Net Worth Voyeur Time: $811,570.54 (-$28,673.45)

by J. Money -

net worth - february, 2018

Aaaaaand just like that we take a tumble, haha…

Our first loss since August of last year, but the first major loss since January of 2016.  In fact, it clocks in at #3 on the Greatest Losses of All Time – a new record! Haha… And probably much needed to put things in better perspective again ;)

Here’s a list of the major losses over the 10 years I’ve been tracking this:

  • January, 2016: -$51,000 (sold house + market crash)
  • August, 2015: -$23,000 (market crash)
  • June, 2013: -$40,000 (perfect storm of moving/renovating/losing an income)
  • June, 2012: -$16,000 (house value ↓, Loss of 2nd income)
  • May, 2012: -$14,000 (market swings)
  • September, 2011: -$15,000 (market spiraling!)
  • August, 2011: -$14,000 (market crashin’)
  • January, 2009: -$13,000 (house value ↓)

Spot any themes? ;)

Always at the mercy of the markets if stocks are your strategy of choice! But luckily none of these “losses” ever matter until the day you cash out, so if you’re in it for the long haul you just keep grin and bearing it and doing your best to stay the course… (while snatching up as much extra as you can too, of course, while everything’s on sale!!)

It can be scary at times, but it’s much LESS scary than liquidating and coming back in after the rally(s)!! Stay strong and ignore the noise!!

lalala dumb dumber gif

Onto February’s Numbers….

[As always, these reports are shared to keep things transparent and start great convos around money. Sometimes we’re up, sometimes we’re down, and sometimes we’re just plain boring – but whatever the case, we disclose it all and hope it helps you in your journey too!]

CASH SAVINGS (-$2,522.66): The one area you DO typically have control over, but wanna guess what happened to cause this last month? I’ll give you a clue – my bestie landlords ;) Putting down $5,000 for a deposit and future month’s rent never looks pretty on net worth reports, haha… Though thankfully it all gets recouped, and we should be back to “even” within the next month or two.

SPAVINGS FUND! (+$123.77): This side however is looking pretty! And one of my favorite things to update these days, despite such relatively low numbers (strange how that is, right? That you can get more excited finding 10 cents on the floor than seeing your investments soar?). If you haven’t caught our article on what “Spavings” means you can do so by clicking that link, but as always it comes down to being more conscious with your spending, and then actively saving your savings. And this month we throw in a couple extra checks we received that wasn’t expected too.

THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN (TSP) (+$230.13): Another nice bump here, and basically only because the amounts going in every month are super high relative to the balance. My wife actually put in $500’ish this month, which as you see was enough to cover the losses and still come out ahead :) Still, a win is a win!

ROTH IRAs (-$5,794.55): 20% of the overall losses this month right there! And not much we can do about it except max out this year’s accounts again here soon, which we plan on doing… (But even so – $5,500 out of a $5,800 loss would still come out negative, haha… The opposite problem as above ;))

SEP IRA (-$20,529.14): Same with this one too – when the market moves, it either goes way up or way down! And this month it clocks in at 70% of our losses, womp womp…. But similar to our Roths, we’ll be filling this bad boy back up next month as well. Just gotta wrap up our taxes and see what we’re playing with. Here’s a snapshot on how it’s progressed over the years:

vanguard returns - feb 2018

(Everything’s in VTSAX over at Vanguard – a “total market” index fund)

CAR VALUES (-$181.00): Another expected dip here, and always tracked using Kbb (Kelly Blue Book). Here are the present values of our two cars:

  • Lexus RX350: $9,721.00
  • Toyota Corolla: $3,029.00

Total change in net worth: -$28,673.45!

Not the best over the years, but also apparently not the worst either ;) Let’s see if it gets knocked off the “top lists” over the next handful of months, haha…

But to put things in even better context, here’s a 12 month window on how our finances have fared:

net worth - past 12 months

10 months up, 2 months down!

