If you’re new to Consumerism Commentary, this may seem like a strange concept. Every month I share my financial reports down to the dollar. It is a summary of all of my account balances as well as a rough estimate of the value of my larger assets. It is not a complete net worth report because it does not include tax liability or fees for liquidation of investments, so I have been calling the bottom line my “modified net worth.”
Earlier this month, I passed a milestone as my modified net worth exceeded $100,000. Meanwhile, the market and my investments faltered. Keep reading for my balances as of July 31, 2007, followed by frequently asked questions and explanations.
Why is This Here?
I began publishing a record of my finances online about four years ago. For me this was the natural evolution of keeping track of my finances on Microsoft Money, which I was using at the time. I created this anonymous blog to hold myself accountable for my financial decisions in public.
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.
* My student loan interest rate is 4.25% and my savings account interest rates range from 4.5% to 5.05%. I’m not rushing to pay off the student loan so I can have cash on hand to eventually make a down payment on a house, and the rate is decent.
Explanations and Details.
Last month, my 401(k) surpassed $40,000. This month, despite contributing 25% of my salary, the account ended below that mark. A few months ago, I shifted to a more conservative allocation for new investment. I shifted my allocation strategy to include mostly a high-rate money market fund with a small percentage going to the more typical investments. I’m not sure if we’ve hit a bottom for the year, but I’m waiting to see if there’s a dip later this year. At that time, I’ll switch back to my aggressive allocation.
I’m still waiting for an open trading window to unload my second quarter company stock plan contributions. Our company stock is down quite a bit since the end of the quarter, but with the 15% discount awarded to employees, I still end up ahead.
I like that zero on the car loan line. I was only paying 2% interest on that loan, but since it wasn’t a standard bank loan — it was from a family member — I just wanted to finish it off. Now the only debt hanging over me is my student loan, which was a result of using several of my tuition reimbursement checks to pay for regular expenses.
My modified net worth is better than twice last year’s amount. If I could manage to double my net worth each year, I won’t complain. Obviously, just continuing my current path wouldn’t allow me to double my net worth each year. I’ll be happy just to keep the increases coming.
Stay tuned for my income and expense report for July.
Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published August 1, 2007.