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JW, April 2013 Net Worth

This article was written by in Naked With Cash. 17 comments.


Naked With Cash is the year-long series on Consumerism Commentary where seven readers’ households share their financial progress on a monthly basis. I’ve partnered with financial planners who will offer some guidance along the way. Read this introduction to learn more about the series.

JW is thirty-one years old and a father of one with another one on the way within a month. He works in retail and is underemployed, and his wife and son are on state medical plans, and their income is supplemented by SNAP (food stamps). Read his bio for more information about his family’s situation.

His goal is to be able to provide for his family while still tithing 10% of his income to his church. JW is on Team Neal, with Certified Financial Planner Neal Frankle. In today’s report, JW discusses his progress throughout the month of April.

Following JW’s own analysis of April’s progress, Neal Frankle will provide his feedback, and budgeting expert Jacob Wade from iHeartBudgets will also provide some insight.

Neal Frankle, CFP appears courtesy of Wealth Pilgrim and Wealth Resources Group.

JW’s comments and analysis

Piano. My wife returned to teaching piano this month. She took a few months in conjunction with having the baby. She has 15 students. Normal rate is $15 for a half-hour lesson with options for 45 minute lessons and discounts for multiple students from the same family. This month brought in $675, and she spent $62 on books and supplies. This amount includes lessons from the last week of March.

Concert. I went to see Prince perform this month. The show was amazing. The sound was crisp and clear. It was in an intimate venue, with room for fewer than 1,000 people in the audience. It was evident just how much that man understands music as a whole — not just one genre. He is not just a singer or a songwriter, guitarist or bassist. He is as much a student as a master of music, with knowledge and skill up there with Sting, Eric Clapton, Beethoven.

Yes — I just compared Prince to Beethoven.

It was all about the music too. There was no merchandise and no cameras, including cell phone cameras. Prince called someone out in the crowd that was taking a photo with their cell phone. It felt like a garage jam session with some friends. This may have been the best show I’ve ever been to.

The total cost for the show including food, gas, tickets, and parking was $326. The budget for this month was $50, and I spent $51. The ticket was purchased before this month began.

Job search. I have not heard back about any of the positions I’ve applied for. I am likely no longer under consideration for any of them, even though none have been filled. Two additional stores posted the same position. One of these two has already interviewed me. The other store called on the 30th to schedule an interview. We’ve been playing phone tag while trying to set up this interview.

Feedback from Neal Frankle

It’s wonderful that you wife has returned to teaching. I’m sure she’s happy helping others improve their musical skills. Thanks also for breaking down how she charges. I’m sure it’s a great fit for her so she can be home with the baby too. One question: have you budgeted for this extra income? Is all of this money needed to pay for current spending or can it be applied to pay down your debt?

I have one additional question. If your wife could be out of the home and wasn’t required to be home, how much do you think she could earn? Just curious.

I’m also a bit confused about the Prince concert. Are you saying that you budgeted the $326 for the show? If so, fantastic. It’s very cool to budget for something and then enjoy the benefits. I’d like to understand this more please.

Feedback from Jacob Wade

JW, I’m glad your net worth is on the rise, but being underemployed and dropping $326 on a concert seems a bit counterintuitive to me. Basically, your wife went back to work and half her money went to your concert. I know it sounds a bit harsh, but the word “no” should be at the top of your list until you get employment squared away. I’m sorry to hear the jobs you applied for didn’t work out, but there’s always tomorrow!

Published or updated June 3, 2013. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar krantcents

I am going to skip the financial issues and go straight to the job applications. I always follow up on any contacts fo a job. It shows interest and you can ask if there is anything else you can answer for them. At the very least, you can close it off if they made a decision. I sometimes network with companies thta I made a good impression but lost out to someone else.

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avatar qixx ♦1,890 (Half-Dollar)

I do try to follow-up via email within 24 hours of an interview. I then follow-up via phone and email for 1 week later and again 2 weeks after an interview. If i have not heard back in that time frame i move on.

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avatar Retire By 40

Your net worth improved quite a bit this month, congrat!
Yeah… Prince might not have been the best idea…

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avatar Anne

I think the Prince concert was fine, and here’s why: JW has saved up for this. He is applying for a better job (and I agree, following up is a good idea — his income has GOT to go up). His wife is bringing in an income again, and from home which is awesome.

