Every month, I publicly review my personal financial condition. If you’re wondering why I post under a pseudonym, Flexo, this is the primary reason. I’d prefer that those who know my in real life, except for a few individuals, are not aware of this information.
Reviewing my finances online helps me be accountable for my choices.
I ended September in a worse position than I started the month, like many people with money in the stock market. Here is a review of my account balances and “modified net worth.” Click on the following report for a larger image.
The above report is made with Intuit Quicken and Microsoft Excel. Here’s a balance sheet Excel template. If you don’t want to go through all the trouble I do every month, but you still want to post your financial reports online, I suggest checking out NetworthIQ.
If you’ve been following Consumerism Commentary, you may have noticed that I changed the layout of the report a little. I also no longer include “cash on hand” because I don’t track that very well.
This category includes savings and checking accounts (“Cash in Banks”) as well as anything owed to me by clients or advertisers (“Accounts Receivable”). Cash in Banks is steadily increasing, and I’m currently making some changes. In the past few days I’ve tried to take advantage of the stock market’s declines by buying VTSMX at strategic times in a new investment account and shifting funds in my SEP IRA.
Most of my Cash in Banks is earning a decent interest rate in high-yield savings accounts, and in October, I’ve already moved $10,000 into a tax-exempt money market fund (which in next month’s report will appear under the “Investments” category.
I consider my Investments, which include accounts at brokerages and mutual funds, as “Long-Term Assets” even though some of the funds are money markets, designed for medium-term investing (less than 5 years). The category includes accounts at ShareBuilder, Vanguard, Scottrade, as well as my company stock held at E*TRADE.
The “Retirement” category includes my 401(k), Roth IRAs, and SEP IRAs. Even though I contributed to the 401(k) this month as I do every month, the total of these accounts experienced a 9% decline thanks to decreases in the stock market. The time horizon for retirement is several decades; I don’t expect to retire for a long time. These market swings don’t bother me.
This month I will take a look at my 401(k) to ensure that I will max out my contributions. My salary isn’t great, and I would be able to contribute the maximum tanks only to income generated outside my day job.
Accounts Payable includes any money I owe within one year, including credit card balances and any bills I owe. Most bills I simply record as an expense once they are paid, but some I record as a liability when the expense is incurred, such as expenses for anyone who works for me. My credit cards are paid in full every month to avoid fees and interest expenses.
It has been almost a year since I’ve had a loan for my car, so that line will soon drop off of the report. My student loan is almost paid off, and I’ve been increasing the amount paid for the last several months in order to meet my goal of eliminating this by the end of 2008. The interest rate is low, but still higher than most of my savings accounts. Unfortunately, I do not qualify for a tax deduction on student loan interest paid.
This report only tells part of the story; later this weekend, I will post my income and expense report for September.
Overall, my “modified net worth” decreased almost 1% this past month, but that’s not bad considering how much of my assets are tied up in the stock market and its performance. How did you do this month?
Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published October 4, 2008. 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.