Almost every month since July 2003, I’ve been reporting my month-end financial reports on Consumerism Commentary. This reporting started as a way to hold myself accountable as I attempted to improve my finances through earning more and spending thoughtfully while saving and investing for my future. Somewhere along the way, the website became not only a way for me to learn more about personal finance, but to share my thoughts with an audience, and a hobby turned into a passion, and the passion turned into the driving force for the last few years of my life.
I’ll share my number for August 2011 soon, but first I wanted to mention that I announced the finalists for the Second Annual Plutus Awards last night. I created the Plutus Awards to bring more attention to the amazing personal-finance writing, whether educational, entertaining, or both, published outside of mainstream media. These awards also allow the community of expert personal finance bloggers to express their opinions about the best financial products and services on the market. This can, perhaps in a small way, guide the industry in the direction that best suits the public. I’m happy to say Consumerism Commentary is a finalist for several categories, and I want to encourage readers to vote for their favorite personal finance blogs. The winners will be announced at the Financial Blogger Conference on October 1.
In terms of my finances, there was not much out of the ordinary during August. I spent some money on a new camera lens, but I’m still having trouble finding time for photography. My investments performed poorly during the month, leaving my investment balances lower despite adding to the accounts. In today’s report, I corrected last month’s numbers. When I sold a good portion of my former employer’s stock in July, I forgot to list the proceeds as cash rather than an investment.
I’m working with my accountant to make sure I am taking an official salary from the business this year that will allow me to maximize my Individual 401(k) investment. I’ve been contributing both an employer and an employee portion every month.
Now that I’m not including my business assets in the balance sheet that I post to Consumerism Commentary, the reports don’t tell a complete story of my financial worth. I can take cash from the business if needed, reinvest it for the business, or leave it in business bank accounts. As a result, looking at just the personal portion of my net worth makes it easy to manipulate the numbers; if I wanted to reflect a 2.6% increase this month rather than a 2.6% decrease, I could have moved more cash from a business account to my personal account. I try to transfer as little as possible, but as some have suggested, it may be more wise to leave as little in business accounts as possible.
Continue reading to see August’s numbers.
|-1 year||-1 month||current||Δ||Δ||Δ|
|ASSETS||Aug 2010||Jul 2011||Aug 2011||Prior Mo||YTD||Prior Yr|
|Cash in Banks||63,970||82,724||79,157||-4.3%||28.1%||23.7%|
|2004 Honda Civic||5,173||4,073||3,973||-2.5%||-16.8%||-23.2%|
|PERSONAL NET WORTH||249,051||378,701||368,817||-2.6%||26.4%||48.1%|
|Change Over Prior Month||-4.0%||-0.2%||-2.6%|
|Change Over Prior Year||12.1%||46.0%||48.1%|
This month, I’ve started reducing my quantity of savings accounts. I often open new accounts to review for Consumerism Commentary, but having small amounts of cash in so many different banks is not very convenient to manage. It’s a good thing I don’t list balances by account in my net worth report posted here; that would be too cumbersome for online reporting.
I’ll skip the line-by-line commentary this month because there just isn’t much to tell. The only major expense was the new camera lens. In September, I’ll be researching travel options to visit my family on the west coast in November for Thanksgiving. In fact, traveling is on my agenda; I have a quick trip to Miami next week, a trip to Chicago at the end of the month for the Financial Blogger Conference, and potential Thanksgiving travel in November.