[This is part of our monthly Net Worth Series where I share our real life #’s with the world. Seeing this from other bloggers was game changing for me a decade ago stumbling across the PF world, so I share ours every month in hopes it helps motivate you too. Welcome to net worth update #111.]
Well hello there, April – how did you get here so fast?? What did you do with January and February and March? Or my 30s for that matter?
Sometimes I like to lay back and close my eyes for a few seconds, and then shoot up real quick in shock as if I was just waking up from a coma of 10 years. I look around to see if I can figure out where I am now (you usually can never tell as most places look the same), then I’ll find a mirror to see how much I’ve aged since coma’ing out (that part’s always the scariest), and then, if I happen to be around a computer, I’ll pretend to figure out how to log onto all these newfangled apps and websites so I can check in on the status of my money :)
It’s pretty random, I know, but I tell you this much – it suuuuuuure puts things in perspective taking that quick moment to freeze time! Because believe it or not, another 10 or 20 years will pass us by before we know it, and we’re gonna be praying HARD that our past selves set us up on the right path to catapult all our hopes and dreams and financial desires! Similar to that Retirement Freedom calculating we talked about the other week, the power of time and compounding is no joke. Just think about where you were yourself 10 years ago financially, and where you are now? Night and day, right?
Anyways, enough philosophizing, but do pat yourselves on the back for caring enough about your future to be spending time on a personal finance blog right now :) I’m sure you don’t admit it to the entire world, but you’re in good company here and we salute you.
Now onto the numbers… Here’s how March broke down:
CASH SAVINGS (-$878.32): Blech. I wish I could tell you that I have plans in the works to make millions every month going forward, but the truth is I still struggle with doing stuff for money vs doing stuff for passion. I never set out to be an entrepreneur or to make money online – I do all this stuff because I love it! – but somewhere along the line it became my full-time gig and I realized there’s a big difference between running a blog as a *hobby* and running a blog as a *business*. Pros and cons to both sides (which we’ll save for another day), but in a nutshell I still find it hard to do both and tend to gravitate to the fun “passion” side. For the better or worse of my wallet :)
BROKERAGE (+$10.83): Ten dollars more than we had last month! Just Acorns continuing to round up our daily transactions and drop the spare change into our portfolio for us. Nothing too exciting, but hey – it’s not like we had to lift a finger? Been thinking of nixing it though just to streamline my accounts more and have one less thing to maintain, but we’ll see…
THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN (TSP) (+$445.49): My favorite addition to our net worth family ever since my wife went back to the work force last Fall :) The #’s are so fun to watch compound on top of each other with every paycheck, and is the one area of a 9-5 I miss! Having your company do all the payroll and taxes for you, and then giving you FREE MONEY just for doing what you’re supposed to be doing anyways – saving for retirement! Easiest way to double your money. Make sure you’re taking advantage of it if your employer offers contribution matches!
ROTH IRAs (+$94.68): Nothing special going on here, although next month it’ll look a lot better as we max this out for the 2016 year (only 12 more days left, FYI!). I always wait until our taxes are done for the year before doing so, just to make sure we have the cash and there aren’t any surprises.
SEP IRA (+$349.40): Same here too – the bump is coming in the next report as we max out the $12,000+ we’re allowed to for the 2016 year. I miss the dollar cost averaging we used to do, but again I prefer being safer than sorry as you never know what self-employment will bring cash-flow wise. Or at least I never know, going back to that whole passion vs business thing :)
CAR VALUES (+$268.00): Kelly Blue Book says our cars are worth more this month instead of less like they’re supposed to be (maybe Toyotas and Lexuses are all the rage this month?), but we just roll with it and copy/paste down the numbers fully expecting it to auto-correct itself later… Here’s what they say our two cars are currently worth:
- Lexus RX350: $12,565.00
- Toyota Corolla: $3,918.00
BTW: If you missed our post last week and are interested in what personal finance bloggers drive, check it out here and see if it surprises you or not! –> The Cars of Personal Finance Bloggers
CAR LOAN: (-$464.10): Still enjoying our pumped up cash reserves too much to get myself to pay this off in one fell swoop, but I have been throwing in an extra couple of hundred towards our monthly bills each month. I’ll probably make the call to kill it once and for all by the end of the year, unless something funky happens. I don’t hate debt as much as other people, so long as you can afford it (wait, did that make sense? haha…).
And that’s March for ya!
Here’s a snapshot of how the past 12 months have gone. If you’re wondering what happened in December to get us out of the slump, read this (I kinda sorta cheated, but kinda not?)
