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Kathleen’s Net Worth, September 2013

This article was written by in Naked With Cash. 5 comments.


In Naked With Cash, seven anonymous Consumerism Commentary readers publicly track and analyze their finances on a monthly basis. For almost a decade, I tracked my own finances on Consumerism Commentary; now I’m sharing the benefits of public accountability with the participants. I’ve partnered with financial planners who will offer some guidance along the way. 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. Since her income was $33,000 last year, she’s looking to make more money from “side hustles” (like her blog, Frugal Portland) this year. To learn more about Kathleen, read her bio. Kathleen is on Team Sara, with Certified Financial Planner Sara Stanich.

Kathleen’s report this month, below, includes Kathleen’s progress during September 2013. You can read her August report here. Following Kathleen’s own self-analysis, Sara Stanich will offer thoughts from her perspective.

Sara Stanich, CFP appears courtesy of Stanich Group and Cultivating Wealth.

Comments and analysis from Kathleen

Okay, so this month, the numbers are looking a little ragged. I can explain (although I know that explanations and excuses are pretty much the same thing). I paid for the other half of my living room set, but then I simply didn’t work very much in September. My mom passed away at the end of August, and the memorial was on the 14th. I was with family a lot, and honestly, I just didn’t feel like working. It was like I was shown a reason for saving so much this year. Since my job is hourly, I’m going to see that hit well into next month (we’re paid monthly), but if you can’t use your savings while you’re grieving, when can you?

Seeing my mom die at such a young age (58) reminded me that we don’t get to pick when we leave this Earth, and it made me rethink the way I spend my life. What if I never make it to retirement, either? I also realized that I’ve been avoiding dealing with my finances when I’m gone, using another set of excuses: I don’t have kids, I’m not married, I don’t have anything to give. That’s an old script, an outdated one from before I bought a condo.

I’m not sure I want life insurance (first things first, let me get health insurance on the open exchange), but I definitely need to figure out where my retirement savings, regular savings, car, and the condo loan go to if for some reason I don’t make it to retirement.

Feedback from Sara Stanich, CFP

I’m so sorry to hear about your mom, Kathleen. I hope you are doing OK.

The death of a loved one can often inspire changes. Thinking about what would happen in the event of your death is the first step in estate planning. Although you don’t have any financial dependents (yet), it is wise of you to consider what would happen (from a legal perspective), and what you would want to happen.

You can take action by making sure you have assigned a beneficiary to your retirement accounts, keeping your financial life simple and organized, and looking into a basic will. Over time, your needs will likely become more complex, but those are a few places to start.

This communication is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed. Any taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is not recommended. Any information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation. Every investor’s situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. Be sure to contact a qualified professional regarding your particular situation before making any investment or withdrawal decision. Raymond James and Sara Stanich, CFP, are not affiliated with and do not endorse, authorize or sponsor any third party websites, their respective sponsors, or user comments found on this or other sites. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.

Feedback from Luke Landes

Kathleen, I’m so sorry for your loss.

I’ve been thinking about mortality probably too much recently. You have to find the right balance between saving for the future, an important goal, and enjoying your life today. Find ways to accomplish the latter without sacrificing the former when you can. There’s always the possibility of never having the chance to enjoy life later on, and you don’t want to have a lengthy list of regrets.

Your finances are in good shape. Despite buying and furnishing a condo, your net worth has been increasing relatively steadily month to month. I’m curious about your mortgage, though. I noticed the balance hasn’t changed since July. Are you skipping payments or is there something I’m not understanding about the home ownership process? Perhaps this was explained in an earlier month and I don’t remember.

Thanks as always for sharing the intimate details of your finances with us!

Published or updated October 25, 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 .

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Kathleen, FrugalPortland

Thanks, Sara and Luke — it was nice to spend time with both of you this month! Evidently, 80% of my mortgage payment is going toward interest, so even though I’m paying close to $1000 a month, October was the first time I saw the balance drop by anything remotely noticeable. Apparently, I’ll be getting some of that back next year in terms of tax writeoffs? Or something. Once I figure out where the balance lies, I will be putting an extra $100/month toward my mortgage. That will cut down the term by years, if I’m reading the amortization schedule right.

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avatar Anne

So sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. You’re right — this is a time to grieve, not a time to really worry about the balance sheet.

I hope the timing of this next comment isn’t entirely inappropriate, as I’m trying to be practical here.

Though having a life insurance policy isn’t necessarily needed since you don’t have kids/spouse (right?), I want to encourage you to look into one in the coming months. Why? Well, if you lock into a term policy now for say, 20 years, it’s going to be really really cheap (like $200/year depending on the amount) since you are young.

But if you wait longer, your premiums could increase, and if you develop some sort of condition (however benign), it could make the policy extremely expensive, or perhaps you wouldn’t qualify at all.

Just something to think about. Hugs to you.

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avatar Kathleen, FrugalPortland

Thanks, Anne. :)

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avatar DonnaFreedman ♦2,496 (Dollar)

Kathleen: So sorry that you lost your mom. My own mother died at 68 and I still grieve that she didn’t have the chance to do so many of the things she could have done.
So yes, take charge of your finances — but also don’t put off doing things you want to do. I once interviewed a woman who was making a ton of money working on PR for an oil company, but what she wanted to do was write. Finally she asked herself, “Will I be on my deathbed thinking, ‘Wonder if I could have made it as a writer?’” and quit her job.
It took several years, and she ran through all her savings and lived a very lean life, but she finally sold her first book. Her name is Dana Stabenow, and she never stopped writing: Now she’s a New York Times best-selling author of a couple of mystery series (Kate Shugak, Liam Campbell) set in Alaska.
Make the best plans you can, but think outside of them as well. To quote the late Col. Norman Vaughan, “Dream big and dare to fail.”

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avatar kathleen

Thanks, Donna. I really needed to read that today. Your words mean a lot.

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