Welcome to another monthly Net Worth update! This time it’s Net Worth March 2020 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… what can you can about March 2020… I guess what can’t you say about March 2020 really. It was a crazy month, and one I’m sure I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
This update is coming out a bit late, for reasons I explained during my last post, but I wanted to maintain consistency with these at least!
While we’ll get to the bloodbath that was my finances in the next section, let’s do a quick recap on what I was up to this month to give some context for my expenses in a later section.
The month was surprisingly busy/active all things considered. The first two weekends were full of family; both mine and my fiancee’s. The first weekend we traveled up to Maryland to see my brother’s college lacrosse game. My parents traveled down, as well as my sister and her boyfriend so it was great to see everyone for the first time since we got engaged! My brother’s team lost a heart breaker, but they had an amazing comeback which was great to see.
The weekend afterwards we made a scheduled trip down to my fiancee’s parents’ home. We were originally supposed to go see a play, but unfortunately it was cancelled (understandably) due to COVID concerns. Instead we viewed a couple houses with our realtor and went for hike at a local state park!
We returned home and began our quarantine. We had both gotten notices over the weekend that we were to begin working remotely. We’re very fortunate and lucky to be in a situation where this is possible.
The last two weeks of the month were a blur between working from home, as well as going on a couple hikes and seeing a few wedding venues. With the wedding venues we were easily able to social distance, but with the hikes it was a different story. We went in the afternoon, and the trails were absolutely packed which made it difficult to not get extremely close to people.
We’ve since resolved this issue by waking up extremely early and going on sunrise hikes to get out and finish before the trails get too packed. We prefer sleeping in a bit, but given the situation, this is probably what’s best.
And lastly of course, it was spring in DC so we went on plenty of walks after work to see the gorgeous spring flowers around town!
Alright well I figured I distracted you long enough… Let’s get into the numbers.
March breaks down as follows:
There’s no sugarcoating this update. This was by far my worst month Net Worth wise ever. The market tanked and even these values aren’t nearly as bad as it was at one point during the month.
While it’s not easy and no fun to write about your money when the numbers look like they do, I think it’s important to show both sides of it. When things are going good, it’s great to sing the praises of the market. But if you want to do that, you can’t disappear when times get tough.
So here I am, brutal numbers and all!
Cash: $32,345 – ($3,659)
Due to my six-figure salary I have a lot of excess cash coming in. See the income section below to view what I bring in.
I did end up parting ways with some of the Cash on hand I’d been stashing. I moved $5,000 into my Roth to invest as the market was going down. Other than this action, I kept my Cash as is for now as we assess the impacts this virus will have on the economy and personally, our jobs.
401K: $89,706 – ($10,794)
Contributions this month totaled $1,800 (Employer Matching included).
Even with those contributions the “losses” were steep here. A nearly $13K market induced decrease is crazy to think about, though I suppose I am thankful to have enough money in this account to where the losses are crazy to think about.
One of the other actions I made while the market was tanking was to move roughly half the bonds I have in this account, into the Total Stock market (VTSAX equivalent). This now leaves me with roughly 5% bonds in this account, which I could also move into stocks at some point if the market reverts back downwards.
I take the simple approach to investing and have about 95% of this account in stocks (70/30 Domestic/International), and 5% in bonds.
Roth IRA: $21,003 – $2,436
$5,000 in contributions flowed into this account this month, so you can do the math on the market losses. Instead of doing one lump sum, I dollar cost averaged this money in and did so on days when I saw the market make a big drop (there were several of those last month).
I’m 100% VTSAX (Vanguard Total Stock Market) in this account after briefly owning a small percentage in bonds.
Brokerage: $12,873 – ($2,059)
No new investments here so this was all market losses. We’re almost back to the original $12,000 I invested in this account, which is very sad to see! I’m sure someday we’ll return to the higher value I was used to seeing here 🙂
I’m 100% invested in the low fee VTI (Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF) in this account.
HSA: $6,730 – ($1,685)
$207 of this was my own contributions, with the rest being the same old story with market losses.
All my funds here are invested into a REIT, which seemed to take a harder hit than the overall market this month.
Auto Value: $6,346 – $85
KBB value for my 2014 Ford Fusion with 93,000 miles on it.
Roughly 1,500 miles were put on my car this month. Most of it was pre-quarantine with work, but we did drive it to go wedding venue seeing and hiking a few times as well.