And now our kids’ net worths… because of course we track that too ;)

baby net worths feb 18

So that’s February! How’d you do? Anything juicy happen?

I suspect most of you were in similar boats, but tell us anyways and let’s have a party ;)

In life news..

1) Got kicked out of our house! But you already knew that…

2) In the “packing up” stage now and finding even more things to condense/declutter! Which feels great!! I swear, if you ever need to be motivated to do this, just pretend you have to move!

3) Baby Dime coming in t-minus two months :)

baby dime sonogram

(“Oh, me? I’m just chillin’… enjoying the peace”)

Happiness levels – Pretty good! I have my off days, but hard to complain :) Interestingly, the movements of our finances have little effect on it?

Book news – I’ve decided to table it for now as just too much stuff going on… Also can’t seem to get my heart into it either? You ever experience that? When you know something could be REALLY good for you or your career/money/mission, yet for whatever reason you’re just not feeling it? Can’t tell if I’m just scared or lazy or truly don’t want to do it, but in either case not a good place to be for such an endeavor, haha… So for now – pause button.

Charity idea – Hit a snag here too and need to recalibrate… What I REALLY want to do is just raise a $hit ton of money to form something that will go on to help people forever (maybe like a foundation of sorts?), but still searching for that *one* thing I can really sink my teeth into and make an impact… And if I’m being honest with myself, this stuff is MUCH more exciting to me than coming out with yet another money book! Is that bad? That I’d rather work on ways to give it all away than earn more??

So yeah – this mo’s Life Worth: 70% Happy / 20% Busy / 10% still searching for life’s meaning :)

You?

j. money signature

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PS: Here are a couple of spreadsheets to help track your money and/or net worth if you're looking to get started (and love manually tracking it as I do :)):

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.

personal capital dashboard

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)

Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lily | The Frugal Gene March 5, 2018 at 6:05 am

I so wanted our month to be positive but this is our first ever month in the red (like everyone else). So this is what it feels like…

I don’t have much baby experience but does Baby Dime have a winning pitcher’s arm or what?!?? That’s a well formed baby I tell you wut. Baby Dime is only 2 more net worth reports away…time moves!

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2 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 6:31 am

First ever month in the red?? Wowwww.. The fun is just starting for you guys ;)

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3 [email protected] March 5, 2018 at 6:38 am

Yep, us too. Not as fun as putting together January’s net worth for sure. Honestly, I think it’s great that you want to create a foundation versus write a book. Do what you lights you up! I feel pretty confident you’ll find the right idea soon. Plus, in two months your whole world’s gonna be rocked, so probably not a great time to take on any big projects? :)

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4 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 7:00 am

That’s what I keep telling myself, but so hard to shut off my brain!! :)

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5 the Budget Epicurean March 5, 2018 at 6:44 am

Great breakdown and great advice, stay the course no matter how the ride goes. Am I a bad money blogger for not even checking my net worth but twice a year or so?? I prefer to call it “trusting the process”. That’s awesome you track you kids’ net worths, I bet it’s higher than a lot of adults…

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6 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 7:07 am

Hey – if it’s working for you, keep going! :) I think tracking it more consistently is most important when you’re just starting out and/or don’t have the game plan down yet. Once you know what you’re doing and it’s second nature, it really just becomes how much of a nerd you are, haha…

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7 [email protected] March 5, 2018 at 6:50 am

We can’t worry about the short term blips. Play the long game and come out on top. You are doing just fine.

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8 Mrs. Kiwi March 5, 2018 at 7:22 am

Ah the 10% of watching for life’s meaning, I don’t know if that’s ever ends. I’m excited to see what you comeback up with for the charity, even if it’s a slow journey.

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9 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 9:30 am

You’re probably right :)

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10 Cubert March 5, 2018 at 7:23 am

You got this.
Keep in touch with respect to that 10% – finding life’s meaning. Man, have struggled mightily myself since returning to the wintery north after a vacay to the beautiful desert southwest. I still think a move might be in order.

