December gave us a chance to really finish off the year strong. I hope you were able to really enjoy the holidays. Now that we've rung in the new year and have opened all the presents, it's time to look at how we finished 2017 and look forward to 2018!
Why I post my net worth updates publicly
If this is the first time you've stumbled upon my monthly net worth reports, I would like to explain why I choose to write them.
First, I love the accountability they force on me about handling my finances. I'm posting to be transparent and really explain what happened over our month that helped move the needle for our family.
Second, I'm hoping to inspire and motivate others to make their financial future better. I wanted to show that our journey is not all straight up success with no bumps in the road. Everyone has setbacks, but we can't let that get us down! We have to keep pressing forward!
What Happened to Our Net Worth This Month?
Wow, what a ride the past couple of months have been! Stocks grew, cash grew, even vehicle value grew for some odd reason. The only thing that declined was our emergency savings, but our cash should more than make up for that!
Net Worth - December 2017
$174,000 - This is the number that I'll most likely be sticking with for the short term future. It seems to be a solid number, although Zillow is throwing a bigger number out there currently. I know that many others have said that Zillow seems to move around too much to be so accurate, but I'm going to stay conservative for now! Zillow is now showing that my home is worth as $189,795, but it changes all the time, so I'm holding back on that.
Work Roth 403b
The account continues to grow at a nice rate. I love that in less than two years, we've already accumulated over $15,000 in this account, all because of payroll deductions! It's so powerful and we don't even really miss the money!
Traditional and Roth IRA's
It's crazy seeing our IRA's growing by about as much as our 403b here. Especially considering that we don't even contribute but $45 a month to it! Lots of growth here.
This category is a newcomer to this issue of our net worth reports. We had been saving money that the girls have received into a basic savings account, but we finally pulled the trigger and closed those accounts and moved the money into a brokerage account through Stockpile. I met these guys at FinCon. With only $0.99 trades, we were easily able to put our full balances of the accounts to work in each of the girls accounts. I put it into VTI to diversify and just be the market. So far, since starting, the account is up over 4.00%, way better than the interest rate I was getting from the savings account. If you'd like to try them out, click the picture below and I can gift you $5 just for getting started!
Our only individual stocks have eeked out a small gain over the past couple months. That's ok, we are still long them and they've had a decent year, finishing up 14% for the year. Although, I'd have liked to see better gains for single stocks, I'll take the growth here.
It goes up, it goes down... just cars doing their normal thing here... I don't get the part where my used cars are worth more this month, but they even out over time.
We spent and spent this month, it looks like. Here's how our bigger expenses played out:
- Sinking Funds only took an $747 hit! Great month! The big things that happened were Christmas spending and medical bills.
- Groceries were a little high this month at $662 of our $625 budget. Of that, $195 of it was from fast food and eating out.
- Medical came in at $322 this month. Ouch! Currently, we put $50 a month away for this to help offset the costs.
Emergency Fund Savings
We haven't put the extra paycheck into our emergency fund yet due to the way that paychecks and bills have been hitting. We plan to get to it soon though, hopefully in January. Currently, we are just sitting one paycheck ahead in our main account. We are currently 57.1% funded back towards our 6 month emergency fund. Getting this funded in 2018 is going to be a big goal.
Our only liability that we have left is our home mortgage. All student loans, cars, and consumer debt have been paid off. Working to pay down the mortgage, we continue to refinance to shorten the term and lower the interest rate when possible to keep our payment the same. We are a little high on our monthly percentage for housing, roughly 33% of take home pay. This is one reason we're finding it harder to get to the 15% savings towards retirement. Through pay raises, we'll lower that percentage and build back up to get away from it being that high in the future. And, we always have the option to refinance back up to a longer term in the future if things get hairy as well.
Boom! Another couple payments down and we socked another $1,200+ away off our principal! We are paying off over $200 more than before we refinanced, although we won't break even until February 2018. However, we are less than 15 years away from paying off our mortgage now!
YTD Net Worth Growth
January 1st, 2017 : $102,049.03
January 1st, 2018 : $129,092.91
Total Growth YTD : $27,043.88 (26.50%)
Last Year's Growth: $18,336.16 (21.88%)
Take Away for the Month
2017 shaped up to be an amazing year. We had a spectacular stock market ride that have completely inflated our portfolios. We have paid off more of our mortgage than ever before due to refinancing and being able to have more out of every payment go to principal. I wish we could have ended on a bit of a higher emergency fund balance, but we are still in a good place there. 2018 should bring much more growth and if it's anything like 2017, many more memories!
Here are some of our articles that were posted throughout November and December in case you missed them.
Life not what you expected? Money for Meaning calls us to a more meaningful life through less consumption and more living in a philosophical way.
Why build wealth? Is it to gain more possessions and try to coast through life? Or is there more to it? Check out our family’s reasoning here.
Online banking can be confusing with no branches to visit. However, there are advantages that you should weigh when thinking about opening up a new account.
Teaching kids about the value of money can be hard, especially these days when
most of our day to day money transactions are done online, with our ATM card or
cell phone. But the earlier your kids start good money habits the better, so here are
4 fun activities that will teach them lifelong money lessons without them realising
Well, we were able to move the line up just a tad more again in October! Check out how the month went down below!
FinCon is the place to be if you are looking to grow your personal finance site and skills. Check out some of my takeaways here.
Are you ready to finally take control of your finances? Let my budgeting spreadsheets help!
Just fill out the form below and I'll send you the link to get the same exact budgeting spreadsheets that I use each month!
Included in the workbook:
- Monthly budget form
- Breakdown of savings form (for your sinking funds)
- Overview of your financial plan
I've been using these same forms since August 2011 and have grown my family's net worth 500% tracking our money using these forms!
Latest posts by Steven Goodwin (see all)
- December 2017 – $129,092.91 – Net Worth Update (+$9,171.86) - January 3, 2018
- Money For Meaning: Philosophy for a Life of Extraordinary Freedom Review - November 29, 2017
- Why Are You Building Wealth? - November 22, 2017
- October 2017 – $119,921.05 – Net Worth Update (+$369.16) - November 4, 2017