April 2015 Net Worth Update (+$16,009)




Highlights for April

  • We have earned approx $3,400 (in gift cards, points, and miles) through credit card signup bonuses in the part year. We are actively working on 2 additional bonuses including the Delta Amex Card for 50,000 Skymiles & Barclay Travel Plus Card for $400 in travel credit.
  • Our properties are listed on our balance sheet based on their cost basis, not current market value. We have done this during the the real estate market highs and lows. I believe real estate is too illiquid to list based on recent sale transactions.
  • April's focus has been on the rentals as 2 of our tenants have indicating they are not renewing this year. The good news is looking at the rental market we are bumping the rent on each of these properties by $100+/mo which will certainly help with cash flow. However the time required to re-rent these houses w/ my work & family commitments is a challenge. I am seriously considering if I need a property manager going forward especially if work demands continue at this pace.
  • Our investment portfolio did well this month compared to our benchmark. Our gains were partially driven by some recovery in the oil industry including our recent ETF investment (USO).
  • I discovered when creating this report, that BB&T has not processed our recent mortgage prepayments correctly and applied them to our monthly mortgage payment. I'll have to dig into this, net is this has increased our cash further short term since we didn't have our mortgage payment deducted.

  • Financial Freedom Plan - 2015 Update

    I finally sat down to get an updated view of our progress towards our financial freedom plan that I laid out a few years go in terms of asset allocation.

    Some notes:

    • Our asset allocation to fixed income (interest) will continue to be a gap for us while government drive the low interest rate environment. No sense in putting assets to work here as generally the return is not worth the risk in my opinion. If interest rates normalize well likely shift focus to here.
    • Our invest-able cash flow focus has been on paying down the rental mortgages over the past couple years, but that has not kept pace with the growth of our retirement assets.

    No major course corrections for now. We will continue to pay down rental mortgages to boost cash flow, build cash savings, and continue to take advantage of tax incentives to save in retirement vehicles.


    March 2015 Net Worth Update (+$5,216)




    Highlights for March

    • We have earned approx $3,000 (in gift cards, points, and miles) through credit card signup bonuses in the part year. The last one I did in January and Im actively looking for some additional bonus opportunities.
    • Our properties are listed on our balance sheet based on their cost basis, not current market value. We have done this during the the real estate market highs and lows. I believe real estate is too illiquid to list based on recent sale transactions.
    • We booked a beach condo rental @ Myrtle Beach for $950 for a week in June. We normally try to take a beach vacation in September when rates are cheaper but are planning a discounted cruise for October. I still wanted to take another vacation as I need more opportunity to disconnect from work and we've opted to take in June to spread out our vacations.
    • We took 5 days in March to take our kids to visit Washington, DC. It was a nice little vacation - we used hotel points to cover the lodging and we packed lunches for our touring during the day. We spent less than $300 on the trip mainly on transportation and dinners.
    • Our spending in March continues to run a bit higher as I just haven't had the time that historically I spend trying to manage our monthly budget. At some point I will want to rein things in, but for now we are still making progress and I'm allocating my limited time elsewhere.
    • We've spent about $1,200 in March on healthcare costs and expect another $2,800+ to hit our balance sheet in April or May.
    • Otherwise it was a pretty quiet month in terms of net worth change. We did make an ETF investment (USO) with some of our cash, and continue to accelerate paydown of some of our rental mortgages with the highest interest rates (5% fixed, 4.25% variable).


    • February 2015 Net Worth Update (+$44,489)




      Highlights for February

      • We have earned approx $3,000 (in gift cards, points, and miles) through 6 credit card signup bonuses last year. Our credit scores are still hovering around 800, but since we have no plans to utilize our credit for other financing anytime soon, we are making a little money off our credit scores by taking advantage of these promotional opportunities.We are not spending extra, but focusing our spending on these new cards to earn the bonuses.
      • Our properties are listed on our balance sheet based on their cost basis, not current market value. We have done this during the the real estate market highs and lows. I believe real estate is too illiquid to list based on recent sale transactions.
      • We booked a Norwegian 7 day Caribbean cruise for $1,371 for the 4 of us sharing 1 cabin. I'm excited we have some travel on the calendar to look forward to.
      • Things continue to be very hectic work. I had hoped things would normalize a bit, but I guess Im getting use to the new norm. I spent about half of February overseas. While I use to enjoy traveling for work, my demanding schedule limits my ability to explore and our family expenses actually go up while I'm away as my wife tries to manage caring for 2 young kids while I'm away. March is looking to provide a little relief.
      • We paid $1,100 in February for our annual car insurance premiums.
      • In 2015 we opted for our employer's High Deductible Health Care Plan. After running the numbers we decided this was a gamble we would try out this year as we determined this could infact save us money on healthcare depending on our expenses. I have a chronic health condition (diabetes) that requires high cost maintenance medications and supplies and up to now have usually relied on the highest cost insurance plan (ie HMO) to provide more predictable expense planning. Our new plan has a $3,000/pp deductible that I will consume in February & March for my health care expenses. In February I spent about $700 on DR visits & prescriptions. March looks to be significantly more ~$4,000.

      • January 2015 Net Worth Update (-$20,867)




        Highlights for January

        • We have earned approx $3,000 (in gift cards, points, and miles) through 6 credit card signup bonuses last year. Our credit scores are still hovering around 800, but since we have no plans to utilize our credit for other financing anytime soon, we are making a little money off our credit scores by taking advantage of these promotional opportunities.We are not spending extra, but focusing our spending on these new cards to earn the bonuses.
        • Our properties are listed on our balance sheet based on their cost basis, not current market value. We have done this during the the real estate market highs and lows. I believe real estate is too illiquid to list based on recent sale transactions.
        • Our expenses were up significantly in January namely due to Christmas spending overhang. A large portion of this was ~$1,600 in giftcards (with promotional discounts) we purchased for ourselves since we knew we would use them in the next several months. The biggest spend was the 10% of Target giftcards during Black Friday since we do the majority of our food shopping @ SuperTarget.
        • We filed an homeowner's insurance claim late last year for hail damage to our roof. In January we had a new roof put on and paid $500 out of pocket to the contractor for a ~$8,600 roof.
        • I was on business trips for approximately half of January. Our family expenses are now ticking up when I'm traveling more whereas previously we were saving a bit of money. This primarily due to my wife having to take care of 2 young kids on her own with less help. I also had about $500 in reimbursed travel expense in Jan that under my new employer take a bit longer to get reimbursed than before (approx 1.5 months vs 2 weeks).
        • I made an additional investment of ~$2,100 in Genworth which contributed to our cash reduction but otherwise was a quiet investment month. I haven't spent enough time recently on keeping up with our overall finances (including our investments) and its beginning to show.
        • Im still trying to understand why our networth dropped $20k in January. Obviously the US markets being down ~4% was a major part of that, but Im guessing also our account totals at the end of January may have been off a bit - we will see if February brings a bit of balance. If not I'm concerned that I'm not paying close enough attention to our cash flows.

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A personal finance weblog of my journey to reach my goal of $2 million + the value of my primary residence.
Current Net Worth: $1,367,764

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