A trip, a dog, and a Net Worth update: December 2013

Girl Ninja made it to the Netherlands!!! This is great news for my sanity, potentially terrible news for our wallet. We spent this last weekend meandering the streets of Bruges Belgium and fell in love. Such an awesome city with even more awesome french fries. Yum.

We also picked our puppy last Thursday. She comes home to us in two weeks! Meet Nova, named after one of our favorite restaurants in San Diego, Pizza Nova. You can also call her Dog Ninja.

Dog Ninja

But it’s the first of the month so this isn’t going to be a post about my travels or our dog. Nope, it’s time for that boring thing I do every thirty days called updating my net worth. Enjoy…

A$$ets:

Cash: $21,749; -$2,752

We had to pay our $5,000 credit card bill last month so it obviously took quite a bit of cash to do so. So while the $2,800 loss might look painful, it’s not as bad when our credit card bill dropped by twice that amount.

Roth IRA: $49,101; +$1,648

What a great year to be in the stock market. As long as you didn’t freak out and sell off during the recession, you’re probably just as happy as I am right now. You wanna know what I was doing while the markets where tanking? Staying the course and weathering the storm. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the trend of the market has always been up. ALWAYS.

401Ks, Traditional IRAs, etc: $80,401; +$3,436

It’s both crazy and silly to think that Girl Ninja and I were able to bank $5,000 to our Net Worth by doing absolutely nothing. I clicked a few buttons a couple of years ago, and now we just get to kick back and let nature run its course. Nature was very good to us last month. If you haven’t started investing yet, get off your butt and do it!

Home equity: $73,018

I’ve decided to change things up a bit. Last month I had a line item for home value and another line item for mortgage debt. I’ve decided that is stupid. I see no point in including my mortgage debt since it changes very little each month. Really didn’t want to report the same boring thing each month.

Instead, I think having a single line item for our home’s equity is sufficient. If we were to sell our house tomorrow, the balance listed above is what I would expect to walk away with. Probably wont change this balance much unless the markets are doing something significant.

Obligations:

Credit Card: $1,103 (change not reflected since balance is paid off each month)

This makes me so happy. We haven’t had a sub $3,000 credit card bill since we bought our house. My new motto to saving money is leave the country. I’ve been gone since November 1st and as a result haven’t spent much on anything. Woohoo!!! Still have two more weeks before I head home. Hopefully can keep things under control when I return.

2013 has been a record-setting year for us in the Ninja household. As long as nothing drastic happens over the next 30 days, we’ll have increased our Net Worth more than $60,000 this year, over 50% of our gross income. That’s so insane to me. Our new NW stands at $223,175. 

I’m speechless.

p.s. You can see all of my net worth updates here.

Net Worth: November 2013 (with my 1st video)

Been enjoying my time here so far in the Belgium/Netherlands/Germany area. That said, it gets a little lonely sometimes since I am basically on my own for six weeks. Thankfully I have an iPhone and Instagram which I use often to entertain myself. Shot this gem while driving in Belgium…

 

Alright, now for the stuff you don’t care about. My net worth update…

A$$ets:

Cash: $24,501; -$1,996

At first glance it might appear like we blew through $2,000, but the reality is we made a responsible decision and contributed $4,500 of cash to our Roth IRA. So fear not dear friends, this $2k loss, is really a big gain.

Roth IRA: $47,453; +$5,535

Like I mentioned above, made my annual contribution to my Roth. The markets have been doing well, which helped add another $1,000 gain as well. I have this money invested in three different Vanguard mutual funds (NAESX, VTSMX, and VGTSX). Can’t wait for this account to have a seven figure balance. All I gotta do is remain faithful and wait about 3o years! Patience, grasshopper.

401Ks, Traditional IRAs, etc: $76,965; +$2,606

Man I sure do love my 401k account. Been contributing 10%+ all year-long and it’s really helped grow this baby. If your employer provides a 401k plan option PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE start taking advantage of it; especially if they provide some type of match. You’re literally throwing free money away by not contributing up to the match.

