.

  39. Andrew September 3, 2015 at 6:22 PM

    We are only down a few grand in our 401k . Most of our cash is tied up in hard assets and we have been putting most of our disposable income towards our mortgage up until last month. I am wringing my hands in anticipation and looking forward to a large market drop! Time to round up the troops and invade some stocks!

    Good Luck!
    Andrew & Vee

    1. J. Money September 7, 2015 at 12:33 PM

      Second Hand Millionaires – hah! Love that for a blog name.

      1. Andrew September 7, 2015 at 4:36 PM

        Thanks! Can’t wait to read more finance posts! We’ll be sure to stop back.

        Andrew & Vee

  40. Vawt @ Early Retirement Ahead September 3, 2015 at 7:51 PM

    If down months are not happening once in a while, something might be wrong with the market! I managed to contribute a lot to retirement accounts for the month, so my investment portfolio plus debt repayment managed to be at close to neutral for August. It sucks to put that much money in and see no gain, but it is better than a large drop.

  41. BeSmartRich September 4, 2015 at 2:25 PM

    My portfolio got a huge hit this month as well. As you and Andrew’s dad put that it is time for us to jump in and pull more triggers on stocks in our watch list. Can’t beat the sales out there. I just wish I had some cash around. Thanks for sharing. Cheers!


  42. stephan September 5, 2015 at 4:55 PM

    Just love what is happening in here,

    1. J. Money September 7, 2015 at 12:34 PM

      Glad to hear so – thanks for stopping by :)

  43. Financial Samurai September 6, 2015 at 4:07 PM

    It was a rough month for sure. It’s a good reminder sometimes how nice and simple it is to not have money too. No money, nothing to lose! :)


    1. J. Money September 9, 2015 at 2:05 PM

      I don’t miss that phase at all, haha…

  44. Thomas @ i need money ASAP! September 8, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    Despite the drop that’s a solid net worth, congrats! The mortgage rate is a little tough at 5.5% though.

    1. J. Money September 9, 2015 at 2:06 PM

      Hell yeah it is! But better than the 6.75% it was when we originally took out the loan, sigh…

  45. Mrs. SFF September 14, 2015 at 1:35 PM

    Ugh, our accounts went down around $40,000. I guess that means we are doing well on the investment/savings side of things but it still can be painful to watch. I remember the 2008 drop and from the top to the bottom of the market our investment lost about 50% of the value. We kept course, continued to save, even bought shares around the bottom of the market. The markets are always a roller coaster but we will once again just keep course and continue to save and invest and maybe even benefit from the market swings.

    1. J. Money September 14, 2015 at 9:04 PM

      Yup! All you can do. And if you’re in it for the long haul it’s even BETTER when it goes down now so you can scoop ’em all up on the cheap! Though hopefully when we’re all sitting on extra cash to be able to snag them :)

  46. Kate Horrell September 28, 2015 at 10:05 AM

    J, I think you aren’t driving the Caddy much. You might want to look into a battery disconnect switch (about $8-9 on Amazon It takes about 5 minutes to install, longer if you have to find the tool that has gone missing from the tool bag or you battery cables are corroded.

    We have a car that we rarely use, and the battery would discharge when sitting. Now, we pop open the engine and turn the little dial 1/4 of the way to cut the power to the battery when we park it, then do the opposite before starting. No more dead batteries.

    My friends say it is a pain that they wouldn’t deal with. I say it is a paid off car in good shape and I’m not buying a new one, and if spending any extra 60 seconds is going to push my day over the edge, taking on a huge car payment isn’t going to make my life any better.

    1. J. Money September 28, 2015 at 1:25 PM

      yes! that’s exactly what I need! my mechanic friend told me before to just unplug the battery every time and I was like “you think I’m going to do that ??? come on now” haha…

      but this one I can get down with – thx friend :)