Tuesday, January 6, 2009

December 2008 Net Worth: Finishing Strong (Kind Of)

Well. It's been some time since I blogged about my financial progress on here. I'm not entirely sure why; I think I got burned out a bit from taking in too much financial media, then the historic election, I was busy with various other things...at any rate I'm back to being focused on my personal finance and the economy in general.

I finished up the year with a great month on the face of it: a 2.22% increase in my net worth. This was due to a big increase in assets by way of a healthy dose of Xmas cash, other savings, and small FFNOX dividends. This is bloated a bit, as I have close to $400 earmarked for specific debt reduction this month. Still, a solid month for asset accumulation.

And then we come to my debts. Loans down as usual, cards down even more (representing reduced rotating monthly payments - I don't carry a balance aside from about $2600 in collections from years ago that I'm paying off at 0% interest), but that persnickety Other category is way, way up! +$771! Ugh. Part of this is that I haven't paid off NSTAR just yet (I'd rather hang onto the cash until the last possible moment. Psychological I suppose.) Part of it represents a few small family and friend debts that I seem to keep adding despite my commitment to not do so. And a big part of it - $430.53 to be exact - is from a Commonwealth of Massachusetts Tax Assessment from 2005! Perfect. Just what I need right now. Unfortuately I can't help but think this is accurate as back then I had no idea what I was doing with my taxes. I have some recourse to appeal; I will have to take a look at my records if I even have them lying around. Need to concentrate more on debt reduction in 2009.

Because I like graphs that tell a great deal of information, I added a net worth line to my asset & debt graph. Here I can visually track my increasing net worth until it hits the point where the assets and debt lines cross (in the far, far future) - positive net worth. Not sure yet if this is cool, helpful, or silly. As you can see even though I increased my debts this month my big asset increase still resulted in a net worth increase.

Because I like to pack as much info as possible into one graph, check out this new one! It's my FIP, or Financial Independence Progress, graph. A laughable concept right now to be sure, but I love tracking this stuff. I added a line that tracks my assets on here. The thing is even in those bad September and October months - and they certainly affected my equity positions - I was nevertheless able to build up my total cash assets. And the other excellent thing, and big reason for my asset jump this month, is that I was able to take that big income spike and turn it all into savings. I even decreased my overall expenses a bit. So the trend shown here is actually quite good.

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