House Value: $357,000 (our purchase price)

Zillow’s going bananas when it comes to our homes value. When we bought the place Zillow had it valued at $320,000. Now it’s reporting a value of $358,500. One has to take Zillow numbers with a grain of salt, but I wont be pissed if they keep pushing the value higher. Based off recent comparable house sales and the work we’ve put in the house, my guess is we could sell for at least $375,000 (we bought for $357,000). Prices have only appreciated since we bought. But the primary reason I’m convinced we have about $25,000 in equity (if not more) is because when we put in our offer, there was a competing offer that would have escalated to $378,000 if needed. Basically someone was willing to pay for $375,000 for this house four months ago, when the market was lower and the house showed considerably worse. This makes me happy! Maybe we’ll sell the house a year from now just to capitalize on these gains.

Obligations:

Mortgage: $284,388 

Nothing exciting here. Paying our mortgage at regular payments as I see no benefit to paying this house off early. I’d rather have more discretionary income to save, invest, or spend.

Credit Card: $5,157 (change not reflected since balance is paid off each month)

Ouch is the only word that comes to mind. Bought Girl Ninja a $1,200 plane ticket to come out and visit me around Thanksgiving. Paid for new carpet in the basement for our tenet (this is tax-deductible). And just a million other house related expenses. Fortunately, now that I’m abroad our spending should be significantly reduce and our credit card bill should be at a more normal level of around $2,000 each cycle.

I’m really excited about this net worth update because WE’VE OFFICIALLY BROKEN OUR 2013 GOAL! If you look at our annual budget, you’ll see back in January I estimated we could hit a NW of $217,000 if we kept our stuff together.  That would have required a $54,000 increase in 2013. Well according to mint, our Net Worth is currently $217,715 which means we’ve done just that!!!! It’s ridiculous, exciting, and overwhelming to think about. Woohoo!!!

You can see all of my net worth updates here.

Chatterbox Charlie

So I’m pretty involved with a non-profit organization called Young Life. Last night we had our first Young Life Club event of the year for the local high school we do outreach at. We had about 100 kids come out for our Country Western themed club. We square danced, played games, sung some songs, and I even had the opportunity to perform a skit for them. Young Life is all about making kids feel included, and I hope that through my crazy character “Chatterbox Charlie”, they were able to forget about all the stresses of life and be kids again. Here’s a little picture of my costume…

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Yeah totally irrelevant to my following net worth update, but how could I not share such a gem of a picture with you all 😉

A$$ets:

Cash: $26,497; +$893

We’ve been cutting checks left and right as we continue towards making our house a home. We’ve added a handful of new light fixtures, are in the process of having the basement re-carpeted, we spent two weeks painting our kitchen cabinets, and have added a few new furniture pieces. To be honest, I’m surprised we’ve seen any growth at all with how fast we are burning cash 😉

Roth IRA: $41,918; +$347

I imagine by the time you read this post, my Roth IRA will be back at a negative gain for the last 30 days since the government is shut down as of today, and I expect the stock market will take a dump on itself. I guess it was nice seeing the $347 gain while it lasted. haha

401Ks, IRAs, etc: $74,359; +$2,925

Still trying to throw massive amounts of cash in my 401k while I can. Our cost of living expenses have increased now that we have this pesky little thing called a mortgage, but I don’t want to forgo saving for retirement. It would be nice not forfeiting $700+ a month in discretionary income, but I’m pretty sure 65-year-old Ninja will be highly appreciative of 28-year-old Ninja’s commitment.

House: $321,300 -$35,700

For the first time, I’m including our house on the Net Worth chart as an asset. I still don’t really know how to best go about assessing it’s value. I get frustrated when bloggers decide to put the market value of their house as their asset value. PEOPLE, taxes, sellers commissions, fees, etc are not cheap. Your house might be worth $400,000, but if you sold it tomorrow for that amount, you’re likely only going to net $360,000 after you’ve paid everyone what they’re due. For now I’m just using what we paid for the house, minus 10%, as the asset value. Hence, the reason I said a $35,700 loss.

Payments owed:

Mortgage: $288,533 

At this point in my life, I have NO PLANS to begin paying my mortgage down early. For a few reasons.

    • Our monthly payment is affordable and will only get more affordable as appreciation takes over.
    • Our interest rate is 4%. The stock market is up 15% on the year. Would way rather be investing at a 15% return on investment, than 4%. My mortgage would have to be around 7% before I really felt like I needed to begin tackling the interest.
    • Lastly, and really the ONLY reason I wont be paying down my house anytime soon. In the event of a job loss, a paid for house doesn’t put food on my table. If I’m not brining money in (job loss, medical issue, etc), I need to have adequate savings and short-term investments built up to carry us. How can I build up my investment portfolio if I’m throwing all my cash at the mortgage? Answer: I can’t.

