Net Worth Update – March 2016

I went over budget for the month of March, but it wasn’t a complete fail. Firstly, about 5 days before the end of the month I realized I had given myself an extra $20 to spend in the “Everything Else” category on mint.com. Oops!  Also, 5 days before the end of the month, I went on a bit of a shopping spree with my mom.  The good thing is, a lot of the shopping was her “gift” to me for graduation, and so my spending wasn’t terrible. Because she took me shopping  though, I paid for all of our meals over the weekend, and I also paid for a new pair of shoes (~$27). She did not like said pair of shoes, so she would not buy them. According to mint.com my spending was as follows:

Category Budgeted Actual Remaining
Rent $1,650 $1,650 $0 left
Fixed Expenses $70 $64 $6 left
Food $200 $193 $7 left
Everything Else $300 $315 $15 over
Total  $2,220  $2,222  $2 over

My net worth managed to increase by ~10%.  A notable event for the month of March included receiving the remainder of my reimbursement, which was a little over $400. I put my hotel stays on my personal credit card to earn reward points. I also think a 401K contribution from the three-paycheck-month of February didn’t post until March 1, so that increased by a bit more than expected as well.  Maybe the market performed well too? I haven’t really been paying too much attention.

Assets Feb-16 Mar-16 $ Change
Cash & Savings $2,575 $491 ($2,084)
Roth IRA $3,613 $5,245 +$1,632
401K $4,595 $5,645 +$1,050
FSA $1,228 $1,228 +$0
Liabilities Feb-16 Mar-16 $ Change
Credit Cards $460 $42 +$418
Medical Exp.  $100 $0 +$100
Net Worth $11,451 $12,567 +$1,116
% Change +10%

Pending Payments

My Cash/Savings are expected to increase by $562 once my FSA reimburses me for medical expenses.  This has no influence on my networth since it’s a transfer, but  my cash balance would be $562 more.

Goals

I would like to put the following short-term goals in writing:

  • Max out my 2015 IRA contributions ($1385) before April 15
    • No contributions for April 25 or May 9 paydays
    • Reinstitute contributions in June (~$210) and then $315 there after.
  • Have $4,000 in liquid assets (i.e. cash) by the end of the year.

My Chronic Illness and Financial Planning

When I was about 15 I got sick and I was eventually diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases.   I had some vague symptoms of illness since I was a toddler. As far as I know, I am the only one in the world with this combination of rare autoimmune conditions therefore the prognosis is uncertain. Every day I feel like I have the flu, but I don’t ever feel much better.  I also deal with extreme fatigue. I’ve had to tailor my life accordingly.

I’ve decided to live as easy a life as possible. I know I’m mentally capable of more but, I cannot physically handle the demands of rigorous work. Right now I’m comfortable working a low stress job. The pay might not be the greatest, but it adds a lot of stability and benefits.  My disease is exacerbated by stress.When you are stressed it ramps up the body’s fight response. This in turn leads to a worsening of autoimmune disease since it’s essentially the body attacking itself. So all these choices (lower stress, lower paying job) have been the right ones for my situation.

One of the things I managed to do despite having a chronic illness was get through  graduate school.  I received a series of scholarships and fellowships that allowed me to pursue higher education with no student loans.  It was rough but it allowed me to start my first job, making enough to take care of me without too many inconveniences.

Although it might not sound like a necessity, I pay a premium to live close to work.  My rent is $1,650/month to be exact. I cannot handle a long commute.  I live alone which makes for a more relaxing environment. Roommates are out of the question at this point because they also add a layer of stress.

I pay a lot for healthcare in general, but the healthcare I receive is great.  I established a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). This year I am setting aside $2000 for my medical expenses. It’s 1 months into the year and I’ve blown through $300 of it.

Unfortunately I am in no shape for a side hustle or actively generating passive income beyond investments due to my level of fatigue.

Net Worth Update – February 2016

I’m a horrible blogger, I forgot about you after only one entry, haha. Well things are going well with the finances.  I managed to stick to a ~$2,200/month spending budget while living in D.C. for the months of January and February. For the upcoming months I would like to continue this spending trend, it doesn’t seem terribly impossible:

Category Amount
Rent $1,650
Fixed Expenses $100
Food $200
Everything Else $250
Savings $250
Roth 401K $490
Roth IRA $615

It works better for me to lump “Everything Else” and periodically track my spending on Mint. The other expenses are highly variable, and it doesn’t really make sense to predict the new pair of shoes I need. I do dine out frequently, but I also don’t drink so $200 is a reasonable food budget for me even in a big city.

After January and February, my current net worth is $11,451. I received three paychecks in February, which definitely helped with the net worth jump (I only budget for 2). My holdings as of March 1 were as follows:

Assets Jan-16 Feb-16 $ Change
Cash & Savings $3,946 $2,575 ($1,371)
Roth IRA $3,620 $3,613 ($7)
Roth 401K $4,069 $4,595 +$526
FSA $1,625 $1,228 ($397)
Liabilities Jan-16 Feb-16 $ Change
Piano Loan $2,893 +$2,893
Credit Cards $773 $460 +$313
Medical Exp. $100 ($100)
Net Worth $9,594 $11,451 +$1,857
% Change +19%

Income & Spending

January and February were months of smooth sailing. For the month of February, my income was a bit higher for the aforementioned reasons. I technically did overspend in the Food category, but that was mostly due to a business trip. Those expenses were reimbursed.

Medical Costs

I do not bother budgeting my FSA account. After all, it must be used by years end. I am beginning to think that $1,625 might not have been enough. I know that I’ll likely be spending $500+ during the month of March. I did receive a $400 reward card from my health insurance company which could potentially last the rest of the year barring a hospitalization and/or surgery.

Retirement Accounts

For January and February I decided not to contribute much to my retirement accounts. Instead, with the market in flux, I paid off my sizable piano loan. I would like to max out my 2015 Roth IRA contribution before mid-April, so I will be dipping into my savings for that.

Taxes

I filed and I’m in the green. I decided to put my returns towards an Amazon credit.  I haven’t included my ~$500 Amazon balance in my net-worth, but it will be interesting to see how much harder it is to stick to my budget when it dwindles.Now that I’m finally settled in DC, I don’t do much online shopping.

Upcoming Vacation

I’m going to Colombia in May. I paid for my flight using reward points, and I’ll be staying with friends. I’m almost certain that I will have to make a few financial exceptions for the month of May to accommodate the trip. It will be worth it! I don’t plan on seriously limiting my spending on this trip, but I tend not to spend much on vacations. A year ago I went to Korea for a week and I brought $200 or so and I had the hardest time getting rid of it. I ended up coming back with a bunch of cute things like penguin socks. Other than food, I don’t really see a lot of extra expenses, but of course I’ll get a souvenir.

Condo?

I pay far too much for my apartment and don’t get anything from it. I am seriously contemplating purchasing a condo.