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11 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 9:31 am

YES! The South is Sexy.com :)

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12 My Sons Father March 5, 2018 at 7:36 am

We’ve been fortunate over the past 9 years not to have too many months with a negative net worth update. Only 9 in the last 9 years is pretty crazy. As much as I hope that trend will continue for another 9 years, I have a feeling we aren’t that lucky. But it’s the stock market, so who knows!

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13 PaulM March 5, 2018 at 7:38 am

Don’t forget that as your net worth has grown, you’re now dealing with the law of larger numbers. I bet your percentage loss ranks lower than other losses you’ve experienced over the years.

I think it’s great that your focus is still on launching a charitable event — probably contributing to your overall happiness level too!

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14 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 9:32 am

Yup, probably true about the %’s… Didn’t track them back then as I do now, but have always been wow’d by real #’s anyways as always so beautiful or scary depending on which way they go, haha…

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15 Ms. Frugal Asian Finance March 5, 2018 at 7:55 am

I think it’s still a pretty impressive net worth despite the market dip. You are so close to the 1M Mark.

Keep going!

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16 Bryan March 5, 2018 at 7:57 am

Overall, down 1.11% but holding the line.

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17 Budget on a Stick March 5, 2018 at 8:11 am

I’ve been scared to check our net worth all of Feb. but it ended up not being tooooo bad (helps that our net worth is lower and are continuously plugging in money).

Sounds like life is going to get pretty crazy in the the Sexy household (…sorry…had to be said)
Can’t wait until baby quarter, half-dollar, dollar-coin, …halfpenny… ;P

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18 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 9:33 am

I think we’ll have to stop at the half dollar haha…

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19 Budget on a Stick March 6, 2018 at 10:32 am

Man, there are so many choices though! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coins_of_the_United_States_dollar#Obsolete_coins

I love the naming schemes of the higher value coins.

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20 J. Money March 6, 2018 at 10:35 am

Haha yup!! That’s what got me to fall in love with numismatics too (coin collecting). So many cool denominations over the years!

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21 Leo T. Ly March 5, 2018 at 8:14 am

The Market can’t go up forever. I had been working on a five quarter net worth increase streak and it will probably end this quarter.

As I noticed the past couple of years, it’s the snowball effect once your net worth reaches the seventh figures, the move will be pretty big. Just continue to grind until we have enough to cash out one day.

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22 Mike @ Balanced Dividends March 5, 2018 at 8:40 am

Still great progress, J.

The decline from the month from an amount perspective might seem large, but that’s why I like to think in terms of percentages.The actual numbers – regardless of direction – will continue to get larger, but percentages keep things relative.

Additionally, your proceeds from RF a couple months ago will still continue to pay balanced dividends in the future.

Thanks for sharing. – Mike

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23 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 9:35 am

Def. true on the Rockstar sale – financially and mentally! I miss it (well, the *community* at least), but three months later I’m still confident it was the right move to make :)

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24 Paul March 5, 2018 at 8:42 am

As your stack gets larger your losses will probably all consistently make the epic top 10 but than again so will your gains. No matter what I do I can’t seem to crack $330K… this house keeps eating my lunch.

Life Worth: 60% Happy / 20% Stressed / 10% Dragon Ball Z / 5% Kicking ass / 5% Taking names

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25 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 9:36 am

Haha…. not sure where you’re going with that Dragon Ball Z part, but it almost made me spit out my coffee, so thank you :)

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26 OMGF March 5, 2018 at 8:50 am

If you’re thinking of “giving it away” have you ever thought of grants or angel investing in small businesses? There isn’t a ton out there and you can stay in the financial realm while helping new businesses in the one area they struggle most: funding. It can become self sustaining as new businesses turn profits that you can then recapture. You can focus on entrepreneurs that have the hardest time finding funding: women and minorities. Something to think about.

