Another month, another update! I can’t believe it, but we’ve been doing these for over FOUR years now! That’s over 48 months and posts!
And as you can see, it’s definitely kept me motivated ;) Even when we DO lose a lot and I’m force to share that with the world too, haha…
If you haven’t started tracking your own net worth, I highly recommend it. It’s awesome to be able to go back and see how everything’s moved over the months, and what you can probably expect in the future too. It’s a lot of baby steps all adding up to the bigger picture in the end: that of financial freedom!!
And speaking of which, if I don’t stop leaking cash every month I’m not gonna be able to make it there either ;) If you’ve noticed, the last few updates show us losing cash every month – even if it means we’re gaining in other areas – and if it continues I’ll have to stop pushing $2 Grand towards our mortgage payoff plan here. Which would SUCK, and which is why I keep continuing with it cuz I don’t want to break my momentum and then slack off! I’m not *too* worried about it just yet, but if the trend continues and crap around the house keeps breaking, I’ll have to start reconsidering our current game plan here… and of course you’ll be the first to know ;)
Other than the cash issues though, it looks like the rest of the stuff is going pretty smoothly. Our investments are up overall, and our house debt continues to go down enough to keep our net worth growing another month – even if by just a sliver. Just means we gotta keep on fighting!
April’s Net Worth Break Down:
CASH SAVINGS (-$1,018.29): Not the worst in the world, but it can certainly be curbed if we stop going all out in other areas of our plan (like our $2,000 extra mortgage payments or buying up new sites). And then who knows how it’ll be once Baby J comes out! That’s only two short months away now, crazy… gotta start a college fund soon too then!
EMERGENCY FUND (-$1,097.20): The first time in YEARS tapping it. But $hit, that’s what it’s there for, eh? And hopefully we get another 10-15 years out of our new water heater now too. This house is gonna be the end of me!
PHYSICAL GOLD (-$1.10): If you recall, last month I picked up a 1 oz. gold coin from the treasury to add to my arsenal here, but sadly it’s been going down ever since ;) Or am I supposed to be glad since it means the rest of my investments should be UP? That’s hedging for ya! (I’m calculating the value here by adding $50 to the “spot” (or value) of 1 oz. of gold at the time of this post – which is currently at $1,665.60, and what my cool coin collector told me to do ;))
IRA: SEP (+$746.45): Not too shabby for hand-picking them mostly myself ;) It may be too early to call it, but so far my choosing of stocks I love seems to be doing well!
IRA: ROTH(s) (+$432.16): This account’s also pumped up with individual stocks and funds more or less by me, which oddly beats out the next category which is completely handled by USAA or at least USAA funds… though of course they usually win out in the long term ;) But I can still enjoy it none the less right now!
IRA: TRADITIONAL(s) (-$407.20): All under USAA’s supervision and/or advice. If you remember from earlier months, we have an IRA Game playing out which is broken into 3 different categories – one manually managed by me, but using their funds, another 100% managed by them using only their funds, and then the last one 100% managed by them but with all types of different funds. You can tell pretty easily which has been in the lead most recently ;)
- IRA #1 (NOT Managed): $61,578.77
- IRA #2 (Managed, USAA funds): $59,902.44
- IRA #3 (Managed, ALL funds): $60,454.43
AUTOS WORTH (kbb) (-$217.00): Same ol’ stuff here – slowly going down as cars naturally should be doing… if the Mrs. has her way though, we may be on the search for a new car to fit our new family here shortly ;) But I still REFUSE to get a van!! I need to get excited when buying cars, so if we’re def. upgrading then we gotta do it in style. And I’ll tell you what that means if we do indeed get there ;) Here’s the cars and the values we have right now though:
- Pimp Daddy Caddy: $2,240.00
- Gas Ticklin’ Toyota: $9,295.00
HOME VALUE (Realtor) ($0.00): Same same same. Not changing till we get our realtor to come out and we’re serious about selling/renting again. I’m sure this number slightly moves throughout the months for sure, but since I don’t trust Zillow we just let it be here and work towards paying it all off…
6 months 7 months straight of paying an extra $2,000 off – woohoo! But as I mentioned above, this may start changing if we can’t seem to get cash flow positive here in the next few months – something I will *not* be happy about. I want these dang things gone! They’re the only things that hold us down :(
- 1st Mortgage: $285,436.53 – 30 year conventional @ 5.5%
- 2nd Mortgage: $46,837.39 – Maxed out HELOC @ a variable 2.8%
And that’s it! Another update to add to the 4 dozen before it ;) Gotta stay on this stuff so it doesn’t slip away, right? Hopefully you guys are doing the same too. Anyone just KILL it this month? Or cross an awesome benchmark or two? I hope so!! I need some motivation just the same – so keep it up! Here’s to a positive month of May :)
PS: As I was finishing up this post, the wife tells me she thinks there’s mold in our main bathroom…. looks like we may be tapping that emergency fund again :(
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!
