It’s time again for our financial update. This one is for December 2017. You can read last month’s update here. To see all our financial updates, please go here.
Life in December continued to get in the way of working on this blog. Things are finally starting to slow down a bit now though. I’ll go into more detail below, but now onto the monthly stats!
December 2017 Financial Update Summary
|Total Net Worth||$205,600||+$5,100|
|Home (based on Zillow)||$332,400||+$8,000|
|Vehicle #1 (based on KBB)||$7,700||-$300|
|Vehicle #2 (based on KBB)||$25,300||-$800|
|Home Equity Line of Credit||$0||-$0|
|Home Depot Credit Card||$900||+$0|
|Vehicle #1 Loan||$9,500||-$200|
|Vehicle #2 Loan||$31,900||-$500|
All amounts have been rounded to $100 increments for readability.
Life is keeping us on our toes. Here are some of the notable items from this past month:
- My wife just got back from her training a few days before Christmas, and she is now a certified Fire Fighter.
- My dad has been fighting cancer for a bit now. He mentioned that he’d like to go on a trip to Alaska with us, so we’re doing a cruise in May.
- We continue to work on organizing the house and only bringing things back in (since the flooring replacement) that we really think we’ll need.
- One of two side contracting jobs has been put on hold. This means lower income, but more time with the family.
- We created a one month buffer in our checking account. Now all the money that comes in each month is dedicated for the month after. I wouldn’t really call it an emergency fund, but it does give us a bit of protection. Most importantly, we don’t have to play any games with cash flow now, and it should keep us from over-spending because we know up front what we have available for each month.
All of these things will have affect on our finances. I’ll dig into these below in more detail.
We had another decent month for stocks. We were able to add $2,750 to our Roth IRAs and complete our goal of maxing out our yearly contributions. The overall increase was $3,900. Our Junk Bond has slowly been increasing in value. Hopefully, we’ll receive the full amount, but I’m still only relatively confident we’ll receive the interest payments.
Our Lending Club investment continues to perform, but we did have our first official default this month. The account still has an ROI of 12.8%, which we’re happy with.
Fundrise is starting to show some solid growth. They also just announced a reinvestment program which we’ve signed up for, so we now have a chance for compounding returns. The first dividend we’ll receive should be in January.
We’ve been mining cryptocurrency for awhile now (in particular Ethereum), but this last month we decided to buy $100 worth as well, just to see what happens. If we lose it all, we won’t miss it, but if it does well, it could really help our investment goals. Our plan is to transfer the mined coins into our brokerage account, Coinbase. When we do that, I’ll update the value based on that total amount.
By the way, if you click on this link, sign up, and purchase $100 worth of a cryptocurrency of your choice, we’ll both receive $10 in free bitcoin. So far, I’ve had a good experience with it. Keep in mind that linking your checking account has lower fees than using a credit card to invest.
Our vehicle’s continue to remind us that automobiles are a terrible investment. They are depreciating far faster than we are getting them paid off ($1,100 vs $700).
We added $900 on the Home Depot card for flooring last month but our first payment has come due yet. We’ll start paying it off this month. We have 12 months totol to pay it off without interest if we so desire.
To beef up the emergency fund quickly, we decided to use a 0% interest for 18 months credit card offer we received recently. We now have a one month buffer plus a little bit. I was worried it would stress me out more than it would help, but it has actually improved our situation. We now know exactly how much money we have each month because all the money we receive in a month gets reserved for the month after. We also have a plan to pay off the debt that was recreated.
My wife’s schooling was significantly more than we had expected, so in addition to the one month buffer debt, we also moved some of her debt to the credit cards using a similar promotional offer. Again, we have a game plan to pay this off as quick as possible.
Now that we’ve caught up on our contributions for our Roth IRA, we’ve set up automated monthly payments. We also were able to increase my 401(k) contribution (sadly, no matching) from 3% to 6% giving us a total of approximately 15% of our gross income being saved for retirement. We’re happy with that, but as my wife starts working as a fire fighter, we’d like to increase this to the maximum allowed of $18,500.
Beyond that, our main goal now is to pay off the credit card debt, thus leaving us with a solid emergency fund and no liability for it.
We have the following items left on our remodeling adventure:
- Downstairs bathroom (95% complete) – estimated $200 left
- Upstairs bathroom – estimated $5k – going to delay until later in the year
- Front fence – estimated $2k – going to delay until at least this summer
- Side driveway and back patio – estimated $18k – going to delay until at least this summer
- External siding – estimated $25k (this needs to be done in the next year or so) – hoping to push this into a year or two from now when we can pay for cash with my wife’s new income
Goals for January: Save money for the cruise we have in May with my parents. Begin paying down the credit card debt again. Probably will concentrate on Home Depot card first to get it out of the way, since it is the smallest by far.
Longer Term Goals: Financial independence, remodel our fixer-upper home, opportunity to travel throughout our lives