Hey Money Wizards, welcome to October! Fall is firmly upon us, which only confirms to me that this year is completely flying by. Anyone agree?
If you’re new here, every month I get financially naked for my readers in the form of an in depth net worth report. Yes, I’m dedicated to the cause.
Of course, all of this is part of a broader plan to track my progress towards nearly one million dollars and an early retirement.
September was a fun one. On the internet side of things, this website continued to grow at a rate that’s mostly astonishing and partly terrifying. September saw nearly 65,000 page views, and we’re now at almost 1,000 Money Wizard email subscribers.
A big reason for all of this was this little website’s feature in not only Business Insider, but Forbes too! I’d like to say I saw this coming all along, but honestly, if you told me a few months ago that my opinion would be on the front page of not one, but two of the biggest websites on the Internet, I’d ask for a little bit of whatever you’re drinking.
On the real life side of things, I shed a tear as it turned to fall. Not only did the temperature start to drop, but my favorite summer seasonal beers were swiftly replaced by their fall counterparts. RIP Bell’s Oberon…
Things weren’t all bad though. September was packed with plenty of swan-song summer adventures. I caught a minor league baseball game, and this native Texan got his first dose of Northern Football.
I then felt guilty enough for cheating on my Texas football that I promptly flew home to Texas to visit family, before ending the month with a little weekend getaway to Seattle. Why Seattle? Why not Seattle!
Having never been, this trip was mostly inspired by my previous travels to the Pacific Northwest, which left me head over heels in love with the region.
Ready to confirm my suspicions, the girlfriend and I booked a short weekend getaway to Seattle – landing on Friday afternoon and leaving Sunday night. In doing my best Anthony Bourdain style Layover impression, my plane touched down and I immediately began my race against the clock to see all the city had to offer in a 48-hour window.
Like a good tourist, I started with a trip to Seattle’s world famous farmers market, where I confirmed they really do throw giant fish at each other…
I also stumbled upon the world’s first Starbucks. The storefront boasted a line out the door at all times, where eager consumers waited for coffee tasting exactly like every other Starbucks coffee.
I’m not judging too harshly though, since I promptly fell into the trap of this $15 Ferris wheel ride:
The rest of the trip was a wonderful blur of fun, adventure, and delicious food. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I will share this stunning view of Mount Rainier that I caught on my way out:
Truly, Seattle is an awesome city. The place features my personal favorite mix – an amazing big city feel, with the ever pleasant reminder of nature just a glance away.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah… onto the Net Worth report already…”
Okay, onto the reason you’re actually here. In September, my net worth increased $1,930. To the details!
September 2016 Net Worth Update
Cash Savings: ($775) No, this amount of cash is not preparation for the alien invasion. But it is preparation for the purchase of a new car before the end of the year. Man, I really need to just pull the trigger already. The lost opportunity cost of carrying this much cash for the past several months is killing me.
Because I pay everything on credit card, changes to cash are usually a reflection of the past month’s billing cycle. I had an unusually high CC bill in August, thanks to pre-purchasing a winter ski trip (to Whistler!) which explains the majority of the decrease. Septemeber spending fell back to a more normal level.
Vanguard Account: ($154)
A small decline due to market fluctuations.
I have received a lot of questions about the specifics of which funds I invest in. You’ve found it. After my automatic 401K contributions, all of my savings go towards just two funds in this Vanguard account.
- VTSAX is a Vanguard Index Fund which tracks the total stock market. All of my taxable savings go here.
- VGSLX is an index fund which invests in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). All of my Roth IRA savings go here. Because I don’t own a home or any other real estate, this fund gives me some exposure to real estate.
As of September 30, I have $45,150 in VTSAX and $13,840 in VGSLX.
September is always a fun month for the Vanguard fund, because… quarterly dividends! In other words, I earned a $300 check for doing absolutely nothing last month. Investing rules kids, and yes, that was a Bill Nye the Science Guy impression.
Merrill Lynch: ($130) More market fluctuations here. I haven’t added money to this account in years.
401K: +$2,097. I love my 401K. I automatically contribute nearly 30% of my paycheck to this, and if I do say so myself, the net worth growth is beautiful.
About $200 of this month’s growth was market gains. My contributions and employer matching made up the remaining ~$1,900.
Rent Payable: (-$7) SERIOUS air conditioning savings of $7 this month. Just kidding.
Contrary to what’s been said in some Business Insider comments, I don’t live in a dump. I do, however, split rent with my girlfriend in a nice, spacious, two-bedroom apartment that’s walking distance to some pretty cool stuff around Minneapolis. Score one for choosing to live in a place with low cost of living.
Credit Cards Payable: (-$893) My past few months have seen some unusually high credit card bills, so it’s nice to be back down to a normal level. Biggest expenses in September were flying home to Dallas and the weekend trip to Seattle.
Calculate Your Own Net Worth
If you’ve never calculated your net worth before, or even if it’s just been a while since you’ve checked, give it a shot! Log into all of your bank accounts, dust off your 401K account information, search for cash under the couch cushions, and subtract your outstanding debts.
Analyzing your net worth can be an enlightening exercise, and you just may surprise yourself.
As the sun sets on another Net Worth Update, I leave you with a picture of the sun setting over Seattle. Bonus points if you can spot the night ferry in the water.
Update: It appears I’ve had some email glitches when responding from my phone. If you sent me an email and I didn’t respond, please send it again. I (eventually) answer ALL emails, so if you’re waiting a suspiciously long amount of time for a response, this is probably why! Sorry!