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Net Worth Update: March 2019

Welcome to another monthly Net Worth update! This time its Net Worth March 2019 edition:

For those that are new, I will be posting these on a monthly basis to show my progress towards Financial Independence.  The purpose of these is not to brag, or show off what I have, merely to show that little by little, even over the course of just 28-31 days, much progress can be made.

In addition, by tracking and posting this on the blog where everyone can see, I’m hoping this helps to hold me accountable to my goals. Where slip ups and unchecked spending can easily be passed off by keeping it to myself, with other people watching it should help to keep me in line! (Nothing like trying to avoid public humiliation to keep you motivated!)

If you haven’t already, check out last month’s report from February.

March

After an action packed February, March had a slower start to the month which turned out to be exactly what I needed, especially since I was recovering from my “back” injury.

It was also slower because if I remember correctly (man I’m getting old!) there was some pretty not so great weather, so my girlfriend and I kicked back and stuck around DC, playing tourist the first two weekends.

That second weekend was also when Grant Sabatier was in town promoting his new book, so it was great to meet up with other members of the FIRE community there!

The following weekend was finally time to get back out in the wild. Back to back days of hiking was exactly what I needed to get that fresh spring air in my soul!

The big highlight of the month was visiting NYC to see a bunch of my college friends for the March Madness tournament opening weekend!

Though it was a very expensive weekend, it was also a lot of fun and good to see everyone. At this point in my life, it’s probably better off I only see them all 1-2 times a year, as each time I do it seems to be getting more and more expensive.

Last but certainly not least, spring in DC means cherry blossoms! I would be depriving you if I did not post at least one picture for everyone to view 🙂

Ok whew, that was a lot, now to the reason why you are all here!

Net Worth

March breaks down as follows:

There was a slight variance between Personal Capital and my own tracking sheet due to a $20 interest payment from my 401k that posted on the 31st (over the weekend).

Since I grabbed the screen shot from Personal Capital first thing Monday morning on the 1st, it hadn’t had a chance to post yet.

Since my excel sheet is the official accounting book of record, we’ll go with the slightly higher Net Worth 🙂

Other than this, it was all green this month, which was surprising considering my car value is supposed to go down!

Cash: $21,278 – $433

Due to my above average salary I have a lot of excess cash coming in. In addition, I’ve got a side hustle charging electric scooters that helps to bring in extra cash too. See the income section below to view what I bring in.

This was a lower than normal increase, as a big portion of my expenses in the Entertainment and Misc categories were not put on a credit card and taken straight from my accounts. Next month should return to the normal, bigger increases.

Side note: I don’t usually keep my cash this high, but I’m currently saving up for a rental property for my next big investment.

401K: $77,417 – $2,394

Contributions this month totaled $1,596 (Employer Matching included).

The market was up slightly again this month. It’s been nothing but up so far this year, we’ll see how long this lasts.

I take the simple approach to investing and have about 90% of this account in stocks (70/30 Domestic/International), and 10% in bonds.

Roth IRA: $12,925 – $184

No contributions this month so this is just market gains. I’ve contributed $1,000 so far this year, so still a ways to go to max this out.

This account is invested 100% in VTSAX (Vanguard Total Stock Market).

Brokerage: $14,256 – $269

No contributions here, and there probably won’t be any for quite some time. I’m holding off on future contributions here until after I purchase a rental property.

My high yield dividend paying stock has not been doing great for most of the time that I’ve had it. But in recent months it’s really took a turn for the better and has been a big part of why this account has been up in the past couple months (along with the total market of course).

I originally invested $12K into the account, $10K in the low fee VTI (Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF) and $2K in a high yield dividend paying stock.

HSA: $5,498 – $364

$212 of this was my own contributions with the rest just the market doing it’s thing. Steadily going up!

All my funds here are invested into a REIT.

Auto Value: $7,780 – $449

KBB value for my 2014 Ford Fusion with 77,500 miles on it.