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27 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 9:42 am

YES! I like all of that!!! Whether it’s via entrepreneurship or just helping people one-on-one, it’s definitely going to be geared towards smaller groups or individuals that need a boost vs larger organizations that are already up and going… And even better if we can do stuff in-person too vs online only! Though it’ll probably be a nice combination of both.

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28 G March 5, 2018 at 8:55 am

In January I got up to $398,000, and settled back down at $393,000 by the end of January. In February, I got up to $399,000, and settled back down at $393,000 again. So, basically no change. I kept putting in money to offset the market losses.

But this month is Marchmas, like Christmas, but better, no relatives.

It takes until March for my company to finish out the books for the previous year, so March 1 is when our pay raises go into effect, if we get one, and March is also when our performance pay checks get issued, if we get one, and for the last couple of years March has had three paychecks, and it’s usually when I get my tax refund.

So, I’m confident I’ll finally hit the allusive but just out of reach $400,000 mark.

There would have to be some significant losses to offset all the fresh money.

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29 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 9:43 am

Marchmas – hah!

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30 Rocky March 5, 2018 at 8:56 am

I bet if we did a loss per day calculation February would shape up as the worst month for your finances YoY! Great perspective on your “losses” this month!

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31 Mrs. Moe March 5, 2018 at 9:36 am

Yep, this was a tough month for all of us. :( We are putting our collective heads in the sand for now and ignoring the markets. Hopefully, we’re accumulating all the stocks being bought in Feb/Mar at a discount (yay for TSPs)! Just keep swimming!

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32 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 9:44 am

Better to bury your heads in this one than the opposite – debts!

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33 Jen13 March 5, 2018 at 9:39 am

You are still doing awesome and you’re in the same boat as most, if not all, who have enough money to be invested in the market. The market was down about 4% in Feb. Anyone who lost less than 4% was probably not in the market therefore they didn’t enjoy the gains either. If they wigged out and pulled their money then they will pay when they decide to get back in. No one times it perfectly. One way or another they will pay.

It is hard not to get anxious when the losses come, it is only natural. The world is crazy and has become more and more unpredictable and it is difficult to know exactly what to do at all times to protect yourself and your family from the unknown. The fact that you are watchful and proactive will keep you as safe as possible.

Me:

70%-happy and content
20% anxious(parent’s health and husband’s health, will I have enough in retirement and end of life, will my daughter be happy, safe and well as an adult)
10%-purpose of life, any unfinished work I should do in the time I have left

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34 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 9:46 am

Oh man, wishing you loads of love and hope for that remaining 30% there! You’re completely right that life trumps everything else! Was just reading that a professional soccer play just died in his sleep over night! At 31??!!! It’s so scary how you just never know :(

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35 JayP March 5, 2018 at 10:03 am

For some of us older folks(who had a lot invested oh around 2008ish) this doesn’t seem uncommon. There will be YEARS not just months when the market loses money. I’m a little worried that millennials might think that 20% returns on the stock market are typical and to be expected. I was also around in 2001 investing and that wasn’t fun. These things can and will happen again from time to time!

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36 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 2:38 pm

Oh yeah – you can’t full appreciate the market until after going through some of those yearly periods! I’ve only gone through one myself (2008 crash), but even then I was just in the beginning of my investing journey so didn’t have much to freak out about… The $hit’s about to get real for some of us! :)

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37 Mr Crazy Kicks March 5, 2018 at 10:21 am

The more you have, the bigger those losses are gonna be! Not a bad place to be, and I’m sure there are bigger corrections to come. At least you’re still happy, healthy, and wealthy :)

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38 Sean @ Frugal Money Man March 5, 2018 at 11:00 am

Hahaha for some reason I read that your car value loss was $18k…My brain was sprinting around for 2 quick seconds before I re-read it and saw it was only $181!