And then here’s the worths of my two wee ones, now 2 and 4 and no longer babies, *tear*…
The 529s are only growing due to the markets, but I plan on stealing Paul’s idea of having family put money into them as birthday/xmas gifts going forward so I’m really hoping it works out! Would much prefer that than more shiny toys (though I’m sure the kids would differ :)). You can read more about his idea, and 5 other awesome ones from our community, here: 6 Great Money Ideas to Steal
That’s it for today! How did your month go? In the positives now from the negatives? In the negatives from the positives?
Share below so we can all pat you on the backs or console you :) It’s a 100% safe zone here where we actually encourage people to talk about their money openly! Imagine if the real world allowed that?
To see all our net worth reports over the years, click here, and to see our blogger net worth tracker (now over 240) click here. Below you’ll also find resources to help you get started in tracking your own if you haven’t done so already. One of the best things you can do for your money, I promise!!
Here’s to a prosperous April :)
UPDATE: I initially calculated the #’s wrong here, so if you saw this post in email or online/social channels Monday morning, that’s why things look differently now. I WISH it were up $20,000 this month, haha, but sadly that is not the case :) Thanks to all those in the comments section who alerted me to the discrepancy which has now been fixed. Sorry!
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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Outstanding month! You made more in one month off your investments than a minimum wage worker makes all year. How’s that for perspective?
We are fully funded for both IRA’s for 2017 and I will make the last investment into 2017 HSA this budget period. Dividends are flowing in and being dripped until they reach $1,000 p/month, at which time they will be allowed to accumulate in cash and be added to new monies to be invested in value opportunities along with rental proceeds, etc. The plan has pretty much reached the boring stage which is a good place to be, I suppose.
You are KILLING it over there – love it! And oh yeah – def. appreciate how far we’ve come over the years. It’s hard for me to fully wrap my head around it all as it’s just a bunch of numbers on a screen, but the logical part of me knows we’re doing well so I just keep at it and do my best not to get sucked into obsession mode, whether with money or this blog/career online… all of which like to tempt me every hour! :)
How did you get those returns in the vanguard accounts when the market was barely up in March? I thought you were indexing.
No idea – I don’t look at it at all except for once a month to do these reports. I’m def. still indexing! :)
AHHH I figured it out!! My deposits from maxing out my SEP and ROTH Ira on the 31st hit the account that SAME day (??), and I didn’t catch it since my savings accounts weren’t dinged that money… So alas I was *NOT* Up $18,000 this month, and instead closer to $800 – hah.
Big thanks to you, and everyone else, who mentioned something looked off… It’s now all been corrected to show the right amounts for March. (The new IRA #’s and cash hits will be reflected in next month’s updates so it’ll make much more sense).
Sorry for the confusion!
Wow J. You’re cruising along now. Isn’t compounding interest amazing? Nice to have money babies out multiplying for you.
March saw bi-annual car insurance payment and a dentist bill. This is why I save money from each paycheck, to cover known (car) & unknown (dentist) bills.
April will have work bonus, and raises go into effect the second paycheck. Once I see the numbers I’ll increase my 401k contribution at least 1%. :)
I’m looking forward to warmer weather decreasing utility bills, since I generally don’t touch the AC until July. :)
NICE!!! Upping your 401k like that does wonders.. And always good to do it *before* you start seeing the new $$ come in so you don’t even feel it. Well done :)
In March, I was up $17k to barely get over $320k.
I also realized my job is not as fun as it used to be. So, this is all the more important.
yeah it is… more $$ = more freedom.
Great preamble! Isn’t the passage of time the strangest thing. It gets even crazier when you have kids. It often feels like the fast forward button on life got pushed after we had kids. Anyhow, another great net worth update. It’s super inspiring to see these each month. Keep them coming!
Yeah, fast AND slow actually. My kids still feel like babies to me, but on the flip side I can’t even remember what my life was like before them? Seems like a whole world ago!
I have a Toyota Camry and have been getting letters and emails from my local dealerships effectively asking me to sell them my car. Since many Lexus are Toyota engines in a very pretty vehicle, they are probably feeling the same upsurge.
Haha yeah :) I actually got one of those notes from MY lexus dealership asking me to “trade up” mine for a newer shinier one. I promptly threw it in the trash :)
That SEP IRA of yours is getting pretty out of control! Awesome work!
I’m totally like you: At the end of every month when I get paid and my 401k contributions are made, I secretly hope the market tanks. That way I can scoop more shares on the cheap before it zags back upward.
I was up $2500 in March which is pretty much just my own contributions (& match) to my savings, 401K, & Roth. I had a couple of extra bills including brakes & maintenance for my car which offset market gains. What’s funny is that before I took it in, I looked at my car budget and figured out I had $379 available before I would have to dip into my emergency fund so that’s the number I went in with in my head. The bill came to $374.50 so my emergency fund is intact. :) Kinda weird how that worked out.
