[Every month we share our raw numbers here to give you a real life snapshot of a family’s finances. This was game changing for me when I first stumbled across the blogging world 9 years ago, so we’ve made it a consistent feature here on the blog in hopes it helps you along your journey as well. Enjoy!]
Hey $$$ Trackers!! Another month, another net worth update! And what an update this month has been, whew…
Part of that cash hit for my new partnership with Nate and Han here (my friends who are helping me manage the tech/behind the scenes of this blog in exchange for a minority stake in it) and for the first time in years our cash reserves are topped off again. Feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my wallet – not gonna lie!
To put in perspective how low I’ve let it go over the years, it was once at $94,642.15 back in October of 2012, and then gradually whittled down to a paltry $4,126.04 which it was hovering at last month. A $23,000 average loss a year, or almost $2,000 a month (yikes).
Now a lot of this was my own doing over the years (putting $$ into offloading our house, turning down too many side gigs, having multiple kids ;)) but the fact was I let it drain way more than I should have, and the past few months have been a blessing to get back to stable again. Even without this nice cash infusion here… (thanks for getting that new job, wifey!) Needless to say, we’re finally out of panic mode, and now it’s all about maintaining cash flow and not letting it happen again.
Oh, and speaking of that new partnership, we’re moving to a dedicated server right now to handle larger loads on the site and help speed it up (woo!), so if the blog gets wonky at all the next few days, that’s why! And should be back to normal again soon!
Here’s a quick glance of how this entire year’s gone net worth-wise:
And then here’s a play-by-play look at it in chronological order ;)
- Jan: $437,562.07 (-$51,000 – sold house + market crash)
- Feb: $440,023.40 (+$2,500)
- Mar: $488,217.20 (+$48,000 – market rebound + taxes + gift)
- Apr: $496,016.17 (+$8,000)
- May: $503,939.92 (+$8,000 – HALF-A-MILLIONAIRE STATUS!)
- Jun: $494,758.25 (-$9,000 – bought a car)
- Jul: $511,782.60 (+$17,000 – market growth)
- Aug: $513,016.99 (+$1,000)
- Sep: $512,820.73 (-$200)
- Oct: $502,883.49 (-$10,000 – market down)
- Nov: $524,910.47 (+$22,000 – markets up!)
- Dec: $599,826.38 (+ $75,000 – new partnership)
Eight increases and four decreases, with an overall trend upwards. I’m sure there will be plenty of more wild swings to come in the new year/decade, but as long as it continues to go up we know the plan is working! And hopefully you’re seeing the same results with your money too :)
Here’s How The Month of December Broke Down:
CASH SAVINGS (+$63,911.03): A 1,548% increase, haha… that’s wild. We already talked about where it all came from, but if you want to read more of the backstory on the new partnership, you can do so here. (Spoiler alert: it was to help me not burn out and to improve the blog at the same time)
BROKERAGE (+$24.25): A nice little bump here too! Always better than the opposite eh? ;) All this money here consists of solely our Acorns account which rounds up our daily transactions and drops the difference into an investment portfolio for me. Something I set up almost two years ago now (wow) and haven’t touched since. It’s not a life changing amount of money sitting there at $570, but it’s all better than $0.00! So we continue on and use it as a nice back up in case we ever need it for anything.
THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN (TSP) (+$439.71): Another nice increase here as well! Just from my wife steadily siphoning away some of her paycheck every two weeks right into her sexy new retirement account. We’ll probably increase this # as time goes on, but for now she’s putting in enough to get all those FREE matches from the gov’t, and the rest of her paycheck pretty much goes straight to childcare – hah. (Funny, but also NOT FUNNY). Thankfully we stumbled across the Dependent Care FSA which will save us a few thousand over the year, but man…
ROTH IRAs (+$2,058.13): Nothing new added here lately, but over the next few months I plan on using some of those cash reserves to help max it out again and continue growing the investment machine. I remember my brother-in-law once telling me that his one and only goal every year is to max out both his IRA and his 401(k), and as long as he does that he’ll be set for life. And it’s true! That’s over $20,000 every single year compounding on top of each other which will grow well into the millions over time. Of course, not everyone can put this amount in during certain stages of their lives, but once you get going and can swing it, it’s smart. The only reason our own net worth is as high as it is today is because I’ve been doing exactly that for the past almost decade! It works!
