Happy November y’all! Have a fun Halloween? Anything juicy go down?
We hit up a wedding on Saturday which was kinda neat, though it wasn’t a dress up one (booooo) so I just painted my nails black instead to have some fun :) And they had a pretty sweet candy bar too which was fantastic!
But wow – WHAT A RALLY this month, guys! This is the exact reason we say never to freak out and pull your money out of the market when The Crazy hits, as you would have missed out on some pretty epic gains here… Which in our case totaled over $30,000! Damn.
Check out the updated graph from my Vanguard account:
That’s what you call a comeback… And speaking of Vanguard, I actually met someone at the wedding who WORKS THERE and our convo went a lot differently than I would have guessed :)
Her: So what do you, Jay?
Me: I’m a blogger, actually. I talk about money all day long if you can believe that.
Her: Oh, then you’re gonna love my job – I work at Vanguard.
Me: SHUT UP! REALLY?? IS IT AWESOME? WHAT DO YOU DO THERE? TELL ME EVERYTHING, OMGGGGG!
Her: Well it’s not that exciting. Just started there, but quite honestly they pay like $hit. How else do you think you get such low fees on the funds?
Me: Umm… *swigs some beer*… because they’re awesome?
Her: No, because they pay their employees like crap. We’re paid the least across the whole industry so you investors can earn more in the end.
Me: Umm… well… thanks? *swigs more beer* … Uhh… You ever get to meet Bogle? I bet he’s pretty cool?
Her: He’s alright. We’ve never talked but I’ve seen him in the halls before.
**Her’s husband walks up to us and asks what we’re talking about**
Me: I just learned your wife works at Vanguard! I love that place!
Her’s husband: *Rolls eyes*… Did she tell you how much they pay???
Me: Yeah… umm… *finishes bottle of beer*… Anyone need anything from the bar?
How’s that for an interesting conversation, haha… I can’t say I’ve ever thought about how much Vanguard pays their employees, but I do know what a tight ship they run w/ expenses. Us bloggers are always trying to get them to do an affiliate program since we promote them so much, but so far no luck. I guess they figure we’re pimping them out already for free so why pay for it? :)
Anyways, onto the numbers…
Here’s how October broke down:
CASH SAVINGS (-$334.69): Whelp, we broke our 5 month savings streak… Had a few extra bills this month than normal, and biz income not up to par, so we took a little hit and hope to make up for it over the next month here… $hit happens, right?
DIGIT SAVINGS (+$297.59): On the plus side, our Digit account went up quite a bit and helps make up for it :) Looks like we’re averaging about $180/mo now in savings since signing up in January – so easy.
CHALLENGE EVERYTHING (+$337.31): The Challenge keeps on going, baby! Month two into our next year already, and the hunt is on to beat out last year’s $5,484.07 pot of free money… The Craigslist selling tends to dry up a bit over the winter, but in October I was able to land $100 in total sales (sold a jacket and old surfboard I was using as decoration – hah), and then also found $0.26 worth of change which I was pretty happy about (1 penny and 1 quarter) :) Eventually I’ll run out of things to sell as I rarely bring home anything *new* anymore, but the more I challenge myself the better I’m getting at detaching myself from those things that normally wouldn’t have been considered before. So my minimalism is getting stronger by the month!
ACORNS (BROKERAGE) (+$27.49): A nice increase of 10% this month! Some of which was put in myself (as a refresher – Acorns rounds up all your purchases to the nearest $1.00 and then drops the difference into a portfolio of funds for you), and the rest was a result of the markets going up this month. The account doesn’t grow as fast as with Digit if you leave it all automated (you can xfer $$ into your Acorns account anytime you want though), but it’s a nice side account that slowly grows without any effort on your part whatsoever. I highly advise it to anyone who sucks/is scared of investing and just *needs to get started*. You’re literally investing every time you swipe your credit card! Even if it’s just pennies!