Credit Cards: $(1,182) – $1,925
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!
Credit card spending was back to its usual level. There is still one large purchase I have on here that needs to be returned, so this number is also a bit inflated again.
As always, see below for the full breakout of spending to see how I did against my budget.
Came in just under budget this month, which is one of the few things I actually can control during this whole pandemic. I prepaid a for a few future events, and paid my big cell phone bill, but otherwise it was a fairly routine month spending wise.
Monthly Rent $1,200:
$1,200 is my portion of the rent for the 1 bed, 1 bathroom apartment I share with my partner.
We have a flat $15/each monthly water bill. We also got a great introductory rate on internet (the lowest bandwidth option) for $15/each per month. The remaining was my portion of the electric for $23 (we don’t pay for gas). Considering we were at the apartment much more in March due to working remotely, I’m surprised it actually wasn’t a bit higher.
Groceries $223 / Restaurants $85:
Another month and another high grocery bill. I’m resigning myself to the fact that $175/month is a pipe dream with our newer diet. Now the goal is to get it down closer to $200/month. I will say that the quarantine and subsequent stocking up on groceries has certainly not helped us out one bit. I feel like every grocery trip ends up being a crazy amount these days, but hopefully things will get back to normal sometime soon.
We’re looking to help out local restaurants a bit that are still open in the area. We’ve made a routine to order pick up every Thursday which allows us to get outside and go for a walk to pickup our meal.
Auto Insurance $0 / Auto Fuel $93 / Transport Other $50:
I paid for the next 6 months of my car insurance in January which now covers me through July.
This was for 3 fill ups during the month, as there was a surprising amount of driving we did, mainly for the trips hiking and wedding venue seeing, as well as those first two weeks of March going into work.
$50 in the Transportation Other category for my regular metro card fill up. This should last me a while since I haven’t taken the metro since I started working full time remotely in mid March as part of the quarantine.
Cell Phone $240:
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, so this now takes me through end of June (ok fine, I suppose this wasn’t directly up front – but my parents know I’m good for it!).
No medical costs this month.
The big expense here was $90 to see the play, Hamilton, at the Kennedy Center in DC in early July (if that doesn’t get cancelled :/ ) I’ve heard great things about the play and my fiancee absolutely loves it. As a history nerd I’m excited to see it!
Otherwise, we paid $17 each for a couple puzzles to help us pass the time in quarantine, $9 was for a drink at a bar the first weekend in March (before everything closed down) and then the regular $15 for monthly Spotify.
$141 was an up front cost for a future trip to Vegas at a to be determined date. My partner signed up for the Hilton Honors Surpass card last year. As part of one of the promotions in March, there was the option to pay ~$280 for a 4 night stay at one of their Grand Vacation properties in the city.
We figured this was a pretty great deal considering the location. All we have to do is go to one of their timeshare presentations, which is unlikely to result in us spending any extra money (we’re good with planning future trips ourselves!) We’ll have to pick a date within the next year to go, but we’re likely targeting sometime later this year or early next year.
This was a late Christmas gift for my niece. I decided that instead of getting her a toy as a gift (that she certainly wouldn’t know came from me), I wanted to help contribute towards some kind of savings vehicle for them. Whether that be in a 529 account, savings account, brokerage, etc.
My brother and sister in law, as well as my parents had been deciding what they wanted to do for a bit, and finally figured out that they wanted to go the 529 route. Since they finally got that figured out I sent the $50 over as my gift. With 18 years to grow, I know compounding returns will be on her side!
Shockingly, no miscellaneous dollars spent this month. That’s a win right there!
Here’s the overall picture:
67% Savings rate this month is pretty fantastic! I was stoked to see this, though I suppose this should be considered more normal considering my salary. Nevertheless, I always get excited when I see the number higher than my goal!
A whopping $865 came from my Federal and State Tax Returns this year. I meant to get my Federal return closer to $0, but was too late in adjusting my withholds downwards (after failing to bring in more side hustle money than I was expecting last year).
The biggest portion of my tax return came from DC. As they have a marginal tax bracket and I only lived there for half the year, my earned income in the district was in a lower marginal tax bracket than my withholdings were. Of course I didn’t find all this out until tax time, but I’m definitely not complaining of having a little extra come back to me.
Otherwise it’s business as usual on the Savings front. I’m hoping for the best and that things can get back to a somewhat normal in the near future!
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!?