Net Worth Update September 2016: $3972

It’s not all onward and upward.

Net Worth: $3972

Our net worth has shrunk by the cost of a bar tab. We’re worth $46 less than last month. How September compares to August is a great reflection of why it can be problematic to check your net worth monthly. The end tally doesn’t tell much about the picture. The details of what’s good and what’s bad need to be scrutinized. I don’t feel bad about this downturn. It shows that my stock portfolios were slightly inflated in price month over month and recent gains have come back down a little bit. They’ll soon grow again, so I don’t care.


What’s Gone Smashingly Well Since August

I became eligible to contribute to my employers 401(k) plan. The first month of eligibility, I started putting money aside. My monthly contribution amount is $2125. I’ve already seen that money grow by $22! Since I only became eligible August 1, I’m doing a push to put as close to the $18,500 max that I can. There’s no employer match at this time. I’m currently testing the limits of my budget by contributing 30 percent of my salary. For those whipping out the calculators, yes, $2125 x 12 = waaay more than you’re allowed to contribute. But, I’m not contributing $2125 for 12 months. I’ve only got a handful of months to sock money away for 2016. I’m only going to end up with about $12,000 put away for this year.

Why on earth am I carrying so much credit card debt?

You may have noticed most of my credit card balances grew over the past month. Before you slap me upside the head, I’m not paying interest on any of my credit cards. I’m using free loans from the credit card company. They give me points and perks for buying my groceries and flights and meals on their cards. I give them nothing in return except my usage of their card. I do sometimes pay interest (I’m not perfect), but it’s always less than the perks I get from the card for the year. At this time we’ve got a few 0% interest credit cards in circulation. Credit Card #2 is due November, so I’m actually paying that off before the end of this month.

I am currently failing at the credit card game, however, if you look at my available savings versus current credit card balances. If I was killing it at this game, my available savings account balance would be more than what I owe on all my cards. Right now I’m a little in the hole. The hole started because I was laid off and I’m still in the hole now because I’m pushing more money than comfortable to long term “do not touch” retirement savings. I’m betting on my near term future self to bail me out and make sure I don’t start paying interest on my cards. I’m being stupid gambling on my future self. But, it’s a small gamble that I’m willing to do right now. As I track my progress, you’ll be able to judge yourself how stupid or stupidly sensible this decision was. 

Why is one student loan balance growing rather than shrinking?

My student loans were in a deferment for a while. So, they’ve slowly grown over the past few months by a few hundred dollars. I’m starting to pay them back again so these balances should start to shrink. The first payment for Student Loan (Grad) is due October 7th.

Wow, you’ve basically got $4000, so lets party!

Not so fast. I don’t have $4000 accessible to me to wantonly spend. See my above explanation about my credit cards. If you look at money I can access without penalties, I’m actually negative money. I’ve wantonly spent more money on credit cards than I can actually pay off at this moment.

Net Worth Update August 2016: $4018<< >>Net Worth Update October 2016: $6425

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