Time for another net worth update! I swear we do this like every month? ;)
But, unlike last month’s $10,000 gain, this time around we drop a few thousand and I promptly keep my tail between my legs and move on. Nothing too horrible like last year’s $40k drop (that was a spicy meatball!), but nothing really to get excited about either.
In fact, as I mentioned in previous net worth updates, we’ll be slowly dripping some cash reserves until the Mrs. goes back to work full-time again. Or if I ever pull the trigger on some of those things I’ve been flirting with lately like taking freelance gigs or a part-time job. The way I see it though – I can live the life of an entrepreneur and keep pushing through for a while longer during this temporary phase (ie 1 household income), or I can work doubly hard to plug the leak but lose some quality time with the fam – and new baby coming on board – in its place.
Perhaps it’s a dumb decision to chase life over money, but that’s luckily the freedom you get when your finances are overall okay :) You can choose to go down different paths as life throws you curve balls. Or, in my case, babies. If we were deep in debt with dead-end jobs I’d be singing a different tune…
Anyways, that the current “plan” in case you were wondering. To be okay with losing some cash as the months tick on, knowing it’s only temporary and things will be much MUCH better financially once the Mrs. takes on a full-time job again. Even a $20k job would make a drastic difference going from $0/year! Though she’d be upset if that’s all a PHD got her in the end ;)
How March Played Out:
CASH SAVINGS (-$3,134.13): Bleh. See above.
529 College Savings (-$40.22): Double bleh. But as to be expected when it’s riding the stock market and you don’t put anything in to maximize gains! (Or losses in this case?)
IRA: SEP (-$503.64): Triple bleh. But next month will be the opposite of since it’s TIME TO MAX THIS OUT AGAIN!!! Yayyyyy!!! I wait 12 months every year to do this to save on my taxes! And of course invest in my future!!! :) Stay tuned for a future post on it…
IRA: ROTH(s) (+$658.96): Now this is the one main shining area, before our mortgage payoff section below. For those who may not recall, my Roth is my “stock-picking playground” if you will, where I get to invest this money into anything I damn well please w/out it really affecting the overall investing game plan (i.e. the bulk of our retirement money). I’m a firm believer of siphoning off some “play around with” money when it comes to this stuff to keep things interesting and fun, so this is the area I pick up riskier stocks, or just single stocks in general vs more safer index or mutual funds. I leave all that to the bulk of our investments shown below, as well as the SEP Ira above.
IRA: TRADITIONAL(s) (-$829.86): Quadruple bleh. Though nothing’s been added to this pot either over the years since going full-time for myself (it’s my old 401k money). I did just find out that you can merge this w/ the SEP account though which will help cut down on accounts to manage which is good!! So I’ll be (for real this time) merging the whole dang pot in the VERY near future… Will post about that too when the magical day comes :)
In the meantime, here’s how our ol’ IRA Test is performing these days:
- IRA #1 (NOT Managed): $79,141.43 **Leader for two years running
- IRA #2 (Managed, USAA funds only): $73,199.26
- IRA #3 (Managed, ALL different funds): $74,024.92
AUTOS WORTH (kbb) (-$91.00): A little loss on the Toyota side (wife’s car), whereas my caddy is locked in at the $1,500 mark since it’s now too old to track via KBB.com… Perhaps it’ worth a little more or a little less, but we’re keeping it at $1,500 for a ways to come…
Here’s how both cars break down:
- Pimp Daddy Caddy: $1,500.00
- Gas Ticklin’ Toyota: $6,518.00
HOME VALUE (Realtor) ($0.00): Nothing new to record here as usual since we don’t use Zillow or Redfin/etc. Just the traditional realtor route where I ask his professional opinion every year or so for an update. It may be time to do so again here shortly though as we consider re-renting our place (it’s almost been a year already???) or putting it on the market. More than likely we’ll keep it as a rental.
MORTGAGES (-$660.31): Only $2,022.74 more to go until we’re no longer underwater!! WOOHOO!! We’re getting close, baby – watch out! Here’s the breakdown of them now:
- 1st Mortgage: $273,798.92 – 30 year conventional @ 5.5%
- 2nd Mortgage: $28,223.82 – Maxed out HELOC @ a variable 2.8%
How did you guys do this month? Anyone just KILL it? Either way, hopefully y’all are at least tracking this stuff and making it a point to update it every once in a while. If not every month, every quarter or at least two times a year. It def. keeps your mind right and focused on the prize. During months of negatives AND positives! It’s good to know where your money is at all times :)
PS: To see all previous net worths over the years, click here.
PPS: To see that list of all other bloggers’ net worths, click here.
ALSO: Haven’t dove into Personal Capital as much as I’d like still, but so far it is mimicking the same moves as I track in my Excel spreadsheet… Just with much cooler, and prettier, graphs :) Oh, and it’s automated! Any of you now using them full-time?