SEP IRA (+$7,990.28): Same goes for this guy too. Nothing new added, but shortly that will change once it’s time to max this out after running our numbers for the year (the amount allowed is tied to what my business profit was for 2016). Here’s a cool screenshot from my Vanguard account though that shows how our investments have fared over the past couple of years (or, I should say – investment – since our money is literally all in one fund: VTSAX!)
CAR VALUES (+$33.00): How this goes UP I can’t tell you, especially as they’ve been going down $600’ish total every month, but it is what KBB is telling me so we stick to the consistency and update it as so. Here’s what they say both our rides are currently worth:
- Lexus RX350: $12,891.00
- Toyota Corolla: $3,957.00
CAR LOAN: (-$459.51): Down down down every month! I know half of you will say that we should just pay it off now that we’ve got a chunk of money again, but at the risk of going down that same cash dwindling path again, we will not be taking any drastic measures at the moment :) Plus, I actually don’t mind holding a little debt to be honest with you at such low rates. You know that game we played when I asked you if you’d rather have a ton of cash with an equal amount of debt – OR – break even at $0.00? Well, you can probably guess the position I prefer. And it will of course be different for everyone… (The trick is knowing yourself well enough to choose the *right* one for you!)
And that’s December!
Here’s a look at how our ENTIRE journey has gone
since paying attention to this stuff in ’08:
Just more proof that it’s all worth it in the end! And really, it’s not that detrimental to your lifestyle either, am I right? How many of you are hating life right now while saving away? I know some months and parts can blow, but overall it’s amazing how little we need to actually *enjoy* our lives.
So even when we all DO become millionaires one day – and I can promise you, we will! – it’s not like it’ll actually change our lifestyles that much anyways. It just means we’ll have way more peace of mind, and options! The best things money can buy :)
Speaking of the best things in life, here are the net worths of my babies as well. Who really aren’t babies anymore at 2 and 4 – eek!
And that wraps up the year! Hope your money went well too! Keep tracking it and hustling… It’s all about letting time do its magic and amplifying things FOR you. And it works like a charm!
You can see all 108 of our net worth reports over the years here, and once you’re bored with those you can head over to my other site, Rockstar Finance, and check out the money of 250+ OTHER bloggers too. It now ranges from $4,156,344 all the way down to (-) $532,304. Different stages, different wallets!
See y’all in the comments :)
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)
Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!
Congrats on the increases! I love tracking our net worth. It’s such an eye-opener, and even if you’re in debt it helps you to see you’re making progress. I helped a friend see this last week. Keep up the great work. We all appreciate what you do here $
Mrs. Mad Money Monster
Yes!! The beauty with net worth is that it can go up no matter what you’re doing to better your finances :) And usually the scariest part is sitting down the first time to stare it in the eye!
Wow J. $160k increase in a 12 month span is crazy. Great job.
Damn Jay, nice little increase there. Very cool – keep grinding, my friend. :)
Great year overall, it’s sets a good baseline on how the market takes control of your account as the balance increases.
Looking forward to more this year
Yup! We lost savings throughout most of the year so by looking at just that we would have been a failure, but then you see the stock side of things doing its job and really puts things in much better perspective. Though of course we still need to make sure our cash flow stays in check :)
Great month and fantastic end to 2016! Any month you get positive growth is a good one in my book. Keep up the good work in 2017!!
Anytime that your net worth increases for the year is a good year in my books and I have to admit my eyes popped out a couple of times when I save the cash increase. I was like is that right? That’s awesome that you’re getting some tech help. Anyway, thanks for sharing!!!
My YOY cam out to 28%. I finished up at $283,000, up $7800 for the month, and $62,000 for the year. December’s increase was just the stock market. I was on vacation all month.
Not a bad result, I’m not a big net worth goal setter due to the impact of the market on it. Case in point this year was a very good contribution year, but I made even more by investment returns. Had the investment returns reversed net worth alone would show a negative year.
Yeah, at a certain point you can’t control it anymore, but still def. good to track so you can keep an eye out on other areas of your finances :) Especially if you’re NEW to paying attention to money.
What a solid end to the year with the markets bouncing higher and the sale of a minority interest in your business! Things are paying off, that’s for sure. Hopefully the markets continue to ride high in 2017. Some folks are expecting the worst, but I’m always an optimist. It’ll be a great year!
Awesome!! Glad that weight has been lifted- a great way to start the new year. How badly did you want to sell something for $173.62 on the last day of the month?? I think I may need an intervention for my even number fetish…
Haha… I always wait until the start of the next month to update everything so didn’t have a chance even if I wanted :) Plus, gives me one more emotional “bump up” to look forward to now – woo!
