May 2021

A tepid May, in terms of the markets, the weather, and most things going on. And that is absolutely fine!

Our NW increased by over $12k. Cash balance is inching towards the red line of $100k.

One slight change we’ve incorporated into our monthly posts is to do away with anything after the decimal. A simple format change in Excel and I don’t know why we didn’t do this earlier! The tables looks way cleaner now.

Last month we also tracked ALL of our variable spending, to the last penny. We know on average how much we spend and we are both very conscious about discretionary expenses but this was the first month we tracked and consolidated the outflow. This is how it looks like. We won’t be posting this information every month but rather show some extraordinarily high or low months. May was probably lower than average.

Summer is here! Hope all of you reading this will get to enjoy the next few glorious months. Cheers!

April 2021

$53k increase in net worth in April. Nice.

Cash balance has increased to almost $94k, which is I N S A N E! Two major influx of funds: tax refund of about $3.2k and the third stimulus check. We will not let this go over $100k!

Major expenses for the month was $3.8k we had to fork out for some long awaited dental work for M. We also paid about $850 extra towards our mortgage this month.

We are dutifully enjoying the weather – highs of 60s and lows of 40s make for wonderful time to spend and sweat out in the sun. We will continue this trend, even when the temps rises, in May.

The pandemic, here in the US, seems to be drawing towards a close. In other parts of the world, its rearing his ugly monstrous head in painful fashion. Our hearts go out to those in the front line of the attacks.

March 2021

Another month, another $45k increase in net worth. This is getting boring. Yawn … 😀

On a serious note, I’ll take this nicely purring along markets any day. Or month. We’ll make hay while the sun shines. And when the inevitable correction does come – in a week/month/year – we will take advantage of that too and throw more of the stockpiled cash at it.

Cash reserve increased further as W’s sizeable annual bonus came through. Quite soon we’ll be sitting on a pile of doing-no-good $100k. That’s ok. This would more than carry us for a year if all our sources of active income stopped suddenly one day. Some of it is earmarked for vacations (that we didn’t take in 2020, and some that we will take in ’21 and beyond), some for taxes (that we thought we’d owe; but no, for the first time since we got married, we’ll get a refund!), some for property taxes (escrow that has been decoupled from our mortgage, and we pay directly to the county twice a year).

Another milestone: FI funds for the first time crossed the million dollar mark. This is funds that we can literally live off. I’ll have to sit down and do an analysis on what is the optimal value of this metric for us, but I have a feeling that $1.5M should be sufficient.

Spring is here. Green is sprouting from the depths of the grey and brown. Just two more months till school wraps up and summer starts. Life is – to borrow a mechanical analogy already used in this post – purring along nicely. Cheers!

February 2021

Almost $31k rise in net worth in February.

Markets swing in the right direction was the main cause of the increase.

February, as mentioned in the last post, was a deep freeze. Spring, though, has come early here in March. There have been already 60°F days! We’ve started taking walks and bike rides. Vaccines are around the corner. Life is good.

January 2021

The last week of January, with the Game Stop fiasco, kinda spoiled the month for us. We eked out a meager $1,900 of growth.

As mentioned in December we’re debuting a new look in our monthly reporting. Hope this is easier on the eyes. (To us, in our Excel doc this looks pretty good. The jpg version on here might not be the most fresh-est)!

We’ve introduced a sub group in the Assets class. This is the combined value of our retirement, brokerage, and cash. Basically all that is fairly liquid and will grow – in other words, our FI (Financial Independence) or FU money.

Net worth is good to track but if both of us ever decided to call it total quit from any kind of money making endeavor, the FI value will be the true determining factor.

Major expense in January included $837 for the semi-annual insurance premium for our two vehicles and $200 for M’s yearly Mint Mobile charge. That amounts to $16.67 monthly charge for 4GB of 4G LTE. Hard to beat!

As I type this out on Feb 13, we’re in the middle of a deeeeeep freeeeeeze. We’re talking about sub 0 temps, with wind chills reaching -30° F!

All’s well though. Life goes on.

December 2020

A good month to wrap up the year. And what a year it was.

After November’s explosion of $91k increase in net worth, this month’s jump was a mere $39k 😀 It happens. Readers will also know that we’ve had months of $53k and $75k loss. We’ll do a yearly review post shortly.

This December was quiet. After some suspenseful days for D, we eventually got enough snow for a white Christmas! We spent socially distanced time for the holidays. Never more than with one other family. Good food was had and time was cherished with loved ones.

Here’s hoping to a better year for everyone, cheers!

November 2020

This year was the first Thanksgiving we spent with …just us. No other family members or friends. That was a little harder on D, and fellow cousins, but like a heavyweight prize fighter they shook off the latest punch landed by this incredible year and and continued on with life 🙂 We had a quiet time at home, sequestered, and eating all kind of yummy food.

Now, to numbers. Markets have been on tear this November. The Dow crossed over 30,000 last week. With that our assets, and consequently our Net Worth, have soared to new heights. We had over $91k gain! Sure we’re still padding our 401(k), Roth IRA, and 529 accounts – but that is minuscule to the gains our existing assets are experiencing.

