I last updated my net worth in April after years of not updating. As I said back then, this was no longer going to be a monthly exercise. It’s a bit tedious, and I’m not sure a month by month comparison is all that telling.
I just finished updating my spreadsheet a little more than 4 months later, and I’m still not sure it’s all that telling.
So how am I doing? Well, according to the numbers, my net worth is up 10%! That’s huge!
But I’m not sure this is a realistic number. Let’s discuss some of the changes.
First off, my house value is up 3%. That is a HUGE change. I use Zillow to determine the current price estimate for my house rather than just use the purchase price. (If you’re curious, Zillow has my price down about 2.5% from when I bought it.) Did my house really improve that much since April? Well, I did improve the closet. But Zillow doesn’t know that. A house on the next block over went on sale for a ridiculously high price. According to the sign in the yard, it was under contract, then it was back on sale, then the listing appears to have been removed. That could mean many things, but it ultimately means the house did not sell for that price. I’m wondering if this is why the value went up though.
Next, my investments are doing quite well. This includes both my regular investments and my retirement funds. That always makes me happy.
However, these two increases are kind of meaningless. First off, the home value is kind of an arbitrary number. Besides, I’m not looking to sell anytime soon. It just makes sense to include the number to offset the damage done by the mortgage.
As to the investments, I don’t do day to day investing. My investing style is more “set it and forget it.” Sure, I check in from time to time, but I’m not in it for short term gains. I’m in it for the long haul. Especially when it comes to retirement accounts. Retirement is a long, long time away.
Now, let’s look at the decreases.
My car value went down. Kind of meaningless. I plan to drive that thing into the ground.
My mortgage also went down. This is a good thing, since it means I’m actually making my mortgage payments.
But my day-to-day cash accounts also decreased. Not only did I spend a chunk of money on my closet, but I also have been spending more than I should be. I’m not putting myself into debt – but I’m also not saving money like I should be either. In fact, this month, the only savings I had was in the form of retirement. I didn’t put anything into my long term accounts. As a financial blogger, I’m embarrassed to admit that. But it is what it is. I’m going to own my mistakes and do better next month. And the month after that and so on.
So while the net worth experiment appears to be going in the right direction, what looking at those numbers ended up telling me was that I need to get it into gear and work harder and try to get the more meaningful numbers up.
I’ll probably update again around the end of the year. And I will do better.
Has your net worth went up or down in the last few months?
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.