Credit Card: $3,789 (change not reflected since balance is paid off each month)

Paid off a $6,000 balance just a few days ago and we still have $3,789 coming up on this next billing cycle. I can only express my thoughts in form of hashtags….

#OhLordWhenWillItEnd

#StopTheBleed

#OccupyMyBankAccount

So after all is said and done, our new net worth stands at $195,562.  Didn’t think it was possible, but looks like we might get away with buying a home, and breaking a $200,000 net worth all in 2013. Just a few more months to get there, but you can call me The Little Engine That Could because “I think I can, I think can, I think I can.”

You can see all of my net worth updates here.

Net worth: August 2013

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Closing on our house last month took a toll on our Net worth, as we expected it to. We’ve owned the place for two weeks now, but haven’t spent more than an hour in it. Hopefully when we return back to the states it is still standing 🙂 Anyways, here is what our first net worth update looks like as homeowners.

A$$ets:

Cash: $25,604; -$66,880

We wrote a fat $70,000 check last month for our remaining down payment and to cover our closing costs. Funny thing is, I don’t miss the cash at all. I’ve been annoyed by having so much cash sitting in a savings account it’s nice to finally diversify ourselves a little.

Roth IRA: $41,571; $2,172

The market goes up, so does my Roth. Market goes down, so does my Roth. Couldn’t be more straightforward. Thankfully the trend has been up lately.

401Ks, IRAs, etc: $71,434; +$5,172

Nothing sexy or different this month. Just your typical contributions and market appreciation that lead to some decent gains.

Payments owed:

Credit Card: $2,582 (change not reflected since balance is paid off each month)

We have some travel expenses and moving expenses added included in this recent total. We had to throw our stuff in storage for a month since we had to move out of our rental before we got keys to our house. Throw in a rental truck (x2) and other moving costs and things add up quick. Hopefully we won’t be moving anytime soon 😉

I haven’t included our house in this most recent net worth update because I’m typing this from my phone and I’d like to wait until I have access to a spreadsheet and my computer. That means our Net worth is taking a huge hit and currently stands at $136,028 which is a drop of $60,164 since last update. Haha, gotta love this interesting season.

p.s. We are in Europe for the next two weeks. Posting will be limited due to partaking jn extreme amounts of fun and having a lack of wifi options.

You can see all of my net worth updates here.

Net Worth: July 2013

Screen shot 2013-07-07 at Jul 7, 2013, 10.27.00 PM

Breaking $200,000 was nice while it lasted, but those days are long gone now. We dropped $10,000 last month as earnest money for our house, so our savings took a hit. When we close at the end of the month, our Net Worth will take an even larger hit. But hey, I guess that’s part of the home ownership game. Remember it’s not about getting rich quickly, but making wise decisions that hopefully pay back in the long run. Anyways, let’s get to it…

A$$ets:

Cash: $92,484; -$6,043

Like I said above. We wrote a ten thousand dollar check last month, so only being down $6,000 has to be a small win right? That said, we will be wiring $70,000 off for the remainder of our down payment and closing costs in about a week. It’s gonna be weird to only have $20k in the bank after having nearly $100,000.

Roth IRA: $39,399; $689

The market has been all over the place since Bernanke announced the feds plans to slow down Quantitative Easing. Of course he mad the announcement the day we went under contract and the bond markets have imploded, while rates spiked. Terrible, terrible timing.

401Ks, IRAs, etc: $66,262; +$2,044

Before we found our house, I got sick of saving so much so I bumped my retirement contributions up quite a bit. So while the markets have been bonkers, my contributions still help the balance grow. For the time being, I’ve reduced my 401k contributions back to 10% until I get a better handle on this whole home ownership thing. May bump it back up in a few months once the initial cash bleed has settled.

Payments owed:

Credit Card: $1,952 (change not reflected since balance is paid off each month)

It’s been a while since we’ve had a credit card bill under $2,000 with all of our travels recently. We have some expenses from Boston in here, but since we stayed with a friend and used public transportation it was a pretty cheap trip. I’m sure our CC bills will be quite high over the next few months as Girl Ninja feathers our new nest.

