Welcome to the 26th Net Worth Update since I started this site.
If you’re new here, every month I share my progress towards a nearly $1 million portfolio and an early retirement by age 37. Money tends to be a pretty taboo subject IRL, but I hope that by sharing all my details here, you just might find something helpful towards your own situation.
If you’re not new here, you recognize the above paragraph, and you’re ready to get onto the update. So let’s do that!
Did you know the first day of summer isn’t until June 21, 2018?
I’d have thought for sure that I could start this post with a clever line about the first summer update, yet here we are.
Happy Spring, y’all…
As far as updates from The Money Wizard headquarters:
1) The kitchen is still under construction.
It wouldn’t be a proper home renovation project if we weren’t a few months behind and a few grand over budget.
In any case, the countertop guys are scheduled to install the quartz AS WE WRITE. Exciting stuff!
For all the credit they receive, kitchen countertops are mostly a finishing cosmetic touch. Which means that by the end of this very post, we could be on the home stretch of the remodel. Darn, just as I started getting used to microwaving all my meals and washing dishes in the bathroom sink…
I’ve found the whole renovation process really interesting, both from a monetary side and a psychological one. Stay tuned for a future post outlining it all.
Now fingers crossed those counter top guys show up…
2) I took a break from the rehab destruction, by jetting away to Costa Rica for a week.
Truthfully, I planned on this being a rehab victory lap. A celebratory get-away for Lady Money Wizard and I on a project well managed.
As you already know from update #1, that plan didn’t play out. But the great news about vacations? You don’t really need an excuse to have a great time.
So, our “celebratory trip” turned into a “get-away trip” and I found myself brushing up on my Spanish while sipping cervezas on Costa Rica’s beaches.
Costa Rica is a small little country that packs a serious punch. We kept our tour to no more than a 30-mile radius, and yet, Costa Rica showed us the best of its rain forests, deserts, volcanos, lakes, rivers, and beaches. All in a footprint smaller than Rhode Island. Pretty amazing.
It helps that over 25% of the country’s surface area is dedicated National Park land, but I was still blown away by all the cool wildlife. I felt like I stumbled onto the set of Planet Earth, as I watched howler monkeys swinging on trees outside our hotel room, or anole lizards doing their best Baywatch impression on a public beach:
Going into the trip, I was a little nervous. Costa Rica is the farthest I’ve ever traveled outside of the good ‘ole US-of-A, and I was not sure what to expect. But the Costa Rican people were some of the friendliest I’ve ever met, and safe to say, I’ve been bit by the travel bug.
(Hopefully that bug doesn’t carry the Zika Virus…)
As soon as I got back, I started dreaming of a day when I’m free from the obligation of full time office work, and free to slow-travel all the other amazing countries I’m sure the world holds.
Speaking of which, let’s check up on the progress towards that freedom:
Net Worth Update: May 2018
And the details…
Big credit card bills, plummeting cash, and market rallies. Let’s break it down.
Cash: $8,804 ($6,610)
Ouch. The cash pile was artificially high last month, and when the bill for my half of the $11,000+ of remodel costs came due, my checking account had to pay the piper.
Hey, at least I got some sweet credit card rewards points for all that spending!
Moving forward, I’ve got some soul searching to do. Upon the recent revelation that I’ve already saved enough for “traditional” retirement, don’t be surprised if my cash account starts building back up while I sort out my strategy. Stay tuned.
Brokerage: $114,157 (+$3,450)
Nice to see the investments picking up my slack. 😉
No contributions this month, so my breakdown remains:
- 50% in Vanguard’s Total Stock Market Index Fund. (See: How to Choose a Vanguard Index Fund)
- 30% in a mixture of Vanguard growth, value, and bond ETFs.
- 20% in individual stocks, back from the days when I thought I could beat the market. I’ve now wised up and decided not to trade individual stocks.
401(k): $99,520 (+$4,650)
Some serious movement on the back of $2,042 of automatic paycheck contributions and employer matching.
I’m soooo close to 6 figures here. Maybe next month?
Roth IRA: $23,356 (+$563)
The year is almost halfway over, and I still have $5,500 to go on my annual Roth contributions. Probably time I start doing something about that…
The Roth remains entirely invested in Vanguard’s REIT index fund. I still like this allocation, since I technically don’t own any real estate as long as Lady Money Wizard and my portfolios stay separate.
Credit Cards Payable: $3,373 ($6,478)
Welp, that’s officially the largest credit card bill I’ve ever paid.
In preparation for all those kitchen expenses, I opened up a travel rewards credit card with a lucrative sign up bonus (Chase Ink, for any travel hackers out there).
The bonus terms required $5,000 of spending within 3 months. I hit that figure in 20 days. Ouch.
On that note, let’s check out that damage mixed with an international beach vacation:
Total May Spending: $3,369
Hey, not as bad as I expected! And nothing compared to last month’s insane $6,000+ tally.
My half of the mortgage and maintenance fund, plus utilities. Lots of open windows this time of year. I love it.
Dining Out: $311
Whoa! Things definitely spiraled out of control.
I still love my grill from last month’s update, but the extended time without a kitchen had me defaulting to take out way more than usual.
It’s amazing, because during the month I really didn’t feel like I’d changed my habits much. A $7 burrito here, a $15 dinner there. And yet, before I knew it, I’d literally consumed half of a rent payment.
This is why it’s so important to track that spending. Otherwise, your brain will keep playing tricks on you, and you’ll never realize how much your spending habits have changed.
100% Costa Rican expenses here. Costa Rica is perhaps the most developed country in Central America, which is great if you enjoy avoiding warlords, but not so great when it comes to a favorable exchange rate.
That said, it’s still a pretty frugal spot for an international vacation. I booked the flight entirely with credit card points. A normal hotel is about $50 a night, and anything over $100 will score you some seriously lush digs. We split time between both for our 6 nights in the country, with the rest of our money going mostly towards food, private boat tours, and a cloud forest guide.
House Expenses: $1,002
That $10 budgeted amount is just becoming laughable now.
$1,000 of house expenses in May went towards wrapping up some final labor costs. We should mostly be out of the woods now, but I’ve watched enough HGTV episodes to know there’s always one last minute curveball.
Vehicle Expenses: $96
Just car insurance and a car wash here.
To the summer we go!
Well, we’ve reached the end of another update. Hopefully this time next month, I’ll be happily reporting on the end of the remodel, with some lowered expenses to prove it.
Readers, how was your April?
BTW – If you’re looking for an easy way to track your spending, I still think you’ll love my Personal Capital vs. Mint comparison.