I am of the mindset that if you have ZERO fun while digging yourself out of a pit, eventually you lose the desire to make improvements. This concert will be a memory for the rest of his life. It might help JW keep a’truckin’ for a long time.

Sure, that $300 could have been nice in the savings account. As far as I can remember (and I might be wrong), but this sounds like the first splurge JW has made since writing these updates.

When looking at the long term view, this move isn’t going to have an effect on JW’s financial picture. But the experience? And what it can do for motivation? Yes.

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avatar Financial Samurai

I think it’s great you spent $326 on the concert despite the wife going back to work and a negative net worth. If you’ve got the confidence to spend that much money on entertainment then you also have the confidence to make more money and provide for your family.

The beauty of personal finance is that everything is rational. Enjoy life and live it up! America is paradise compared to so many other countries.
Best,

Sam

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avatar qixx ♦1,890 (Half-Dollar)

Better clarify on the Concert:
Total spent this month on the concert was $51. We normally budget $30 as personal spending money for each of us. This was in place of that.
The ticket was purchased last month. I had a total of $175 in gift cards (1 $100 Visa, 3 $25 Ticketmaster).
Total out of pocket was $151. $60 was my personal spending for the 2 months. I’d have spent it on something else so net result was $91 more spending than not going to the show.

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avatar Anne

This is a good clarification point! See — the concert was a good move. Back off, folks :)

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avatar qixx ♦1,890 (Half-Dollar)

Glad to see you have my back.

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avatar Financial Samurai

I got your back too man! Before we all know it, we’ll be old. You ain’t gonna regret seeing Eric Clapton after he’s gone.

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avatar Jacob @ iHeartBudgets

Thanks for clarifying. I still think the gift cards would have been better held on to until the job situation is squared away, as there is still so much unknown on the income side.

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avatar qixx ♦1,890 (Half-Dollar)

@ Neal
If my wife were to return to substitute teaching full-time she would make around $20,000. Part of the reason she stopped was complications from her Multiple Sclerosis that made teaching difficult. She struggles sometimes with just the little bit of piano teaching. A return to full-time would likely move her more quickly to full disability preventing her from working in the future.

We are right at break even with just my pay. Some months would be just under some just over. We budget using her pay as well. We normally estimate low. Her pay helps smooth the months out and make additional payments toward debt.

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avatar Anne

I just don’t think the solution would be for her to return to work outside the house, which it sounds like it’s not even on the table (you’re just answering Neal’s question). $20k, then taxes, then childcare, then medical problems….yeah. Not worth it.

Piano teaching = good, and maybe also some eBaying or online venture.

Praying a solid job opportunity comes your way soon, JW.

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avatar Jacob @ iHeartBudgets

I am with Anne on this one.

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avatar Michael

I can’t get on board with you comparing Prince to Eric Clapton, but if Clapton was in town and I was in your situation, I might do exactly the same thing. Life is about the experiences and relationships we create, not the money in the bank. I use money as a way to create more opportunities, not an excuse to deny them. To me that is what smart financial planning is all about.

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avatar qixx ♦1,890 (Half-Dollar)

I actually chose the comparison because of seeing Eric Clapton (and Sting multiple times). See any of those 3 you get a sense that they are master’s of music. Once i find a time machine i will validate the Beethoven portion of the claim.

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avatar jim

If my spouse spent over $300 on a frickin concert when we’re living on welfare (and I don’t care if that $ came in the form a gift cards, etc) she’d find her bags packed and on the porch with the locks changed. END OF DISCUSSION!

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avatar qixx ♦1,890 (Half-Dollar)

I know that tone can be hard to convey online. I am looking to learn something so please read this in an inquisitive voice.

Does this mean you are saying $300 is fine but you draw the line at over $300? How did you determine that as the cut off point? What factors do you account for? (Honestly i most care most about whatever factors i may be overlooking in my own planning) Would this limit be specifically for concert spending? Entertainment? All non-essential spending? Over what time period? I’m not so interested in the determination of “bags packed and on the porch with the locks changed” but the front end leading to the $300 amount and relation to the spending category.

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