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 - August 2005 ($262,054, +$23,273)

Contributed by mm | September 7, 2005 10:35 AM PST

Simply put, strong income and spending control make August a truly terrific month. The monthly net worth increase of over $23,000 is, by far, the strongest showing in my complete history of personal finance tracking.

To some extent, this kind of stellar result is anticipated: most of my above-the-water stock options, and all stock awards, have a vest in this particular month, which contributes about $15,000 to my bottomline on an after-tax basis. Still, the rest of the monthly improvement comes from my regained saving mentality.

With another four months remaining in 2005, I am currently $13,000 away from my net worth goal for 2005 (and $21,000 to the stretch goal); the attainment of the annual (stretch) goal is almost a given. While I am not going to adjust the goal upwards -- setting a short-sighted goal for the next four months does not make much sense to me -- I'm all about beating the original goals by miles if it is all possible.

BALANCE SHEET RESULTS

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

  1 Yr Ago 2-Mo Ago Last Month This Month Monthly Monthly
  Aug-04 Jun-05 Jul-05 Aug-05 Change Change %
Cash & Equivalent  $         4,508  $         5,712  $         2,341  $         1,611  $           (730) -31.2%
Saving  $       11,999  $       34,097  $       43,493  $       46,648  $         3,155 7.3%
Brokerage  $       15,866  $       13,418  $       13,604  $       14,625  $         1,021 7.5%
Roth IRA  $       15,481  $       17,019  $       16,891  $       16,941  $             50 0.3%
401(k)  $       20,675  $       57,103  $       61,273  $       64,505  $         3,231 5.3%
Stock Option  $         7,869  $       11,686  $       15,188  $       28,720  $       13,533 89.1%
ESPP  $         3,391  $         5,842  $         1,766  $         2,438  $            671 38.0%
Home Equity  $       72,374  $       80,891  $       81,724  $       82,609  $            884 1.1%
Other Assets  $       16,072  $       30,100  $       29,675  $       29,250  $           (425) -1.4%
Receivable (Payable)  $       15,193  $         3,423  $         4,809  $         4,514  $           (295) -6.1%
Reserve Funds  $        (4,021)  $        (6,642)  $        (7,018)  $        (7,429)  $           (411) 5.9%
Loans  $        (7,467)  $      (15,429)  $      (18,341)  $      (13,821)  $         4,520 -24.6%
Tax Liability  $        (3,083)  $        (6,101)  $        (6,624)  $        (8,556)  $        (1,933) 29.2%
Net Worth  $     168,857  $     231,119  $     238,781  $     262,054  $       23,273 9.7%
Liquidation Value  $     139,648  $     193,456  $     199,605  $     219,547  $       19,942 10.0%
IMPORTANT BALANCE SHEET MOVEMENT DISCUSSION

Cash and Savings: The $2,400+ monthly increase is mainly helped by the proceeds from my employee stock award (i.e. outright stock share grant from employer) and regular savings -- both also went to pay off some credit card debts from summer spendings (before they incur any interest).

401(k): Most of the $3,200-some increase is from my wife's payroll contribution -- it is the last major contribution for the year now that my wife has left the job. For the rest of the year, this line will fluctuate mostly due to investment gains except for the $300/month for the next few months from employer match to my contributions earlier this year.

Stock Option: With the newly vested options (mainly from a 2003 grant), value of my outstanding stock options almost doubled in the month. It is taking more than 10% of my net worth now, but given the fact that none of these stock options will expire until 2011, and I will very likely stay with the company in the foreseeable future, I will not take any proactive actions to deal with the options.

Loans: We paid off a lot of credit card balance during the month and the current balance includes about $13,000 in two 0% APR balance transfer deals.

Tax Liability: The monthly growth is tied to the increase in the stock option account, thanks to my accounting practice of recognizing future tax liabilities even before I cash out the options.


BRIEF DISCUSSION OF EXPENSES

The month of August also brought another record: our monthly household spending of $5,436 is the lowest for the trailing 12 months. After some serious cash burning in June and July (attributable to summer vacation and dentist bills), we finally got back to our normal spending level.


IMPORTANT PERSONAL FINANCE ISSUES IN MONTHS AHEAD

• The annual performance bonus from my employer will be paid out in mid September. Since I accrue some of the bonuses, it should not cause a spike in my net worth in September. Still, my bonus is exceeding my expectation, so that will definitely help somehow.

• My package for the overseas assignment is almost finalized. It is time to make some hard decisions and work on some yard cleaning (I mean it more than literally).

• I expect to finish my research on best tax strategy for sideline incomes, and take actions accordingly.

• I will make the donation to hurricane victims during the month.

• As usual, I will cash out my ESPP shares in the next few days to pocket the gains.

This Post Has Received 3 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.


Flexo Commented on September 7, 2005

Looks excellent, MM. Keep up the good work. It's good to hear stories of people appreciated by their employer.


The Dividend Guy Commented on September 8, 2005

Congratulations on your progress. Good motivation for me...


Jessy Commented on September 10, 2005

Yes, it's really good to hear stories of people appreciated by their employer. You can give good example and motivation to people! Congratulations and keep it up to date!


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