My Personal Finance Journey

Personal finance observation, musing and decisions in a journey toward financial independence by 2020 with at least $3 million.


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Monthly Review - March 2005 ($208,333, +$2,991)

Contributed by mm | April 5, 2005 12:50 PM PST

During the month of March, my net worth in the accounting book grew merely $2,991. Yes, an uninspiring number for sure, but it is the result of many forceful drivers, namely:

- The Kia-to-BMW upgrade, which set me back about $3,000. immediately.
- Microsoft stock price continued to be under pressure; the $1.01 monthly drop dragged my stock option account down by more than $3,000.
- On the flip side, I continued to have substantial savings from my regular savings.
- Also, PFBlog attracted a few more advertisers, and such advertising income gave a one-time lift to my bottomline.
- To a much lesser extent, March saw the maturity of another ESPP cycle, and the quarterly ESPP earnings are recognized this month.

All in all, I don't consider the result to be too bad -- taking out the BMW effect, my net worth growth would be $6,000, making it a great month. If MSFT had been stronger, March actually would have been a phenomenal month!

BALANCE SHEET RESULTS

(Starting from 2005, I am comparing monthly results to balance sheet one year and one month ago for better visibility of progress. Please refer to definition of balance sheet line items.)

  1 Yr Ago 2-Mo Ago Last Month This Month monthly Monthly
  Mar-04 Jan-05 Feb-05 Mar-05 Change Change %
Cash & Equivalent  $         1,603  $         2,642  $         4,090  $         2,716  $        (1,373) -33.6%
Saving  $       12,079  $       40,075  $       38,993  $       16,624  $      (22,370) -57.4%
Brokerage  $       20,174  $       17,284  $       15,960  $       15,045  $           (915) -5.7%
Roth IRA  $       15,269  $       18,435  $       17,896  $       18,275  $            379 2.1%
401(k)  $       13,588  $       33,186  $       38,358  $       43,605  $         5,247 13.7%
Stock Option  $         1,306  $       12,435  $       12,770  $         9,415  $        (3,355) -26.3%
ESPP  $         3,873  $         1,746  $         3,466  $         5,828  $         2,362 68.1%
Home Equity  $       68,798  $       76,618  $       77,471  $       78,324  $            853 1.1%
Other Assets  $         9,250  $       14,722  $       14,472  $       31,375  $       16,903 116.8%
Receivable (Payable)  $         4,278  $         1,182  $         1,787  $         2,091  $            304 17.0%
Reserve Funds  $        (2,334)  $        (5,170)  $        (5,543)  $        (5,793)  $           (250) 4.5%
Loans  $        (2,033)  $        (7,194)  $        (8,649)  $        (3,838)  $         4,811 -55.6%
Tax Liability  $        (3,562)  $        (5,265)  $        (5,728)  $        (5,334)  $            394 -6.9%
Net Worth  $     142,292  $     200,696  $     205,342  $     208,333  $         2,991 1.5%
Liquidation Value  $     116,197  $     168,349  $     171,993  $     173,706  $         1,713 1.0%

IMPORTANT BALANCE SHEET MOVEMENT DISCUSSION

1) Cash/Saving: I bled ~$24,000 in cash primarily because of the BMW purchase and the payback of $4,000+ to Discover Card. My 0% APR deal from Discover Card finally ended in March.

2) Roth IRA and Brokerage: Loss in individual positions is mitigated by my bearish option positions.

3) 401(k): Again, increased level of 401(k) contribution pushed my 401(k) higher every month.

4) Stock Option: MSFT dropped another buck during March, fueling the pretty cruel evaporation of my balance in the stock option account. Anyway, most of my outstanding employee option grants will not expire until the next decade, making it an easy decision to keep holding them.

5) ESPP: About $500 ESPP gains for the quarter was recognized in March; I am ready to sell these shares in the next couple of days.

6) Other Assets: The ~$17,000 increase you see is associated with the BMW purchase.

7) Loans: Finally, I had to pay back the $4,000+ balance and end my 0% APR honeymoon with Discover Card. I am actively looking for the next opportunity for such sweet deals.

8) Tax Liability: Tax liability declined to account for some future tax consequences for my loss in stock option account.

BRIEF DISCUSSION OF EXPENSES

Microsoft Money says we spent a total of $10,269 during the month, compared to $7,120 in February and $5,450 in January. Of course, $3,000+ is related to the purchase of the "ultimate driving machine." Dental bill runs another $600 for the month (for co-payment part). My wife also took a small vacation with her girlfriend to San Francisco -- another $600 bill.

Moving into Q2, it's time to exercise more cost control. While our dental bill will continue to be something we need to live with (I might consider some orthodontic treatment later this year), we expect no other big spend in the next couple of month.

IMPORTANT PERSONAL FINANCE ISSUES IN MONTHS AHEAD

- Sometimes I am dissatisfied with our benefits department. Today is April 5, and I am still waiting for my correct W-2 form to show up in my mailbox. It is very likely that I will file an automatic extension next week. No matter I request an extension or not, I will need to pay about $900 in 2004 tax, which will come from my tax liability account.

- I will dispose the ESPP shares from the Q2 enrollment very soon. This is the first time both my wife and I are eligible for the ESPP purchase, and as you can see from the balance sheet, we have about $5,800 tied in ESPP accounts. I will use the proceeds to refill our banking accounts.

- H1 property tax is due by April 30. I will pay the tax online at http://www.metrokc.gov.

- Again, I need to remind myself to cancel the United MileagePlus Visa Signature card. I was lucky to get this no-annual-fee-in-first-year deal and pocketed the 15,000 MileagePlus miles a year ago. But it is not worth $60 annual fee.

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