Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Goal Update: End Of March 2018

At the end of each month, I post an update of my goals, including a brief discussion of any notable events that might have occurred during the month. The latest month's figures can always be found under the Featured menu in the menu bar at the top of the blog.

Last updated: End of March, 2018
Current value: $41,043
Change from last Month: +$2,957
Percent of Goal:  37.74%

Note that the funds in this account are invested in stock, so there will be fluctuations in value that are outside my control. I never withdraw money from this account, so any dips are purely due to stock price changes.

Events Of Note Last Month:

My SQL courses on Udemy generated $160.94 of income. My courses on SkillShare are starting to gain traction. I received $42.25 from there, up from about $10 in February. We'll see if that's a one-time aberration or if they are actually attracting more students. Again, I'm doing zero promotion for them.

I saw a big rise in my Tesla account this month, which makes up for the horrible drop in February. Realty Income stock made a comeback, which boosted my total. It's still down about 10% from 6 to 9 months ago, so I might see some more upside.

Net Worth Update

Our net worth shows a $21,060 increase this month, coming almost all the way back from last month's $22,919 decline.Stock market volatility continues to drive the large fluctuations not only in my Tesla account, but also our overall net worth.

Our investments dropped about $8,000 in value, but Zillow says our house increased by $20,000, so that offsets the investments drop.

February 2018
March 2018

Next month, our net worth should start going up more rapidly. In March, we bought a new couch and I diverted some of our monthly savings amount towards paying that off. It's paid for now, so those monthly funds will resume going into our brokerage account.


We got hit hard by the tax man this year. Even with $17,000 in tax deductible moving expenses, we still ended up owing just over $2,000. With my wife's new job, which almost doubled her previous salary, and my higher salary with my new job (which I just realized I never wrote about here), we got bumped into the 33% tax bracket. Her big relocation bonus she got when we moved to Washington pushed us deeper into that bracket. We did get about $800 back from our Arizona state taxes, so that helps offset the federal tax somewhat.

My CPA says our higher income also means we are now subject to the Additional Medicare Tax and the Net Investment Income Tax.

I don't mind paying taxes, really. I live in this country and take part in the benefits, protections, and services it offers. I don't expect to get those things for free. But I really dislike being surprised each April with a huge tax bill. I don't understand why the government can't get the monthly tax withholding rates more accurate. I realize everyone's situation is different and we all have different deductions, but surely something can be done.

In an effort to blunt the pain each April, for the past two years, I have increased the additional amount I have withheld from each of my and my wife's paychecks. In 2016, we owed $1,900 in federal taxes come April 15. At the time, I increased our additional withholding from $90 to $250 per month. That works out to an extra $160 per month, or $1,280 per year (because the additional withholding didn't take effect until the fourth month of the year).

In 2017, we still ended up owing $1,000 in federal taxes in April. So in 2017, I increased our withholding again to an extra $400 per month. That's another $1,200 per year (again, $150 for eight months, since it didn't go into effect until April.)

This year, we owe $2,100. Now, I will grant you our income was much higher this year due to the relocation bonus, so there's that. But this year, I'm increasing our additional withholding by another $200 per month, for a total of an extra $600 per month withheld for federal taxes. That's an additional $1,600 per year over 2017.

To sum up: we are now sending an extra $7,200 per year to the government over and above what their regular tax withholding tables call for. My wife and I are basically W-2 wage earners. We don't own our own business or have tons of investment income. In other words, those withholding tax tables should be fairly accurate as to what we owe, yet we still have to significantly overpay to avoid a huge April tax bill. Clearly something is askew with those tables.

Check back next year to see how it turns out this time.

If you have any questions or suggestions for topics, please drop me a line in the comments section!


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