In Naked With Cash, seven anonymous Consumerism Commentary readers publicly track and analyze their finances on a monthly basis. For almost a decade, I tracked my own finances on Consumerism Commentary; now I’m sharing the benefits of public accountability with the participants. I’ve partnered with financial planners who will offer some guidance along the way. Read this introduction to learn more about the series.
Anonymous S is a 24-year-old engineer earning $67,000 a year plus bonus. He also builds websites on the side for an hourly fee of $20 to $35. Read his bio here. Anonymous S is on Team Roger, with Certified Financial Planner Roger Wohlner.
This is the last report from Anonymous S, since the 2013 edition of Naked With Cash is winding down. (You can read November’s update here.) Following his own analysis and thought on participating in Naked With Cash, Anonymous S will be able to read feedback from Roger.
Roger Wohlner, CFP appears courtesy of The Chicago Financial Planner.
Analysis and comments from Anonymous S
2013 has been a great year. I accomplished a lot of things not related to this blog, and a few that I’ve detailed here. A new job in a new city were the biggest two changes, along with smaller changes in how I invest. I switched to low-cost index mutual funds for all of my investments, and simplified the number of securities that I hold. Index funds let me stay diversified with a minimal number of funds.
In 2013, I increased my net worth 69%, or $29,700 from December 2012. This is a huge accomplishment, and represents a huge savings rate of approximately 42% pre-tax. Expected savings rate was between 16 to 25%, so this large number is very surprising, and I’m still not quite sure how I did it. To confirm this result I checked my savings rate over the past six months. It was almost identical, signifying that moving to New York City did not affect my savings rate, another very surprising find.
Since this was my first full year tracking my finances this closely, I’m not sure I can say with certainty whether there have been improvements. However, just from the way I approach my finances now, I know that I have changed. Hopefully in 2014 I am able to improve even further!
In 2014, I plan to continue to stay the course, and focus on increasing my income while keeping my savings rate as high as possible (but not depriving myself in the process). I think that I will continue to keep track of my net worth, although possibly on a less frequent basis.
Feedback from Roger Wohlner, CFP
Kudos for staying on course during a year of change. This is not easy to do. The fiscal habits that you have developed at a relatively young age will serve you well throughout your life and will provide a strong foundation for a successful financial future.
Feedback from Luke Landes
Your progress over the last year has been impressive, and you have a lot to be proud of. Moving to a new city can be a stressful process but you’ve handled it well. I like your analysis of your savings rate. Considering most Americans have a single-digit or even negative rate of savings, you’re doing well, and staying the course will eventually give you a cash cushion and more freedom.
The biggest positive move seems to be in your investments, and keeping with low-cost index funds is going to keep your investments working for you for the rest of your career. Where you’ll really get some flexibility for the future is on the income side of the equation. With a savings rate of 42%, you don’t have to worry about being more frugal. Expand your nest egg by thinking about earning more money this year.
Thanks for participating in Naked With Cash! Check in once in a while and let us know how you’re doing.
Published or updated January 27, 2014.