So what does all this translate to? Well, it means we are no longer in the $200,000+ net worth club. This makes me sad. It felt good to break that barrier last month, but hopefully we can get back there soon. For the time being, we are sitting at $196,192 which is a drop of $5,727 since last update. Can’t win ’em all I suppose.

p.s. I’ve decided to reduce my Net Worth by $25,000 when we take possession. If we sold it for our purchase price one month from now, we would pay about $23,000 in fees. This is why houses are generally sucky short-term investments 😉

You can see all of my net worth updates here.

Net Worth: May 2013 (We broke $200,000!!!!!)

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Little late on the net worth update this month. I guess it just kind of slipped my mind. I contemplated not doing one this month, but then I realized that would mess up my archives. I don’t necessarily post these updates for you people. Why would you care what my net worth is anyways? But instead post these so I can go back and see how Girl Ninja and I are progressing over the years. I often look back through my archives and see how far we’ve come along.

Just a few short years ago I was worth negative $28,000. My, oh my, how the times have changed.

A$$ets:

Cash: $98,527; +$3,877

Oh my freaking goodness. We are so close to hitting our 2+ year goal of $100,000 cash. We have some big expenses coming up, travel, charity, etc so we wont be breaking this goal by next update, but I’m hoping to have something more to celebrate on my 28th Birthday in July than just being another year older.

Roth IRA: $40,088; +$1,833

Man the market is nutso right now. Everyday it just keeps setting new records. I’m tempted to pull these funds out of the market and turn my paper gains in to realized gains. When everyone else is buying (like they have been the last 12 months) I start to get all nervous and wonder when the correction will come.

401Ks, IRAs, etc: $64,218; +$5,911

This is when things get fun! As the markets improve each month, we get some really killer gains in our 401ks. The downside to this is we obviously get hammered when the markets go down. That said, I can’t really complain about making $6,000 last month when all I did was click a few buttons on the internet. Watching my money make money is my third favorite thing. Girl Ninja being my first. Unicorns being my second.  

Payments owed:

Credit Card: $3,447 (change not reflected since balance is paid off each month)

This is about double our normal monthly credit card balance. We bought plane tickets to California and Boston for June weddings and we are finally seeing all the expenses from our 10 day spring break trip to San Diego. Oh and have I mentioned we’ll be spending two weeks visiting Germany, Austria, Italy, Morocco, France, and Spain this summer? Travel aint cheap, but I’m not complaining.

We had some huge gains last month which resulted in our net worth shooting up  $12.307 since last update. This means We FINALLY BROKE THE $200,000 threshold.

$201,919 to be exact!!!

We are up more than $39,000 since January. It feels awesome breaking in to a new tier, but I’m already counting down the days to $300k 😉

You can see all of my net worth updates here.

A lot can happen in 12 months.

Sorcery

Yesterday, I went all “Who wants to be a millionaire” on you guys and asked the audience a question. It was a simple question:

How has your financial situation changed over the last 12 months?

Of the 333 of you that responded, 240 said things have gotten better. Only 44 readers said things have gotten worse. I wasn’t surprised by the results, considering anyone who voluntarily reads personal finance blogs in their free time, probably tends to care about their finances more than the average joe.

I liked my question because it was intentionally vague. I left it up to the respondent to decide what an improvement in one’s financial situation meant. Maybe that meant getting a fat raise, maybe it meant your retirement funds have appreciated, maybe you moved out of your parent’s basement, or maybe you’ve finally started knocking out that consumer debt that’s been hanging over your head. It was awesome to see the additional insight some of you provided in the comments section, so thanks for that.

While not much has changed in the Ninja household over the last year (expenses and income are pretty much the same), we’ve seen a pretty incredible increase in our net worth.

In fact, I just ran the numbers and it looks like we’ve shot up $55,454 in the last 12 months. In-FREAKING-sane. I honestly had no idea we made that much progress. That works out to a $4,621 increase each month… for twelve straight months.

What’s more, we dropped $12,000 cash on a car upgrade and another $7,500 on MANteresting during this time.

How the heck did we swing this?

I really don’t know. I mean, obviously the markets are responsible for a big chunk, but it really just comes down to boring ol discipline. Investing in our future, saving aggressively for a down payment, not being consumer whores, blah, blah, blah.

Being intentional and proactive with our finances in our 20’s will hopefully set us up for continued success in our 30’s, 40’s, and beyond. I’m taking the words of Spock seriously and doing my best to…

Live long and prosper