That IS pretty bizarre! And, also, awesome :)
our cars went up like crazy this month, more than they did last month. I was talking to my neighbor about this and he said maybe to do with used cars being on short supply.
doesn’t matter either way since we will have these machines for another 8+ years each
Interesting to see it with other cars too… could be it?
Great month J! I’m amazed at the swing in prices on used cars. They seems to be all over the place. I wonder if the availability of a particular model of used cars in the market drives their fluctuating prices. Crunching my March numbers tonight.
This month I have a $7k tax bill due…. AND now I have to find a new accountant… I pay this guy to make sure this stuff doesn’t happen, and he obviously calculated extremely wrong. At this point I could do it myself and do a better job. He just wasn’t paying attention.
Ugh, that’s annoying… we can make mistakes like that ourselves – and for free! ;)
There are all sorts of payroll services that also do all your quarterly paperwork for like 20-30 month. I could just do that and then figure out turbo tax for s-corps. I’m sure on a per hour basis I would lose money for the first year or 2 but after that it would be relatively easy.
Aww, I’m sorry to hear the blog business is a money drain. We all love the neat projects you put out though. :)
We’re still getting out of debt, so we’re LESS in the red this month than we were last month, and that’s always a great feeling. :) It’s so neat seeing our net worth creep upwards each month. It’s all worth it, slowly but surely.
March was a great month financially, mainly because it was a 3 paycheck month. I was able to max out my 401k in record fashion by doing so on 3/31. You’re going to be a millionaire in no time!
Nice!! I remember those 3 paycheck months – were so cool!! I only have 1 paycheck months s I wait until the end of every month to then pay myself in one main chunk to keep things easier… I hate business accounting, oddly enough?
It’s amazing how your cars increased in value… rarely do I hear something like that. Unless it’s a “classic” of course.
Keep up the good work.
Nice job, Old Sport. ;)
LOVE Leo in The Great Gatsby!!!!!!
Nice work J-Money! Your money at Vanguard performs so much better than mine does because I have international and bond investments. We hit a million this month officially! $1,012,000 to be exact! I know I should hope for the market to fall before we invest too much more in this frothy market, but I have to admit, I’d hate to lose my newly-earned title. :-D
Yeah, no kidding!!!! Congrats, Millionaire! :)
I always feel like it’s crazy how we were able to save up money so fast. But then I look at how long we had been working and saving. It’s hard to believe a decade can fly by like that. I still feel like I just left college a couple years ago :)
Congrats on the progress!
I still act like I’m in college sometimes :)
Cars appreciating…who woulda thought? Great month, once again, J! Time certainly doesn’t seem to slow down as you get older, does it? What’s the saying? You overestimate what you can accomplish in a year and underestimate what you can accomplish in a decade.
I funded our 2017 IRAs a couple weeks ago – when the market went down. I thought about waiting it out to see if the market would totally tank, but it’s a mental thing for me…I really needed to get that money out of the checking account and inaccessible. So we had a nice bump in the NW, mostly due to contributions and a nice tax return.
I would do the same thing too. Timing the market usually never works out well :)
Another big boost this month! I am with you and hoping for a bit of a correction here to make some purchases in our Roth IRAs. Obviously not going to make a huge difference but I like the mental victory.
Getting ready to pull out numbers today!
I’m confused, I also have VTSAX and the value has gone down between 3/1 to 3/31
I made a boo boo calculating this today!
It’s all been updated now, but basically my deposits from maxing out my SEP and ROTH Ira on the 31st hit the account that SAME day (??), and I didn’t catch it since my savings accounts weren’t dinged that money. So alas I was *NOT* Up $18,000 this month, and instead closer to $800 – hah.
But big thanks to you, and everyone else, who mentioned something looked off… the new IRA #’s and cash hits will be reflected in next month’s updates so it all makes more sense…
Sorry for the confusion!
Your Vanguard account is awesome. Congrats! Our rate of return at Vanguard is just 5%. :( I think that’s because we moved our investments there in 2014. There was more volatility back then.
The TSP is really great too. That’s the way to build wealth. It’s so easy to just put on autopilot and reap the benefit in 20-30 years.
Wow, nice net worth increase for one month!
“…having family put money into them as birthday/xmas gifts going forward so I’m really hoping it works out! Would much prefer that than more shiny toys.”
