Net Worth Review: June 2009

June was another positive month for our net worth. That’s three months in a row that we’ve seen an increase, which is the first time we’ve seen three consecutive monthly gains since a four month stretch between November 2006 – February 2007!

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 stabilized, which is a rarity, actually going up a small fraction. I’m not sure how long that will continue, given that Michigan will most likely see further battering with the GM bankruptcy, but we’re not going anywhere, so no big deal here.
Autos – The value of our two cars has held pretty steady the last couple of months as the used car market has heated up. We saw a modest decline, but nothing unexpected.
Investment Accounts – We had a good month, going up slightly above 5%. Still for the last 12 months, our investment account balance is down over 35%. Still, I feel like we’re hopefully in a good re-building mode that can continue the positive strides made.
Cash Accounts – We continued to slightly add to our cash accounts raising another 2.66% for the month.
Retirement Accounts – Our retirement account went up 7.6% for the month. The total value is down roughly 14.5% over the past year. My employer stopped matching, but we’re still contributing 10% of my salary at this time. Unfortunately, we’re not maxing out our retirement, but I still feel like we’re moving in the right direction.
DEBT:
Mortgage – Nothing special, just the monthly payment. Our mortgage is a 30-year loan at 5.875%
Car Loans – We paid off our car 11 months 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 have a little lower balance than last month but still quite a bit higher than usual (as evidenced by the increase from 12 months ago) simply because of the added costs of our newborn.
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 60% of the balance from a year ago, which just thrills me to pieces! We got a decent chunk down this past month as a portion of our federal tax return went to paying it down.
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 8.2% for the month, and is down 24.8% from a year ago.
I think it was a good month. I’m still extremely happy with how we’ve transitioned into a single-paycheck household. Our next challenge will be to add the month-to-month costs of a newborn into our budget.
I think we’ve made some great strides and am keeping my fingers crossed that we continue to positive momentum built over the last several months.

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Net Worth Review: May 2009

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

ASSETS:
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.
DEBT:
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:

Property

  • 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.

Autos

  • 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.

Retirement

  • 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.

Overall

  • 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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