Naked With Cash is an ongoing series at Consumerism Commentary in which readers share their households’ finances with other readers. These participants benefit from the accountability that comes from tracking their finances publicly and the feedback of the four expert Certified Financial Planners (CFPs).
This year, we have four participants who will share their financial reports, exposing the results of their financial choices. Each participant is paired with one of our Certified Financial Planners. The experts will provide insight and guidance that will help our participants take their finances to the next level by the end of 2014. Learn about this year’s participants and experts.
Jake and Allie are animal lovers who enjoy their pets and have no plans for children. Both are committed to early retirement. Jake and Allie are both interested in owning side businesses, even though they plan to use their nest egg for living expenses. The couple enjoys travel and make it a priority to take trips throughout the year. They believe that it makes sense to use part of their combined $140,000 income to enjoy life now. (Read their update from last month.)
After reading Jake and Allie’s comments, you can watch a Google Hangout they participated in with Financial Planner Neal Frankle. Neal Frankle appears courtesy of Wealth Pilgrim and MCMHA.org. This month’s Naked With Cash focus is on emergency preparedness.
Jake and Allie’s Net Worth Statement
Jake and Allie’s Income Statement
Comments and analysis from Jake and Allie
I (Allie) had some extra income from a side project, not photography related this time. It’s still money saved toward the new camera I want. All other income was typical day job income.
Part of our vacation expense this time around was from a weekend photo shoot that I attended with my photography group, shooting different models in multiple venues. Our other vacation expense was an overnight stay to attend a concert. It was Aug 31st to Sept 1st, so the pet boarding will show up next time around. We tried out a new pet boarding resort that is closer, less expensive, and even more enjoyable for the doggies, so that was a good find. For the week-long vacations that we take twice per year, this will be a good savings for us.
We didn’t mention this last month, but we canceled our cable a couple months ago. I was hesitant because I like to watch Big Bang Theory if I’ve had a bad day at work. It has turned out to be a good thing, though. I’ve been getting more done, and I really don’t miss it. We have Netflix, and I’ve found a couple things to watch there, but it’s something I specifically choose and spend a little time on instead of just scrolling through and randomly wasting my time. If it’s something you’ve been thinking about, try it! You might be surprised at how easy it is. I was.
Not much else to report on finances for August. We still have a little more to purchase for the house, but that will come in September.
This month’s topic of health insurance:
Our health insurance is pretty easy because we both work for the same company. The family and couple plan is more expensive, so we each have individual policies. Our plan automatically offers dental care. We both chose a vision plan, and because both of our families have history of cancer, we opt in for the cancer insurance. It almost pays for itself, though. If you visit your doctor for one examination per year, you receive $100. Those are the little things you should look for in your plan. I think our plan overall is $300 per year (maybe a little more), so when you consider that and break it down, it’s $50 per year per person. That’s tough to beat. It’s good to remember that because the other changes this year left me less thrilled. That’s another story, though. We do not have access to an HSA (wish we did).
Well, that’s it for August. Thank you to Naked With Cash for choosing us to participate.
Hangout with Neal Frankle, CFP
Neal keeps tabs on Jake and Allie’s financial plan, and they talk about asset protection.
Feedback from Luke Landes
Thanks, Allie and Jake, for you recent update!
I hate to admit it, but these days, I’ve been losing more productive time than I’d like due to television. There was a time when I survived without cable, but these days, I hardly remember those days. It was before Netflix, before Hulu, and while Blockbuster was still a viable business. I canceled cable not necessarily because I wanted to be more productive; I canceled the service because I couldn’t afford it.
Getting cable again was a treat for me when I could at last afford it, but in recent years, I’ve found it hard to resist some entertainment. Say what you want about the quality of entertainment “these days,” but there has been a resurgence (or emergence) of quality writing on television for those who seek it out. Even the comedies (like The Big Bang Theory, as you mentioned) are well-written. But perhaps I’ve given myself too much freedom to lose significant chunks of time to entertainment.
I endorse your suggestion to try canceling cable, if just for a few months, for anyone who wishes to be more productive. Now that I’m starting new projects, this is something that I’d consider — or at least keeping myself to a schedule so I’m less distracted.
Regarding your health insurance, Jake and Allie seem to benefit from some good choices. It sounds like they work for a company that tries to provide its employees with quality health insurance plans. That’s rare, especially coming out of a recession. Companies will often try to drastically cut costs to boost their financial performance on paper, and human resources costs are often the first to go.
I noticed your house value in your net worth statement is bouncing around month-to-month. That can create confusion when you want to really study your progress over time and are interested in monthly results. Using Zillow estimates is a perfectly legitimate way of tallying your net worth at any point in time, and Zillow’s calculations take many factors into consideration. Real estate agents seem to believe that Zillow’s estimates generally don’t reflect reality, but the fact that the site provides a hard number is really appealing.
I’ll write a post about the benefits and drawbacks of including the “value” of one’s main property in a net worth calculation, and describe some of the popular ways to do this and at the same time calculate a net worth value that makes sense.
Thanks as always for participating in Naked With Cash this year. I’m looking forward to your next update.
Updated June 22, 2016 and originally published September 29, 2014.