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.
August ended up being a very good month for The Money Commando household. This was especially welcome after August ended up being pretty flat.
The net worth report below includes an adjustment for the Money Commando True Wealth Index (MCTWI). The MCTWI for September, 2017 is .62.
The MCTWI is a way to adjust for the currently high valuation of the stock market. The MCTWI should result in a more stable estimate of the value of stock market investments. You can read more about the MCTWI here.
Without further ado, here is our net worth report for September 2017:
S&P 500 performance for September, 2017 = 1.89%
Our “regular” net worth was only up .46%, which is significantly lower than the market’s gain of 1.89% for the month. A quick glance at the numbers above explains why – Zillow’s estimate for the value of our house dropped by $60,000. Absent this downward valuation our net worth would have been up 1.74%, which is about what I’d expect. Due to our real estate and cash holding I would expect us to slightly underperform the market when it’s up but outperform the market when it’s down.
Assets – stock market
In August of 2017 I started reporting all of my equity assets using both their actual value as well as the Money Commando True Wealth Index (MCTWI). If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s a method I created to remove the effects of excessively high or low valuation in the stock market. The idea is to produce a net worth that is more indicative of the actual value of investments rather than changes in the stock market valuation.
Brokerage accounts – This is our early retirement fund and where most of our net worth is. Our investments were up by $37,621.63, which is a solid 1.6%.
Retirement Accounts – This includes a 401(k), two IRAs, and two Roth IRAs (one of each for my wife and me). The only account we are currently contributing to is the 401(k). These were up by just over $18k for the month. $1,250 of that was due to my 401k contributions and the remains $16.5k was due to stock market performance. These accounts outperformed the S&P 500 due to some international and small-cap holdings.
529 accounts – We contribute $500/month to 529 savings accounts we’ve set up for our 2 kids. The value of these accounts was up just over $2k, so half the increase was due to our contributions and half was due to the performance of the investments (S&P 500 index funds).
Total stock market assets: The total unadjusted value of our stock market investments is $3,029,769.57. That was about $58k higher than last month and good for an even 2% increase.
Total stock market assets adjusted for MCTWI: After adjusting for the market’s high valuation, our stock market assets are worth $2,228,352.70. As described in my introduction to the concept of the MCTWI, in times of high valuation your stock market investments are actually worth less than their current price. In this case, the math shows that a diversified portfolio of stocks or index fund is actually worth about 62% of the current price.
Assets – Other
Checking – Our goal is to keep about $50k in cash in our checking account. This is due to an abundance of caution. I work in an inherently unstable field (sales) and my income varies widely from month to month. Keeping a good chunk of cash in our checking account helps me sleep well at night. This is roughly 6 months of expenses.
Not much interesting happened with this account this month, just the normal fluctuation due to the timing of when expenses are paid, etc.
Private investments – 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. Hopefully I’ll one day be pleasantly surprised to see that the companies are worth something. No change this month.
Rental properties – On the last day of each quarter I adjust the value of the properties based on Zillow’s estimate. The value of these properties has increased a solid 2.3% over the last quarter. That’s the equivalent of an annualized 9.2% increase. A 9.2% increase is solid by itself, but it’s even more impressive when you consider that we have approximately 33% equity in the properties. This means our leveraged return on the value of the properties was an annualized 27.6%. Very nice.
Primary residence – Just like the rental properties, I adjust the value of our house at the end of each quarter. The value of our house doesn’t really matter because we hope to live in this house forever, but I track it for the sake of completeness. For whatever reason Zillow decided our house was worth $60k less than 3 months ago. This variability is the exact reason I update the values quarterly rather than monthly.
Total other assets – Total other assets were down $42,433.76 for the month (a 1.5% decrease) to $2,757,610.77. The decrease was due entirely to the decrease in value of our primary residence.
Credit cards – As with our checking account, this balance fluctuates from month to month due to timing of purchases. We pay our credit cards in full each month.
Rental mortgages – All properties are currently rented, which means our tenants paid down $942.29 of the balances on the mortgages for our rental properties. Thanks guys!
Primary residence mortgages – We ended up having two payments on our mortgage this month, which is why the balance dropped by $2,312.46 for the month.
Although I don’t really consider our house to be an asset, I definitely consider our home loan a liability. I think it would be difficult to retire early with substantial mortgage payments hanging over our heads.
Total liabilities – Total liabilities were down by $5,662.07 for the month (a 0.52% decrease) to $1,075,597.64. It’s crazy to think that we have over $1M in debt!
My goal is to have this debt gone by the time I retire.
Total net worth
As described above, I’m calculating my net worth both with and without adjusting for the Money Commando True Wealth Index.
Current net worth is $4,711,782.71,876.57, which was up $21,401.31 from last month (0.46% increase).
The more accurate MCTWI total net worth is $3,910,365.83, which was down $488.76 from last month (a 0.01% decrease).
I always enjoy running the reports for the last month of a quarter. Not only is most of our dividend income paid at the end of the quarter, but our net worth usually gets a nice boost from the revaluation of our real estate holdings.
We are just $300k away from crossing the $5M mark. It’s possible but unlikely we will hit that number this year. However, I’m pretty confident we’ll cross $5M in net worth next year!
How did everybody else do this month? Have you been riding the stock market to hit new net worth numbers each month? Where are you putting your money to work today?