MOTIF (BROKERAGE) (+$34.45): As I mentioned last month, I haven’t touched this guy since the beginning of the year when I took on our blogging challenge to try my hand at dividend investing… The service itself is pretty interesting (you can check it out here), but I’m learning more and more that I don’t care much for stock picking so at some point I’ll be closing out the account and xfering my money back into Vanguard to tie up loose ends… Was fun to test it out for a while though.
IRA: ROTH(s) (+$6,846.17): Not even a dollar invested and we’re up almost $7,000 – woo! A nice sight to see after losing thousands after thousands over the past couple of months…
IRA: SEP (+$25,779.17): HUBBA HUBBA! Not a dollar dropped in here either and BAM! An entry-level salary added in within a month. Gotta love it… A great reminder that it’s all for the long run and to keep shoveling it in no matter what the markets are doing. Sometimes it’s on sale and sometimes not.
AUTOS WORTH (kbb) (+$16.00): I don’t know how this went up, but regardless I’ll take it as it’s always more fun to see green than red in these reports :) Here’s the worths of both our cars:
- Plain Jane Toyota: $4,301.00
- Frankencaddy: $1,000.00
HOME VALUE (Realtor) ($0.00): Well, after much deliberating last month, we finally decided to pull the trigger and try to offload this thing! I’ll have to write up something much more detailed later, but as of now we’re prepping for a sale as our renter moves out and should have it on the market early this month. Which will then tell us how much it’s REALLY worth when the offers start coming in (or not) haha… And in the worst case that we get no offers – or the offers that do come in blow – we’ll go back to renting it out again and then hold off until later to give it another try. It’s not the most ideal way (or season) to sell a property, but we feel it’s worth giving it a solid shot as we really do think it’s for our best interest in the long run. So wish us luck! And thanks for all your advice! :)
MORTGAGES (-$713.99): Another huge chunk taken out, though not as huge as when/if our place sells ;) It’ll be amazing to be 100% debt-free without any qualifiers one day! I can’t wait! Here’s where are two mortgages stand right now:
- 1st Mortgage: $263,335.69 (30 year conventional @ 5.5%)
- 2nd Mortgage: $25,563.31 (HELOC @ variable 2.8%)
Our Net Worth over the past year:
Inching closer to $500,000! And a new high too, barely beating out the previous record from July of $491,000. We’ll see what the next two months bring…
Here’s how our kids are fairing as well:
And that’s October! How’d you do? Anyone cross over a new milestone?
As always, if you want further motivation or just feel like stalking, be sure to check out our Net Worth tracker over at Rockstar Finance to see how 180+ other financial bloggers are doing too. And you can find all 94 of my own updates throughout the years here as well.
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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Glad to see you’re selling the home… can’t wait to hear about it. My in-laws have have theirs listed for a few months now with only a few nibbles. It seems the market over here isn’t what they thought :(
That conversation about Vanguard is pretty interesting… I wonder why she would tell you that? I’m all for Vanguard too, but she doesn’t sound like much of a brand ambassador for the company he works for. Hmm…
Anyway, looks like you’re close to 500k – keep it up man!
Sending your in-laws lots of positive vibes!!! I’m praying we have no problems on our end, but of course you never know until it’s *out there*. It feels great making a decision though, I’ll tell you that much.
Same here–our house has been on the market for months, no offers. Good luck to everyone trying to sell their houses, because we need it!
In line with your Challenge Everything I’ve decided to sell my 10 year old car and just use other means of transportation. The car is starting to go and I only use it once a week for groceries since I bike or bus to work (a parking pass is $190/month). I am actually spending more money at my apt on parking ($40/month) than what I spend in gas ($30/month). Just gas, insurance, parking, my car costs me $136/month. Not a huge sum but a lot to pay for such limited use. I joined the car share instead and can just book a car when I need it.
