Each month I’ll be keeping track of our net worth on this blog. The reason for making our net worth public is to not only hold myself accountable, but to provide a record so I can review my progress over time. I’ll be giving a brief analysis on our results for the month and what changes I’m thinking of making.
Here’s how our net worth looked for October:
|September||October||$ Change||% Change|
S&P 500 performance for October = -1.94%
Cash fluctuates every month just based on when the credit card statements are due, when I get reimbursed from my employer for work expenses, when rents are paid by tenants, etc.
This includes a 401(k), a few IRAs, and a few Roth IRAs. The only account we are still contributing to is the 401(k), as we are ineligible to invest in the rest. These were down $512.26 for the month, which is a mere .1%. The actual investments were down by more, but the automatic payroll contributions to the 401(k) helped counterbalance the weak market.
I’ve asked myself if I should really include these accounts in our net worth, as the money is earmarked for the kids and will be spent solely on them. Ultimately I’ve decided to continue including them, as if we didn’t have these 529 accounts then we’d need to pay for college out of our other investments. We are contributing $500/month for each kid, and given the low balance of these accounts I expect that our contributions will dwarf any investment returns for quite some time.
We added $1,000 but the account balance was only up $781.93, which means the actual performance of the account was -$218.07.
This is our early retirement fund and where most of our net worth is.
The brokerage account was -2.28% for the month compared to the S&P being -1.94% for the month, so we slightly underperformed the market in October. Obviously a difference of .34% either way is nothing to worry about.
Due to the size of our portfolio vs the amount we can invest each month, the market will have a much stronger effect on our net worth than any new money we invest.
2 separate equity investments in startups. Since there’s no way to value these investments I will continue to keep them valued at my initial investment amount.
On the last day of each quarter I adjust the value of the properties based on Zillow’s estimate. It looks like I misallocated one of the property value adjustments to the beginning of October rather than the end of September, so there’s a small gain here for this month.
My goal is to see the value of the rental properties increase by 3-5%/year. Given that we are currently leveraged 3-1, that would translate to 9-15% gains on our investments in the properties.
Just like the rental properties, I adjust the value of our house at the end of each quarter. And like the 529 accounts, I struggle with whether or not I should include our house’s value here, as it doesn’t provide us any income and our hope (dream?) is to live in this house for the rest of our lives. As a result, it doesn’t really matter what the value is because we hope to never sell it. However, since we’d have to rent a place if we didn’t own the house, I’ve decided to include the house in our net worth calculation.
Total assets were down -$27,069.90 for the month, due almost entirely to our portfolio being down ~$30k. Not too surprising, given the performance of the overall market in October.
Slight decrease in credit card balance at the end of the month. This is just due to when payments are made and how much I used my credit card for work purchases for the month. I do get reimbursed for work expenses, but it takes 1-2 months.
We paid off just over $600 on the mortgages. In the past I’ve considered paying these down faster than the standard 30-year loan schedule, but I’ve always felt I could do better investing that money elsewhere. All of these loans are at 4-4.5% interest.
This was the bulk of the decrease in liabilities, as we paid off over $3,300 on the mortgages on our main residence. I have been paying the second mortgage off on an accelerated pace, with the goal of having it paid off in less than 15 years. Although I don’t really consider our house to be an asset, I definitely consider our home loans to be liabilities, and I’d like to pay them off as soon as possible. I think it would be hard to really hit early retirement with substantial mortgages hanging over our heads.
Total liabilities dropped -$5,293.23 for the month. That’s solid but unspectacular. If we can keep retiring .4% of our liabilities every month it will take almost 21 years to pay everything off. Clearly we don’t want to wait that long. My expectation is to pay off the second mortgage on our residence first, then look at aggressively paying off some/all of the rental properties (they have a higher interest rate than our house). For the last few years I’ve been working on increasing our assets rather than paying down my liabilities. Given my reluctance to invest further in the market today I’m thinking it might be about time to reverse that thinking.
Total net worth
Net worth was down -$21,776.67. Yikes. We did better overall than the market (thank goodness for the balancing effects of real estate). Given our large exposure to the stock market I expect that our net worth performance will closely track the performance of the stock market. We should trail a bit when the market is up and perform a bit better than the market when the market is down.
How did everybody else do this month? Is anybody planning on making any changes to their allocations or investment strategies?