September 2015 Recap & Net Worth

Hello Internet!

Let’s talk about September. September was a good financial month for many reasons. Some of these reasons were more obvious than others. Some reasons I didn’t even put together in my head until September was over. Let’s get into it.

1. Hubs and I combined finances!

After 2 years of co-habitation and 3 whole years of marriage, Hubs and I finally have a joint checking account and combined finances. For all financial intents and purposes, we are now one. Friday’s paychecks marked the first time we’ve entered a month as a financial unit. To prepare for any implementation hiccups, I am hoarding cash. The actual method we’ve chosen to corral our spending was Hubs idea. As the finance nerd in the family, it was exciting to have him be a key part of the process. I’m looking forward to having 1 account to manage.

2. My student loans have been gone for 6 whole months!

I didn’t realize the significance of the day when September 27 passed. It marked 6 whole months since my last repayment day. I still feel a little lost not working toward such an aggressive goal, but every day it gets better. Happy Half Student Loan Payoff Anniversary to me!

3. Effectively Debt Free!

September marks a glorious occasion! I am effectively debt free! Because my car loan interest rate is 1%, I’ve decided to make the scheduled payment and not attack it. The interest rate is too good. After 6 month of saving, I officially have more in my House Fund than I owe on my car. Hooray! This feels pretty excellent. It’s also pretty cool to think that had I gone after it, my car would have been paid off in under 6 months.

Due to the different in interest rates between my car and my savings account, I’m technically losing .25% on my money today, but over 3 years, I expect it to be a wash. 1% is cheap money and I’m happy to take advantage of that, especially as my goals overlap.

4. A Mental Investment Break Through!

Over the last 2 months, when the market played its game, I’ve thought about how I feel today with my current investments and how I would feel if I had a big nest egg. For two months, I’ve belittled my baby nest egg and been thankful that I don’t have much invested. Then, it dawned on me. I didn’t actually know how much I had invested. I knew my individual accounts, but I’d never aggregated my 401k, Roth, Taxable and the invested part of my HSA. When I did, I realized I had just over $30,000 working for me. Simply knowing that number felt different. That’s a lot of coin!

I’m a newbie and you may be a newbie. Let’s be newbies together and celebrate that we got started. My current road is different than a seasoned investor. Yes, its good to learn how to handle market downturns with a smaller balance, but I (and we) should really stop comparing financial swings to people who’ve been investing for years.

[flashback]

September 2014: I started the month in Scotland (that beautiful country). I had $25,485 in student loans remaining. With this wonderful community’s support, I came out to Hubs as a blogger. I can’t believe I kept this from his for so long. To this day, no one else knows.

September 2013: A whole lot of nothing. I turned 27 and had a law degree with no job to show for it. The dark depression days were starting. It was a bad time. It’s amazing what can change in a year.

September 2015: A New Financial Beginning

September 2015 Net Worth

Assets!

Retirement: $20,248 (+544)  I broke through $20,000!!! I went from $0 in August 2013 to $20,000 just over 2 years later. Those 2 years include 6 months of unemployment and 14 months of debt slaying. My brain tried to be sad about this number because 1 year of maxing a 401k is $18,000 and I’ve lost that space. But no no. It is time to be positive. This is a pretty sweet accomplishment and I need to be proud of it. 

To get over $20k, I capitalized on one of the downturns this month and threw some extra into the market. I have little to show for it now. I’m thankful to walk through these crappy returns while I have a small balance. It’s all training for the balances to come. 

Taxable: $8,485 I presume this is still down. I try not to look because I like the surprise in December. I’m concerned this account will be down overall for the year, even with the dividends. Please don’t let that happen Market! I don’t want to go backwards!

Auto Value: $13,000  Valuing cars is stupid. I’m going to keep this as $13,000 until the end of the year and then I’ll re-calculate. If anything happens to the car between now and then, I’ll also re-calculate. Recalculating, Recalculating. After that, I’ll update it every 6 months.

House Fund: $11,593 (+1,564) A good month for the House Fund and a great month with context. I am hoarding cash in my checking account while Hubs and I get through the finance merger. It’s not a lot of cash, but we were consciously conservative adding money to House Fund this month. I view this as a vault. Once money comes into this account, I don’t want it to leave (unless of course, we buy a house!) I’m happy to accept smaller progress this month.

Round Two Progress: (What is Round Two? check here!)

  • Baby Saver: $2125 
  • Middle Saver: $7953 (Loan value: $5828) ✔
  • Thing 1: $16,453 (Loan value: $8500) >in progress<
    • Yee! $10,593 down, $4,859 to go!
  • Things 2: $24,953 (Loan value: $8500)
  • Big Momma: $45,330 (Loan value: $20,377)

Thought Bubble: I would love to break into working on Thing 2 before the end of the year. How far can I get?

