Net Worth Update #16 – February 2018

NW Feb 18 COVER2.PNG
3 min read

At the start of each month I share my net worth.

I have always found it motivational and just plain interesting to follow along with someone’s net worth journey, which is why I hope readers can find value in following mine. I shared my first net worth update back in November 2016 and have been sharing monthly updates ever since.

Here are my numbers for February 2018:

Money Market Funds
Savings Account $6,843  (+$2,430)
Checking Account $929   (-$71)
Total Money Market $7,772  (+$2,359)
   
Tax Advantaged Accounts
Traditional IRA $4,059  (+$121)
Roth IRA $5,092  (+$206)
401(k) $25,188  (+$1,729)
Total Tax Advantaged $34,339  (+$2,056)
   
Non-Tax Advantaged Accounts
Brokerage Account $29,960    (+$293)
Cryptocurrencies $3,809      (-$324)
Republic Private Investment $550         (+$0)
Total Non-Tax Advantaged $34,319    (-$31)
   
Net Worth $76,430 (+$4,384)

Progress

Here’s a look at my net worth progression since I started personally tracking it back in August of 2016:

NW Feb 18.PNG


From January to February my net worth increased by $4,384. Not too shabby.

Recap

Over the past year, my net worth has grown by $4,000 – $5,000 almost every month, with only a few exceptions. This past month was no different.

Where did my savings land?

Most of my income from dividends, blogging, and my 9-5 job landed in either my savings account or my 401(k). I have mentioned before that I don’t like to have more than $6,000 in my savings account simply because I want most of my money invested so it has the opportunity to grow. I have let this account grow beyond this point for two reasons:

1. My savings account now offers a 1.35% annual percentage yield, which is the highest it has been in years. This yield won’t make me rich, but it’s nice to earn five or six bucks each month in interest.

2. The lease on my Honda Civic is up in two months and I have decided I’m going to keep it once the lease is up, as opposed to trading it back in or looking for a different used-car. Since I have been driving the car since day one, I know the history behind it and I know it has been taken care of over the last three years. It also gets incredible gas mileage. I plan on keeping it and driving it into the ground.

To buy the car outright would cost around $11,000. Depending on what type of financing I can get for it, I tentatively plan on putting a large sum of money down on it, which is the main reason for letting so much cash accumulate in my savings account. 

I openly admit I’m not an expert when it comes to cars or financing options, so if you have any recommendations for my situation, feel free to sound off in the comments!

My 401(k)

Since I switched jobs back in July 2017, my old 401(k) account has grown nearly 15% without any additional contributions on my part. That’s incredible. The composition of that account is a dead simple 80% all-market stock fund and 20% all market-bond fund, which explains why it has performed so well over the last seven months without my help:

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My new 401(k) account is invested entirely in an S&P 500 index fund. Between my old account and my new account, my total 401(k) balances grew by $1,729 this month alone.

Crypto

I shared last month that I took the plunge into the crypto market. I invested $1,000 in ethereum, $1,000 in bitcoin, and eventually $2,000 in litecoin.

The results have been pretty absurd so far. My ethereum investment has more than tripled in value while litecoin has lost 2/3rds of it’s value and bitcoin has lost nearly half. So far, I have lost a couple hundred bucks combined on these three investments.

I plan on holding crypto for many years. I recognize that these investments could all go to zero (which would mean I would lose $3,809 at this point) over the long-haul, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

With most of my investments spread out across stock index funds, bond index funds, a couple individual stocks, and several REIT’s, my crypto holdings represent a fairly small portion of my overall portfolio. I consider it to be play money. If prices go to the moon, I’ll enjoy the ride. If they go to zero, like most people seem to think, I won’t be financially crushed.

Looking Forward

If my net worth continues to grow by $4,000 – $5,000 each month, I should reach the $100k mark near the beginning of August. My lease for my apartment is up at the end of August, which will make for an interesting situation where I’ll need to decide whether or not I want to keep my job and remain in Cincy, or move elsewhere and pursue different work.

I have to admit that $100k is a weird net worth. It’s a nice milestone to cross, but it doesn’t represent financial independence by any means. However, I am beginning to care more about monthly income rather than my net worth.