We also realize that it might come crashing down in December.

But.

The long term trajectory of the markets is …upwards.

Couple of things I should be working on in December, with regards to this blog. I have to figure out our “Income” post for this year! W’s is much easier as that’s just one W-2. With M, it gets a bit complicated. With no full time job, and a bunch of part time jobs – some which are independent contract-type work – pulling all the information will take some work. My educated guess would be around $15k. We’ll see.

Second thing, I want to categorize and bucket our Net Worth reporting in a way that will reflect our FI – or FU money (wonderful, profanity ridden piece done by the “Godfather” of FIRE movement, none other than J L Collins) – funds and maybe assign a target for that. This will bring more clarity to us, and hopefully, our readers.

Cheers to good times ahead!

[Just heard our Governor declare that Christmas will be a lot like Thanksgiving. Gotta make another run to the liquor store!]

October 2020

With the markets dropping steadily since Oct 12, our assets have taken a beating last month. I’m not sure how we held on to the “millionaire” status 😀

The only major expense in October was $295 for a phone. That’s about it.

Not a whole lot going on in October other than schools – in hybrid learning mode – going on, wrapping up of fall sports, Halloween, and settling in for winter.

September 2020

Some big changes in numbers last month. A little to do with the volatility of the markets; a bit to do with a sizeable debt we took on. I’m a little surprised that our net worth remained over a million dollars!

We bought a new car at the end of August, the details of which only appear on September’s column. Out of door price was $32,150. We put down $8,500 (basically what we got after we sold our last car) and the rest we put on a 0% interest loan for 5 years.

Let me state that again: 0% loan. For 5 years.

That is, we don’t pay a single cent in interest.

If there is a need and given an opportunity, I will ALWAYS take on loans at 0%. With inflation, that is effectively getting paid to have a loan.

We are yet to make a payment on the loan. The first payment due is October. We’ve never had a 0% loan before (closest was 0.9%). We’re in no hurry to pay off the loan and will not be making any extra payments (as we have done/doing for all any loans that is over 0%). Also, as evidenced by the numbers above, we could have very well paid for the car in cash, but then again, 0% loan.

The details of the vehicle purchase is as follows.

School is in full swing. We’re having an extended end-of-summer here. Temperatures have been a glorious 60-70 during the days and 40-50 at nights. Almost perfect. Scheduled outdoor sports and activities are winding down though just hanging around the yard, neighborhood kids playing around, neighbors joining around a fire pit in evening (socially distanced, of course) – all simple things are on.

August 2020

Another month, another $50k+ rise in net worth …you know, the usual 😀

Actually last month was pretty crazy …in terms of what we did with our vehicles.

At the beginning of August we had 2 vehicles for our personal use. One was paid off. One had a 0.9% loan. The balance on that loan stood at $5,797. We decided to pay that off and did exactly that on August 17th. The decision was kind of derived from the fact that Ally Bank lowered their rate to 0.8% and it made little sense to pay more in interest than what we could get if we just kept the cash in a savings account.

I will repeat this again – if you can get a guaranteed rate of return on your cash greater than the rate of interest on your loan, it is best to keep the loan as long as possible to take advantage of that interest arbitrage.

On August 24th, we sold our other car for $8,600 – the one which had been paid off for a while.

On August 29th, we went and bought another car! 😲 I know, horror of horrors!

I’ll leave the details of the car buying transaction for another post, or club with September’s post, as the financial details only appeared on Sep 2.

This was the 4th time we’ve sold a vehicle that we’ve owned to a private party. Every time we’ve got significantly more than what dealers have offered us. This time, to further validate this idea, we took it in to 2 dealerships and one offered $4.75k and another $5k. I listed the vehicle in Craigslist for $9.4k knowing very well I would take $8.5k. KBB for “excellent” condition for the year, make, model, trim, and options for our vehicle was $9k. The first buyer that came to see the car negotiated it to $8.7k. But they were such a nice young couple – planning for the extension of their family – that I knocked $100 off it. We sold for $8.6k.

Increase in our cash holding is the difference of paying off our car and proceeds from selling the other car.

On thing I might have missed to mention about our retirement accounts is that M is not contributing to the 401(k) any more (hasn’t since January). All movement is just market valuation fluctuations of underlying investments. M still contributes $50 to Roth IRA every month.

W continues to contribute to 401(k) but at a lower rate than last year. W is on pace to hit the Roth IRA contributions limits for this year ($6k).

We also sock aside $100 every month for D’s college in the 529 account.

That’s it. Summer is drawing to close and schools are reopening to a new reality – distance learning and hybrid models. The markets seems to be in the mood for some wild swings. The pandemic is still raging. The elections are less than 2 months away. New examples of systematic racial injustices keep on rearing their ugly heads. Football starts next week.

We will take each day – week/month – at a time.

Read about our Assets and Liabilities and why we don’t consider personal vehicles as assets.