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 - October 2004 ($176,425, +$3,150)

Contributed by mm | November 1, 2004 4:04 PM PST

SUMMARY

My net worth growth slowed somehow in October due to a trip in the second half of the month. Still, the bottomline grew $3,150 to end the month at $176,425 with most of the increase coming from day-to-day savings. At this pace, I will be able to amass the first million dollars by February 2016 based on my Month-to-Retire calculator.

In the first ten months of this year, I have seen my net worth expanded by $43,841, or 33%. Barring major unfavorable conditions, I would like to see my net worth exceeding the 2004 stretch goal of $180,000 by the end of November.

RESULTS

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

  Aug-04 Sep-04 Oct-04 Change Change %
Cash & Equivalent  $         4,508  $         7,111  $         2,517  $        (4,594) -64.6%
Saving  $       11,999  $       24,740  $       31,977  $         7,237 29.3%
Brokerage  $       15,866  $       14,870  $       14,079  $           (791) -5.3%
Roth IRA  $       15,481  $       14,060  $       13,722  $           (337) -2.4%
401(k)  $       20,675  $       24,370  $       26,022  $         1,653 6.8%
Stock Option  $         7,869  $         8,940  $         9,919  $            979 11.0%
ESPP  $         3,391  $         6,685  $         1,139  $        (5,545) -83.0%
Home Equity  $       72,374  $       73,221  $       74,068  $            848 1.2%
Other Assets  $       16,072  $       15,797  $       15,522  $           (275) -1.7%
Receivable (Payable)  $       15,193  $            162  $         1,834  $         1,672 1030.2%
Reserve Funds  $        (4,021)  $        (4,421)  $        (4,615)  $           (194) 4.4%
Loans  $        (7,467)  $        (8,826)  $        (7,143)  $         1,682 -19.1%
Tax Liability  $        (3,083)  $        (3,434)  $        (2,618)  $            817 -23.8%
Net Worth  $     168,857  $     173,275  $     176,425  $         3,150 1.8%
Liquidation Value  $     139,648  $     143,411  $     146,061  $         2,650 1.8%

BALANCE SHEET DISCUSSION

Other than the quarter-start sale of ESPP shares, there is no major event that causes volatility in the month-end balance sheet. Some discussion by line items:

1) Cash/Saving: Major increase is fueled by ESPP disposal and some regular savings.

2) Brokeage, Roth IRA and Stock Option: My actively managed portfolio continued to drop but the drop is offset by appreciation in stock option value.

3) Receivable: Rapid increase in receivables is due to the final payment of ~$1,700 property tax for second half.

4) Loans: The $1,682 drop is due to the balance payoff associated with the major furniture purchase back in September. The current balance of $7,143 still includes around $4,700 "free money" at 0% APR.

5) Tax Liability: My tax liability dropped for about $800 as I volunteered to have more tax withheld than back in summer. By withholding another $750 more per month for November and December, I should close the year with my withholding very close to my real income tax liability.

INCOME STATEMENT DISCUSSION

My total monthly operating expense for September is $6,549 compared to $6,398 in September, including a week-long trip that costs around $1,600 net net. Elsewhere, our spending is still in good financial control.

One thing to note: as projected, my employer has stopped withholding social security tax for me as I topped the $87,900 annual limit at some point of October. This brings a few hundred dollars to my bottom line every month.

IMPORTANT PERSONAL FINANCE ISSUES IN MONTHS AHEAD

- As my wife will be back to work for November and December (with a higher-paying job with more benefits), I need to carefully manage the tax status of our finance.

- November is the open benefit enrollment period for both my job and my wife's. I need to plan carefully to get the most meaningful benefits in place. I will leverage pfblog.com for more discussion on this topic moving forward.

- I have started to work on my 2005 budget and the set of annual financial goals. Hopefully I can have this nailed down by the end of November.

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