Yeesh, that’s scary, but it’s great to see that you guys are getting on the financial straight and narrow! We’re currently keeping our car loan, too, since it has such a mondo-low interest rate. It makes sense to pay off higher interest debt and even our freakin’ MORTGAGE first because those interest rates are higher. So we’ll probably just pay on our car loan until the damn thing is paid off. It’s weird, but otherwise we’ll actually lose money paying it off soon.
Alternatively, you could just write a check out of your business account for daycare. Depending on how you are structured this could fall under the “fringe” benefit category. If you weren’t comfortable with the use or lose FSA that is. But I think the max on DCR FSA is like $5K (I could be wrong on the limit, I know it was 5k when I did it in 2008) so I’m sure its not a big deal, with today’s daycare prices that’s like 4-5 months.
And yeah, Acorns FTW, almost $800 in like 1.5 yrs.
I wish it was 4-5 months! Costs us $2,000/mo – and that’s the cheapest we could find (at least with the set up we thought was best for our kids).
Yeah I know its a killer. My mom does home daycare in Howard county. I hear from time to time what she charges. Don’t worry it gets cheaper when they start at grade school. Although not as much as you’d think. Sports, extracurriculars, etc…. it all adds up.
Well I can always just drop them off at your place, right? You said if I ever need help with anything? (??????)
Reading various monthly status updates is always a good encouragement to keep on keeping on. Even when they are vastly different than my own situation I am always able to gain a new perspective or a reminder to stick with it.
Good! Same with me when I read others’ worths ranging from negative thousands all the way up to millions! It’s the *game plan* behind the scenes that really tell the better picture (okay, that and the #’s once they start getting high, haha…)
Congrats Man! And thanks for being totally honest about the business stuff – a lot of bloggers keep all that on the down-low. Brutal honesty – a key ingredient for the success of your site!
Yeah dude – gotta show all angles – highs and lows! – to really be transparent… too many people are just blasting out one side of them, and they’re usually only the stuff that makes them look better :)
Congrats, J!!! Those are some awesome numbers. That’s my favorite part about tracking net worth — looking back over how you did for the year and seeing how much your work has paid off!! It’s a very satisfying feeling. Happy New Year :)
Your blog name is too much, haha…
Great job in 2016. Your net worth chart looks awesome! It is really picking up some steam. You’ll be a millionaire before you know it. I think it’s good that you got some liquidity back. Good job converting part of the IP to cash. Good luck in 2017!
Wow, awesome $160,000 increase in 2016, J.
The beauty of tracking the net worth is that it allows us insight and clarity on how and where our money works and goes. May the markets of 2017 continuing riding high and our milestones reached on an even greater scale!
Wow, great job! I love the charts. I am much more visual and they definitely have a greater impact on me.
I can attest that tracking your net worth makes a huge difference. for the first 5 months of 2016, my net worth only increased by $1500 despite the fact that I contributed more than that to my 401K. I started tracking my net worth in June and from Jun-Dec, it increased $26,700. It kind of makes me sad to see the difference because…wow, what a huge opportunity loss the first 5 months were (and where did it all go?). But it also makes me pretty proud that I was able to turn it around and am more focused now.
Is it crazy that I get excited to see your net worth posts? They always inspire me to see what more I can do to increase mine!
Awesome! What a great year for you!
My only complaint is that you couldn’t find another $174 to make it an even $600,000? Did you check the couch cushions and the kids’ piggy banks? ;)
Nice! I love seeing the entire year the way you have it along with what happened. It’s nice to look back on an entire year and see way more green than red. Hopefully 2017 will bring lots of green!
I know there’s a lot of uncertainty for the next year, but we’re still hopeful and for us it doesn’t truly matter since we’re still in the beginning.
If this isn’t a year that shows “the first hundred thousand is the easiest” than I don’t know what is!! What an increase over one year!
TRUTH! That $100k takes yearrrssss and then BAM – much faster :)
Whoa! Nice bump in December! Before I read through the post details, I was wondering what I did wrong last month – ’cause I didn’t see those kind of returns. Congrats on building up the savings. :)
Haha yeah, I kinda cheated ;)
I always like to have a bit of a cash reserve. During our year off, we kept it at $50k. =) Now that we have some extra income rolling it, we will probably start reducing that number with more investing and giving. Congrats on having more peace of mind. It’s great to find that sweet spot!
Nicely done, J. Money, what a killer month! We started tracking our net worth in 2016 because of your blog. Thanks for giving us the push to get our financial house in order, and opening our eyes to FI!