- The "Budget/Net Worth" spreadsheet - the colorful Excel template I personally use.
- The "Money Snapshot" spreadsheet - a simple Excel template I created for my former $$$ clients
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 Personal Capital account instead.
Personal Capital 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.
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 Personal Capital - check it out here: Why I Use Personal Capital Almost Every Single Day.
(There's also Mint.com too btw which is also free and automated, but its more focused on day-to-day budgeting rather than long-term net worth building)
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Boo on having to tap that emergency fund :( I had to when I moved and it SUCKED. But at least I built it back up in the same month!
Do you keep track of mini-milestones for the mortgages to keep you more motivated?
Congrats on the 4 years of tracking! You did well being up this month. I was up three big ones this month but I lost about a 1k on investments and other assets…
Looks like you’re doing good! Hopefully there’s no mold.
I have such personal net worth envy!
Sorry about the emergency fund as well but this is what houses do to you. Your networth is still increasing though which is good; babies can be expensive but it is worth it. Well done, J$.
You’re gonna change your mind on the mini van real fast after trying to figure out how to fit a giant stroller and groceries in the same car at the same time. ;) I love my old broken down van now.
What is your progress on paying off both mortgages?
Hey, a positive month is a positive month. Nothing wrong with that. Our net worth went down this month because we bought a snowmobile (we don’t count it as an asset). Next month will be down also due to refi closing costs but long term will help a ton. Keep up the good work.
@Leigh – I think for me EVERY month is a mini milestone since we’re putting so much towards it every time, hehe… but I’m also powering through to hit that 1 year mark too which would be killer. Everything just takes so dang long! Haha… gotta keep the patience ;)
@Alex – Well that’s good! You’re rockin’ more of the stuff that you actually have control over, so way to go :)
@Michelle – Thanks! And we’ll find out soon on that mold – got a person coming over today to check it out :(
@B. (Below Her Means) – What about my mold and house breaking down envy? You can have that too! Haha…. ;)
@maria@moneyprinciple – Thanks Maria :) All good with you over there? Anything juicy going on?
@Rachel211 – Haha, that’s what I hear but I’m still not buying it! Unless Cadillac comes out with a Escalade-Van ;)
@Matt – Right now we’re only concentrating on the 2nd one, but each mortgage DOES go down a little bit on it’s own w/ every regular payment too which is nice. But my main goal is to wipe away that 2nd one completely, and then start killing the main one while at the same time probably refinancing since we wouldn’t be underwater anymore too. We should get there in about 3 years at this rate :)
@DebtsnTaxes – Awesome!! I’ve always wanted to go on a snow mobile before, that sounds like so much fun!! Can I visit?? :) And did you pick it up now, off-season, cuz it’s cheaper?
My net worth only goes down…so I’d find it demoralizing more than anything else to track it.
You should make a graph. It will really show how far you’ve come.
Any positive month is good in my book. :)
Congrats on your win from Ramit! That ought to help your cash situation a tad :)
Oh and you don’t need a van for 1 kid. Two, it’s so handy. But 1? pfft. I LOVE my honda van and never thought I’d be one of those people who said that, but wow. They really are so handy!
We made it with 2 little kids in a tiny Ford Focus for awhile when we were a one-car family. Honestly that sucked a lot.
@J$- Yah we were looking for about 6 months, always cheaper to buy in the offseason. I actually took it for a test drive on the guy’s lawn (no snow in Green Bay in April). I bought my dirtbike on Christmas Eve back in 06′, took 6 hours to drive to get it, but saved $2k compared to what I would of paid for it up here. And yes, you can visit, if I remember right you live in Swissconsin, so your not to far from me.
J – do you have a plan set in place for child care expenses? I know you mentioned you will start a 529 plan for college.
My wife and I are also expecting a little one (boy) this August. We will save dollars by having her mom watch him to avoid the day care fees.
