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 2004 ($168,857, +$12,062)

Contributed by mm | September 2, 2004 3:22 AM PST

SUMMARY

August is a sweet month for me: a much-bigger-than-anticipated bonus and a bunch of vested stock options/stock award shares helped to bring my net worth up by a noticeable $12,062 to $168,857. This 7.7% month-to-month net worth improvement reduced Month-to-Retire reading by four notches to 138. I'm looking at February 2016 for the aspired retirement.

With this big bonus in my bag, I feel very positive to achieve the $174,000 net worth goal by the end of 2004. If certain things work out, I can even be very close to the stretch goal of $180,000.

RESULTS

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

  Jun-04 Jul-04 Aug-04 Change Change %
Cash & Equivalent  $         1,276  $         2,406  $         6,123  $         3,716 154.5%
Saving  $         2,524  $       17,369  $       10,384  $        (6,985) -40.2%
Brokerage  $       17,672  $       16,742  $       15,866  $           (876) -5.2%
Roth IRA  $       14,507  $       15,493  $       15,481  $            (12) -0.1%
401(k)  $       16,994  $       18,259  $       20,675  $         2,416 13.2%
Stock Option  $         7,158  $         7,910  $         7,869  $            (41) -0.5%
ESPP  $         8,084  $         1,191  $         3,391  $         2,201 184.8%
Home Equity  $       70,685  $       71,529  $       72,374  $            845 1.2%
Other Assets  $       16,622  $       16,347  $       16,072  $           (275) -1.7%
Receivable (Payable)  $         5,215  $         4,427  $       15,193  $       10,765 243.2%
Reserve Funds  $        (3,221)  $        (3,621)  $        (4,021)  $           (400) 11.0%
Loans  $        (2,369)  $        (8,109)  $        (7,467)  $            642 -7.9%
Tax Liability  $        (2,927)  $        (3,147)  $        (3,083)  $             64 -2.0%
Net Worth  $     152,219  $     156,795  $     168,857  $       12,062 7.7%
Liquidation Value  $     124,056  $     128,046  $     139,648  $       11,603 9.1%

KEY DRIVERS

- Bonus $7,000 higher than accrued bonus on an after-tax basis. $4,000 (after-tax value) already paid out in August; the rest will come in September.
- $1,600 from a batch of newly vested stock award (already sold)
- A batch of newly vested stock options, entirely offset by declining MSFT stock price in August
- Day-to-Day savings of around $2,500
- ~$800 loss in stock investments due to market climat ($600 after-tax net worth impact)
- Failed balance transfer exercise let banks hold $8,000 for me (no net worth impact; will sort it out in September)

BALANCE SHEET DISCUSSION

1) Cash/Saving: $3,000 decline due to $8,000 being held by Fleet due to failed balance transfer, offset by bonus income as well as regular monthly savings.

2) Brokeage: No transaction for the month; portfolio value declined due to unfavorable market climate

3) 401(k) and ESPP received a big boost due to partial payout of bonus. More to come in September.

4) Receivable: Increased due to the unpaid portion of performance bonus and $8,000 balance transfer money. Expect to drop to $1,000-level by next month.

INCOME STATEMENT DISCUSSION

My total monthly operating expense for August is $5,052, which declined from $5,687 in the prior month. However, last month's result is distorted by a one-time $500 cash donation. Adjusted for this item, my monthly cost is essentially flat.

I see around $5,000/month as my fixed cost to maintain my current lifestyle. It appears to be a lot, but after $940 day care cost, $1,000 mortgage interest and property tax accrual, $500 in auto maintenance, insurance and depreciation, I only have $2,500 to cover grocery shopping, dining out and utlities, among others. It is nothing luxurious :-)

IMPORTANT PERSONAL FINANCE ISSUES IN MONTHS AHEAD

- I look forward to cleaning up the mess of $8,000 credit in my Fleet card due to the failed balance transfer exercise.

- I need to pay H2 property tax by October 31. The amount is around $1,700.

- By Q3 end, I expect to assess my income tax withholding situation and adjust withholding level accordingly in Q4 as major changes like daycare expenses, bonus and additional income from my wife disturbed the original withholding percentage.

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