HSA: $4,757 (+155)  There were several doctor visits in September for Hubs…. and dental visits for both of us. I view this little increase as the calm before the storm. I would love to keep this above $4500 for the year. We’ll see how it all hits. 

Car Fund: $175 (+74) I shuffled some money around again. Poor Car Fund. This is where I go to pull money when I want to throw extra into my index funds. I need to stop playing around with this. It’s become a futile account. Leave it alone, Kate. Leave it alone. 

Liabilities!

Student Loan: $0! 6 months with no student loans!! *does a little dance*

Car Loan: $9,848 (-374) Look at that 🙂 Under $10,000. I lost a digit! It’s beautiful 🙂

Overall:

  • Net worth: $48,410. Up $2,711 from last month. 

I wanted to hit $50,000 this month, but that didn’t happen. Had the markets behaved, I could have gotten there and that’s progress enough for me. Pending any disasters, I should cross that line with ease in October.

  • Net worth increase: $125/day

 

How was your September? Tell me, tell me! Did you cross any milestones? Share and we can celebrate!

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13 comments

  1. Woo! Congratulations! What a great month. You’re gonna be buying a house in like two months at this rate.

    I’ve been trying to hit $20K in retirement for like three months now and the dumb markets keep interfering 🙂 But I’ll get there.

    1. 2 months? You crazy? More like 2 years. I don’t feel adult enough to buy a house. I have a feeling that this whole saving to buy a house thing is just going to be me saving and never buying a house lol!

      Now is the perfect time to come just short of a big goal. So long as you are still funneling into the market, you’ll look up and be like “Holy crap! How do I have $25,000 saved in retirement!?” And don’t call the market dumb. They are smart markets, making you more money in the long run. You’ll get there soon!

  2. Nice job with the awesome work in September! And I’m sure your numbers are over $50K now, with last week’s market jump. We’re almost even with our July peak (though that’s not counting the money we’ve put in since then, which is not nothing). But we’re just happy to see movement in the right direction.

    I think it’s great that you’re trying not to compare yourself to “seasoned investors” (not that I’d describe us that way, but we have worked hard for years to build up our accounts). At the same time, don’t belittle what you’re doing. You’re definitely on the way fast track compared to most people, and your net worth number is no joke. It’s pretty incredible how much you’ve paid off and saved in the past couple years, and I’m sure surpasses some of our saving years.

    On the combined finances Q, what do you think ultimately held you back from combining them? And then what made you take the leap? We’re writing a post about finances in marriage, and of course there are about as many ways to think about finances in marriage as there are marriages! (Though, as the Mr. says, the idea of truly separate finances is an illusion unless you have a prenup, as any divorce attorney knows!) 😉

    You didn’t talk about this here, but you’ve mentioned your side hustle several times on Twitter. So of course I’m super curious. I’d love to know whatever you’re comfortable sharing!

    1. Yay for being back near your July peak! That’s awesome. My vanguard account has rebound nicely. It went from 0 gains back to reasonable gains!

      Not belittling. I’m pretty proud of my numbers, especially taking into account where I was 2 years ago. Just trying to find my place with all the chatter. Most of the voices around me have big accounts (you and my internet peeps) or have very little invested or don’t know what they are talking about (real world peeps).

      As for finances, we’ve always viewed our money as our money, but day to day it was a disaster. I write something up with a flow chart because OMG it was nuts.

  3. Well done! And congrats on 6 months! I have no doubt that Thing 1 will be complete and you will be targeting Thing 2 in no time!
    Combining finances has been a slow process for my husband and I, so I can totally relate. We consider everything to be “ours” but it is still mostly located in separate accounts. Did you just take everything and put it together?

    1. Thanks! Time has sure flown by. Thing 2 is my target. I will get you my pretty!

      Glad to hear we aren’t the only couple facing hiccups combining finances. I’m going to write something up with more details about the transition. 🙂

  4. What an incredible September! Seriously…look how far you’ve come just in the past couple years, you are doing awesome! It’s great to hear about your combined finances with your hubs. That’s the next big step for my fiancé & I! Currently, we collectively save for the same goals but in separate accounts. We then combine them to one account of ours to complete the goal. It works for now, but it’s pretty counter productive lol. Keep up the amazing progress! 🙂

    1. Thanks Alyssa! I’m glad I started adding the flashbacks. 2 years ago was a really bad time and it puts today’s goodness in perspective as really super great.
      I’m a fan of not combining until you are actually married. It sounds like your current set up is working well for that. Don’t deny the awesomeness of a good money shuffle 🙂

  5. September was decent for us in terms of debt repayment..October proving to be better 🙂 I’m optimistic that by the summer our net worth will finally be in the positive!

  6. Happy Half Student Loan Payoff Anniversary to you! What you’ve managed to accomplish with your finances in just two short years is pretty remarkable to me. Keep up the the great work!

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