Goodness gracious, it seems like just a couple weeks ago that I was sitting in this exact same chair calculating our net worth one last time in 2018, and here I am doing it again to close out 2019. Time absolutely flies by!
Ever since July 15, 2017, two days before I turned 29, I have logged in to Personal Capital around the 15th of each month to update our net worth. We were in the middle of feverishly paying off our mortgage at this time and later moved on to taking a seven month spending spree, saving to purchase an investment property, and then buying that property with cash. We’re now continuing to save while cash flowing the costs of the renovations, and with the exception of two months where I was traveling and chose not to take the time to write a post, I have documented each change in our net worth here on my blog since that I calculated it in July over two years ago.
What started off as curiosity to see what our number was evolved into viewing our net worth as kind of a financial score card, which led to me feeling sometimes as if we weren’t doing enough or weren’t where we should be. I’ve relaxed a little over the last year or so, and nowadays I just have fun tracking our progress. I don’t have any goals or timelines for our net worth such as becoming millionaires by a certain age or anything like that; I just love the journey and find motivation from seeing that number slowly increase over time!
But if you’re new to the term net worth and/or aren’t familiar with Personal Capital, I take a few minutes at the beginning of each net worth report to go over how to calculate your net worth and explain the free service that I’ve used since that very first report. This part is pretty repetitive each month, so if you know the drill and just want to see this month’s numbers, scroll past the next two sections!
Your net worth is simply the value of your assets (what you own) minus your liabilities (what you owe).
Assets may include your home, vehicles, investments and money in your bank accounts. It can even include art, jewelry, furniture, etc., though I don’t include any of those things when calculating our net worth simply because beyond checking the value of our cars each month, I just don’t want to take the time to figure up the value of every little thing we own.
As for liabilities, this is the amount of debt you owe on these things. My husband and I have not had any liabilities since paying off our house in January 2018, but when we did have a mortgage, the amount we owed from month to month was subtracted from the current value of our assets when calculating our net worth.
Some calculate their net worth manually using a spreadsheet, but I have never calculated our net worth any other way than using Personal Capital.
This is the only financial tool I use that I haven’t come up with myself. The service is so quick and easy to use that I’ve just never felt compelled to put a spreadsheet together to calculate it. Plus it’s free!
Personal Capital is an app/service that updates your net worth upon sign-in by connecting to your bank accounts, investment accounts and even Zillow, though I found that our “Zestimate,” their estimated value of our home, fluctuated wildly almost month-to-month. Connecting your accounts is optional, so this is not something you have to do if you don’t feel comfortable with it.
It is good to keep in mind that some companies do not allow third parties to have this sort of access to their information, and because of this, I have to log into my husband’s retirement account and manually update the value on Personal Capital. Also, to get a good idea of the value of your vehicles, I recommend checking kbb.com and manually updating those amounts when you log into Personal Capital.
They offer an awesome referral program for their free service, so it’s a great time to try it out. If you use this link and connect a qualifying investment account (taxable brokerage, 401k, IRA, 529, etc.) with a balance of over $1000 within 30 days of signing up, you and I both will receive a $20 Amazon gift card!
Okay, okay. Let’s move on to our final net worth number for the year – and this decade (whoa)!
Below I break down our assets by cash, investments, our home and our vehicles. The percentage increases and decreases I provide are from last month to this month. You can see last month’s numbers here.
Cash: $30,678 (⇧4.70%)
- Checking: $210 (⇧13.77%)
- Emergency Fund: $5,000 (no change)
- Long Term Savings: $25,035 (⇧8.03%)
- Short Term Savings: $433 (⇩53.99%)
Our checking account and short term savings accounts are with our local credit union, while our emergency fund and long term savings are with Ally Bank.
Our Short Term Savings are made up of our current sinking fund categories, and we’ve blown through basically all of them since my last post. I blame it on Christmas shopping. Oh, and those Garth Brooks tickets that we bought last minute. And maybe the Five Finger Death Punch tickets too.
Our checking account is up 13.77% from last month, but considering it went up from $185 to $210, this isn’t really anything to jump for joy over. We keep our checking account lean due to saving so much of our income, and we’re getting toward the end of my husband’s pay period right now. We live on and base our monthly budget (bills, sinking funds and spending) on $2400, an amount that is a little less than what he brings home each month. He’s paid biweekly, and since he will be getting paid tomorrow, our checking account is a little low right now.
As for our Ally savings account – it holds our Emergency Fund and our Long Term Savings. Our emergency fund is $5,000, and we have no plans to change that, so there was no change in this amount from last month. Our Long Term Savings is the money we plan to use for real estate investing (we bought our first investment property with cash in July and are currently funding the renovations). We have saved an average of 62% of our take home pay for this purpose over the last 15 months by having all of my income, as well as a portion of Ron’s, direct deposited in this account. These consistent savings contributed to the increase in Long Term Savings from last month.
Investments: $134,837 (⇧2.94%)
- Pretax Retirement Accounts: $90,733 (⇧2.21%)
- Real Estate: $39,062 (⇧4.82%)
- Roth IRAs: $5,042 (⇧1.96%)
We recently bought appliances and light fixtures for our investment property so I added that cost to the value of the property, and this accounts for the increase in Real Estate from last month. Other than that, the value of our Roth IRA accounts and pretax investments went up by a little over $2,000 from last month.
Other: $160,186 (⇩0.05%)
- Home: $150,000 (no change)
- Vehicles: $10,186 (⇩0.85%)
Not a lot to discuss here! We estimate our home value at $150,000, which is a conservative estimate based on what comparable homes in our neighborhood have recently sold for. I used to have our home’s address connected to Personal Capital through Zillow, but I found that their “Zestimate” (which has our home valued at $159,977 today) fluctuated wildly each time I logged in. When the value reached an amount one time a few months later that was far above a realistic value, I removed it from Personal Capital and have used $150,000 ever since.
As for our vehicles, I just log into kbb.com and check the private party values of our car, truck and motorcycle each month.
Net Worth: $325,701 (⇧$5,144 / 1.61%)
Cash (⇧$8,922 / 41%)
- December 2018: $21,756
- December 2019: $30,678
Investments (⇧$57,393 / 74.11%)
- December 2018: $77,444
- December 2019: $134,837
House/Vehicles (⇩$702 / 0.44%)
- December 2018: $160,888
- December 2019: $160,186
Net Worth (⇧$65,613)
- December 2018: $260,088
- December 2019: $325,701
As I mentioned earlier, the first time I ever calculated our net worth was in July 2017, and our number was $194,481. Two and a half years later, we’ve increased it by $131,220!
Alright, I could go on for a while comparing numbers, but I’m in the middle of a book that I’m dying to get back to (Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon if anyone is curious), so I’ll leave it at that!
If you’re not currently tracking your net worth and are running low on motivation along whatever journey you’re on, check out Personal Capital and see if it helps! Whether you choose to do it every six months, quarterly or monthly like I do, it’s awesome to see your numbers go up as you pay down debt, save and invest.
Oh, and a little off topic, but I’ve teamed up with two fellow travel hackers for a $100 cash giveaway that is running right now on Instagram. Check out my account for details!
Have a merry Christmas, and I’ll see y’all next year!