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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Always better to chase life instead of money. Money will always be there but we never know about life.
I will continue to disagree with your decision to include your cars in your net worth. A car is only worth what someone will pay on the day you are selling it. Who do you think would pay you $1,500 for the Caddy? I prefer to take a conservative approach to valuing assets.
I don’t include it in mine either, for reasons I’m sure we’ve all heard before, but I don’t think it makes a big difference. If the number “should” be $432,000, does that really make a difference?
I second what Jane said about chasing life! As for cars, I don’t really calculate my net worth so I never thought about it. But when I do a mental accounting, I probably don’t include it. Although I do think there is value in the car…generally you should be able to get close to kbb value if you ever decide to trade it in.
@ Jane – Yup, that’s exactly what I think actually :) I’ve sold a half dozen cars in my life personally, and I always value them at what I think I’d reasonably expect to get. Which is usually around KBB value or a little less. If I were to put up the caddy for sale today I’d say there’s an 80% chance I could get $1500 for it. Especially since the engine and mechanics themselves work pretty well and has super lower miles for it’s age (90,000 for 20 y/o car). if I ever go to sell it we’ll find out though!
While I don’t include cars in my net worth simply to be conservative, if it can get from point A to point B you can pretty much always get at least $1000 for it on craigslist, no matter how old or how many miles it has. If not, you can always donate it and take a nice tax write-off.
(Agreed! Thanks for chiming in :))
I’m down a few grand too, mostly due to market fluctuations and home improvement projects that “reflect” as spending. Good news is the house next door is for sale for 30% more than we paid for our house just 9 months ago (and ours is actually a more desirable property) so if that thing sells quick and high we might have a nice little bump in home value.
Then again, I just use the not-so-reliable zestimate for my home value now so my NW isn’t exactly a science…
Oooooh I hope that house sells!! I’m used to dealing with foreclosures around ours, ugh…
Chasing life over money is a dumb financial decision. But it’s also a good life decision :)
I had a modest gain this month, so I’m catching up to you J Money! With my smaller portfolio, I don’t get hurt too much when the markets are down. Of course, I don’t get those $10,000 months when they’re up ;)
Keep hustlin’ man :) I shall raise a glass in your honor once you pass me!
Hey, J! Do you mean that I can tell you about a USAA product you are not using? Their home value monitor is free – It took a while (until I paid taxes and the documents (public I guess?) caught up with the sale, etc) for it to catch up to current market, but it gives pretty ok current value and notes fluctuations, etc. I like it. :)
I am so happy about these savings cushions! Enjoy your time with your family – so much more happy-making than running after “the almighty dollar”.
HAH! Forgot about that actually… I did it the other month but not sure I believe it too much. Or at least outside of what my realtor says.
Just checked it out and it says it’s valued @ $302,000! Pretty close to the $300,000 actually, not too shabby…
Perhaps I’ll keep a closer eye on it, thx for the reminder, friend :)
J, keep your head up, you’ll add $11,000 in April :D
Indeed! My IRAs will be nice and plump afterwards :)
I don’t blame you for letting your wife take some time off. She deserves it! Congrats on the new baby =)
Thanks! We’re pretty excited about it, even though super scared too ;) Sure makes life interesting!
Where do you invest your Roth? In mine (at Vanguard), it seems like the minimum investment prices for each fund are too high to playaround. My Roth is my BEST returning investment though, and I’ve been tucking money away in my Roth since I first read a post on your site in 2009! I was jobless and broke and thought “well, I better hide what little money I have left in a Roth before I spend it on something useless”… best decision ever.
I use TradeKing for my play around :)
HAH! I forgot you’ve been around since 2009 – so freakin’ cool!
Right now everything’s over at USAA, but I’ll be converting everything to Vanguard as soon as all my tax $$$ comes into my accounts :) Not sure about limits or anything though, sorry! I used to use E*Trade back in the day and liked them, if that helps?
Like S L above, I’ve been watching my home value monitor on USAA and have been meaning to ask you what you thought of it. Check it out and let us USAA members know how “sexy” it really is. ;-)
Just did! It seems a lot more accurate now than it did the last time I checked 2-3 months ago :) I usually don’t trust tools like that, but maybe I should give some a chance?
I finally made the switch to Personal Capital full time… Really love the concept of the 30 day cash flow. There are a few minor things that bug me about it (like not editing transaction dates), but overall it’s way more slick than Mint.
Oh yeah! Forgot about that cash flow thing. People def. seem to like that part – I just gotta finally poke around more and check it out. Glad you like it for the most part!
I hope the Mrs. manages the purple unicorn of PhDness and nails a tenured university position… then you don’t have to worry about paying for Baby $s’ educations either! Either way, I think it’s awesome you’re financially set enough to be able to prioritize your family. That’s definitely a win.
And “a spicy meatball”?!? LOL.
