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Monthly Net Worth Update – May 2010

May 18, 2010 · Filed Under Net Worth · 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 – February 2010

February 16, 2010 · Filed Under Net Worth · 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.

Monthly New Worth Update and 2009 Wrapup

January 14, 2010 · Filed Under Net Worth · Comment 
Cash + Money by Terence Chang

The holidays have come and gone (the decorations have been taken down already and that Christmas Yule Log fireplace show we watched so much has disappeared from our cable), 2009 is history and we are already a few weeks into 2010!  Thus it’s time to take a look at our net worth here in early 2010 and investigate what happened during December and what happened throughout 2009.

Monthly Wrapup

Our assets increased almost 1.7%

Just like last month, all of our assets increased a bit except for our house value which dropped again! Most asset categories posted mid-single digit growth so at least this month their increases were enough to offset another drop in house value.  I am a bit disappointed in our house value continuing to drop.  We were so close to being in a positive position a few months ago but now it’s back down near its nadir  Doh!

Our liabilities decreased 0.5%

Another month, another drop of about 0.5% on our liabilities.  I haven’t done anything with the mortgage, I have no immediate plans for the mortgage, and I haven’t figured out how to get to where Dave Ramsey recommends we should be with our mortgage.  Apparently I’m just waiting for divine intervention (c’mon, it was a very busy month!).

Our net worth increased more than 4%

After last month’s drop which followed so many months of growth, our net worth has returned to growth again.  Actually, I could have massaged the numbers last month and kept the streak alive.  After the fact, I noticed that if I would have waited another day or two before logging all the data, my wife’s paycheck would have come in and that would have tipped us back to the positive.  Oh well, streaks and such don’t really make a difference – what matters most when calculating your net worth is…..well, your net worth.

2009 Wrapup

2009 was quite a year for our family in a number of ways.  I’m sure you don’t want to hear all those details however, so I’ll stick to the net worth!  Overall, our assets increased 15%. This was lead by strong returns in investments (170%) and retirement savings (55%).  Our most impressive percentage gains were found in stock options (458%) and college savings (272%) but the overall values were fairly small for those categories so they did not sway our actual net worth significantly. Our home value did decrease 5.6% throughout the year and that was on top of a 7.2% decrease in value throughout 2008!  Now, it had gone up in value previous to 2008 so that is maybe not as bad as it sounds but we are definitely underwater on our mortgage right now.

Our liabilities decreased 6% during 2009. This was fueled mostly by the decrease in my wife’s contractual liability that we track as a debt (since it restricts our freedom of action somewhat).  In fact, our mortgage decreased a whopping 1.2% – that’s only a few thousand dollars!  Looking at these numbers is best argument I’ve seen yet for a 15 year mortgage.  It is startling to think of how much money I sent to the mortgage company throughout 2009 and to see the actual principle only decrease that little!  Argh!

Overall, our net worth increased 61% during 2009. That was very encouraging to me.  Granted, this was on the heels of a stock market drop in 2008 but I’ll take a 61% increase every year with no complaints!  As long as this trend continues, we should be millionaires in just a few more years  (as long at the 2009 trend of +61% and not the 2008 trend of -1%, that is!).

So, 2009 turned out to be a very positive year in so many ways for me and my family.  And our plan remains basically the same as we embark on 2010.  One significant difference that will be need to be addressed, however, is a new addition will be arriving in a few weeks – BorrowFromNone Junior #4.  As a result, our expenses will obviously increase but on top of that, my wife will not be working for at least 2.5 months.  Currently, nothing major is planned finance-wise other than a little belt tightening to get our budget cut down to be able to live on one salary for a while.  That tentative plan may need to change as we get into it, though; we will revisit it after a bit and see if any more significant changes are necessary.

Well, I hope 2009 was prosperous for you as well (money-wise and especially other-wise).  May God bless you as you seek to honor Him throughout 2010!

Monthly Net Worth Update – December 2009

December 10, 2009 · Filed Under Net Worth · Comment 
Cash + Money by Terence Chang

Well, we are into the full swing of the Christmas holiday season here.  I’ve finally gotten most of our decorations up, we’re having a little party at our house on Sunday, we’ve been listening to lots of Christmas music, we found the “Yule Log” station on our TV which it shows a burning fireplace with Christmas music playing (it might not sound terribly exciting, but we watch that program A LOT).  So, let’s see how the net worth is looking through early December.

Our assets decreased almost 0.5%

Uh-oh, our assets are down this month…that’s not a good start.  Why are they down?  What are we doing wrong?  We followed a budget last month just like Dave Ramsey said!  Actually, all of our asset values increased this month…except for the house value.  The house value dropped.   A lot.  Its value dropped 2.5% which was enough to offset small to modest gains in the other categories.  I mentioned last month that I was getting my hopes up for not being underwater on the mortgage, but now we are more underwater than ever!

Our liabilities decreased 0.5%

Another month, another drop of about 0.5% on our liabilities. And now we are even farther away from being able to do anything with the mortgage without a significant outlay of cash.  We just had the Financial Peace University class on mortgages and are not exactly doing what Dave recommends (basically none of it, in fact).  Now we have to figure out if we want to get more in line with his recommendations and, even more daunting, how we are going to accomplish that.

Our net worth decreased!

Well, it had to happen sooner or later in this volatile economic environment – our net worth has decreased.  Now, it decreased less than 0.5% so it’s not exactly terrible news.  It decreased mostly because the value of our house, according to Zillow, dropped a fair chunk. But the end result is that my iPhone fueled net worth increase streak has come to an end.  Hopefully we will bounce back next month…but it is the Christmas month.  We do have money saved up for Christmas so we will not  go into debt buying gifts but we will spend that money (or most of it) so that will adversely impact our net worth next month too.  Hopefully the house price will rebound….

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