Congrats on the extra payments on the mortgage! Don’t worry too much about tapping the Emergency Fund because what good would it be if you didn’t use it when you need it? I’m sure you’ll have it filled back up in no time.
Why the decision to use the emergency fund instead of the regular savings fund? What determines which each is used for?
Way to go! We are also underwater in our home. I would suggest that you set aside a certain amount regularly for home repairs so that you don’t have such a negative connotation with spending it on home repairs. A typical house needs approximately 1% of its value annually in repairs.
Sorry to hear about the mold. You should show your wife my bathrooms pre-remodel, she’ll feel a ton better.
I love your monthly update posts – gives me motivation to keep working on improving my net worth too! Tapping the E-fund sucks, but hey, that’s what it’s there for.
I’m intrigued by this new site uve purchased. 3500 seems like a hefty investment. When do we get to find out what it is!?
I’m planning on putting all my energies into a new site launching in august. I also cannot talk about it yet, but its exciting getting geared up! I’ll also have to reveal my true identity when the site goes live! Scary!
Congrats on another increase. :-) Our increased by $605.41 this time, which is better than going the other direction. I always find it hard to complain when we’re making some progress, even if it isn’t as quickly as I want.
Wow! You must have had one generous 401k plan when you were working for that tech company. Drool…
Keep it up J!
Great progress!!! You motivate me :) as always
J Money…please watch that cashflow…that’s a big pet peeve of mine. I work every month running my household like a business. I like to look at a profitable balance sheet every money on a cash basis. Investments will move around, but cashflow must be net positive.
Have you ever tried graphing your net worth over time? I went back and trended your net worths over time just to see what the growth has looked like and its a really nice upward trend since 2009. Just FYI the 1/1/2009 would be Jan 2009 since google docs doesn’t recognize Jan 2009 as a date format. Enjoy! https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/oimg?key=0AvL0oTndkPWUdFZrZmJGUGYyMnRNRnB3XzBIZkludVE&oid=4&zx=7myubekehpjx
My bad, screwed up the link. This should work. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/oimg?key=0AvL0oTndkPWUdFZrZmJGUGYyMnRNRnB3XzBIZkludVE&oid=5&zx=dvbrz29fc95n
My dear friend, sadly I suspect I have passed the age when juicy things happen except in reading and writing :). Have been focusing on writing (come around and see for yourself), my job (this is boring writing) and side hustles. Remember, I said I’ll be with you on your mortgage payment adventure but I have to get rid of the ‘negative wealth’ first? Well, moving on…Celebration expected at the end of the year!
All great comments guys, thanks for stopping by! :)
@C The Writer – That’s not fun :( Why is that though? You don’t think tracking it and tweaking would help it go up over time? Or at least level out?
@Joe @ Retire By 40 – I now! I totally want to! I’ve started it but just havne’t gone back and spent the time playing with it… on my list though! :)
@Kacie – Oh yeah, for sure – got a post coming out soon on it too ;) I’ve heard great things about that Honda minivan as well, but still not sold!
@DebtsnTaxes – Cool!!! But unfort. I’m in the DC area :( But I do visit Wisconsin a lot to meet up w/ my biz partner, so ya never know! :)
@Devan – Yeah, that’s the main part I’m afraid of right now – day care. BUT, since I work from home and the Mrs. is out of Grad School now and at home, I’m thinking we’ll be good for at least 3-6 months until we need to get back to work life again and all that. And then we’ll prob. do day care like 2-3 times a week or something, but not sure yet. Haven’t put *too* much time into it thus far… the 529 is more interesting to me at the moment ;) Congrats on your soon to show up baby!!
@Lance @ Money Life and More – Thanks man, it is what it is, eh?
@FB – Well, it’s more of a psychological thing than anything. You’re right in that we have a huge “e fund” if we combine all savings accounts/etc, but we like to keep it divided up for stuff when things happen. So when major unexpected things come up like the water heater, we use our real, separated out, E fund for this. Anything else in life hits the cash fund. Not sure if it’s the total best way to do things, but it works for us at the moment :)
@Jen2 – Huh. That’s not a bad idea actually… if you EXPECT to pay for unexpected stuff, you don’t get pissed off as much! Haha… I kinda like that :) I think it’ll still upset me, but you’re right – setting $ aside for it particularly would probably make things a lot easier to handle. Good thinkin’!
@Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – Haha really??? I haven’t even seen that yet. Not sure I want to either, haha…
@Kris – Awww good! I’m glad you like them :) Sometimes I wonder if I should continue doing them (don’t want them to come off all “Look at me! look at me! I have money!!!”) so it’s nice to hear they still inspire :) that’s my goal!!
@fifi – Oh wow! Cool!!! Looking forward to learning about it :) AND knowing you’re “real” name and all, haha… that’s def. scary indeed. Good for you on just going for it though :) I still can’t talk about mine, but hopefully one day I’ll be able to. I don’t think anyone really goes to it anyways, so it’s not all that exciting ;)
@Jen @ Master the Art of Saving – Haha yeah, but we’re all in different situations so you’re always allowed to complain! Even if just to yourself ;) Congrats on the positive bump this round.
@Long – Heck yeah I did ;) And can you believe I was one of the only ones taking advantage of it?? Crazyyyyy… no one else thought it was that important, but I’m freakin’ glad I did!
@SavvyFinancialLatina – Good!! Glad to hear that :) Just trying to let poeple know it’s *possible!*
@BusyExecutiveMoneyBlog – Haha no doubt my friend. I don’t mind negative cash flow every now and then – esp when I’m buying up projects or investing back into them (which will allow for a LOT more cash flow later) – but yeah, for the most part I agree with you. And I need to make sure I don’t have too many down months either unless the up ones are killer ones ;)
@Jeremy – Oh cool!! Unfortunately neither link works for me though :( Says I need permission? Maybe you can edit settings to allow it to be public? Excited to see :)
@maria@moneyprinciple – Haha, roger that. Excited to watch it move into positive territory!
J have you thought about this idea in regards to paying your house off early. From an article I read on Oprah website.
Paying off your house early sounds like a financially smart move. And it’s hard to put a price on peace of mind. But a study by two University of Texas professors and a Federal Reserve banker found that diverting that money instead to a 401(k) was a better move. It’s a long academic study, but the key is this: You pay off your mortgage with after-tax dollars, which means that for every $1 you make, only 70 cents or so goes to the bank.
Solution: Contribute pre-tax dollars to your 401(k), so the full buck goes in. Make that $1.50 if you get a company match. As that money compounds over the years, you come out far ahead.
Just a thought…Best Regards
Yup, I actually think that’s a great idea too :) Which is why I max out my retirement account every year too, and THEN do mortgage on top of it. Only I don’t have a 401(k) anymore now that I’m solo so I don’t get those free matches (boooooo), but at least I can still put away a lot. I think everyone’s different in what they prefer though, and some would rather have a paid off house w/ less money in the bank than the opposite. But either way it’s a smart move!
Thanks for sharing :)
I am sure you have written it but I haven’t read. that 5.5% 1st mortgage is too high. What’s preventing you from refi?
Bummer on having to replace the water heater. It must be water heater death week. We had the same thing happen last weekend! I was actually a little bit excited to use the EF since it just sits there :) I posted about it here: http://wp.me/p2p0FF-1b.
Great work on your net worth! You’ll be at a million in no time! I can only hope I get in the positive sometime soon!
@SB @ One Cent At A Time – Agreed! And to think that 5.5% was the rate we DID refinance at last year! Haha… unfortunately our house is too underwater to do much better right now though, so we’re stuck with it until I can pay off more of those mortgages in order to get back on a level playing field. My goal is to actually pay off the 2nd one completely and THEN refinance and get to cracking on knocking off the 1st one… just gonna take a handful of years :(
@Jacob @ iHeartBudgets – Yikes, sorry to you too! Your pictures look almost exactly what ours did too, haha… well done on swapping it out MUCH cheaper though than I did ;) Let’s hope we got a loooooong time until we have to do it again! Thanks for stopping by, bro – love the site name.
Besides this month your Emergency Savings was at a stable 10k. Do you earn interest on it? Where does that go?
Great questions :) Yes, it earns a little in its account, but not much (and it’s also mixed with a bunch of my other money too – not separated out like I used to have it). Currently we have the E. Fund in a Money Market Account… which is usually a tad higher than normal savings accounts, but still not much in the economy. I know others like to put this money somewhere else to make more, but I like keeping it pretty liquid so I can pull from it at any point w/out worries. Hope this helps!
J – Yes it does. I was just curious about how you maintained it at 10k even for so long. Thanks for the explanation!
Ask away any time! Love talking about this stuff :)