This value strangely went up last month. I put the same parameters in every month and update mileage, so your guess is as good as mine as to why it went up.

Credit Cards: $(770) – $484

I pay off my credit cards in full every month so this is just the monthly balance. By doing this I build credit and get free travel rewards and cash back while paying the credit card companies nothing in interest!

Finally finished that new credit card minimum spend and received my 50,000 bonus points! I’m not working on any new cards now, so it’ll just be regular spending here for a few months.

As always, see below for the full breakout of spending to see how I did against my budget.

Monthly Expenses:

Another spendy month, and I’ve yet to stay under my budget at all this year. It even falsely looks decent right now, seeing as I have yet to make any of my increased charitable contributions (going to do in June/July).

I’m hoping to get back on track in April and get my spending back in line.

Here are the details:

Monthly Rent $1,185:

Have to love living in a HCOL (High Cost of Living) area right? This is for a 2 BR apartment in which I split the cost with a roommate. We could have found a place a little bit cheaper, however it would have been much further away from where we wanted to be (leading to an even longer commute), and with much less perks than what we have now.

Utilities/Internet $104:

I decided to combine my utilities and internet lines as the internet was not going to really be changing all year so there wouldn’t be much to say on that front.

Fairly normal month here on the utilities front as well.

Groceries $136 / Restaurants $114:

Pretty much hit this right where my monthly average is. Check out how I keep my grocery spending fairly low!

Restaurants were just over budget, due largely to my trip up to NYC and eating out every meal up there.

Auto Insurance $0 / Fuel $81 / Other $105:

I’m covered through July on my Auto Insurance after paying for 6 months up front.

Fuel wise, I filled up three times last month. I had to do my longer commute more often this month as I’m currently training up another employee who joined our team. Once he’s fully on board this will hopefully make my life a lot easier!

The “Other” costs this month was $100 for the second ever repair I’ve had to get on my car, and the first since 2017. Luckily it is still under warranty, so I only had to pay up to my deductible amount, which was the $100.

The other $5 was for parking at a DC FI blogger meetup in the city for sushi!

Cell Phone $0:

I’m still under my parents plan so this is my portion of the bill. I pay my parents directly up front for 6 months at a time.

I’m now covered through the end of June after paying in January.

Medical $32:

$32 for my semi-annual dental cleaning. Clean bill of health so that’s good! This expense is really only what this budget is for, and I’m hoping for a healthy rest of the year!

Entertainment $421:

Wowzers, this was a huge month of entertainment spending. A vast majority of this was on my NYC trip with friends, but some was around DC as well.

$318 of this amount was spent at bars in NYC, which is a huge amount. Unfortunately my friends all really wanted to get a table at a day club one of those days…. have I mentioned I am not a club guy?

I was put in a really tough spot, as this is not something I enjoy or value, and definitely not something I wanted to spend $230+ on. However, the only point of the trip up there was to spend time with my friends, and I didn’t want to just go off on my own all day while they were out there.

I ended up sucking it up and going, and made the most of it, but my wallet was not happy with that one.

It was also $17 for a cab ride in NYC, $25 for a March Madness bracket tournament I enter every year with friends for fun, and the rest was just some bar spending with my girlfriend and other friends around DC. As always, $15 for monthly Spotify as well.

Travel: $8

Only $8 for an uber ride to the bus station for my NYC trip. The way home I was dropped off within a mile from my apartment so I just walked home.

Gifts/Donations $0:

No gifts or donations this month. I’ve decided to just do two big donations this year. This will certainly help me as I try to meet future minimum spends on credit cards I open.

Ideally in the future I’ll be able to open up a donor advised fund so I don’t have to make donations via credit cards, but at this moment in my life that isn’t the main priority.

Misc $341:

It’s tax season, and while I got a big refund last year, that wasn’t in the cards this year. It was $100 on turbotax to file my federal and state taxes.

I had gotten my withholdings fairly close to my actual tax owed, but totally forgot about the additional self employment taxes I owed on my side hustle income. Thus, I actually owed $154 federally, and $87 to my state.