Good for you “Slackerjo”…I wish I had the guts to give up my cars…they are a money suck….Tags insurance, gas , repairs, emissions testing, maintenance…it’s a part time job just keeping the cars going…Keep us posted on going “car-less”….
Here is the first installment of the challenge.
I sold the car tonight and it is a huge relief for it to be gone!
Love it!! That’s quite the challenge indeed! :)
Congrats on your numbers….Really funny about the Vanguard employee….I had a similar experience at a cookout years back with a guy that worked at Charles Schwab. Like you I thought “what a cool job”….but this guy said….”not so much”…and shared they…”paid like…crap money”….what ever that is. His plan was to put some time there and then get in over at T. Rowe Price….Good luck on the home sale. IMHO you are correct…not the best time to market a home for sale. But it is…what it is….
It’s always good to see those big numbers (especially when they’re also positive).
We had a nice month, and my son’s college account is almost back up to the level of our contributions (we don’t dollar cost average, we just give him a lump sum each year when we find the cash. Turns out we always invest at a high).
Congrats on all that (positive) change! Our accounts went up last month thanks to a one-time project I got hired for. Won’t get that opportunity again, but at least it padded things a bit. I get paid in mid-month, so I won’t have more current information til then.
The good news is that we’re inching closer to the $25k we need for Tim’s dental implants. Hopefully, we’ll get there soon just in case his disability really is yanked. At least during the appeal he gets to keep his medical benefits. That’s what’d really kill us. So things could be a lot worse.
Those cost $25k?? wow… so crazy, I’m sorry :(
I was definetly glad to see that market rebound this month. I was worried that I wasn’t going to make my goal of a net worth of $140,000 before my 28th birthday, and I wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t for the turn around, but we made it.
I’m adding the URL below to the post I just made about how the rest of our birthday goals panned out.
Sounds like a great month! I made the decision to pay off my car loan on Friday. It only had 6 months to go and my thought was I could save $30 by pulling the money out of savings and paying it off early. My interest for the month was right around a $1 so I thought to myself instead of $6 in savings for the next 6 months lets save that $30! Now I will pay the savings account back with the car payment and I feel like a financial genius!
Yeah you are :)
Fingers crossed for you guys as you list the house! Hopefully you get a decent price. When we were in a similar situation I remember it felt so awesome the day it closed. We dropped almost $200k in debt in one day. :-).
Yay for the October stock market! I think the last few months were the first time since I started tracking my net worth and blogging that the market just kept sinking and sinking and I actually had to think… is this the right idea here? But I stuck it out and actually managed to contribute a lot to my IRA and buy some stocks during it – so I was pleasantly surprised when I ran my numbers last week! Yay for perseverance.
Nice month, J! We had a similar bump in net worth due to the markets rebooting in October ($+93k).
I’ve heard that about Vanguard before. Crappy pay. On the upside, I don’t think they work their employees as hard as other financial firms. And hey, you’re working for the good guys, so there’s that. :)
I’ll second that :)
That Vanguard graph is crazy. It took me a second to realize that “$0” on the y-axis is not actual $0, but rather your starting point, haha. Still crazy though. I can’t believe people actually freak out and sell their stock during mini-crashes.
I think I really need to check out Acorns, as this is the second recommendation I’ve read of it this week. Especially since I use my credit card for pretty much everything anyway (yay Amazon points).
Good luck with the house! It must feel good to have made a decision about it and be moving forward with a plan. I need to go look up all your old posts on this, as I’m pretty curious about the whole home-buying investment thing — people seem to have such opposite opinions on the subject.
if you do try them let me know what you think!
RE: House stuff – lots of opposing opinions for sure. At the end of the day it just comes down to personality and overall goals. Doesn’t matter which side you choose so long as you’re choosing for the right reasons :)
Congrats on deciding to sell. I can’t wait to hear more about that. Kind of a bummer that the Vanguard convo went like that. Did that sour you on your experience with them at all? We’re loving having our IRAs with them.
