How We are Growing Our Net Worth – February 2019

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Every month we publish an update to our net worth. These monthly updates help us keep track of our assets such as investments, cash, and even the value of our home. It also helps us track how we are paying down our debt every month … which is are known as liabilities.

This past month (February 2019) was another positive month for growing our overall net worth. We gained 2.4% last month compared to January 2019.

Looking back at the past 4 years (since we started keeping track of our net worth), I can say that most months (probably 80%) we see increases. Every once in a while we will have some declines … which is healthy.

Tracking and growing our net worth is also part of our financial independence (FI) plan.

Our goal to reach FI will depend somewhat on the gap between our assets and liabilities. To make it easiest to understand … we are working to lower our liabilities to $0 while growing our assets as much as possible.

How Did We Grow Our Net Worth in February 2019

Here is our latest monthly net worth update.

How We Track Our Net Worth

Before we move on to reviewing our February net worth numbers, I would like to mention how we are using our Personal Capital account to do most of the work.

We are tracking our net worth through this free account. This tool has made it possible for us to easily track our net worth at a moments notice.

Personal Capital

I highly recommend checking out Personal Capital and setting up a free account. It is the best tool available to help track your net worth and can even help with your spending.

So how did we do this February?

February 2019 Net Worth

As of February 28th, 2019 – our net worth is $661,814.

Overall, that is another healthy increase of over $15,000 in net worth just in the last month.

We are now only about $4,000 off from our all time net worth high back in September 2018. Another solid month in the market and/or continued debt payoff and we should soon set a new record.

Our net worth in February 2019 increased by compared to January.

January 2019 Net Worth = $646,043
February 2019 Net Worth = $661,814

Net Worth Change = +$15,771

A high level breakdown of our assets and liabilities are detailed below.

Assets

In every net worth report, we include 3 main asset categories – investments, cash, and home value.

Note – We currently do not count our automobiles as an asset and they are only found in the liability section of our reports.

Below you will find a breakdown of each category for last months checkup.

Investments

Our investment category includes a dividend income portfolio, 529 plans for the kids, 457 account, emergency fund accounts, IRA accounts, Roth accounts, and any other retirement account we have opened, etc.

We have been building these assets for the past 10 to 15 years (depending on the account).

These equity investments are currently (and likely will always be) our highest valued asset.

During February, we saw yet another healthy increase of over $15,000 in our investment portfolio. This is a result of better market condition … which has been fluctuating a lot the past couple of months.

January 2019 Investments = $490,949
February 2019 Investments = $506,570

Investment Change = +$15,621

Overall, our investments grew by 3.2% in February compared to the prior month.

Cash

Our current cash balance includes all of our checking and savings accounts.

We don’t usually carry a high cash balance and like to move it into the stock market to purchase income producing assets. However, it is also important to have some cash on hand in order to cover unexpected expenses.

January 2019 – Cash = $2,881
February 2019 – Cash = $3,303

Cash Change = +$422

Overall our cash increased by just over $400. Not really anything exciting to talk about here!

Note – When it comes to cash … I find it a very inefficient way to build wealth. That is why we put it to good use either paying down debt or investing it whenever we can … even in a bad stock market!

Home Value

Reporting home value in our net worth reports is good and bad.

For example, we use Zillow to estimate our home value. This is simply an estimate at best and may not represent the actual value we could sell our home for.

That is the bad part of reporting it on our net worth.

On the other hand, it is such a huge asset that not reporting it would skew our net worth results.

We currently owe about 50% (maybe a little more) of the value of the home. That is a significant part of our overall net worth in my opinion.

The estimated value of our home decreased very slightly this past month compared to January.

January 2019 – Home Value (est) = $342,099
February 2019 – Home Value (est) = $342,085

Home Value Change = ($14)

Just like with the stock market, our estimated home value has been jumping back and forth over the past couple of months.

I have recently been considering changing how we estimate our home value. Instead of taking all our info directly from Zillow, I am considering taking the average of several resources. I think Zillow has overvalued our home … by a lot.

You will likely see a decent drop over the next year when I figure out a better way to estimate the value of our home.

Total Assets

Our biggest asset class (investments) saw a hefty increase last month. Our cash balance grew slightly and our home value dropped by less than $20.

Overall our total assets increased slightly by 1.92% since last reporting … which is encouraging.