~ My sister had her first kid who is now 1 1/2. I keep asking her and her husband when they will open an account so that I can put money in there. Not even just for gifts, but I would put in $20/month and I’m sure my brother would do the same and that can really add up over time, especially if you include the yearly gifts from extended family members. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have quite the financial savvy (urgency?) that my brother and I have. :)
Haha… that’s pretty crazy too considering you’re TELLING HER you want to put money in there every month!! I’d be like – “give me 1 hour to set up the account please, then I’ll send you the account info!” :)
I enjoy these posts so much! I really should start tracking our net worth more precisely. But honestly, it’s going to take such a nose dive this fall, I figure maybe I’ll hold off until I’m collecting a paycheck again ;) How’s THAT for twisting my numbers?!
oh jeez, haha… even more reason to start tracking it now! so you can look back at it one day and see all the crazy dips in the chart and how far you’ve since come ;)
Say whaaa….your car value increased!?! How does that work?
I don’t even bother to calculate the value of our cars in our net worth. I always assume they’re basically worthless. Afterall, they don’t generate any cash, and they’ll never be worth more than what I paid for them….anything I do happen to get when I sell is just a bonus.
I hold on to cars a very long time, so this is usually pretty true.
No shame in that… Do you keep your house in the net worth reports? Seems there are those of us who keep houses and cars in it, and then those who leave them both out for similar reasons. The car one I get more, but leaving out the house portion always surprises me… mainly cuz it’s such a huge part of your financial picture!
Pumped for your April post honestly – to see some massive investment account pops! Solid month, nothing too extreme, and the thrift is always awesome to see the growth.
In the first quarter, my net worth has jumped a solid 7% YTD or approximately $20K, so not doing too bad, but know that there could be improvements. For me, though, a lot of the fluctuation within the NW is due to the stock market, and being a dividend investor – I actually wish there were some “nice” corrections to scoop up some undervalued blue chips, haha. However – I am contemplating throwing more at the ugly as hell auto loan that I still have (Around $6.1K now), as I can open up new cash flow fairly quick if I pay that off. Hmm.. may have that paid off easily by the end of the year instead of the next 20 or so months.
Appreciate the share J – talk soon.
Nice work on your side too, sir! I think we’ll all have a chance to scoop up deals once the markets crash :) Can’t keep going up forever!
dam man, thats quite the portfolio. No house in your net worth?
keep it up, millionaire in no time
no house – we’re happy little renters out here :)
For a brief moment, I was thinking you did the unimaginable, bought a lottery ticket and won $25K from a scratchoff, netting about $18K. Or landed a bookdeal, and this was your upfront money. It started when your email came out, and I was at work. (For anyone that’s heard me call myself retired, I still do. I spend 2 days at a high school, tutoring kids in math. I was never so happy to get up at 5 in the morning to go to any job).
So there I was, thinking about Trigonometry, Algebra, some Pre-calc, and what in the world J had done to score $19K in a month where the market was essentially flat. And then, I caught a Tweet, it was all a typo, a miscalculation. My favorite student walked in, and saw the look on my face. She actually asked me if I was ok. I kept the story short, but explained the great news that wasn’t. She was a little sad for you, too. “It must be like thinking you had a lottery ticket that was good for $20K but then discovered you read the numbers wrong.” Yup.
It was all worth it just to see a nice note from you this morning :) A guy’s gotta mess up every now and then to appreciate the times he doesn’t, right?
Hi J! :) I just realized that almost 90% of your assets are in retirement accounts. I know you are now a fan of minimalist living, but any plans of diversifying your portfolio? And anything big you’re saving up for aside from finally retiring? :D
I’m also thinking of simplifying my increasingly complicated net worth tracking, but I guess the scenario here in my country (Mabuhay from the Philippines!) is also a factor why I need to spread out my assets (banks may close, the equivalent IRAs are not very enticing, etc.).
Can relate with reviewing your net worth for the past years! I am also trying to do that while I prepare for an opportunity to present my journey as part of a Financial Wellness Program in a company. Wish me luck and God speed for you too!
Gooooooood luck!!!!!! We need as many people as we can get spreading the good word on $$$! :)
As for my diversifying stuff, yeah – def. something I need to work on for sure, haha… I’m rather addicted to retirement accounts because of all the benefits (and the FIRE crew only adds to it with all their hacks on how to convert them before you’re in your 60s!), but I do need to be better about spreading the $$ around. I used to do it with money I had leftover after maxing out my SEP and Roth, however ever since kids I rarely have anything left over and so my investing typically stops there. Outside of the incremental Acorns deposits (which was why I first signed up to them).
Anyways, all that to say that yes – it’s def. smart to have your hands in a handful of pies, and at some time in the near future I hope to be back to doing that as well… Always something for us to be working on, eh?