It’s the beginning of another month, which means it’s time to look back at the previous month and see what happened to our money. Did we blow it all? Did we save like crazy? Did we kick April’s ass, or get smashed in the face by a market that can’t seem to make up it’s mind? Find out in this month’s epic Most Epic Net Worth Update Ever.
Let’s look at the dollars
Below is a snapshot from my Personal Capital account that shows all the categories and numbers you could ever want:
First, you’ll notice that I’ve switched to reporting using Personal Capital instead of the usual Mint.com.
Don’t worry, I’m not selling out by shilling for Personal Capital. I’m not an affiliate of either. (Update: I’m actually totally selling out and now have an affiliate agreement with Personal Capital. If you don’t use them yet, then show Beards & Money some love by using my link. It’s free, and I think a little better than Mint.)
Personal Capital has always been my first choice, because there aren’t any ads and I like the layout way better than Mint. But, Personal Capital couldn’t connect with our main checking account with the tiny credit union we use, and they basically told me they never will.
Mint used to connect to that account, but now they don’t anymore. No one at Mint can give me any clue when it will be fixed. Since I have to enter my checking account information in manually anyway for both, I might as well use the one that I like better aesthetically.
Anyway … back to the net worth update.
There is a little more detail here than there used to be with Mint. My student loan is broken out from the mortgage, for example. The following table shows you the difference from last month, and where the money went and came from:
|April 1st, 2016||May 1st, 2016||Change|
We’re maintaining about $12 – $13k in cash right now. That represents a small emergency fund, a small buffer we keep in the checking account, and some money that will have a home in someone else’s pocket soon. We will be traveling through Europe on our way back to the US in early June, so we’re socking money away to do that now that the credit cards and cars are paid off.
Credit cards are still zero. Hell yeah.
The $5.4k difference in our loans is the payoff for the car I mentioned last time, plus a small amount from my minimum monthly student loan payment. No big panic to get that paid, since the interest rate is low.
Had I taken a net worth snapshot a few days prior, our investments would have looked even better at a hair over $81k. What the market giveth, it taketh away (but not all!). Still, we’re up $1,600 over last month.
We contributed a little over $750 per month, so we gained about $850 from big companies all over the world making shit for people to buy. Not bad for not actually having to make shit ourselves.
The value of our property went down by almost $900. Two things there:
- Zillow seems to think our house dropped a few hundred, as if Zillow were that acurate.
- The car dropped in value by a few hundred. Who could have seen that coming? Oh right, EVERYONE.
When we put it all together, we increased our net worth by a bad ass $7,298 this past month. That’s not as big as last months $9,167 bump, but once you consider my lower income for April, it’s roughly the same.
Where did it all come from?
I had significantly lower income this month. Here’s the table showing you all my hustles:
|Speaking and Consulting||$0|
Last month, I brought in about $12,000. This month only $5,300. Holy Shiitake Mushrooms! What happened?
First, let’s look at that “Speaking in Europe” money. I had one month left of that deal, and I did just get that check today. But unlike last month, I didn’t get it in the bank in time to include in the Most Epic Net Worth Post of All Time.
Also, you’ll notice that I earned significantly less with my corporate consulting. Why? Am I slacking?
Perusing the “All the great Beards & Money Posts Ever” page will show you that I basically completely neglected this site, too, during April. So what’s going on? A few things:
- I’m writing a book, bitches. That shit takes time, and I’ve spent the last few weeks working up the prospectus with my author mentor getting everything ready to ship to publishers next week.
- I’ve traveled to 4 different countries and 9 different cities in April. I’ve been on an “Esteemed Seminar Speaker” roll this past month, going pretty much wherever I’m invited.
Now the important question to ask is: how the dump truck did you increase net worth by over $7k with an income of $5k?
Good question. I’m not really sure.
First, keep in mind that the income pile up there is my take home pay. All my contributions to retirement accounts are pre-tax and not really included, which is kinda dumb of me. I’ll probably want to change how I report that in the future, but it is what it is right now.
In reality, a lot of that stack of cash will vanish come next April, since I’m socking away tax money, too, on the side income. I don’t have to pay estimated taxes quarterly this year, since my withholding will be much more than 100% of last year, but I still have to pay. Score this year, though, since I can earn interest on that money for a bit before President Trump gets it.
Also, one thing that isn’t included in the “income” pile is about a zillion dollars worth of reimbursements for travel that I booked in March that I actually completed in April. I got reimbursements for several thousand dollars that I laid out in March.
Plus, we’re learning that you can live the high life in the Czech Republic with very little money. Stuff is just cheaper here, so we are not spending much at all.
Just wait for next month. I’m stepping up my game with the corporate consulting and hope to invoice as much in May as I did in March. Plus, I’ve got new income coming in from grants that I’m working on. And even better, my rent here in CZ (AirBnB) is now fully paid, so I’ll have even less outflow next month.
It’s gonna be a good May.
The big picture
Once you sit down and realize that you’re spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest for stupid shit you bought a long time ago, you will see what could be going to a better bottom line.
We’ve changed our framing of our money situation from one were we compared monthly income with out-go, to one were we look at the bottom line net worth. Instead of thinking about monthly payments, we’re thinking about monthly net worth increases.
This seemingly small change in our perception of our money has had a dramatic effect on our net worth. We’re getting richer ever day, and our lifestyle is even richer than it was before.
Start tracking your net worth
Use Personal Capital to start tracking your net worth and spending. See where all of your dollars are going and keep track of all your investments. Personal Capital even syncs with Zillow.com to keep up with the value of your home. The best part? No annoying ads filling your screen trying to sell you credit cards and insurance.
How’s your journey going? What are you doing to get your numbers up?