Not at all.. I think they’re incredible so I’m sticking no matter what people say :) Every place has people working there who hate it, eh?
Great numbers this month J! Remember I’m the old guy here, just hit 50 this year. Also had a good rebound month, up $44,563, net worth 877,456.00 next big milestone of $900K is only $22,544 away, on pace to hit this in 6-9 months, and then the million dollar club is just $122,544 away! Enjoy reading your blog, my favorite one! You keep me motivated, and I spread the good word to all the younger folks that work with me.
Nice! Thanks man :) You inspire ME to keep going too so I can catch up to you! Love watching everyone’s $$$ go up over time.
I congrats on the redemption! I’m not tracking my net worth yet (it’s coming soon), but we just hit a milestone, and dropped our debt un $30K :)
Looks like your system is working well for you – keep doing what you’re doing!
LMAO. They pay everyone less than the industry average because they pass it onto the investors. That’s a good thing. She can move to NYC and become an investment person who swindles people out of their hard earned cash instead! Vangaurd isn’t sexy, it’s smart. BAM. I always get frustrated when people complain about their pay when they chose to work there.
We also had a very up month. Over 3k saved and NW up over 13k! BAM again!
BAM BAM BAM!
I wonder in Vanguard offers solid benefits to make up for the lower salary? I work for a business that tends to be lower on the salary front, but we make up for it with a stellar benefits package. The company picks up 90% of the tab for health/dental/vision insurance, huge 401k match (plus an annual 401k bonus contribution that the employee doesn’t even have to match), excellent paid time off, etc. It ends up adding on an additional 25k in total compensation for the average employee. Take home doesn’t always tell the whole story.
Agreed! (Also – are you guys hiring? :))
I interviewed there a few years ago and I think they matched 100% of 401k up to 10% which I thought was great. I don’t remember any of the other benefits though…
Well that’s a huge perk!
Congratulations. Our Canadian market didn’t rebound to the same level, plus I took a well deserved (but expensive vacation).
Here are my numbers. I love being accountable.
Your investments are off the charts… haha, wow.
Vanguard.. you know I worked there too, right?! Their pay isn’t THAT horrible… I actually made a little more there than I do now working for a startup. I don’t know, it kind of bothers me when people complain about how “little” they’re paid, especially at a place like Vanguard where you also get bonuses, amazing benefits, gym/cafeteria on-site… I made the decision to leave for other reasons, but I mean, at some point they made her an offer and she took it, right?
Fingers crossed for a quick and easy house sale!
I was actually going to ping you to see what you thought as I did remember you working there :) So thanks for saving me some time!
Congrats on your numbers….we were pretty excited, as well. Ok, a big congrats on making your decision on the house. Don’t despair about the timing…what you will find out is, is the people typically looking during this time of the year, tend to be more serious about needing/wanting to move. I’d rather have 5 people come through that are serious, than 20 looky-lous on a beautiful Spring weekend. I know you know this, but going to put my Realtor hat on for a moment…focus on your curb appeal, kitchen and baths should be in great shape, if you can stage it, do so, even if it’s just for pictures and that brings me to pictures. Take fantastic pics….your house has it’s first showing online…if people like what they see in the photos, they will schedule and “real” showing. I can’t tell you how many Realtors and people selling themselves take the crappiest pictures and wonder why they have no traffic. I always hire a professional photographer for my listings. Price it right, your Realtor will run the comps for your area and should give you a range. Ok….Real estate…I always get a little carried away. If you ever have questions….email me, love to help your family as you continue to help mine. Wishing you a quick sale at full price. Cha-ching!!
Thank you Mrs. Kash!!! Hadn’t thought about the serious-vs-looky-lous before – great point! It just takes 1 person at the end of the day, right?