Between blogging and dividends, my monthly income outside of work ranges between $300 – $800 per month. Currently my monthly expenses hover around $1,300, but once I have a car payment and I leave my parent’s insurance plan, my expenses will be a bit higher.

If I assume my monthly expenses will rise to $1,500 per month, I would like to see my income outside of my day job get close to that point for me to feel comfortable with quitting my job. There’s a lot of variables to consider, though. We’re at all-time market highs, which means my net worth could take a major hit during a market correction at the same time I would be quitting my job.

Another option I am considering is simply switching jobs. My dream job would be to produce data visualizations full-time. Ideally, I would like to work for myself, but if I landed a full-time role with a company, that could be fine too. I have been sending off my resumes to various companies for data-viz jobs, so I’ll have to see how things play out.

No matter what happens, life is going to change in a major way in August, and I’m excited to blog about the details.

To everyone that has been following my financial journey up to this point, thank you and I hope you keep checking in each month. If you have any questions for me or want to discuss your own financial journey feel free to shoot me an email at fourpillarfreedom@gmail.com.

That’s all for this month’s net worth update, thanks for reading 🙂


My favorite free financial tool I use is Personal Capital. I use it to track my net worth, manage my spending, and keep an eye on my monthly cash flow. It only takes a few minutes to set up and it makes tracking your finances simple and easy. I recommend trying it out.

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12 Replies to “Net Worth Update #16 – February 2018”

  1. It’s always nice to pop in each month and see your savings rate. Always impressive.

    The 401k growth without additional contributions is such an amazing thing. Gotta love the strong market right now.

    I like your play in crypto, as I did the same. As soon as I made the investment, I wrote off the money. Will play it out for the long-term and see what happens.

    Excellent month. And love the visual of your net worth growth in the graph.

    1. Thanks, Church! I always appreciate your positive feedback. I was also amazed at how well my 401k has grown without my help in such a short period of time. Nice to hear another financial blogger has taken a stake in crypto. It’s a wild ride, I do my best not to check the prices too often haha. Thanks for the kind words! 🙂

  2. I’ve been in the car business since 1995. At $11,000 purchase price, that ahonda is a bargain, assuming your mileage is low (hence the lease).
    Honda’s hold their resale value better than 97% of other cars. If your lease residual is only $11k buy it! If you miscalculated and it’s closer to $14k, turn it in and release another Honda.

  3. 5,000 per month net worth increase is amazing. I have to say market has been good to us the last few years. It has definitely helped prop up my portfolio. With Capital One 360 I get 1.4% and Barclays online savings it is 1.50%. Have not gotten into crypto as I have no idea what makes it tick 🙂

  4. Zach! You’re doing awesome, man. Nice work.

    A few things to consider. Maybe at your stage you should go with a 100% mix of equities (ideally index, low fee) on your 401K. Leave the 80/20 bond mix for old fogies in their 70s on. THIS old fogie (40s) is still 100% in equities with no plans to change it for 20 years or more.

    You might want to look into using your savings to buy a used car (Honda Fit?) outright. Emergency savings are good if you’re at risk. I’m not sure based on what little I know about you that you play with fire or have a lot of “ledges” lurking around you. Besides, the amount currently in your savings wouldn’t do much for you for very long.

    Good luck – and tame the desire for the crypto stuff. I think it’s best to let the bubble pop and then pick a survivor to invest in.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Cubert!

      Funny you mention it, I’m looking to switch to 100% equities in that old 401K once I roll it over to a new account. I’m also considering buying used, but I’m not sure if the savings would be substantial since I would be keeping my current civic for at least another decade. It’s still something I’m debating back and forth on. The crypto stuff is purely fun money, I don’t plan on adding more to the pot but I am keeping my small investments for the long-term to see how they play out.

  5. Love this net worth update – absolutely crushing it! Great to see what can be achieved when you have a good strategy and execute.

    Are many of your friends / people you interact with on the same wavelength with savings, investment and FI?

    I’ve tended to find that other people in our 20s fall into three groups: 1. On the express train to FI, 2. Want to save / invest but not sure how best to start and 3. Uninterested / can’t be bothered (which is a shame because the one major asset a young person has is time – time to try new things out, save, invest and build wealth).

    HH

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