Can you believe that January is already finished? The markets are still trying to figure out if they want to go up or go down. We have not found a suitable investment for our retirement accounts, so we still sit in cash. Meanwhile, we rocked our budget for the past month. I have a couple posts I started writing. When I finish them, you will have the ability to read more about our budgeting. Until then, feast your eyes on our net worth update.
Monthly Net Worth Update
Our assets increased by $1,711.48. Here is the breakdown.
We increased our cash accounts by $1,000 last month. I attribute this to good budgeting and our weekly transfer into our Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings account. If you recall from our January 2019 net worth, we cashed out much of our savings from our Synchrony account to pay off our credit cards. Our emergency savings now has a balance of $6,041.72. Our plan is to build it back to over $10,000 in 2019.
Cash Back/Gift Cards
One benefit of paying off our credit cards is that this boosted our cash back by over $130 for the month. We currently have $1,156.08 in cash back across our seven credit cards and one $50 gift card. We should be receiving a check from Costco any day for $292.19 from our 2018 purchases. Our cash back will be lower next month, but our savings should be higher, since I plan to add some of our cash back to our emergency savings.
Is Ethereum dead? Just when I think it could not go any lower it drops again. At least our balance is so low now that if it goes down more it will not materially affect our net worth
We hit a milestone in our retirement this month. We officially have more than $600,000! It is so crazy to me that in March of 2017 we had $400,000. In September of 2018 we were at $500,000, and now we are at $600,000. I believe that within the next few years we will reach our first $1,000,000 within our retirement accounts. What is our goal? I calculated that we would be financially independent with the house paid off and $3,000,000 in our retirement accounts. Our plan, is to build our retirement to $5,000,000. With ten more years to pay off the house, I see no reason we cannot reach that goal in that time.
In some of my past net worth posts, especially our November 2018 post, you know that I enjoy trading options within my IRA. I stopped trading last November, so we have not seen any increases in our accounts. Why did I stop? The market was trending down and for the types of trades I make, I did not want to be stuck in a falling stock. That changed in January when markets began to increase and I could place some safe trades.
With the rebound in the overall market, I sold two weekly PUT options this past month and generated $1,097.94 in Dr. SoS’s IRA account after fees and commissions.
As I mentioned in our Big Audacious Debt Payoff Plan post, we temporarily stopped adding money to the 529 for Baby SoS. This helped us make our payment on our HELOC. Despite the fact that the money is essentially in a savings account so that it does not lose value if the market drops, it still increased $10 in the past month
No change here. Although, the prices of homes increased in our area by about 2% since last month, we plan to keep the same value for our home for the foreseeable future.
Cars and Boat
Our cars took a 1% hit. Dr. SoS’s car just topped 100,000 miles and my car topped 50,000 miles, so both dropped in value.
Our overall liabilities decreased by $4,883.34. This was mostly due to paying off our credit cards, but also our great progress on paying off our HELOC.
As we mentioned last month on Twitter, we began paying the total balance on our credit cards on Friday each week. We used to do this a long time ago, and decided we should begin again. The great thing about this approach to using credit cards is that it feels more like spending with cash. If you cannot pay the credit card off, you do not use it until you are able.
We still have one credit card with a balance of $900 at 0% that we used as a loan, last year. Now that I see it is under $1,000, I keep wanting to pay it off. We are going to continue with our $300 monthly payments, though, so that we can continue with our large HELOC payments.
We are down to 23 monthly payments of $600 per month totaling $13,800 left to pay off the car.
HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit)
This account is our biggest focus this year. We paid $2,164.50 last month. I commend Dr. SoS on our grocery budget. Without her help we would not make such great progress on paying off this loan.
I read an interesting article yesterday, The way most Americans buy a home could be one of their biggest hurdles to getting rich, says an author who studied 10,000 millionaires. Despite the horrid length of the title, it had some interesting things to impart. The biggest was that if you take out a 30-year mortgage you are less likely to become a millionaire.
Think about this for a minute, though. If you purchase a $250,000 house with a 4% interest rate on a 30-year loan, your payment on principal and interest is roughly $1,194 per month. With a 15-year loan at the same rate, your payment is roughly $1,849 per month. This means you pay your loan off in half the time by paying only $655 extra per month.
How does this help you become a millionaire? Once you pay off your house, you can divert most, if not all, of your mortgage payment toward retirement. Investing the mortgage payment for the remaining 15 years would total $332,820, but is most likely much more than that. Using the average growth of the stock market of 7% per year, this could become $597,672. When you add the $250,000 value of your house you then have a potential net worth of $847,672. This means that over the 30 years you would only have to invest about $1,508 per year in your retirement accounts to end up with over $1,000,000.
In 2013, we refinanced our mortgage from a 30-year to a 15-year mortgage. This leaves a maximum of 118 more payments or 9 years 10 months to begin using that payment toward retirement. We are well on our way toward our first million!
We paid $199.82 on the principal of Dr. SoS’s student loan. Once we pay off the HELOC and save up for some home remodeling projects, we plan to get busy paying down on this loan. Our goal is to pay the balance in the next 10 years so that we will be completely debt free in that time.
As of the first day of February 2019, we have a net worth of $549,932.03 up 1.21% from our net worth of $543,337.21 last month and up 37.09% from our net worth from the first of February 2018 of $401,144.03. Our current net worth puts us in the top 30% at 219/724 bloggers on the Rockstar Finance Directory Net Worth Tracker.
We compile this information each month to keep us accountable and to hopefully inspire others to spend less than they make, save more, and make wise investment choices. If you have any comments or questions, please leave a comment or contact us directly.
Thank you for reading!
Read the BI article about mortgage a couple of days ago. The thing with going for a 15-year mortgage is that the PI payment is often larger than a lot of people can afford, and that IS a problem. For people who can afford, an equivalent, or I dare say a better, approach would be to get a 30-year mortgage but pay it off as a 10-year mortgage. I’ve been meaning to write about this in detail but haven’t got around to it. Have the Google docs all worked out though! Maybe your post will give me the necessary impetus!
The 15-year mortgage payment is definitely a huge monthly payment to make. It is rough even for us. It did not help that we took nearly a 50% family pay cut so that Dr. SoS could go into private practice. We refinanced in 2012 because we could get a lower 3.125% fixed rate, which happens to be the same rate as Dr. SoS’s student loan.
I sometimes wonder knowing what I know now if it would have been better for us to refinance to a 30-year loan and pay extra. Then I think about how living on such a tight budget has really helped us and that, for us, it was a good decision. It is much easier to pay less when you are not required to pay more. Not only that, but I do not see any reason why we would not have our home paid off in the less than 10 years we have remaining on the loan.
As we both begin to make more and more money, the trick will be to keep our expenses low as we funnel more and more money to pay off our debts even faster than planned.
Very impressive on how you were able to increase cash savings while reducing your debt at the same time.
It’s a perfect example of being discipline with your finances.
Thanks Church. I set the budget, but honestly it was Dr. SoS that stuck to it and helped immensely keeping our grocery budget in check. It is definitely a team effort and it helps if you and your spouse or significant other are on the same page!