I’ve fixed my tax planning spreadsheet to account for this, and hope to manage my withholdings so I get a slight refund next year instead.

Savings Rate

Here’s the overall picture:

*Note – Take Home is my after tax pay (what shows up in my bank account). 401K is only my contributions. 401K Match is my company’s 3% match. HSA is both mine and employer contributions (my employer contributed $750 in January).

After seeing that I owed money on taxes, I actually adjusted my W4 to increase my withholdings a bit, so that is why my Take Home pay is slightly lower than last month.

Side Hustle earnings were again at it’s lowest level ever, as I only went one day last month. The issues I mentioned last month are still present, so I can only hope that it gets better in the spring. Otherwise I’ll really need to double down on some other side hustle if I want any hope of reaching that big goal I set.

Here were my side hustle earnings:

It’s tough to complain with a 50% savings rate during an atypical spendy month, but I know I can do better. I’ll look to April to get back on track!

If you want to see how I’ve done in past months, check out my Net Worth Updates page to see over a year’s worth of reports.

How did your March turn out!?

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9 thoughts to “Net Worth Update: March 2019”

  1. Nice – you should just change the title of this update to ‘worth’ seeing as you have no long term liabilities 😛

    I think the fact that most of your net worth is invested in the markets means that it might take a bit of a dink when the markets fall but you’re also well positioned to benefit from the long term compounding you get from ‘time in the market’ (besides for a young person with plenty of life to live before retirement a downturn in the markets can be like a trip to the sales – stock up on the good stuff at low prices and save it for later).

    Separately, I’ve always found the tax refund idea interesting, isn’t it better to owe a small amount in taxes than receive a refund (otherwise aren’t you effectively giving an interest free loan to Uncle Sam)? Over in the UK, once your money is handed over to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs good luck getting it back!

    HH

    1. Ha so true! That could change with a future rental property purchase though 😉

      Absolutely, my net worth will make a large drop in a recession, but I’ll be investing throughout and ride the wave down, and all the way back up too!

      You are right in that it is definitely better mathematically to owe a small amount, but when you’re that close to zero, I don’t think the opportunity cost of getting a small refund is really any big deal that’s worth optimizing IMO

  2. Dang, it’s a mark of how streamlined your spending is when you can spend an extra couple hundred dollars (ouch, and also clubs ARE the worst!) and still hit a slightly above 50% savings rate. That’s amazing!

    Even though my DC refund way more than covered what I owed the Feds, the dang self-employment tax got me, too. No more owing next year, this year was plenty enough of that.

    And either I’m also old or the beginning of March really was approximately six years ago. I’m going to go with the latter!

  3. Oof. That club spending… I guess I should count myself lucky that most of the friends we spend the bulk of our time with prefer cheap / free options, either because they don’t make a lot or are frugal like we are. Not sure I’d have been down for that expense.

    1. Yea no bueno on the clubs… having spendy friends makes everything a bit more stressful and I need to learn how to say “I’ll pass” more often when these activities don’t align with my values

  4. Another great month! Missing the budget by less than $100 isn’t going to harm you at all in the long run, I wouldn’t worry about that. $32 for a dental cleaning! How??? 😂

    A tax spreadsheet seems like a good idea, although I don’t know how I’d plan for dividends and capital gains given market movement. While I only owe a bit below $400 combined between federal and state, it’s a check I’d rather not write because April is always a tough month for me. Between taxes, my 6 month auto insurance payment and the beginning of golf season 🙂 , it’s always an expensive month. I’d be interested to see your spreadsheet if you have a template available.

    1. True! And dental insurance covers most of it fortunately 🙂

      Dividends I kind of track throughout the year to see, December is really just a guess. I don’t usually sell anything from my brokerage account, so haven’t had to worry about capital gains, though you can probably get a good guess based on the “realized capital gains” line in your brokerage account.

      I have a planned post soon breaking down how I calculate!

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