LOVE TO HEAR THAT!! Well done!
Great job on the net worth increase. Awesome job!
Great way to boost your net worth AND to improve your personal (and blog) situation at the same time! Awesome to see how one journey can pay out over the course of many years. We’ve been tracking our expenses for almost 2 years now, but never took the time to set up a net worth report… will do so this year however. Although we believe we are in financial good (enough) shape it doesn’t hurt to take a look once in a while.
Thanks for sharing!
oh man, but it’s so fun to do! :)
The importance of building net worth is so easy to overlook because it’s so intangible. But your colorful net worth graphs with the the skyrocketing blue lines make the intangible tangible—and they show everyone the way up.
Congrats on the impressive progress you’ve made and that you’re continuing to make. You can color me inspired!
Haha…. Thanks man. I’m happy when you’re happy :)
I just started tracking ours in March 2016 and started at -$59,860.80 and finished the year at -$18,291.80. Still negative but good progress with an increase of $41,569.00. We’re just going to keep on going until we hit $0 and beyond! Good work in 2016. Keep it up!
holy $hit! you’re killing it!!
That’s all I got.
Wow, that is awesome! I’m a HUGE proponent of collaborations. I think it is part of our ‘primal’ way of life. Richard Branson also thinks that collaboration is the future of business and success.
Can’t agree more.
Looking forward to what is coming forward with you and your new team!
Do you still use Digit? I was stoked when I saw I could link Digit to my personal capital account. My balance is sitting just shy of $1000 (accumulated since August) but every little bit helps that net worth!!!
I’m curious, do you update net worth with balances as of the last day of the month?
Hey Lanae – I sure do! I’ve now saved about $8,500 so far using Digit in 2 years :) In fact, monday’s post coming up will be a recap of my thoughts and review of them now that I’ve been using them for so long! I’m glad you’re finding them helpful too!
As for Net Worth – yup, I do my best to grab the balances on the last day of the month or the very next day on the 1st. I think as long as you’re consistent with the general days regardless of when it is, it still does the trick as far as comparing to previous periods.
Dammmmn! Nice to see that $60k+ increase to the cash money holdings! Hope the new partnership works out for you!
Gotta love that cash infusion! A good go between yeah, where you liquefy some of your business and stay involved.
I need to find myself some Nate and Han folks who can work some backend magic too. But then, I just get lazy and don’t bother changing. I think it’s great Nate and Han have put up capital and are taking some entrepreneurial risk as well!
Best finding from this for me: That you drive a Lexus RX. Me too. I have a 2007 and I love it. Best car ever. I bought mine off someones lease and it only has 61,200 miles on it. I live in the city and only drive like 1,200 miles a year, so I plan on driving it for at least the next 20+ years! One of my life goes is to never get rid of that car. Congrats on all of your successes in 2016. Look forward to connecting in 2017.
Hah – nice! It’s actually pretty funny.. When I wrote my post telling people I bought it I got absolute hate on one end with people unsubscribing from my blog telling me I was pretty much an idiot, but then on the other side I got people emailing and letting me know that they too have an RX! Which obviously made me feel better :)
I actually plan on writing up an update on it since it’s been about 6 months so I’ll have to give you a plug in it… I’m more in love with it than I was when I first got it! They’re so nice, right??? (and QUALITY)
Now that’s a good month.
We were finally able to sell back our diesel VW, and it sure was nice to get that money in the bank, especially since we bought the replacement car months ago.
That’s a nice little infusion, friend. I’m with you on hoarding cash, er, not paying down all low interest debt right now. There’s so much uncertainty in the air, a little cash on my side feels good.
There are so many finance blog out there, but yours is the only one I keep coming back to. I also joined Personal Capital after reading your post.Thanks!
hey, thanks! So glad you’re enjoying it! And rocking Personal Capital too! :)
Hey J nice jump in net worth 600K is almost beast mode. That happens when you hit 750K, you almost had it. So where is all this extra dough the wife is making? Did yall combine dollars aka accounts or is it all separate? We are part of the separate camp in my house. Talk to you soon.
I’ll be looking forward to $750k even more then now :)
The wife’s money mostly goes to childcare every month – it’s insane. And then some towards her retirement (TSP) and the rest pretty much wiped away from the higher cost of living where we had to move. So on the $$ front it only brings us a few hundred extra each month, but on the career/sanity front she’s pretty much loving it :)
Oh, and yup – all our finances are combined now.