Great tips w/ the other stuff too. We’re already on the professional photography route which is good, and fortunately did some upgrades a few years back too… probably shouldn’t have since we just turned around and rented it out vs living and appreciating them, haha, but guess it’ll help out our cause more now which is nice :)
Thx for offering to help!
I work in government and those of us in “public service” always like to complain about low pay but we do have great benefits and many still have a pension which is almost unheard of these days. Maybe she gets benefits working at Vanguard like a great 401k plan or admiral shares or something.
Wowza awesome! I put a nice chunk of cash in some investments and it was nice to see them increase so much :)
That conversation was priceless. I was rolling on the floor. Low wages are relative. Sounds like he needs to grow his wealth number so he walk away and find a job he’d love. haha
By the way, don’t know exactly when you did it but I love the way you’ve cleaned up the site. It looks great and directs my attention to exactly the products you use and love!
Hey, thx man! I’m always tweaking it around to hopefully make it better/simplier so I’m glad it’s coming out okay. One of these days I’ll even nix all the ads I have once I’m financially free – hah.
I know it will continue to fluctuate many more times before I’m ready to retire.
But it was still nice to see it come back up.
Net worth +32K to 563K.
Congrats on the positive increase this month! Makes sense that Vanguard pays their employees low salaries, just means they’re trying to save as much money as possible to reduce the expense ratio. That’s really good to hear.
Awesome, so close to the $500k mark! :) That boost in the markets got be across my target for the year, happy days.
Sucks to be a Vanguard employee…awesome to be a Vanguard investor…ha.
Good luck with the house sale!
Congrats on a solid month of net worth increase, I saw mine climb back up too. Nice to see the markets rebound.
Well done… the market more than made up for a tough spending month! And good luck selling that house!
Urhm, I’m really poor http://myricketyroad.blogspot.com.mt/2015/11/time-bought-november-2015.html
Not in time! You just bought 1.5 years! :)
That conversation is HILARIOUS. Everything has a tradeoff, I guess. Want low fees? The money’s got to come from somewhere.
Yup, huge rebound in October, almost unbelievable for us. We’re getting so close to our FI goal it’s getting scary
What a roller coaster ride on the net worth front over the past few months! Great example of why to hang on when times are tough as you say – you can never predict when the big boosts are coming!
We did our first trick-or-treating here with my 3yo daughter, was very exciting! Halloween hasn’t traditionally been a big event here in Australia, but our neighbourhood was really into it this year!
Fascinating conversation too – I had kind of assumed everyone who worked there would be immensely passionate about what they do, and wouldn’t care much about the money!
Oooh that’s interesting!! I’d never celebrated Halloween abroad before – didn’t know even know if it is celebrated or not many places?
How great to go so dramatically up with the markets! Here’s hoping there’s more of that ahead. (I LOVE that conversation you had at the wedding. Awkwardness has got to be humanity’s common denominator : )
As someone who worked in the industry, I’m not surprised to hear your conversation with the Vanguard associate. I always say that you get what you pay for and if you aren’t paying much in fees, then you can imagine that they company is not investing much in the company. It’s why Vanguard index/etf funds are the only decent performers. Anything that they manage performs like crap because they won’t pay for talent so they don’t get talented money managers. Vanguard is like the Wal-Mart of financial services, low cost but disgruntled and underpaid associates.
I forgot you were a fan of them ;)
Wow !! do you realize that your networth increase for ONE month is equal to the average annual salary of many millions of people !!!
Congrats for your impressive money management.
so crazy, right? Without even lifting a finger too… (though on the other months losing tens of thousands quickly is more than millions of people too – hah)
Inspiring stuff! You’re proof that if you put your mind to it, you can end up with a decent chunk of change!
I love the metaphor from Shannon @ Financially Blonde above – Vanguard IS like the Wal-Mart of financial services. Yeah, you can fall in love with the low prices, but at what cost? Ha!
Your vanguard account looks almost like mine.
