Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Goal Update: End Of April 2016

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 April, 2016
Current value: $22,818
Change from last month: +$755
Percent of Goal:  20.98%

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:

Income this month from my online courses was a respectable $295. I received an unexpected $100 in blog income. I also received a $300 quarterly bonus at work, but after taxes and my 401(k) contributions were taken out, I netted just $193. My hard money loan continues to pay on time ($133.33 a month). I also received a $16 payment from Amazon for their referral program. (That represents about 9 months of Amazon referrals, so this is a fairly rare event.) All this cash income allowed me to pick up another 11 shares of Realty Income stock. Whee.

I read The Bogleheads' Guide To Investing this month. Nothing in it was news to me. The book gives solid basic financial advice and I recommend it for those wanting to learn the basics of investing. As you might expect from the title, which refers to fans of John C. Bogle, the book places an emphasis on simple, low-cost investments, particularly index mutual funds. Having read Bogle's book, I was already familiar with most of the concepts mentioned.

Net Worth Update

Our net worth continues to grow, increasing by $7,832 from last month to a new total of $629,388. If we ignore stock market fluctuations, I should be seeing our net worth grow by at least $2,000 a month - we are saving over $1,100 a month in my 401(k) and paying down about $900 in combined principle on our mortgage and HELOC loans each month. Of course, stock and property valuations will also affect our net worth, but as a rule of thumb, I expect at least a $2,000 increase each month just for paying my bills as normal.

I'm using to track our net worth and rather than just report a single number, I'm going to report the various figures that make up the net worth number, so we can get some insight into why my bottom line is changing. Here we go:

Our Credit Card debt looks crazy high, but there is an explanation. Mint categorizes my home equity line of credit as a credit card debit. There's no way around this and Mint is aware of this issue, but they don't seem to be in any hurry to change it because it's been this way for over a year. Our HELOC balance is about $118,000, which means our actual credit card debt really just $2,998.

While I usually don't carry a credit card balance, I currently have about $1,300 on one card that is at 0% interest until December, so I'm paying that down slowly. It will be gone before I start getting charged interest. The rest of the credit card debt is just my standard day-to-day charges. I use my card as much as possible in order to earn cash back and I schedule payments to be made two to three weeks after I make the charges. This lets me keep my money in the bank earning interest for a while, but still pay off the debt before the credit card starts charging me interest. One side effect of this method is that it always looks like I have a credit card balance, even though I am, in effect, paying the cards off in full each month.

The Loans figure consists solely of my mortgage. We have no other loans (besides my HELOC, mentioned above).

The Investments figure includes my wife's work retirement plan, a couple IRAs, and some various brokerage accounts.

Our Property number is inflated for a reason similar to why our credit card number is inflated - it's just how Mint works. My work 401(k) is through a provider that Mint cannot access, so I have to enter that figure manually. All manual account entries are categorized as "Property" on Mint's website. Stupid, but that's how it is. So for a true accounting, the $67,000 or so I have in my 401(k) should be subtracted from the Property figure and added to the Investments figure. I also have several hard money loans entered there, but since they are basically mortgages I have written, I feel they are correctly identified as belonging in the Property classification. Other included property assets are our house and cars. Mint updates values for these automagically using the Zillow and Kelly Blue Book web sites.

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


  1. You should try using personal capital to track the net worth, they probably dont have that issue with the heloc and I personally think its better then mint.

    Congrats on the positive month.

  2. I do use personal capital for another accounts, so I'm somewhat familiar with it. It's more of an investment performance tracker, from what I have seen. If I recall, I thought I read somewhere that the root cause is the way B of A (who has my HELOC) provides the data - it's coded as a credit account in the stream. In that case, it wouldn't matter if I used Mint or Personal Capital.