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Month End Update

May 1st, 2021 at 03:38 am

April has been a good month financially. It's been brisk for business and I am very much on target for what I want to make this year. There were a bunch of largish purchases and expenses that left my savings account mostly depleted. Some were expected (mortgage refinance initiating fee, ductless heat pump installation, vehicle rental for my trip next month, an airplane ticket for later this year to go see my sister, tax prep, and taxes) and some were unexpected (new phone, car repair which ended up being a camshaft exhaust solenoid replacement $300.95). I had enough money to cover it all, and am not in the red.

My home value keeps skyrocketing. There was an $9k jump in the Zillow estimate this month (borne out by the refinance auto-appraisal). While I don't plan on selling anytime soon, and this is not a liquid asset, it feels nice to see jumps in my NW because of it. I went from $14k equity in it when I bought it in March 2019 to $108k equity in it this month.

I noticed that one area of my roof persistently has moss on it despite me adding the moss treatments each year. A maple that has a bunch of moss overhangs this section and so this bit of roof also doesn't get much sun. I hired a handyperson to scrape the moss off the shingle edges and apply more moss preventer. It cost $158.98 in all (mostly labor), but hopefully this will save thousands in terms of delaying leaks or replacement costs. I am seriously considering taking out that maple tree. It is slightly damaged and will have to come out within the next 10 years or so anyway.

I got a somewhat broken changing table for free off craigslist and altered and fixed it up to make it a rather excellent potting bench. It's been helping my back tremendously.

NW: $296,258.39

End of Month Updates

March 2nd, 2021 at 04:53 pm

Got my second dose of the vaccine a few days ago. Contrary to expectations, I didn't have any diffiuclt symptoms following either of the doses. I can now finally go and visit my sister. She also has got both doses, but no one else in her family has, so I wanted to make sure that I was fully vaccinated before I go there.

February started out good as far as investments go, but was brutal in the last few days with a downturn in the market. The returns on my investments were down a bit, but they have rallied in first few days of March. I also purchased my first ever options. I have a way to go before they expire. They're already in the green and it's a company I feel really good about, so I hope to make a good bit on them.

The value of my house seems to be skyrocketing. I live in what used to be one of the nicer but still affordable parts of town, but it is rapidly turning into a nice and somewhat unaffordable place to buy. I am glad I bought my house when I did. In the last month, it appreciated by $14k.

NW: $265,320.45

Net Worth Update - Jan, 2021

January 30th, 2021 at 07:47 pm

It was a nutty month for investments. It's been a roller coaster watching the GME drama, and I've been feeling some major regret about not joining in when I first saw the WSB chatter last December.

Changes this month:
(1) Funded my HSA for 2021.
(2) Started and funded a new brokerage account at M1 Finance
(3) Rebalanced savings and moved excess to brokerage
(4) Made my very first stock purchase. I usually just buy index funds, and decided to gamble a bit. I know this is more volatile than my VTSAX position. Thankfully this only makes up a small amount of my portfolio. I'm still learning.

79,396.62    Home Equity
10,009.65    Savings/EF
56,412.95    Brokerages
  8,060.74    HSA
29,996.66    SEP - IRA
52,340.76    457 Account
236,217.38      NET WORTH

Net Worth Update - Dec, 2020

December 31st, 2020 at 05:57 pm

I reallocated $11k from tax savings to the brokerage account since I'm pretty certain I have saved way too much for taxes again this year. Good NW gains this month overall.

In fact, this has been a good year overall in terms of NW. In addition to growing in numerical value, this process has also provided me with emotional relief and knowledge/learning. So, I have included some (mostly) non-number gains for the 2020 year below:

HOUSE: There was a whopping $30k in appreciation this year. Refinanced to a lower interest rate in July, but was not able to drop PMI as I had hoped.

SAVINGS/EF: This year, I saved to have an acual EF instead of having my tax savings double as one. Most of this came from grossly overestimating how much I needed to pay in taxes for 2019.

BROKERAGE/RETIREMENT: Learned a new skill - how to invest. I opened the brokerage account this year, and it has been very exciting to learn how to invest even though I use a very boring "buy and hold index funds" strategy. My 457 from my previous employer is managed for me, and is all in a target date fund. I don't get a choice on what happens with that, so I never had to learn. Although I started self-employment a couple of years ago, it wasn't until this year that I started retirement savings through my self-employment.

HSA ACCOUNT: Until June of this year, my health insurance was always paid through my previous employer. I learned about the triple tax advantaged HSA accounts, and picked an HSA plan. My deductible (which is also my maximum out of pocket) is $7000. I have more than this amount in my EF if needed, so medical costs won't sink my financial plan. The plan is to keep the money in the HSA for as long as possible. I am healthy-ish for now, but this will not always be the case. The tax advantages will come in handy when I am older.

I am excited to see what the future years hold in stock.  

77,400 - House Equity
29,700 - Savings(EF)
33,100 - Brokerage
29,900 - SEP IRA
52,300 - 457 Account
4,200 - HSA
226,600 - NET WORTH

Net Worth Update - Nov, 2020

December 1st, 2020 at 04:38 pm

There have been some wonderful NW gains this month - a whole $13,400!! This also means that my NW is now over $200k. I am grinning!

My home equity went up $8K (appreciation + paydown). This was the biggest monthly jump in house price estimate this whole year. I imagine this will decline at some point if there is another housing market crash, but for now it's lovely to see.

