The recent $18k spikes of 401(k) were incredibly exciting while it lasted, but like all things “normalcy” must come back and be embraced to keep the momentum going.
And you know what? I’m totally fine with that (as long as normalcy means steady increases every month!). I’m ready to start padding our cash reserves back up and getting REAL paychecks again.
Seriously, it’s crazy hard to keep doing your thing when you see 2 week paychecks coming out to $69. If my calculations are correct, my 401(k) should be maxed out any day and I’ll no longer need to contribute to my retirement funds for 2009 (my Roth IRA is already maxed out). This means my paychecks are back to $2400+!!! For the first time in a year and a half too – I can’t even remember what that’s like but I’m excited to find out ;)
Here’s how August’s net worth breaks down:
CASH SAVINGS (-$496.63): Most of this still has to do with my wonky paychecks, but even so I’m totally fine with it. Every month we take out $1100 in cash reserves to “pay” for the Mrs. part of our mortgage/house stuff (she’s currently in her 2nd year of Grad School – woohoo!), so anything under a $1,100 drop is favorable. Eventually, however, this Pay it Forward money will dry up and it’ll REALLY affect us more than we’re used to. I’m still devising a plan to curb this ;)
EMERGENCY FUND ($0.00): Our $10k is still tucked away (and left alone) in our Money Market account. It’s mixed in with other funds so I can’t determine the amount of interest our Emergency Fund is gaining, exactly, but it’s definitely adding up.
ROTH IRAs (+$760.34): Already maxed out, my lovely Roth IRA is just sitting pretty and eating up any market gains that comes its way ;) It’ll be left alone 100% until 2010 starts and I can begin investing in it again. Operation Buffett has been a great success so far!
401(k)s (+$6,355.44): A few more thousand deposited, and a few more thousand gained by the market going back up. I’ll be one happy camper when this is totally maxed out and the recession becomes a full-blown recovery! Once your money is invested, you have years and YEARS for it to build up and use all that time on your side – seriously one of the best things you can do. (Check out this cool 401(k) comparison chart and see where your own 401(k) matches up.)
SAVINGS BONDS ($0.00): Will delete from future updates since I cashed all my savings bonds out!
AUTOS WORTH (kbb) (-$25.00): Sounds good to me – much better than last month’s $350 loss :) Although it’s just a matter of time until they reach rock bottom here, kinda like my Caddy already:
- Pimp Daddy Caddy: $3,045
- Gas Ticklin’ Toyota: $10,160
HOME VALUE (Realtor) ($0.00): This will remain @ $300k (the price our realtor set it at) until I hit him up later for another review. He’s the master in our particular neighborhood, and has been selling (and living) in this area for 20+ years. I keep an eye on Zillow & Redfin.com as well, but they fluctuate so much that I never can tell what’s real and what’s hype.
CREDIT CARD (car loans) ($0.00): Still at Zero! The previous debt here was an “auto loan” that I happened to charge on my credit card – effectively setting my interest @ 3%. I don’t recommend this for everyone, but the method works well if you know what you’re doing and don’t have outstanding debt lined up. I’ll leave this category in until I’m tired of looking at it ;)
MORTGAGES (-$4.81): We’re still eager to refinance our first mortgage, but unfortunately we’re still too under water to get on it. We’ve been using any leftover funds from our “house budget” to chip away at it, but this month we ended up socking it into our “House Savings” account as we needed it for travel. Here’s how the mortgages breakdown:
- Mortgage #1: $287,150.36 – 30 year fixed, interest-only @ 6.875%.
- Mortgage #2: $62,813.53 – Maxed out HELOC w/ 2.8% interest.
That’s about it. How did you guys fair? This is always one of my favorite things to do every month as it keeps me on track and accountable for my entire financial life. Lately the numbers have been going up which is nice, but even when they went to $hit it was rewarding ;) You should totally give it a shot if you haven’t already, you might be surprised how confident you start feeling.
*My budget has now been updated.
*And so have my sidebars.
PS: If you’re just getting started in your journey, here are a few good resources to help track your money. Doesn’t matter which route you go, just that it ends up sticking!
- The "Budget/Net Worth" spreadsheet - the colorful Excel template I personally use.
- The "Money Snapshot" spreadsheet - a simple Excel template I created for my former $$$ clients
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.
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!