We definitely ALL took a hit with the stock market this past month, but I am proud to say that Mr. & Mrs. FMM MAXED out our Roth IRA’s for the year already!

Its definitely a good feeling knowing you can sit back for the rest of the year without having to worry about funding the IRA’s anymore. Now we will go back into regular dollar cost averaging into the brokerage account!

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39 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 2:39 pm

That’s the spirit! Hope to be joining you there next month :)

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40 [email protected] March 5, 2018 at 11:01 am

My net worth went up, basically because I’m not rich enough for it to have gone that far down on the stock dip. My cash income still by far outweighs any kind of swing like this. So you should enjoy it! :)

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41 Chris March 5, 2018 at 11:03 am

I love the positive vibes I get from your attitude J$!

Despite the market downturns, having to move out unexpectedly you’re still finding reasons to enjoy life. Being grateful is something I should practice more often for sure.

My net-worth barely crosses to the positive side because of the 17K of the debt I still carry :( However, seeing your net worth and positive attitude gives me hope.

Keep rocking J$ & congrats with soon to come Baby Dime :)

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42 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 3:08 pm

Thanks man :) I have my moments, but definitely happy to be alive! I think we all have stuff we can be thankful for, though you’re right it’s hard to keep in mind at all times.

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43 Adam March 5, 2018 at 11:24 am

Great attitude J! On the book, I totally know what you mean. Ping me if you want some free help, I used to be a technical writer and have stared at many a blank page.

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44 Joe March 5, 2018 at 11:33 am

We’re in the red too, -$80,000 according to Personal Capital. It’s not fun, but not a big deal. We’re still up for 2018 so I can’t complain.
I hope you guys settle into your new place and find it comfortable. It’s going to be super busy with 3 kids.

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45 Young FIRE Knight March 5, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Thanks to getting my tax return and a high savings rate I actually ended up (barely) in the green last month! My investment accounts aren’t nearly as big comparatively, but being able to cancel out nearly $3,000 in investment losses feels pretty good!

It’s a bummer you’re tabling the book idea for now, but hey that’s totally understandable. If your heart ain’t in it, it’s not worth it. And it’s not like you’re shutting it completely down, there’s always the maybe in the future!!

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46 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 3:17 pm

Oh yeah – I’ve learned over the years to never say never on anything! You just can’t predict how you’ll ever be feeling over the years – especially as circumstances/dreams change – so every idea that comes my way is always open for discussion down the line :) I’d even go back to a 9-5 if ever made sense to one day! (though it would REALLY REALLY REALLY have to be something good haha….).

Here’s a post I wrote on this a few months back:

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/id-scoop-up-poop-if-it-made-me-happy/

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47 Done by Forty March 5, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Yeah, putting our fate in the hands of the markets is something that I get less and less accustomed to, even as we do it more and more. It’s getting to the point where what I do hardly matters at all, and what the masters of the universe running major corporations do is kind of all that matters, as far as our net worth is concerned.

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48 Will March 5, 2018 at 1:36 pm

For the charity component check out impactclub.com. May not be exactly what you had in mind but setting up a local chapter or something similar is a good way to get something bigger than just you going.

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49 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 3:20 pm

“Impact Club® is Crossfit® for those who want to make a difference. ” – Hah! I like that! Seems a bit competitive to me, but will check out the vid and poke around more in a bit – thanks man :)

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50 Frankie March 5, 2018 at 1:57 pm

Great insight that despite a massive hit to your net worth, happiness is not really impacted! That’s a Fantastic sign that you’re doing something right in your life :)

On that same note, sounds like you are making the right decision with the book. Do it when you’re excited about it and keen to put the energy in. Doesn’t sound like you need it at all at the moment.

No complaints about life at all from me right now :)

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51 Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life March 5, 2018 at 2:40 pm

Book news – yes yes yes, I totally know this feeling. Can’t decide exactly what the reason is but it would eat up way too much willpower to force it right now.

