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Monthly Net Worth Update – June 2010

June 23, 2010 · Filed Under Net Worth · 2 Comments 
Cash + Money by Terence Chang

Another volatile month sees us end up …. exactly where we started?

Our assets decreased 0.07%

As I look over our asset accounts, it appears that every balance has dropped slightly except for my stock options.  My stock options value increased almost 14% and that just about completely balanced out all the other drops.  Actually, that’s not exactly true – somehow our retirement accounts managed to increase slightly this month as well.

Our cash accounts have been dropping pretty quickly the last few months as we continue to pay off the large expenses related to our baby’s birth and adjust to living on one salary.  Overall, it did decrease again this month but by a much smaller amount that the previous few months.  I’m hoping that’s a good sign that we’re starting to get our spending in line with out income.

Our liabilities decreased 0.12%

Our mortgage dropped the standard 0.12% again this month.  I mentioned previously that our mortgage payment is by far our largest payment each month (well, it still is).  I think we’ll need to do something about this to get our expenses to meet up with our income, but I’m not exactly sure what to do about it at this point as our home value is much less than our mortgage balance.

Our net worth held steady

Well, this is the first month that has happened – our overall net worth basically did not budge from last month’s value.  I guess that’s a good thing.  Of course, I’d like to see it increasing but after a significant drop last month, I’m just happy it did not head even further south this month.

Monthly Net Worth Update – May 2010

May 18, 2010 · Filed Under Net Worth · Add a Comment 
Cash + Money by Terence Chang

Thud! That’s the sound of our net worth crashing back down to earth after two strong and unexpected months of increase.

Our assets decreased 3.3%

For those who were not paying attention at the time, there was quite an interesting day in the stock market a few weeks ago. Unfortunately for me, that happened to fall on the day that I took our net worth snap-shot for the month! Our cash dropped significantly (almost 6%) again this month but our other accounts did not increase to offset that drop. As a result, things got ugly net-worth-wise this month. We are finally (for the most part) finished with the transition of adjusting withholding and savings to go to a single salary. Unfortunately, we are still finishing the bills from our daughter’s birth and I think it all finally caught up to us this month. We simply must decrease our expenditures to stop these significant monthly drops in our cash account balances. It’s gotten to the point that we are going to go to actual cash for more expenses next month.

Our liabilities decreased 0.12%

Our mortgage dropped the standard 0.12% again this month. I mentioned last month that our mortgage payment is by far our largest payment each month. We are in the process of evaluating whether something drastic has to be done about it over the next couple months. If you asked me right now, I’d have to say that, “yes,” we need to change the mortgage somehow. We are spending too much money on the mortgage and as a result are not able to do other things that we’d like to do. The final decision won’t be made until July though, so I won’t get ahead of myself.

Our net worth dropped more than 6%

Last month I mentioned that our net worth had reached its highest level ever….well, that’s no longer true! After this month’s significant drop, we’re well below that. It’s acted like a yo-yo this entire year. I’m not concerned about our stock market accounts, though, as I expect them to bounce around. I am concerned that our cash balances continue to drop and drop at a much higher rate that I anticipated. I’m trying to increase our income but we really should do something about our expenses as well…hence the decision to actually try the cash thing next month – I guess we’ll see if all the hype for using cash is justified!

Monthly Net Worth Update – April 2010

April 16, 2010 · Filed Under Net Worth · 1 Comment 
Cash + Money by Terence Chang

For the second month in a row, our net worth experienced a surprising bump.

Our assets increased almost 2%

Just like last month, our assets actually increased (Woohoo!).  Also just like last month, that increase was driven exclusively by the stock market.  It was a steady month as all of our accounts increased in the mid-single digit range.  As expected, however, our cash accounts dropped another 4%.  As I mentioned recently, my wife is not going to be going back to work.  Our reduced salary coupled with some temporary increased expenditures for the birth of our daughter has caused our cash accounts to drop almost 12% since the beginning of the year.  It would have been worse this month if I had not received my tax refunds and a small yearly bonus from work.  We have reduced some of our expenses, savings, and investing to get our budget more balanced so hopefully this downward trend will level off very soon.

Our liabilities decreased 0.12%

Our mortgage dropped the standard 0.12% again this month. We are no longer in a position to consider accelerating payments on our mortgage, however.  Our mortgage payment now makes up the largest of our regular monthly expenses by far.  We have decided to see how our new budget works for the next three months.  At that point in time, we will evaluate whether we need to make some drastic changes regarding our house payment (like trying to sell the house and buy a less expensive one).

Our net worth increased more than 4%!