January 2019 – Total Assets = $835,929
February 2019 – Total Assets = $851,958

Total Asset Change = +$16,029

Liabilities

There are 3 main liability categories that we will report on.

The first and largest is our mortgage balance. Then we have our credit card balances … which is how we pay for almost every purchase we make.

The last category is our car loan(s). We plan to have one of our vehicles paid off completely by this summer. The other vehicle is a 0% interest rate loan … so we are in no rush to pay extra on that one.

Here is a high level breakdown of each liability category.

Mortgage Balance

We have a 30 year mortgage on our home with an interest rate of 4.375%.

If we were to continue paying the minimum monthly amount … our home would be paid off in about 20 years or so. But that isn’t necessarily our plan.

Eventually we will likely downsize into a much smaller home in order to reduce our housing expenses … which currently makes up 37% of our monthly spending.

If we could go back about 10 years, my wife and I would have purchased a much smaller home. We made a mistake and bought a home that was way too big.

We could have lived comfortably with a 1,000 less square foot than what we have now. That move alone would have saved us thousands and thousands of dollars every year.

And we would have purchased a home closer to my work … to help save on transportation costs.

But while we are still living in our home, we continue to lower our mortgage balance every time we make a payment.

January 2019 – Mortgage Balance = ($172,330)
February 2019 – Mortgage Balance = ($171,859)

Mortgage Balance Change = +$471

Each month we make a mortgage payment, our principal drops by a little bit more each month. This past month we got a boost by adding another $21 to our payment.

Car Loan(s)

We currently have two car loans.

One of these loans is for our “family vehicle” (a van). This loan has a very low 1.56% interest rate and we are now less than 5 months from having it completely paid off.

This liability is referred to as “Car Loan #1”.

The second car loan (referred to as “Car Loan #2”) currently has about 4 years until it is fully paid off.

The big difference here is that this second car loan has a 0% interest rate … so we are not in a huge rush to get it paid down. Although I wouldn’t mind getting this debt off our books for piece of mind sometime in the future.

During February … we saw another nice drop in debt on both car loans. We expect to have car loan #1 paid off by this July (2019) at the latest.

January 2019 – Car Loan #1 = ($2,115)
February 2019 – Car Loan #1 = ($1,767)

January 2019 – Car Loan #2 = ($11,806)
February 2019 – Car Loan #2 = ($11,560)

Total Car Loan(s) Change = +$594

Overall, we were able to increase our net worth by almost $600!

That $600+ counts just as much towards growing our net worth as does a $600 increase in our investments.

Credit Card Balance

Basically all of the spending we do is done through travel rewards credit cards. The only exceptions are paying our mortgage, car payments, and our electrical bill.

One important thing to keep in mind is that we never let our credit card payments slip past their due date. Paying interest or late fee’s is a complete waste of assets.

During February, we saw a $1,000+ in our month to month credit card balances. What was the reason for the bump? Our homeowners insurance was due in February … which was just over $1,000.

January 2019 – Credit Card Balance(s) = ($3,635)
February 2019 – Credit Card Balance(s) = ($4,958)

Credit Card Balance Change = ($1,323)

Note – The balances shown above are at a point in time and don’t reflect the amount we spend in a month.

Total Liabilities

Since last reporting – our mortgage balance dropped, both auto loans dropped, and our credit card balances increased. This is just as important as growing our assets when it comes to building net worth.

Collectively our total liabilities decreased by only 258, which isn’t so bad considering the homeowners insurance expense.

January 2019 – Total Liabilities = ($189,886)
February 2019 – Total Liabilities = ($190,144)

Total Liabilities Change = ($258)

When it comes to growing your net worth … decreasing your liabilities has the same impact as increasing your assets.

I look forward to paying off our auto debt so we can then use that extra cash to save. Then maybe we will focus on paying down more of our mortgage? That is a guaranteed 4.375% return on our money based on our current mortgage rate.

Net Worth Summary

We plan to keep these net worth posts updated every month.

Not only does it keep us accountable in how we save, earn, and invest … it is great motivation when you see growth like we have over the past 3 to 4 years.

For example, our first ever net worth report was posted back in March 2015 … which was 3+ years ago. We reported a net worth of $434,984 back then.

Now we are over $660,000+ in new worth … which is a sizable increase in almost 4 years. We also realize the huge gains in the stock market have helped us grow our net worth.

Do you track your net worth? How did your February net worth totals turn out? What steps are you taking to widen the gap between your assets and liabilities?

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