With the financial markets rising, all my retirement accounts, the HSA, and the brokerage account went up.

My EF is fully funded, and went up by earned interest of $20.70 this month. I don't think I need $28k sitting there, so I think after paying taxes next year, I will take whatever is leftover from my tax account, and $8k from my EF savings, and add that to my brokerage account.

74,000 - House Equity
28,000 - Savings(EF)
21,400 - Brokerage
29,100 - SEP IRA
52,100 - 457 Account
4,100 - HSA
208,700 - NET WORTH

Net Worth Update - Oct, 2020

November 1st, 2020 at 01:41 am

My net worth has jumped $12,400 this month. It's a significant jump. Here is why:

I have not made a bunch more money this month. Rather, I did some calculating, and have a much more realistic sense of what I am going to owe in taxes. Since self-employment is new to me, I'm still learning what I am going to make and how much I will spend - all this makes it hard to know an exact amount for taxes. But, since this is my first year, I am not even sure how much I will approximately end up owing. I typically save away 40% of what I make and earmark that for taxes. But, it's close enough to the end of the year that I have a better sense of how much I will owe on the outside. I moved the rest to my savings/EF for now. If I end up owing more than I anticipate, I will just take money from there and send it to my taxes. If I end up owing less, I will take the excess and put it in my brokerage account. So, I ended up adding about $8000 more to my savings than last month.

The value of my house went up by $5800 this month (zillow estimate). If it goes on like this, by December, I should have 20% equity in the house, and will ask the bank to drop my PMI. With the extra I am putting towards the mortgage, I had anticipated that it would happen around April-May of next year. But, if it happens sooner, all the better.

My retirement accounts, brokerage, and HSA have all changed a nominal amount, and they are also reflected below. Unfortunately, most of them went down.

65,800 - House Equity
26,200 - SEP IRA
52,100 - 457 Account
19,500 - Brokerage
28,000 - Savings(EF)
3,700 - HSA
195,300 - NET WORTH

Hello World

October 14th, 2020 at 03:38 pm

Hello World,

Last year, when several months of blog entries were lost, I lost my blog. All my entries were within the time range of lost entries. I kept waiting for them to be re-instated, but it did not happen, so I am starting again.

I am 41, single, no kids, in the healthcare field, and am newly self-employed.

Here is the gist of my financial situation:

For all my twenties, I was a financial idiot. I saved nothing, spent more than I could afford, did not learn about managing money, and got myself into a giant mess of high-interest consumer debt.

In my early thirties, this started catching up with me, and I started to educate myself about money and how to dig myself out of the hole. Unfortunately, two things were working against me - the high interests made it harder to make a dent in the debt, and I was in an abusive relationship which also included financial abuse and a gambling habit. I divorced when I was 36, and spent the next four years pulling myself together financially. I started working for myself on the side, paid off all my debt (~$58,000), purchased a new-to-me car in cash, saved an emergency fund of $20K, saved 5% for down-payment and purchased my current home, and determined that I will never again carry consumer debt.

I have just started my forties. Earlier this year, I left my salaried job of ten years, and went into full time self-employment. I work 2/3rd as much and make twice as much, and was the best decision I could have made for myself. For the first time in my life, I am not living paycheck to paycheck. For the first time in my life I am not constantly thinking or worrying about money. So, for the first time in my life, both my money and my time actually belong to me. It is a tremendously freeing experience. I am truly happy for the first time in my life.

My current focus is trying to save and catch up on retirement planning and investing as much as I can. Never having had money to invest before, this is new to me and I am learning as I go. I hope to retire at the age of 55. However, it will require consistent and aggressive savings to do since I am starting so much later than I should have. I hope to save 75% of my post-tax income if I can. At my current income level, I think this is doable. Years of living frugally due to necessity also makes it easy to save - it has become habit by now. It also helps that I have no debt and am a single member household. I have a small amount of retirement from my previous job, but apart from that, everything else I have saved in just this year.

My financial strategy is as follows:
1. Save by maxing out tax-deferred retirement contributions. Since I am self-employed, I get to save more than the traditional IRA amounts.
2. Invest in taxed retirement accounts. (Can I have a Roth IRA in addition to the tax-deferred? Need to check up on this)
3. Invest the remainder of what I can save in a brokerage account
4. Pay off my house in 10 years. It is a 30-year mortgage, but I want to prioritize paying this off because I only have one income coming in and want to get this off my back as soon as I can. This provides psychological relief, but also if I don't carry a mortgage into retirement, I need to save less for retirement.
5. As I get closer to paying off my mortgage, purchase some rental property and pay that off by the time I am retired. This should provide passive income for me to live on in addition to savings/dividends until I can draw on retirement and social security income.

Here is where I currently stand. (** I am not going to do exact decimals. I will round debt up and assets down to the nearest hundred)

60,000 - House Equity
27,000 - SEP IRA
52,000 - 457 Account
20,000 - Brokerage
20,000 - Savings(EF)
3,900 - HSA
182,900 - NET WORTH

Edit: Thanks to a comment by Petunia100, my NW jumped $253,000 this morning. I guess I was incorrectly counting my mortgage twice. I have been in positive NW for a while now, but my brain has just caught up with this fact. WTH! How am I so lucky? Petunia - thank you so much!!