I never did think about how they can afford to keep their fees so low. Hm. Sort makes me think.
Seems like a good time to sell a home. Not as good as before the housing bubble, but still a good time. I see for sale signs going up more and more in the recent two years.
My brother purchased a house that probably would have sold for $20,000 less about two to three years ago.
Sweet! Awesome job. We squeaked out a new all time high too due to the market rally ($1.300M). We also found out we may need a new roof that insurance won’t pay for though…so that could be tanking this month. :( That’s why we have emergency funds though, right? Ugh.
Anyway I love your Vanguard encounter. I’ve never met anyone who worked there and I would have geeked out too haha. The word about the pay there puts the kabash (sp?) on any fleeting thoughts I’ve had of trying to work there in the future though. I’ll just take the investments thankyouverymuch!
Nice to meet you formerly Meg :)
Hey J. Money,
You helped save me over 800.00 with my No Spend Oct on extra’s I didn’t need. One credit card, my main one I only spent $309.78 that was used for mainly groceries. my store card I used to buy new boots but I really needed them for work and that was only 17.22 on sale for reg 80.00 pair of boots that I got at 80% off. I usually spend over 800 to about 1,100 on my primary card and about 200-700 on my store card. So I think I did awesome for Oct, I hope to carry that over to Nov. I did most of my Christmas shopping so I should be able to continue to save over the next few months. thanks again for your advice and motivation. Keep up the great work on your end. :) Enjoy November and the Holiday season Take Care, Your Friend Mariann Hertling
Way to go Mariann!! that’s some big bucks right there!
Wishing you many more months like that to come :) Good job taking action.
Good luck on the selling of your property.
I’m selling a rental that is in escrow right now. Don’t know if you have them back where you are but I used Redfin out here in CA. The listing commission was only 1.5% (or in my case $5,500 minimum they use) and 2.5% for the buyers commission. Saved over $5,000 compared to the 6% some other realtors I interviewed were using. The pictures they used were so professional and they did a 3d walk through viewing which got me a lot more views.
(disclosure- I do not work for Redfin or receive any commission, etc. from them)
interesting! haven’t spent much time there but I always hear about them. I hope your property closes nice and easily! And then that some of your good juju rubs off over here too :)
I was so torn on the market rally!! One hand, woot $13k rebound. Other hand, dangit, I’ve been hoping it’d drop low enough to execute my purchase of some juicy dividend stocks. Ah well, win win if you want to look at it that way ;D
@The Professor’s note about Redfin: I wondered if they were any good. We stalk Trulia for (haha) deals but Redfin gives about 10% of the info that Trulia does. On Trulia, you can see so much about the houses, usually at least 20 photos (most of which have me all SOLD! til I see the prices, so Mrs. Kash is totally right) the cost breakdown, pricing history, the neighborhood and schools, etc. Off Redfin I could barely get more than three photos of the homes. BUT Redfin has the bigger home inventory. Hah all that navel gazing to say: good luck with the sale!
Just got over the $15,000 AUD peak yesterday. Have been saving 55% of my income and whilst I’m in the process of writing a few things down like my car it is still going up every week. Would love to get to 20k before my 20th birthday but we’ll see how we go haha.
Cash in Bank $7143
Retirement Account 1092.89
Wish our local market would rebound like yours though, Gone from a peak this year of 5980 points to bouncing around 5100-5200.
You’ll have $20k more than I did at 20 years old! haha… way to figure it out early on like that :)
Congrats on moving forward with selling the house! I had a decent five figure gain in net worth as well due to putting some money to work and the market rally.
Hey J! Not sure if anyone mentioned it above, but housing market tends to slow down in the winter. Not necessarily a bad thing, but just want you to hang in there if things are quiet for a while!
You’re inspiring, keep it up!
– Long time reader, wannabe blogger :)
Your homework this week: start your blog! :) So easy and fast (and FREE) these days… just go to wordpress.com and start writing!