My first balance sheet of the year isn’t excellent, but I’m happy that I’ve made some positive progress. For those who may be new to Consumerism Commentary, every month I publish a few financial reports to describe my financial situation. The first is the balance sheet which lists balances in various accounts.
The bottom line in this report is my “modified net worth.”
I’m almost amazed I managed positive growth overall in January thanks to the beating my investments are taking in the stock market. I just keep reminding myself that I’m mostly investing for retirement, and poor performance now provides opportunities to buy at lower prices.
Keep reading to see exactly where I stand at the end of January. Click the thumbnail to see a larger version of the chart.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
* The report is made with Intuit Quicken and Microsoft Excel. Here’s a balance sheet Excel template.
* The credit card balance is paid off every month and earns cash back.
* My student loan interest rate is 4.25% and my savings account interest rates range from 3.6% to 4.0%.
* I determine the value of my car using the private party value from edmunds.com, but only several times a year.
Explanations and Details
My “cash” line is increasing mainly due to small transactions I forget to record as well as a small but growing coin collection. It’s small enough that I haven’t found the need yet to consider it a separate asset. When I buy rolls of coins from the bank to search through, I transfer funds from my checking account to cash. Any coins I place into storage folders are not returned to the bank or spent, so their value stays in the “cash” category.
I haven’t updated the value of my car in a few months, so I’ll do that in February, making adjustments to smooth the depreciation if necessary.
As you can see, each of my investments have significantly declined in value over the past month except for my company stock purchase plan. That is simply because this account stores cash until the end of each quarter. So I’ve made contributions to the cash portion, accounting for the increase in value. Not including the company stock plan, my investments would have been down 5% for the month rather than 4%.
My credit card balance is so high this month because I used a card to pay advertising income I’ve collected from advertisers to other bloggers. By using an American Express Blue Cash for Business Card, I’ll also earn some cash back in the form of rebates.
My goal for this year is to realize a net worth of $210,000. I may not reach this goal, falling far short, if the stock market continues to falter. If I manage to increase my net worth by the same amount each month, I will end the year with about $154,000 across all accounts.
Updated March 28, 2010 and originally published February 4, 2008.