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).
This year, we have four participants who will share their financial reports, exposing the results of their financial choices. 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.
Jake and Allie are animal lovers who enjoy their pets and have no plans for children. Both are committed to early retirement. Jake and Allie are both interested in owning side businesses, even though they plan to use their nest egg for living expenses. The couple enjoys travel and make it a priority to take trips throughout the year. They believe that it makes sense to use part of their combined $140,000 income to enjoy life now. (Read their update from last month.)
After reading Jake and Allie’s comments, you can watch a Google Hangout they participated in with Financial Planner Neal Frankle. Neal Frankle appears courtesy of Wealth Pilgrim and MCMHA.org. This month’s Naked With Cash focus is on estate planning.
Jake and Allie’s Net Worth Statement
Jake and Allie’s Income Statement
Comments and analysis from Jake and Allie
November is over and the end of the year is almost here. We’ve enjoyed participating in the Naked with Cash experiment! It seems like it has gone by really fast. One thing we can tell anyone reading this is that there is a huge advantage to tracking every dollar you spend and categorizing it. We were just going through our yearly expenditures and both caught ourselves saying, “Wow. I can’t believe we spent so much on that.” It’s something we will probably continue doing for a while.
Some notes for October:
- Investments: we moved $15,000 from cash to investment account
- Entertainment: we spent more because Jake went gliding with a friend ($135) to celebrate his birthday
- Hobbies: Jake bought another dirt bike (got a really good deal) and will be selling the smaller one (for more than he paid for it) in the next month or two
- Home furnishings: we finally bought a new dining room table! Allie sold the old one, covering almost half of the new one
- Medical: expenses are higher because Jake purchased a year’s supply of contacts and new glasses
- Pet expenses: one of the dogs had surgery, a dental cleaning, and a separate visit for hot spots that resulted from the surgery
October’s topic of holiday planning:
We are, most likely, different from everyone else in this category. We have no children (other than our furry friends), and we decided several years ago that buying each other presents just for the purpose of buying presents was unnecessary.
Before you fall asleep from boredom, I’ll explain.
Instead of spending money on presents, we decided we would just reserve our money for trips and things we want to do. We usually do the same for our wedding anniversary, too. Our doing things instead of collecting things idea has worked pretty well so far. We aren’t collecting things we don’t really need, and we get to see new places and have fun instead. It’s not something we do every year, but most years we take a little vacation over Christmas.
We do have our parents and a few nieces and nephews, and our five pets that we buy for, but we don’t go crazy with gift giving. When we were first starting out, we would set aside so much per month for gift giving. That kind of taught us not to go crazy at Christmas, and we’ve continued with that. The bulk of our Christmas spending is on the kids in the extended family.
Hangout with Neal Frankle, CFP
Neal keeps tabs on Jake and Allie’s financial plan, talking about what’s next, and how to tweak a plan to better meet your needs.
Feedback from Luke Landes
Jake and Allie’s approach to holiday spending really resonated with me. Looking around my small apartment, I’m finding open space decreasing and clutter increasing, even if I do try to keep most of it organized. But I’ve certainly been collecting a lot of things. And that’s not inherently bad. There are items I like to have, I don’t feel like I’ve gone overboard in a consumerist, materialist frenzy, and there’s nothing I can’t afford.
But I’m also paying more attention to experiences rather than things, especially every year as the holidays approach.
I’m glad that Jake and Allie recognize the value in tracking finances closely. Doing so reveals so many opportunities for improving one’s financial future. I write this often, especially in the context of the Naked With Cash series, but from a behavioral perspective, tracking the inflows and outflows of money is the most important aspect of taking a better approach to money, whether the goal is getting out of debt, saving for retirement, or achieving financial independence.
Given Jake and Allie’s net worth of above $1 million not including their home, it’s easy to see their progress this year and their consistently positive cash flow and think that progress is only possible for people with high net worth. And yes, there are obstacles that many people have that make progress towards a better financial life difficult. There’s no denying that Jake and Allie’s success thus far is at least partially due to having good jobs, which stem from good education, which stems from a home life that placed a high value on education. These are advantages not everybody has, but it’s never too late to make new priorities.
Thanks for participating this year, Jake and Allie. I’m thrilled to see you plan to keep tracking your finances closely.