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Kathleen March 2013 Net Worth

This article was written by in Naked With Cash. 12 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. This month, the participants and experts are discussing, among other things, tax planning. Read this introduction to learn more about the series.

Kathleen is thirty-one years old, single, and living in Portland, Oregon. She loves her job, even if it isn’t very lucrative. With her $33,000 income last year, she’s looking to make more money from “side hustles” this year, such as her blog, Frugal Portland. To learn more about Kathleen, read her bio here. Kathleen is on Team Sara, with Certified Financial Planner Sara Stanich.

For Kathleen’s progress over the past year, see her 2012 wrap-up. Kathleen has already made great progress this year, as you can see from last month’s February update.

This month’s report, below, includes Kathleen’s progress over the three months leading up to the end of March 2013. Following Kathleen’s own self-analysis, normally Sara Stanich would offer thoughts from her perspective, but this month, Neal Frankle, CFP is standing in. Following Neal’s comments, budgeting expert Jacob Wade from iHeartBudgets will also provide his own insight.

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

Comments and analysis from Kathleen

March was a good month for me! I have less than $1,500 left on my car loan, and I have more money in savings than I have ever had before. I had a friend, who is a CPA, help me out with my taxes, which were a little more complicated this year than I can recall from past years. I hit a few incorrect buttons and the tax software told me to expect somewhere around $8,000 back. I just didn’t see how that was possible.

Turns out, it wasn’t. He fixed some of those problems, and now I’m expecting around $1,000 back. Still better than a poke in the eye! And a lot less “Hey let’s audit Kathleen” than it was with my bad math.

I don’t have many exciting things to say about taxes, sorry Luke and Sara! My next update will be a heck of a lot more exciting.

Feedback from Neal Frankle, CFP

Congratulations on your progress. This is really outstanding. Indeed, your net worth has grown by a factor of three over a year. That is really something to be proud of. Here’s an important question:

What did you do differently? To what would you ascribe your success in turning this thing around? Whatever it is, keep it up, friend.

On your tax return, I am of course very happy that you were able to get assistance and get it straightened out. I’m wondering if you feel comfortable doing it yourself and if you understand how to avoid those errors going forward? That’s important because the last thing you need is an IRS audit as you pointed out.

It sounds like you are also very excited about April. I assume that’s because the good times are continuing to roll. That’s very cool.

One suggestion that pops out at me is it would be great to see a monthly personal cash flow statement or profit and loss report. That has really helped me and my family, especially since we can compare month to month. We use You Need A Budget but you can use a spreadsheet if you prefer. It doesn’t matter so much what you use as long as you use it and refer back to the information.

The last piece is the car loan. I am of course very happy that you are just about paid off on the loan and I’d like to see if it’s possible for you to never have a car loan again. Did you buy a new car? Have you considered buying a car that is one or two years old next time? Last, is it possible for you to set up a sinking fund to replace your current car when it runs out of gas — for the last time?

Other than that, I think you are really doing wonderful and I am so fortunate to be able to chime in this month. Keep it up!

Feedback from Jacob Wade

KILL THAT DEBT! KILL THAT DEBT!

But seriously, I’m excited to see you debt free in the next month or so. Now, I know you don’t do budgets (blasphemy!), but I do have some advice for what to do once you’re debt free if you are not already doing this. Take that money you were using toward your debt, and get a month ahead on your expenses. Trust me on this. It will suck any financial stress right out of your life, and allow you to really plan your next steps with a clear mind. Plus, heck, it acts as a mini emergency fund, which is also sweet.

Glad to hear you’ve got a CPA helping you out. I’m sure the IRS wouldn’t be happy about a $7,000 tax mistake! Once you start receiving self-employment income, things can get a little hairy, and hiring a tax professional is always the best bet.

Published or updated April 29, 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 .

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar SteveDH

Although I’m a cash flow type of guy, a quick look at your first quarter results is eye-popping. I see $2,363 growth in assets coupled with a $3,176 reduction in debt. Should this trend continue through the next three quarters (with previous debt payments going into reserve or savings) you could be looking at a $22k plus year. Doubling your net worth in a year that contains “13″ could destroy long-held superstitions for many of us. Keep It up! As for the tax thingy, sequestration has reduced the number of audits that can be done by the IRS so you might have been able to just slip that ………… never mind, bad idea. ;-)

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avatar Revanche

Hah, my husband made the suggestion that I didn’t need to spend hours and hours on our taxes because this was the year the IRS wouldn’t be well staffed. I know he was kidding but I’m at least a little horrified by the thought of tempting Murphy’s Law to land on us with both feet!

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avatar Anne

Yay! You are doing a great job!

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avatar Skint in the City

Here in the UK our tipping ettiquette is quite different from in the US – ie our tips are lower really. Waiters and waitresses tend overall to be paid better here and rely less on tips. Of course we tip but the average- in fact a good tip – is 10%. In mainland Europe it’s lower still. Leave 10% in France and that’s considered great.
That’s partly because waiting tables is a proper profession there, with good pay and status so tips aren’t relied upon so much.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,371 (Platinum)

I think this comment was meant for the new article on tipping at restaurants.

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avatar Kathleen, FrugalPortland

I accept tips :)

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avatar Grayson

Nice work Kathleen. I know you have been working hard and I know that next month your update will be much more exciting. I am hoping that you can keep up the positive growth.

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avatar Kathleen, FrugalPortland

Thanks, Neal and Jacob! My car is 8 years old, and if I have my way, you’re right, I’ll never ever have a car loan again. SteveDH, this trend will unfortunately NOT continue. I’m a commissioned salesperson, and since we charge people a flat rate at the beginning of the year, my commission is front loaded. That’s fine, but it doesn’t mean it’ll continue! Plus, check back next month and see the savings go KAPUT. I’m … buying a condo.

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avatar qixx ♦1,814 (Half-Dollar)

Are you also planning to have the car loan paid off? Will this happen before you sign on the dotted lign for the condo? How are you planning to celebrate complete (albeit shortly lived???) debt freedom?

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avatar Roz

YNAB is a great tool, but cannot be used comprehensively if you do not have 1-months salary in reserve. Reality and experience shows, without this cushion, YNAB simply tracks expenses like all other budget software. That’s why so many users like the product after they have a salary cushion.

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avatar DonnaFreedman ♦2,442 (Dollar)

Go you! You’ll be out from under both liabilities soon and will have more “extra” money and thus more choices.
Kudos for being financially naked — the numbers will remind other people who are in debt that there is a way out. It takes time and commitment but you are demonstrating how it can be done.

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avatar Skint in the City

Sorry Luke, Kathleen and all – yep, I commented in the wrong post, it should have been tipping.
So, the takeaway tip I’ve learnt from this is not to comment whilst my five year old is pleading for a turn on the computer – haste makes mistakes!

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