What’s that chill in the air?
Is it the start of Fall? Is it another monthly net worth update from MyMoneyWizard.com? Is it both?
IT IS BOTH!
In case you don’t already know, every month I share all my progress towards a nearly $1 million portfolio and an early retirement by age 37. Since money tends to be a pretty taboo subject IRL, I hope that by sharing all my details here, you just might find something helpful towards your own situation.
Whenever I write these updates, I follow my typical process.
I take a seat in The Money Wizard home office, desk chair at my back and keyboard at my hand. Then, I partake in what’s become my monthly tradition – thinking back on the past thirty days and asking myself whether fellow money wizards will find any of this stuff interesting.
I typically axe the boring bits, make note of anything money related, and give preference to anything I remembered to document with my camera phone.
But this month, I sat down at the desk only to be met with a roadblock. I couldn’t remember anything I did!
“Damn, I must have had a boring month…” I worried, partly out of concern for a boring update and mostly out of concern for my boring self.
I started combing through the credit card statements, hoping a paper trail would jog my memory.
3 minutes into the credit card statement, I’d pieced together the following highlights from the last 30 days of haziness:
- Went up north over Labor Day with friends and family, for the last cabin trip of the year.
- Spent one horrific Sunday sanding and repainting a large part of the house’s siding, then invited friends over for a BBQ to celebrate the death of a dreaded chore.
- Saw the mega-hyped Broadway musical Hamilton when it came to town.
- Bought an annual State Park Pass and went on a new 6-mile hike one beautiful Saturday.
- Joined thousands of other cyclists for a 30-mile bike rally through the closed down streets of Saint Paul, Minnesota.
- Went to my first Oktoberfest of the fall season.
- Had three separate Friday night dinner and drink date nights with Lady Money Wizard, checking out everything from the new hipster burger place down the street to city’s best Ecuadorian dive.
And I’d forgotten it all!
Luckily, along with the credit card statement, I had a few pics to remind myself:
I’d recently read about the interesting concept of human memory and the passing of time. The idea, as the article stated, was that we tend to remember new experiences better than our usual routines.
We all know this to be true. We remember the first time we visited Costa Rica in crystal clarity. But our morning commute? No matter how many hundreds of times we drive it, it all turns into one singular blur of a memory.
The key then, is continually seeking out new experiences. At least that’s what the article suggests. This should keep our memory sharp, and also make us more aware of the passing of time.
So, as I sit here struggling to write about the last 30 days that passed without a moment’s notice or a single memory, I offer an interesting counterpoint to that theory.
Maybe you can get too many new experiences, giving yourself both time and memory overload?
Either that, or I just have a terrible memory…
Net Worth Update: September 2018
As always, the details!
Cash: $17,821 (+$363)
If you’ll remember from last month, I fronted the bill for a 10-person ski condo later this winter. As you can imagine, 10-person ski condos aren’t cheap, so when I paid off the inflated credit card bill, my cash balance didn’t increase like it had during the previous months.
I’m still hoping to have enough saved up for a ~20% down payment on my first investment property by late winter to early spring. I’m feeling more confident about this, because around here at least, the real estate market seems to have cooled off noticeably.
Brokerage: $122,294 (+$754)
Finally, a more normal month in the stock market. We saw over 3% growth in the market for the past few months, and obviously, 36% annual returns isn’t something any investor not-named Bernie Madoff should expect.
September did its best to bring annual returns back down to normal, with a whopping 0.62% growth on the month.
During the month, I didn’t make any contributions to the after tax brokerage, instead continuing to save cash for a rental. So, my breakdown remains:
- 50% in Vanguard’s Total Stock Market 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): $110,299 (+$776)
It seems like just yesterday that I was eagerly anticipating the day my 401k crossed 6 figures.
And it sort of was! Back in June, my 401k balance crossed $100,000. Now, just three updates later, it’s rocking another $10,000 for good measure. Thanks, tax advantages and compound interest!
My 401k acted almost identical to the brokerage account this month, although the breakdown of index funds is slightly different:
- 50% in Large Cap US Stocks
- 35% in Small Cap US Stocks
- 15% in International Stocks
Roth IRA: $24,346 ($658)
My Roth IRA is invested entirely into Vanguard’s REIT index fund, which declined slightly in September. Maybe the rest of the country’s real estate market is cooling off like Minnesota’s?
On the plus, I’ll get to celebrate passing $25,000 soon… for the second time. Haha! Some milestones are better as one time deals.
Rent Payable: $765 ($6)
My half of the mortgage, utilities, and anticipated home maintenance. (We allot 2% of the home’s value to expected maintenance each year, or $300 per month. This lets us pay for any miscellaneous house expenses, stress free.)
Credit Cards Payable: $2,245 ($1,566)
I’ve gotta include this category for accuracy, but it’s subject to quite a bit of inaccuracy thanks to the usual reimbursable work expenses, bill cutoff dates, fronting ski trip money for a massive group last month, etc.
Which is why I also record every dollar spent during the month!
Total September Spending: $2,280
A little more than I’d like to see. Let’s take a look where it went.
I shouldn’t be too quick to celebrate. This is mostly a little lower than usual thanks to the next category…
Dining Out: $414
In the constant battle against dining out, I got a little carried away this month…
Major culprits in entertainment spending included the cabin trip, entry fees for the bike rally, pre-paid concert tickets for a show in October, and quite a few drinks out.
The overpriced bar drinks might be the spending that seems a little wasteful to me, but in general I don’t sweat this category too much. Even the largest entertainment budget won’t make a dent compared to The Big Three, and the life experiences are usually worth the cost.
You see, I spent $40 on a Playstation 3. Then, compound spending kicked in, and I found myself dropping another $90 for a new 43″ HDTV on Craigslist. And when I got the TV home, of course I needed a new $20 TV mount, too.
Hey, didn’t I write a post about that phenomenon? Hmmm…
House Expenses: $158
The only thing better than a wet basement is the $160 bill for a new dehumidifier…
Vehicle Expenses: $85
The ‘ole (new) Mazda 3 is due for an oil change, but the only expense this month was $85 for car insurance.
Speaking of which, how does my car keep getting older but my insurance bill keep getting higher?
Meds for the dog and a couple of random expenses that I couldn’t decide where to put.
Not a great month, not a terrible month.
On the whole, I’m probably on pace to spend more money this year than I ever have in my life. Time for a #NoSpendOctober?
Readers, how was your September? Anyone down for a No Spend October? (Excluding Halloween candy, of course…)
PS – Interested in tracking your own Net Worth? Personal Capital will track it for you automatically, for free.