Charity – I’m right there with you too. I’ve made only 6% of our side income goal but meanwhile our charity spending is straining against the collar trying to drag me into ten different charitable endeavors. WAIT. :)

I hope that moving isn’t terrible and you get settled ASAP!

February was a bunch of work, some play, lots of cooking, and lots of not quite making the decisions that I need to make for our money.

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52 J. Money March 5, 2018 at 3:28 pm

Here’s to more PLAY in March, eh? :)

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53 Ms ZiYou March 5, 2018 at 5:55 pm

Yeah, I’m taking the (minor) losses as a positive….as well as getting stocks on sale, I get to cross the £700k threshold again. Bonus!

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54 Steve (NWOutlier) March 5, 2018 at 8:05 pm

I don’t look at this as “down” — look at Jan gains, Feb drops – and you’re still up 9-10 grand right?

Steve (NWOutlier)

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55 Tonya March 5, 2018 at 11:08 pm

Our month was up overall (thanks to paying down debt) but some categories were down (I’m looking at you 401k). Just trying to stay the course and keep it positive.

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56 J. Money March 6, 2018 at 7:08 am

That’s all you can do! Especially when you’re doing everything right! :)

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57 Bryan March 6, 2018 at 5:11 pm

We’re all down, Bezos is up…about $127 BILLION. Whaaaaat!?

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58 J. Money March 7, 2018 at 6:17 am

Haha… I guess he deserves it for making all our live better :)

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59 Stock Street March 7, 2018 at 3:26 am

Uhj… less than 10 down months over ten years?! That is an awesome track record if you ask me! If you think about it, every time Berkshire Hathaway has a bad month, Warren Buffett loses net worth….I’m sure he has had more down months than you over the past ten years! You’re beating Buffett.

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60 J. Money March 7, 2018 at 6:18 am

SCORE!!!

Although I actually just went to count, and I’ve had *39* total down months over the years :) The ones listed above are just the major dips. But on the other hand, there are *83* ups out of the 122 months, so still trends upward!

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61 MomofTwoPreciousGirls March 7, 2018 at 7:35 pm

Maybe since you have more passion around the charity work, you can plan on donating a portion of your book sales to fund your endeavor. Maybe that will help put some passion back into writing and publishing.
Using some time to help families in need with getting their finances in order? Definitely agree with the idea of supporting diverse business owners. Again via investment and coaching?

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62 J. Money March 8, 2018 at 2:39 pm

That would definitely help motivate me more for sure :)

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63 Sam March 8, 2018 at 10:48 am

Same here too! I’m in the red for February. Hey, so every year do you just keep adding value in your Vanguard ETF (i.e. $20K)? I bought VIMSX mid of ’17 and was thinking of adding another $15K. What’s your view? Thanks!!!

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64 J. Money March 8, 2018 at 2:40 pm

Yup, that’s all I do!

Not saying it’s the 100% best way to go about it, but it’s been workings for me over the past 3 or so years anyways :) I love not having to think about it anymore and just keep pilling it up… Eventually I’ll probably diversify more and start picking up a bond fund or international fund w/ Vanguard, but as it stands it’s VTSAX only, all day every day!

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65 CP March 12, 2018 at 8:12 pm

I actually use moments like this to savor the loss. Not that I like losing money any more than the next person. But I use market losses like these to desensitize me in a way. The thought process being that the more I see larger losses in my investment portfolio, the more used to it I get and the more likely I’ll shrug off bigger losses during recessions. Stock goes down, comes back up, goes down, comes back up, rinse and repeat.

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66 J. Money March 13, 2018 at 6:26 am

How true that is! And after 10 years of diligently tracking this stuff every month, i’m sure that’s exactly what’s happening to me too… Unfort in both directions though, as I def. don’t get as excited when it jumps most months like I used to :) Great insight.

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