Forgot about tenure! That WOULD be cool! For college too! :)
We’ll see what happens with it… She’s not sure she even wants to go the teaching route yet.
For someone your age, almost 500 Grand, that’s impressive. Keep up the great motivation, you’re killing it in the nest egg department.
Hey, you’ll be getting $11K in taxes back, which is great! I think you’re doing great. I do think life should come before money especially if your finances are ok.
Net worth looks great to me & I think picking family RULES! Plus there’s that $11k coming from Uncle Sam…you are doing awesome…and I am SO jealous.
Time for me to “Rise & Grind” if I want to keep hanging out here! :-)
Oh! And I set up Personal Capital but can’t get it to link with my bank accounts, otherwise I love it!
Weird?? I’d shoot them a note – they’re pretty good with communication from the little I’ve seen so far. There’s no fun in there without any accounts linked! Haha…
Picking family over money in the short term is definitely hard to criticize, especially when you have te expectation that you’ll be dual income soon enough. Does the wife have a timeline for her defense?
No, she’s just powering through to first FINISH it, haha… and the new baby is kinda getting in the way ;)
I would say we killed it this month with an almost $11,000 increase! We sold our car :)
Woot woot! Your feet are going to be pretty happy about it too :)
Odd that your investments for the most part were down. The Dow and S&P were both up about 2%, the NASDQ was down a little more than 1%. I would have expected for all of the accounts combined, you would have been up at least 1%. That is something I would be investigating.
I’ll be moving the majority of it all over to Vanguard soon which will fix up any problems ;)
I would always choose life experiences over money. Plus, time goes by too fast to miss the kid years without regretting it…
I think you’re absolutely making the right decision to choose some extra life instead of some extra money. I mean, if we can’t make that choice while we’re whooping ass with money, then what’s the point?
True true… though currently I’m not doing much of whipping ass when I’m losing cash, haha… But overall – yes, most def. accurate :)
Definitely spend time with the family over money grubbing!
I use personal capital pretty much full time – nothing tracks my company’s 401(k) automatically, but I can manually put that information into personal capital and update it every so often.
When’re you going to pull the plug on your IRA test and stop paying USAA fees?
By the end of the month!! Waiting for Tax $$ and then it’s on to Vanguard we go :)
Mine is slowly going up as I pay down the mortgage, and housing values are on the rise here. Outside of that, nothing major! Sorry to hear business has slowed :(
Well that’s good, bud! Don’t worry about me – I always figure something out :)
I love that line about chasing life man. The money will always be there to be chased, but life can pass you by.
I saw a 65% increase in my net worth this month, but that number isn’t as exciting when I add that my net worth’s still in the negative ;) Good news is that I’m blogging again!
WELCOME BACK!!! PARTY TIME!!!! :)
Comedy Bang Bang! reference for the win.
No idea what you’re talking about, haha…
“That’s a spicy meatball!” I thought you were making a reference to a one off skit they do on the show. It’s a great, bizarre show. That skit is referenced in the episode review:
In any case, it’s a funny whacked out show. Here’s the “interview” from that episode: http://youtu.be/C8q7NVecJL8
Haha… nice. Will go check it out – you learn something every day :)
Glad to hear you are balancing your life out by spending time with the family and making some money. Keep going along on your plan, looks like you have a good plan in place for long term success!
We were up $6k this month. Basically, everything just went up about 1% this month, even the cars. I’ll still take it though. I’m due to give birth in 2 weeks and the budget has pretty much gone flying out the window. We were probably like $1000 over budget this month, but I’ve reached the point where until this baby is outta me, idgaf. That’s what savings are for, right?
You know it! 2 weeks is coming fast too – then 4 weeks after we’ll be doing the same thing! Go us! :)
Chasing life is totally worth it! You won’t miss the extra money when you look back in 20 years. Sounds like you have interesting things on the horizon. Looking forward to reading about it!
Good for you, J! : ) I just dumped an extra $200 in savings after reading this. I’m feeling motivated after seeing this. Keep up the good work.
I love that you do these posts — inspired me to start tracking my own net worth a few months back and I’m so glad I’ve started doing so! I have a mountain of student loan debt, but when I look at my net worth gradually going up as I pay them off, it’s such a huge weight off my shoulders. My net worth went up 2K this month, which is pretty good for me!
Wow, that’s awesome!! Good for you :) It’s not always easy to do – esp when it goes down – but over time it’s SUCH a great habit to get into. So great job starting and sticking to it so far… glad my blog helps you!
Thank you for sharing your net worth. I just started my finance journey and my net worth up by 10.24% in April 2014.. But it is not easy to repeat this gain every month.
Congrats! And way to track all this :) Just added you up to our Blogger Net Worth Tracker list. Hopefully over time you’ll climb to the top of it! It’s hard yeah, but gotta keep on pushing, right?
We are waiting on pins and needles for the May net worth update!
You’ll only have to wait a day or two longer ;)