The Ghost of Novembers Past
This blog is late! So late that I actually wanted to scrap it and just do a December update that included November. But I decided that would be a huge cop-out and not the way I wanted to end the year.
November was a volatile month for the stock market. It was the rollercoaster ride that made me sick when I got off. At the start of the month, my accounts were at all-time highs. By the end of the month, all of those gains were gone. I was feeling a little down because I wanted to finish the year strong. Then a funny thing happened. While doing the monthly spreadsheet update, I decided to go back in time (thanks, Excel) and see where my net worth stood last November and all the Novembers that I have recorded. Needless to say, my “net worth blues” were cured.
In this blog, I’ll be visiting with the ghosts of my net worth pasts. I hope you enjoy.
Where were you this time last year, financially speaking? There are several ways to measure your financial progress: Net worth, income, debt reduction and a bunch more. At any point in time you might be focused on one of these measures or all of them at once. Personally, I wasn’t very concerned with my net worth while I was digging out of debt. But once I was out of debt, my focus quickly shifted to my net worth and income.
Today, my net worth remains my primary focus, with passive income being a close second and I don’t see this changing for another four-five years at which time my focus will probably shift to paying off my mortgage (I currently pay a little extra every month). So what did my net worth look like in 2017?
November 2017 Net Worth: $31,928
Wow! Looking at that number brings it all back. I wasn’t making a lot of money but I was doing better than ever financially. My credit card debt was down dramatically. I only had one card with a balance of $6,998 left to pay off. I was also under contract for the home I now live in. November 2017 was a great year because I had paid off three of my four credit cards, I was buying my home that I absolutely love. I managed to save my down payment and closing costs all while slowly and consistently growing my net worth.
November 2018 Net Worth: $59,912
Amazing what a year can do. All of my lingering credit card debt was gone by 2018. Revolving debt was officially a thing of the past for me. And I was nesting. I spent the year buying furniture and all the items that make a house a home. However, I was seriously focused on building my emergency fund. Buying a home brought several new expenses and potential emergency repairs that I didn’t want to worry about. I decided a six-month emergency fund wouldn’t be enough and I implemented an automated savings plan to help me reach my one-year emergency fund goal over the next three years. With my debt gone, 2018 was all about the emergency fund. My net worth would benefit from this cash cushion but it wasn’t my main focus.
November 2019 Net Worth: $97,033
With my net worth just under $100K, I was beginning to see the possibilities. I was sitting on an eight-month emergency fund that was growing automatically and my dividend income was showing it had the potential to be significant if I made a little effort. For the first time, growing my net worth and my passive income were a priority. But I needed to increase my income. This year was all about growing my income so that I could save and invest more.
November 2020 Net Worth: $156,313
I had increased my income significantly and was putting more than ever into equities. I continued to invest during the pandemic/crash and was rewarded with big gains by the end of the year. I was also starting to see the effects of compounding in action. I was on pace to add another $100K to my portfolio in half the time it took me to reach the first. My plan was to rinse and repeat all the way to $200K.
Okay, time for the November 2021 net worth update:
While I’m not where I hoped to be, looking back has made me grateful that I’m not where I was last November. I didn’t do a great job putting money into the market this year, but hopefully that won’t be a problem in 2022 because I’ve automated the monthly purchase of VTSAX (Vanguard total market mutual fund) so that I’m consistently buying into the market no matter how busy or reluctant I am to do so. What financial changes are you looking to make in preparation for a better New Year?
Checking $ 500.00 (no change)
Savings $ 6,200.00 (+$47)
Business $ 36,020.00 (+$1,574)
MM/E Fund $ 34,752.00 (+$751)
Taxable Investment Accounts
Ally Brokerage $ 44,467.00 (+$250)
Investing MM $ 100.00 (+$100)
Vanguard $ 6,361.00 (+$283)
Acorns $ 2,935.00 (+$60)
SEP IRA $18,785.00 (+268)
Bonds $ 22,921.00 (+$516)
Traditional IRA $ 53,861.00 (+$527)
Liabilities: Credit Cards: $0.00
- Credit Card: I did very little spending in November but that will change in December when I take my car in for maintenance.
- Checking: I finally submitted two invoices that I’d been sitting on since October. Payment from those will be a nice addition.
- Savings (P to P): I used this account to buy a few of stock and I managed to pay myself back with my last paycheck of the month.
- Traditional IRA: I added Microsoft (MFST) to this account
- Business Account: Finally made a dent in this account with the purchase of VTSAX.
- The E/Fund: This account continues to grow undisturbed. I hope we get an interest rate hike soon!
- Ally (taxable) Brokerage: The market has really pulled this account down. Perhaps I’ll reach $50K early next year.
Remember, it is a fight to build wealth no matter where you are in the process. Everything around us conspires to take money out of our hands. But you must fight the good fight. Continue to save, invest, and grow your net worth even when it seems impossible. Save your pennies (copper) until they become dollars (cotton).