Net Worth Review: May 2009

May was a pretty good month. Here is the overview. See below for a brief discussion on each area:

Property –I use a combination of Zillow and CyberHomes. I make a small adjustment based on what I’m seeing things sell for, and I remove 7.75% for expected selling costs. For the month, the value continued the downward trend. You can see that it fell 2.4% for the month, and has fallen 13.2% over the last year.
Autos – The value of our two cars has held pretty steady the last couple of months as the used car market has heated up.
Investment Accounts – We had a good month, going up slightly under 9%. Still for the last 12 months, our investment account balance is down 38.84%
Cash Accounts – We slightly raised our balance for the month, but have bolstered up our cash over the last year, just to make sure we’re covered after my wife quit her job in anticipation of our baby.
Retirement Accounts – Our retirement account went up almost 9%. The total value is down roughly 19% over the past year. This would have been more, but my employer matched a good portion of my retirement contributions. Unfortunately, that is coming to an end starting this month as they’ve discontinued the match.
Mortgage – Nothing special, just the monthly payment. Our mortgage is a 30-year loan at 5.875%
Car Loans – We paid off our car just under a year ago and we have no outstanding car loans!
Credit Cards – This is the balance that’s accrued since the last statement. We pay our credit cards off every month. We’ve charged more than normal this month as we had some stuff to finish off for the arrival of the baby. We have cash earmarked to make that payment which will keep our monthly budget in line.
Student Loan 1 – This is the loan that had a higher balance and a higher interest rate. After paying the car loan off, we concentrated our debt payment on this loan. We’ve paid 57% of the balance from a year ago. The pace slowed now that my wife isn’t bringing home a paycheck.
Student Loan 2 – This is the second loan but it is at a very low interest rate. We make the minimum payments on this loan. After Student Loan 1 is paid off, we’ll have to decide whether to snowball the payments toward this loan, or switch to something else (such as the mortgage, investing, or adding even more to our retirement)
Overall, our net worth went up a modest 3% for the month, and is down 31% from a year ago. However, I also calculate this without the effect of our property. The reason for this is because I feel that gives a more accurate reading of how we’re doing in the short term. Plus, real estate is the thing that’s the most out of our control. With that calculation, we had a nice month with a 7.5% gain, but still down 13.5% for the last twelve months.
I think it was a good month. I’m extremely happy with how we’re transitioning into a single-paycheck household. Although the debt payment will slow now that we’re down to the single income, I still think we have made great strides and feel confident with where we’re at.

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Net Worth Review: April 2009

Another month, another check of the net worth. I’m going to break it down a little differently this month, into the four major categories that I track.

Overall, we had a positive month. There was a bit of a damper because of falling property values.

Here’s a breakdown of our major categories:


  • I use a combination of Cyberhomes, Zillow, and recent sales to estimate the value of our home. I also take out estimated costs that it would cost to sell our house (e.g. real estate commission) which I believe gives me a true picture of what we’d walk away with in the event we sold our house.
  • Cyberhomes dropped it over 10% this month, so we saw a significant drop. With the recent sales, it is probably pretty close to reality, but it still stings.
  • I normally would report a percentage change, but at the moment we’re hovering around even, so this would be pretty meaningless. Suffice it to say, it isn’t reporting well.


  • I know some people don’t consider autos as part of their net worth but I do. I take the Kelly Blue Book value of the car, adjust it based on ‘for sale’ of similar cars, and subtract out any auto loans.
  • We have no auto loans, and the KBB value actually went up slightly for both cars (showing the escalating demand in the new car value).
  • Overall our net worth on autos went up 2% for the month

Current Assets

  • This is where I track all liquid assets such as bank accounts, non-retirement brokerage accounts, money markets. I also track against that any non-mortgage or auto debt. In our case, this consists of student loan debt and whatever balances we have on our credit cards since last paying them off at the beginning of the month.
  • The stock market did very well, leading the charge for a 28.5% increase in this category.


  • This consists of all vested 401(k) balances and Roth IRA balances
  • Again the stock market led the way, and this category went up 16.5% for the month.


  • Assets went up 1.4%
  • Debt went down 0.26%. This was our smallest reduction in many months. But, with my wife leaving her job, we added some additional cash on hand versus making some extra debt payments. Also, the debt payments will slow down quite a bit, since we had been using a good portion of her salary to make extra debt payments.
  • Overall net worth (including property) went up 5.3% for the month. Overall it’s up 6.2% for the year.
  • Overall net worth (excluding property) went up 16.5% for the month. I mention this because it shows what a drag property was. Overall, this is up 23.3% for the year.

Goals for the month:

  • Adjust to a full month without a second income
  • Purchase most everything left to buy for the baby
  • Make Mrs. Beagle relax more to get ready for next month, when the baby is due!
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Checking Back In With A Net Worth Update

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I apologize for the delay. But, I’m happy to report that the project I’ve been working on at work has gone very well. I can’t share too many details because of confidentiality agreemens, but I’ll just leave it that it’s been one of the most gratifying projects I’ve worked on in my career, and I’m proud to have been on such a great project.

Anyways, now that we’re back I’ll share the net worth update for March 2009.

As you remember, February was pretty brutal month in the stock market, and therefore the net worth update was what I had expected: Not good.

Overall, our assets dropped 2.33% in value, but on the plus side, the debt we carry dropped by 0.81%. This was thanks largely in part to an ‘early’ income tax refund that a good portion of which was applied to debt.

What happened was that after I changed my filing status from single to married, I started getting a lot more take home pay. I took that and stuck it in an earmark of our savings account titled ‘2008 Tax Refund’. Now that I’m reasonably sure that our actual tax preperation will give us a refund, I simply took that money and applied it as if we’d gotten a full check from the government.

When we get our real check, we’ll have a bit more to apply to debt as well.

But, anyways, overall our net worth fell 5.0% for the month. Not good but given the free fall that took place in the stock market, I’m not too worried and think we’re headed on the right track, especially given the fact that we’ll soon be losing my wife’s income since tomorrow is her last day!

More on that as we continue to resume regular posting!!!!!

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Net Worth Update – February 2009

The numbers came in for the last month and unfortunately, we weren’t able to keep up the momentum that we had built last month, where we gained almost 10%. Oh, well. I guess in this market, we’re going to expect some ups and downs. Probably a lot more downs than ups until things get better in the economy.
Anyways, our numbers look like this:

  • Assets fell 1.0% in value. The biggest reason for this was that our home value reported further falls, and a down stock market. It actually could have been worse (see below)
  • Debt fell 0.49% for the month. We did pretty good here, and I’m proud to say that we’ve knocked off over $20,000 in debt from February 2008.
  • Overall, our net worth slipped by about 2.3%.

It doesn’t look that bad, but it really should have been worse. We got a significant boost by the fact that I became vested in my company 401(k) matches.
I was officially hired in by my company in May 2007. They are quite generous with their 401(k) match, as they match 100% up to the first 6% of salary. However, the vesting schedule was as follows:

  • You are 40% vested after two years of service
  • You add 20% more after year three, four and five, at which point you’re 100% vested.

By that math, I shouldn’t have been at all vested until this May, and not fully vested until 2012. So, did I somehow invent time travel? No. Did I find a way to interrupt the space-time continuum? No.
Unfortunately, it was nothing so glamerous.
In addition the schedule above, there was a stipulation that if the division I worked for was sold, that full vesting takes place. Well, last year my company ownership transferred, so we became fully vested at once.
So, I had previously held off reporting the non-vested portion of my 401(k) plan, but now I added it in. This is a nice one-time boost, and it will also help moving forward, as all future contributions (up to 6%) will be matched and vested.

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