Tag Archives: savings

March 2014 Balance Sheet

Today I’ll be sharing my personal balance sheet, listing all of my assets and liabilities to figure out what my current net worth is. Tracking your net worth is a good exercise and something not many people do on a regular basis. While it doesn’t show how much dividend income I’m pulling in, which is how I plan on achieving financial independence early, it does provide a good overall snapshot of my financial life. Note: the +/- after each category total represents the change only from the prior month.

Assets

Emergency Fund: $4,500.00 (+$0). Starting this month I’m going to report this separately from my other cash savings as it will generally remain steady unlike the cash savings listed below.

Cash Savings: $4490.81 (+$1203.29). Continued to pack away money to prepare to move into my own apartment off base later this year. I’ve pretty much saved as much as I figure I need in order to pay the first few month’s rent, plus all the other expenses such as furniture, etc. Whatever I don’t use will probably go to my Roth.

Roth IRA: $7,322.69 (+$670.66) Added in the $721.50 I got back from a college tuition refund and used it to buy some Kinder Morgan Inc. Continuing to drip all holdings as I only plan to make a few more purchases in this account the rest of the year.

Brokerage: $10,798.73 (-$529.91) The majority of the cash I had in this account plus all dividends I received throughout the month I withdrew in order to fund my Loyal3 purchases. It’s like selectively reinvesting dividends, but commission free! 😉

Loyal3: $1109.92 (+$776.70) Continued to add to my positions in Coke and Target, plus initiated a position in McDonald’s.

Thrift Savings Plan: $976.98 (-$9.47). Although I started investing in this account again in March, none of the new deposits have hit the account yet so not much of a change here. I’m investing in a combination of an S&P 500 index fund and a small cap index fund.

Auto Worth: $5,820.00 (-$435.00). After last month’s weird gains, this has started to trend downward again. Nice reminder to myself to not think of cars as an investment. The only reason I include it here is that it’s probably the one non-financial asset I have that if I ever needed to sell, could probably get close to its market value.

Assets Total: $35,019.13 (+1,676.27)

Liabilities

Credit Cards: $174.31 (-$197.57). As I never carry a balance on my cards and my billing cycle ends in the middle of each month, this is simply my current balance on the last day of March.

Net Worth: $34,844.82 (+1873.94). I was really helped along this month with getting my tuition refund check back plus general gains in the market overall. My goal for 2014 is to get this up to $40,000.

How was your March for finances? Do you track your net worth and if so are there any other items you track on yours? Please leave a comment below and thanks for reading!

What are you saving for?

Ok, so now we’ve hopefully got our finances under control by avoiding lifestyle inflation, and setting up a properly funded emergency fund. The next step is deciding on your long-term goals and the reason you are investing. Do you want to achieve financial independence early? Still retire in your 60’s but have more cash flow to travel? Save up for a child’s college expenses?

The answers to these questions are very important and must be considered when deciding to start investing. If you are in your 20’s and planning on retiring at age 65, you will be investing differently than say, a 40 year old preparing to send their oldest kid off to college in 5 years, or a 21 year old like me trying to reach financial independence by age 40.

Before you open a brokerage account and buy that first stock, take some time to figure out your long-term goals. Then you can create a plan for your investing actions that will allow you to achieve these goals. I’d recommend actually writing it down so it is more concrete and you can reference it later. This plan will keep you focused on achieving your goals through good economic conditions and bad. If you don’t have a plan, it is too easy to lose your way and get discouraged when you run into adversity (think 2009 recession 🙁 ).

Once you figure out your reasons for wanting to invest you can then start investing. I’ll be posting my investing plan that will allow me to achieve my long-term goals here soon.

What are your reasons for choosing to invest? Leave a comment below.

Emergency Funds, Everyone Needs One

Ah yes, the good ole emergency fund. Something we should all have as financially responsible adults.
So how do you go about setting up an emergency fund. How much should you save up? Three months of living expenses? Six? How about six months of income? Net income or gross?

Confused yet? I know I am. The right answer to this question is whatever makes you feel comfortable. Personally I prefer six months of living expenses, calculated a little generously, so I have some wiggle room in case I ever actually needed to use it. Of course in a situation where I actually had to use my emergency fund to pay all my day to day expenses, I would definitely be slashing expenses left and right. Unlimited everything cell plan? Let’s downgrade that to a minimum. High speed internet? Get rid of it and just go back to going to the library every time I needed to use it. Point is, I’d do everything I could to cut expenses and make that six month supply last as long as I can.

With my current expenses, my emergency fund is set at $4500 right now (but will be increasing in the future due to moving out to my own apartment). A friend of mine with almost the same income/expenses as me prefers to keep his emergency fund at $10K. Nothing wrong with that, it’s all about what gives you the financial peace of mind so you know you will be covered if something were to happen that eliminates your primary source of income.

Once you have that emergency fund funded properly so that you are comfortable, then it is time to start investing and getting on the track to achieving financial independence.

How do you calculate how much to have in an emergency fund? Does anyone use a different account other than a regular savings account for it? Please leave a comment below and continue the conversation.