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 - April 2005 ($220,278, +$11,945)

Contributed by mm | May 3, 2005 6:57 AM PST

What a month! $11,945 is the second strongest monthly net worth improvement in my lifetime. (My best month so far is August 2004, thanks to a big annual bonus.) Although the April result is, to a large degree, helped by $4,000+ gain in my employee stock option account and other investments that is of a one-time nature, majority of the monthly gain is still attributable to increased job income, continued belt-tightening, and, to some extent, some more advertising income from PFBlog itself. (Thank you!)

Starting from 2004's exit net worth of $195,522, the bottomline in my balance sheet increased $24,757 in the last four months. Yes, it is less than 1/3 of my annual saving goal of about $80,000, but I cannot feel bad: after all, my financial results in the first trimester is suffered from the BMW purchase and large dental bills. My second trimester should come very strong with the recognition of annual bonus in August, and all in all, I believe it is fair to same I am well on the right track.

BALANCE SHEET RESULTS

(Please refer to definition of balance sheet line items.)

  1 Yr Ago 2-Mo Ago Last Month This Month Monthly Monthly
  Apr-04 Feb-05 Mar-05 Apr-05 Change Change %
Cash & Equivalent  $         2,396  $         4,090  $         2,716  $         4,559  $         1,843 67.8%
Saving  $         8,617  $       38,993  $       16,624  $       16,174  $           (450) -2.7%
Brokerage  $       18,890  $       15,960  $       15,045  $       15,906  $            861 5.7%
Roth IRA  $       15,455  $       17,896  $       18,275  $       18,793  $            517 2.8%
401(k)  $       14,141  $       38,358  $       43,605  $       49,274  $         5,669 13.0%
Stock Option  $         2,686  $       12,770  $         9,415  $       13,245  $         3,830 40.7%
ESPP  $         5,164  $         3,466  $         5,828  $         1,782  $        (4,046) -69.4%
Home Equity  $       69,248  $       77,471  $       78,324  $       79,179  $            855 1.1%
Other Assets  $         9,100  $       14,472  $       31,375  $       30,950  $           (425) -1.4%
Receivable (Payable)  $         5,860  $         1,787  $         2,091  $         4,032  $         1,941 92.8%
Reserve Funds  $        (2,684)  $        (5,543)  $        (5,793)  $        (6,188)  $           (395) 6.8%
Loans  $        (1,924)  $        (8,649)  $        (3,838)  $        (1,827)  $         2,011 -52.4%
Tax Liability  $        (2,324)  $        (5,728)  $        (5,334)  $        (5,599)  $           (265) 5.0%
Net Worth  $     144,626  $     205,342  $     208,333  $     220,278  $       11,945 5.7%
Liquidation Value  $     118,114  $     171,993  $     173,706  $     183,668  $         9,963 5.7%
IMPORTANT BALANCE SHEET MOVEMENT DISCUSSION


1) Brokerage, Roth IRA and Stock Option: April is a terrible month for the stock market in general, but not for my portfolio. MSFT recovered half of its freefall since the start of 2005 and closed at $25.30 thanks to optimism conveyed in the most recent press release. My other portfolio holdings, especially some bearish option puts, also rewarded me handsomely. Note the $5,207 gain in these three lines is offset by increased accrual of tax liabilities of about $1,000.

2) 401(k): It is no longer a secret that I am front-loading my annual contribution to 401(k) account as much as I can, for good reasons.

3) Receivable (Payable): This bucket increased $1,941, mainly due to my semi-annual property tax payment. (If you recall, I accrue my property tax monthly for better accounting.)

4) Loans: I repaid most of my Citi credit card balances before the next statement to take advantage of its generous Credit Protector offer.

5) Tax Liability: Not much change, but what really happened is my $1,500 2004 tax payment is largely offset by ~$1,000 new tax liabilities thanks to sweet gains in my portfolio.

BRIEF DISCUSSION OF EXPENSES

With a monthly spend of $6,323, my expense is back to normal. Compared to six months ago, my cost structure is getting fatter in auto after the Ultimate Driving Machine purchase :-) and we are dining out more -- all to family restaurant instead of upscale ones -- to get more bandwidth on work (I mentioned I'm in the midst of budgeting billions for Mr Softie, didn't I?) In the long run, I look to a monthly spending of $6,000 as a reasonable baseline. This compares to my 2005 expense plan of $74,843, which, of course, didn't factor in the wheel upgrade.

IMPORTANT PERSONAL FINANCE ISSUES IN MONTHS AHEAD

- Now that I filed extension, I have until August 15 to finish my tax return. I will do it sometime in June or July. To make this happen, I need to apply a SSN for my son and do some more math.

- We are planning one or two summer trips. Currently we are looking at NYC and San Francisco.

- I will soon use up all my 401(k) annual contribution limit, so I will have more cash liquidity during the summer. Of course, I am born a saver so you know where I will stash the money.

This Post Has Received 2 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.


Steve Mertz Commented on May 3, 2005

Nicely done MM! Any thoughts to making post-tax contributions to your 401k? I'm sure you will attain your financial goals but I'm also sure taxes will increase. Pay me now-pay me later! Good Job Steve


ken Commented on May 4, 2005

Good job - bmw will keep hurting though.

Did post tax for years with prior employer - but I think nowadays index funds with low capgain rate and div rate makes more sense.


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