Net worth progression from December 2017 to January 2019

Once a month I share a financial update.

Related: Net Worth Update #9 - December 2018

I do this as it’s motivational to see the progress other bloggers are making on their financial goals and, hopefully, to provide some motivation for others as well.

I shared my first net worth update back in April 2018 and have been sharing monthly updates since.

Income & Expenses

Income

My 9-5 job income listed below is the sum of my post-tax salary plus my 401k and HSA contributions. Any side hustle income is pre-tax since it’s hard to calculate what I’ll end up paying on this until tax season.

9-5 Job Income
Software Engineer$8,016
Side Hustle Income
Medium$129
Total Monthly Income$8,145

Expenses

ExpenseAmount
Car down payment$2,000
Rent$865
Groceries$238
Miscellaneous$108
Car Insurance$60
Internet$20
Total$3,291

Based on the above, I saved about 60% of my total income during January –– lower than usual and lower than I’d like, but not too bad.

Net Worth

Here is a summary of my account balances as of February 3, 2019:

Cash Reserves
Savings Account$11,130   (+$19)
Checking Account$3,878     (+$3,678)
Total Cash Reserves$15,008   (+$3,697)
  
Tax Advantaged Accounts
401k$32,860  (+$4,363)
HSA$2,792    (+$483)
Roth IRA$5,182    (+$363)
Total Tax Advantaged$40,834  (+$5,209)
  
Non-Tax Advantaged Accounts
VTSAX$56,511  (+$3,958)
Brokerage Account$3,252    (+$102)
Total Non-Tax Advantaged$59,763  (+$4,060)
  
Net Worth$115,605   (+$12,966)

Here’s a look at my net worth progression since I started tracking it back in December of 2017:

Net worth progression from December 2017 to January 2019

Recap

From December to January my net worth increased by $12,966, an increase of almost 13% since last month.

Much of this increase was due to the stock market rebounding after a bad December:

Chart showing stock price of VTSAX during January 2019

Most of my money is tied up in stock index funds (VTSAX) tracking the market, so as the market shot up so did my net worth.

Aside from having a massive Suburban run a stop sign, crashing into the driver side door where Sammy sat driving and totaling our Ford Fiesta (aka Toothless), January was a fairly typical month. Rent, groceries, internet, and an unwelcome $2,000 spent on a new (new to us, but previously used) Kia Soul.

The accident was a first for both of us. It’s a bit of a surreal experience. A second or two before the crash you see the car out of your periphery getting closer and closer. But until the last millisecond it feels like you’ll somehow escape. The car hits you, the airbags deploy, and the car stops. It’s over in a flash. Then you’re looking around wondering what happened and what comes next.

Sammy’s screaming. One scream follows the next in quick succession. She’s shaking. She has a bump on her nose. I’m completely fine. I tell her it’s okay, try to calm her down. We both get out through my door because the bumper of the Suburban is blocking hers. Her window is gone and there’s shattered glass all over.

I hug her and kiss her forehead, her cheeks, feeling self-conscious as I do. It feels like I’m in a movie, playing a role. It’s gonna be fine, don’t worry, it’s all gonna be fine. I’m so sorry, she keeps repeating, I’ll pay for it, I’m so sorry.

Our totaled Ford Fiesta after getting t-boned

I call my dad because I’m only semi-successfully playing at being an adult and he always knows what do. I walk around to the front of the car to take a look at the impact and as I do a lady walks up to me and says, “Call the police and move your car out of the street. That’s what the police are going to tell you to do.”

She’s more of a nosy, old lady than the sweet grandmother type. I nod at her as if I cared what she was saying. The car’s totaled lady, it’s undrivable, go back to your grandchild on the sidewalk and mind your own business.

The firefighters come and drag poor Toothless to the curb. They take Sammy’s heart rate and blood pressure and tell her she’s cool as a cucumber. She’s still shaking, but somehow her heart rate and blood pressure are calm and collected.

A policeman arrives and takes our statements. It’s an open and shut case, he says, seeing as the Suburban ran the stop sign. I call my insurance and decide to pay our $500 deductible to get the car fixed instead of dealing with the other driver’s insurance. We just want to put the crash behind us.

In the afternoon the other driver’s insurance calls me and tells me they’ve accepted liability and will be taking care of the costs. Their assessor comes out and decides our car is not worth fixing. To the junkyard you go Toothless.

My dad’s main piece of advice is to try and put the incident behind us as soon as possible. These types of things will eat you from the inside if you let them fester, he says.

The weekend after the accident we go car shopping. Sammy wants a bigger car. She wants to be higher off the ground. If we hadn’t gotten into the accident we’d still be driving the Fiesta, I tell her, plenty of people have smaller cars. I know, she says, and gets quiet. I understand where she’s coming from –– I just don’t want to spend more money. I never liked driving in the first place and I like it even less now.

In front of the CarMax we went to visit is a Kia dealership. We stop in to take a look and Sammy likes the Soul. It’s higher off the ground and has great safety ratings. It’s a few thousand dollars more than I wanted to pay. By 9 pm I’m driving home the Soul, Sammy following behind me in the rental car. She’s happy with the Soul, feels safe.

So that’s where we’re at now, closing the last few loose ends, getting over the pique of anxiety, leaving the whole episode in the rearview mirror.

In other news, the precipitous decline of my monthly Medium payout continued due to my continued lack of activity. I do plan to post more in 2019, but work and some side projects currently have me busy.

Where Did My Money Go?

Due to the car payment, I didn’t make any investments between my last update and now.

With the start of the new year I resumed my 401k contributions, adding $1,733 and making the first dent towards the $19,000 limit for 2019.

Where I’m Headed

We started 2019 with a bang. Hopefully, the rest of the year holds no more unpleasantness (I know, I know…)

Taking the time to reflect, though, I’m grateful for Sammy, for my family, and for my close friends. I’m grateful to be in a fairly financially secure position and I’m grateful things turned out about as well as they could have following the crash.

As far as net worth goes, with some help from the stock market, I should have the $200k mark within sight by the end of 2019.

Regardless, the plan remains the same: keep a high savings rate, plug all I can into VTSAX, and continue to chip away at the 401k limit.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or comments, you can reach me at ziadig@gmail.com.