Welcome to the first monthly Net Worth update!
As I mentioned in my Introduction, 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. 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!)
I’m not sure about everyone else, but November was a crazy busy month for me!
It started out with an amazing weekend in Gettysburg with my parents. Only a 2 hour drive from DC for me, and about 3-4 hours for my parents to meet me. It was my dad’s birthday that weekend, (as well as my own about a week later!) so it was great to celebrate with them.
We did the self-guided tour around the National Military Park, stopping to walk around and take pictures of the many sites of the battlefield along the way. It’s tough to describe the feeling of walking such hallowed ground, the same where just 150 years ago thousands of men and women perished fighting.
The weekend after, I took the Friday off work to travel up to NYC to visit a few friends from my hometown that are living in the city. It was my first trip up in over a year, and it was great to see them!
I’ve only been to NYC a few times, so we spent a lot of the weekend exploring around, stopping at a few tourist destinations, and eventually settling down for much of Saturday afternoon at a brewery in Brooklyn. The weekend went by too fast, but luckily I would be seeing most of them again a few weeks later when we all gathered for a night in our hometown over thanksgiving weekend.
After a weekend spent relaxing and catching up on things around town, it was time to travel back home for a week of family time at Thanksgiving. It was so nice to relax around family, eat a delicious thanksgiving meal (and subsequently fall into a food coma), and watch the football games on Thanksgiving Day and over the weekend.
With everything going on, November absolutely flew by!
Now for the reason you’re really here!
November breaks down as follows:
This was one my best months ever!!
I just barely beat March 2016 when I jumped up $5,610. I need to try and keep this up!
To the details!
Cash: $12,773 – $2,201
My cash account was aided by lower spending in the month, but also got a big boost from an achievement award I received through work. It’s nice to know when your hard work is appreciated and recognized!
I feel most comfortable with around $10K in Cash on hand, in case of any emergency that potentially could arise. I don’t get too worried if this fluctuates, so you may see it above and below at times.
With the extra Cash I have at this time, there are several ideas mulling inside my head on how I might use it.
- Wait until 2018 and put some into my Roth IRA
- Save up to purchase a property sometime in 2018
- I’ve been casting a watchful eye towards the whole cryptocurrency craze and may dip my toes in if there is some kind of market correction in the next few months
What do you think is the best course of action?
401K: $47,327 – $3,080
Contributions this month totaled $1,954 (Employer Matching included), while the rest was pure market gains. This Bull Market has been incredible and really has helped my Net Worth rise, especially recently.
I understand times aren’t always this good, however, I’m not worried about a crash. I don’t plan on touching this money for quite a while, so there is plenty of time to ride out the booms and busts.
My balance is essentially 100% in stocks right now, split roughly 70/30 – Domestic/International. I may reevaluate soon, in order to rebalance and move a portion to the Bond Market to lock in some of these gains, but I haven’t decided yet.
Roth IRA: $5,836 – $178
I made my first full Roth Contribution ($5,500) this summer and have seen it slowly appreciate in value. It’s much better to see it earning money instead of sitting still in my Cash account!
This account is all invested in the mutual fund VIMSX (Vanguard Mid-Cap Index Fund Investor Shares). This is where I get my main exposure to Mid-Cap funds. In the future I may move this elsewhere, perhaps to a REIT as I currently have no exposure to real estate.
Brokerage: $12,818 – $238
In addition to making my first Roth Contribution this summer, I also decided to move a significant amount of my Cash into a Brokerage account. I had way more cash on hand than I needed at the time, so I figured I may as well take advantage of this stock market and get to investing.
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 that, after a few months of research, I believe was undervalued.
Both have worked out pretty well so far! I’ve seen gains every month, but as I noted in the 401K section, I absolutely realize that this won’t last forever. At least they both offer dividends that I will continue to harvest through the bad times and good.
Auto Value: $11,631 – ($287)
I have my Auto Value pegged at $2,500 above what the remaining value on my Auto Loan is. The negative value is simply monthly depreciation. The reason for this? Simply put, that was the value of the down payment I placed on my car.
I verify through Kelly Blue Book each month so that if I desperately needed to, I could sell my car for around that value, which has always been the case. However, I plan on having this car for a long time so ideally the need to sell before the loan is paid off never comes up.
Credit Cards: $(909) – $33
Credit Card expenses remained about the same. See below for the Expense Summary to see how I did against my budget!
Auto Loan: $(9,131) – $287
The value on this increases as the amount of principle on the loan decreases with my monthly payment.
I got the loan with a 1.9% Interest rate, which depending on whom you talk to, I’m either an idiot, working with free money, or somewhere in between.
I will be writing a post on my experience and lessons learned from buying my car in the future. Be on the lookout!
I’ll also be writing a post soon on Budgeting and how I came up with mine so be sure to check it out!
Under Budget is always good in my book.. A few notes:
- Monthly Rent $1,131:
- Have to love living in a HCOL (High Cost of Living) area right? This is for a 2 BR apartment with my friend in which we split the cost. 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 $59 / Internet/Cable $84 :
- My utilities payment (Electric, gas, water) is pretty standard around $60 a month so that should not fluctuate too wildly. Internet/Cable is up as this was the last month having to pay a little extra for the install service for our apartment.
- Groceries $158 / Restaurants $164:
- Personally, I view these together so if I can stay under the combined $375 ($225 + $175) budget, then I am satisfied with the month. Restaurants are definitely more expensive than getting meals from groceries, so if I’m ever over its likely from the case of eating out too much! Most of the restaurant costs were from the NYC weekend with friends, with a few excursions to local restaurants around DC.
- Car Payment $302:
- Monthly car payment to pay off my loan. Only 2.5 more years! (If I don’t just pay it off sooner). With only a 1.9% Interest rate I believe I can beat that payment towards interest with returns through the market, which is the only reason I haven’t paid it off so far.
- Auto Fuel $139 / Auto Other $53:
- I also have a lengthy commute to work – 60 miles round trip – leading to high fuel costs each month. I also drive around the area on day trips on the weekends quite often that also plays a part in this cost. The Other category includes any maintenance, repairs, etc. as well as other transportation costs including metro, uber, etc. This month was primarily due to the subway and uber costs I incurred traveling around NYC. Well worth it!
- Entertainment $256:
- A majority of the Entertainment costs from the month were from my trip to NYC. The trip was an absolute blast but I always forget how expensive it is! The attractions, breweries and bars that we frequented were definitely not on the cheap side. The remainder of the expenses were from a night visiting the newly opened Wharf in DC, as well as a night out with friends from home when we were all back for Thanksgiving.
- Travel $110:
- One of the bad parts about turning 26? I needed to get a new passport as my old one had just expired. At least this will last me 10 more years!
- Gifts $45:
- For my Dad’s birthday, I took him and my Mom out to brunch while we were in Gettysburg. He never asks for anything which makes it really tough to get him a gift so this was the least I could do!
- Misc $27:
- Laundry as well as the shipping package for my passport and one other item.
*Note – Auto Insurance and Cell Phone are paid in full every 6 months*
Overall, I was able to achieve a savings rate this month of about 56%, well above my average!
Check out the Net Worth Updates page to see how I’ve done in the past.
Here is to finishing out the year on a strong note! How did your November turn out?