My life without salary is continuing to move myself forward financially. Even considering overall income, I earned more in January than I’ve earned in any month prior to that point. February, though I’m waiting for some final details, was a very good month in terms of income, but still about average when compared to the past few months. It’s a reminder that I can’t slow down and expect progress; I need to keep working full steam ahead to grow.
I just returned from a quick trip to San Francisco, where I learned a little about the venture capital industry. I have some great ideas for building the Consumerism Commentary community, and it’s exciting to think about the possibilities. I also had the chance to meet with a few blogging colleagues, and it’s helpful to trade ideas and communicate in person. Now back in my home in New Jersey, it’s time to focus, respond to emails, and keep working on all the various projects I’ve assigned myself.
When I’m away, it’s often difficult for me to record all of my financial transactions in Quicken. I’ve been working almost all morning in getting the details as close to correct as possible for my monthly financial update. I’ll include the familiar table, listing my balances in bank accounts, investments, and credit cards, after the jump.
I generate the above by exporting a net worth report out of Quicken, importing the resulting text file into Excel, and using a template with formulas to categorize and total the balances within each category. I’ve refined it a bit over the years, but the early version of this net worth Excel template will get you started if you’re interested in tracking your finances in a similar manner.
1. Cash in banks. The general consensus is that I’m at the point where I need to do something with my cash other than letting it earn a paltry interest rate across a variety of high yield savings accounts. With the stock market close to 52 week highs, I’m not convinced it’s a good time for a major investment in stocks overall.
2. Investments and retirement. In February, I finished off my 2010 contributions to my SEP IRA at Vanguard. I also contributed the first payment to my new Individual 401(k), also at Vanguard.
I still own a portion of stock from my former employer, and I’d like to begin reducing my exposure to one particular company. The price hasn’t returned to its pre-recession high, however. While I can lock in some profits, the oldest shares I own in the employee stock purchase plan are currently in the red, even considering the 15% discount I received when purchasing. I have even more stock in my 401(k) plan, which I have not yet rolled over. I’m currently waiting for my pension funds to arrive at Vanguard before taking the next step.
3. Accounts receivable. I’m still waiting for some final numbers from clients, and that will affect this number upwards. I wanted to get this report published and analyzed as soon as possible, though, so I’m including as accurate a number I can for now. It’s typical for this number to change after the end of the month, which is why if you’ve done any moderately careful look at my numbers, you’ll see they don’t always match from month to month. For example, today’s chart lists January’s net worth as $583,680, while when I reported the number a month ago, I reported $578,043.
This month, the accounts receivable line includes some expected reimbursements for travel expenses.
4. 2004 Honda Civic. The good news about not having a daily commute is that the miles are now accumulating much more slowly. I still take the approach of reducing the car’s book value by $100 each month for depreciation.
5. Accounts payable. There’s a significant jump in this line. I purchased some new photography equipment and paid for some travel expenses that will be reimbursed, offset by a portion of the accounts receivable category. I continue to collect rewards on all credit card expenditures, even though those that will be reimbursed. This brings up an interesting topic for a future article on Consumerism Commentary.
March signifies the beginning of spring, a welcome change in New Jersey. Some spring cleaning is in order; I’ve been putting it off, but the time to find a cleaning service is here. What are your plans for March?