Even with the very small decrease in mortgage principal and large drop in cash, we still ended up with a net worth increase of more than 4% this month!  In fact, our net worth is currently the highest it has ever been.  As I mentioned last month, I am trying to not worry about the financial upheaval we’re experiencing and simply focus on God and rely on Him to meet our needs.  I must admit, however, that I am getting caught up in the daily checking account balance.  I’m still very much a work in progress.

Monthly Net Worth Update – March 2010

March 19, 2010 · Filed Under Net Worth · Add a Comment 
Cash + Money by Terence Chang

While last month’s net worth dropped quite a bit (almost 8%), this month’s included a surprise bump.  We’re not exactly back to where we were in January, but we are much, much closer than last month.

Our assets increased almost 3%

Somewhat surprisingly, our assets actually increased this month.  That increase was driven almost entirely by the stock market.  The market’s bump after last month provided my net worth with a bump as well.  Our mutual fund and stock accounts increased more than 10% while my stock options were up 15%.

Not surprisingly, our cash accounts dropped quite a bit (more than 6%).  My wife did not work the entire month of February and it took a bit of a toll on those accounts.  This will probably continue for at least the next month as she is still not working and we have started to pay the doctor and hospital bills for our daughter’s birth.  We also were slow to adjusting our budget to our new lower income, so that hurt us as well.  This month I’ll receive my small yearly bonus, a small federal tax return, and a sizable state tax return (I’ve played with the state withholding and it seems almost impossible to significantly drop that refund).  All that will hopefully add up to a less precipitous cash drop this month.

Our liabilities decreased 0.12%

Our mortgage dropped the standard 0.12% again this month. Last month I mentioned my frustration at the small decrease in mortgage principal we experience each month.  After doing my taxes and calculating how much interest we’ve paid over the past four years and contrasting that with how little the principle has decreased, it is beyond frustrating and almost to the point of painful.  I almost feel like I want to just sell the house and start all over with something that I can pay less on and pay for only 15 years.  My wife and I have started playing with a bunch of scenarios, mostly crazy ones, but I haven’t done any hard analysis to decide what is best at this point.

Our net worth increased almost 6%!

After the 8% drop last month, I was quite happy to see a 6% increase this month.  As I mentioned, we’re not back up to the high-water mark we experienced in January, but we are closing in on it. We are, however, now in the thick of a period of financial uncertainty marked by less income and some large expenses.  Frankly, this comes at about the best time of year for us with my bonus and tax returns.  God’s timing?  I’m really trying to focus on God and rely on Him and not worry about the financial stuff.  So far so good – though He is doing a better job of meeting our needs than I am of relying solely on Him.

Monthly Net Worth Update – February 2010

February 16, 2010 · Filed Under Net Worth · Add a Comment 
Cash + Money by Terence Chang

Yikes – I wasn’t really paying attention last month (probably because of the impending birth of my 4th child!) and I encountered a rude surprise when I updated our net worth this month.  Let’s get right into the carnage…

Our assets decreased almost 4%

Every single asset category dropped last month.  Some dropped a little (like our cash assets) while our assets exposed to the stock market dropped substantially.  My stock options dropped the most (more than 20%) while the rest of the categories dropped in the mid-single digits.  Our house value also continued to decrease – this is the fourth month in a row with a small (1-2%) decrease.  The net result of all of that is that we are even more underwater on our mortgage and have 4% less assets compared to last month.

Of course, all of this is now exacerbated by the birth of our daughter two weeks ago.  There, of course, will be many new expenses associated with that (hospital bills, we decided to do blood cord banking, truckloads of diapers, etc) while at the same time my wife won’t be receiving a paycheck for another couple months at least (or indefinitely if we decide that she should retire).  All that adds us to a few interesting months to come finance-wise!

Our liabilities decreased 0.12%

Our mortgage drops approximately 0.12% each month.  It is frustrating to me how small of a drop that is each month (I now wish I had followed Dave Ramsey’s advice to take out a 15 year mortgage but I hadn’t heard that advice when we bought our house!)  Unfortunately, it is difficult to do anything with our mortgage because we are under water with it.  With the next few months bringing increased expenses and decreased income, I am especially wary of making any big moves that would deplete our savings and investments significantly.  So we stand pat for now until we see how this all plays out.

Our net worth decreased almost 8%!

Overall, our net worth dropping a whopping 7.7% which is the largest single-month drop since March 2009.  Also, saying it in percentages doesn’t sound as bad as the actual dollar value that was lost!

So, we enter a period of uncertainty with the changes in our finances and I’m not sure right now how it will all play out.  I will be trying hard to focus on God and rely on Him and not get too worried about all of it.  Now, I don’t want to overplay it – it’s not like we are in dire circumstances or anything like that.  We have been saving and investing for a while and also have a healthy emergency fund.  For me, however, I just really don’t like the idea of spending more money than we bring in each month.

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