Naked With Cash is an ongoing series at Consumerism Commentary in which readers share their households’ finances with other readers. These participants benefit from the accountability that comes from tracking their finances publicly and the feedback of the four expert Certified Financial Planners (CFPs).
Throughout this past year, four Consumerism Commentary readers have shared their financial reports and stories, exposing the results of their daily financial choices. The series ends with this month’s update. Each participant is paired with one of our Certified Financial Planners. The experts will provide insight and guidance that will help our participants take their finances to the next level by the end of 2014. Learn about this year’s participants and experts.
Brian and his wife have two children. They are a one-income family since Brian’s wife stays home. They pay off their credit cards each month, so their only debts are student loans and a mortgage. This month, the focus is on estate planning. (Read Brian’s last update.)
After reading Brian’s comments, you can see video commentary from Jeff Rose, CFP. Jeff Rose appears courtesy of Good Financial Cents and Life Insurance By Jeff. This is the final Naked With Cash update for the year, and includes information from last month, as well as this month’s update and Naked With Cash wrap-up.
Brian’s Net Worth Statement
Brian’s Income Statement
Comments and analysis from Brian
Our holiday planning is to save up month over the year and also to use up all gained cash rewards from credit cards. Then in November we will create a special budget to divvy up the available funds for each person we were buying for. Over the last couple years we did really not spend on gifts for my wife and I to focus on the kids.
Another good month. Finished up hopefully the last big repair the cars need to keep them going a few more years. Excited to keep the positive cash flow months going.
Had a great year with NWC. This experience really made me think and analyze the numbers I have always looked at. The videos from the CFP always helped to add some expert opinions. I hope my posts and numbers helped at least one reader out there. Even just to know that there is another family going through the same issues as them. Thanks again.
Feedback from Jeff Rose, CFP
Jeff Rose takes a final look at Brian’s financial situation, and provides encouragement for the future.
Feedback from Luke Landes
Thanks to Brian to taking the time this year not just to track his income, expenses, and net worth, but to open up and share the information with other Consumerism Commentary readers and a wider audience. Thanks also to Jeff for providing excellent guidance throughout the year.
As usual, when you look at Brian’s bottom line, remember that the income and expense report is including debt repayment as an expense. That means the report reads more like a cash flow statement. While the cash flow fluctuates month to month, the fact that Brian’s debt payment each month is more than $1,000, the reality is that the negative cash flow still results in positive progress from month to month.
And you can see this in the net worth report. Every month shows an improvement, and from December 31, 2013 to November 30, 2014, Brian’s net worth increased from $131,660 to $235,175, more than a six-figure increase in a household with one income and two children. While Brian’s household benefited from an inheritance this year, an influx of cash still relies on good decision-making, as many of us who might receive such financial blessings may not always spend and save wisely.
It’s important to highlight Brian’s approach to receiving the inheritance earlier this year:
he first priority was giving back. I was so happy to give money to some big causes within our church. Our second priority was to pay off the school loan, and the furnace loan. After those two loans were paid off, we put the money in a savings account and are working a wish list of projects and goals for the money.
The inheritance isn’t the only story relating to Brian’s progress this year. Throughout the year, Brian continued to fund longer-term goals, like retirement and his children’s education, through 401(k), IRA, and 529 account investments.
Naked With Cash was born in 2003, when I started tracking my own finances publicly on Consumerism Commentary. When my circumstances changed substantially, after growing and selling a business, tracking my expenses continued to be important to me, though my own financial situation wouldn’t bear much compatibility with the audience, although I am sure more than a few remained curious to see how my life changed. Leading into 2013, I decided to offer the chance for readers to receive the same kind of benefit I saw for the past decade through public disclosure, and came up with a way that other readers could track the path of lucky and brave volunteers for one year.
With seven participants in 2013, I wanted to learn from some mistakes and make a better series in 2014. So I cut participation down to three (and expanded to four when I saw there were a few really great applicants) and paired the participants with CFPs, which for the most part have been very generous with their time over the course of “season two.”
Despite receiving messages from several potential participants for “season three,” Naked With Cash won’t be returning at the start of 2015. I want to spend more time coming up with a format that works for everyone and solves some of the new problems we encountered this year regarding participation and dedication levels. Stay tuned, and follow me on Twitter to get the latest news about my projects.