It’s the start of a new month which means that my net worth update is finally here! I decided to track net worth as part of a strategy to evaluate my financial health and determine how it’s changing over time. It’s a “before” and “after” picture by all accounts, which is why net worth updates are also known as financial snapshots
Doesn’t it look like I did awesome this month? haha. Actually, it’s a little bit misleading and here’s why. I did my March 2012 net worth update by hand. I manually calculated my various assets in a spreadsheet and figured it was about right. A week later, I re-joined Mint.com for like the 4th time– we have a love-hate relationship — and I realized, that there were a ton of assets I forgot I had… like… a whole retirement account! In the future, I’ll probably look at rolling over my old job’s retirement account so that it’s simpler to keep track of. Here’s a breakdown of the other changes in the last month.
1. Cash (-29%)
I decided that if I want to be serious about saving for my wedding, I need to pay myself first. So I moved some of my cash over to a high-yield savings account so that it continues to grow interest until I’m ready to use it. Even though it looks like my cash decreased, I really haven’t lost any value here.
2. Emergency Fund (0%)
I think $15,000 is a sufficient size emergency fund to cover my expenses in the event of an emergency or job loss. It should last me 8 months for my current expenses or 5 months if both my fiance and I fall on hard times, so I’ve decided not to contribute any more money to this particular expense. Yes, it could stand to be larger, but then I remembered that my Roth IRA contributions are also a built in, penalty-free emergency fund if I ever need it! Do you think my approach here is okay?
3. Retirement (+63%)
I did find a retirement account I forgot to include in my last update, but I love my retirement accounts because they’re all automated for direct transfer. Most of the time, this money doesn’t even make it to my bank account so it’s easy to forget that I have it. These net worth updates will help remind me to check this nest egg periodically because it will be real value for me for retirement (or even an emergency).
4. ETFs and Stocks (+65%)
I had a nice surprise this month, my first ever stock holding doubled in value! Well, it had actually lost me $1000 for several months, but now it’s $250 in net gain. I’m thinking about cashing out and adding this to my wedding savings fund, but I can’t seem to decide.
5. Auto Worth (+6%)
This one is a toughy. I think I estimated my car’s value incorrectly the first time around. It had some minor hail damage driving across the country but insurance repaired everything. I don’t know if having that body work done decreases my car’s value (i.e. it was in an accident) or increases it (… it got a brand new paint job and looks like a million bucks).
7. Wedding (NEW!)
I moved some money around in my bank accounts and decided to put EVERYTHING that I could spare towards the wedding. My wedding goal is $10,000. It’s really important that I start saving here right away because as soon as we choose our resort destination, we’re going to start needing money for deposits. I haven’t put together a wedding budget yet, but I hope the total cost to us will be at $10,000 or lower.
8. Credit cards (new debt)
It looks like I spent a lot here (and I did) but I just bought two plane tickets for $600 each, and I’m expecting my fiance to reimburse me for his ticket. As long as I’ve had credit, I’ve never carried a balance, so I’m hoping to pay off this debt in this payment cycle so I don’t get hit with any interest charges.
… and this sums it up! I know I could have done MUCH better than above so during the month of May, I’m dedicating myself to watching my spending even more. I’ll start small like trying not to buy lunch as often, and hopefully go bigger by planning my errands better so I don’t waste gas.
So, how did you all do this month? Did you have any surprises or areas you plan on improving?