Friday, August 1, 2008

Analyzing my net worth for July 2008

It's that time of the month again, to look back at the just-completed month and see how my finances held up. As I am sure you have hear around the web, the stock market has been a bit rough on finances. My rollover IRA is down 11%, my 401(k) down 11.7% and my Roth IRA has lost 4%. Since these stock-driven vehicles are a good share of my net worth, it is no surprise I lost another 1% of my net worth over the last month.

Will I change my investments? No, I am holding tight, letting my monthly or biweekly investments move forward and letting time (and my money) work for me. A down market is good for dollar-cost averaging. Stocks (and mutual funds) are on sale, meaning the more shares I buy now, the greater my gain in the future when the stock market moves upward again.

Notables in my net worth analysis:

I received a midyear statement and learned my mortgage calculator (in a spreadsheet) was off by two cents. Those extra decimal places really add up. Still, the amount owed on my mortgage is getting smaller and I plan on continuing this trend. On the other hand, paying off my mortgage is not eminent, but certainly manageable on the 30-year basis my mortgage repayment is based on.

Retirement funds
While my 401(k) is down (even as it is the largest pool of my retirement money), my Roth IRA gained. Granted, it only gained the amount of my contribution for July, but at least its total value is holding for the moment. Since the Roth IRA is made up of two index funds and my 401(k) of six managed funds, I find this month's snapshot interesting, but ultimately an atypical blip as the two investment vehicles usually have the same reflection, not opposite ones.

Larger expenses
I bought a chest freezer, had a large bill for the veterinarian and my electric usage is climbing for the summertime. I could be better at saving than I am, but both large and small expenses are bleeding off some of the money I could stash away.

I am feeling less controlled in my life, which stems from many things. Automated savings will get me part of the way there, but I need to take a more active role in managing my income. August is an extra paycheck month so I should have more in my savings account at the end of August, boosting my net worth. I will have to see the results in 30 days to find out if this extra savings is enough to bring me back to positive territory.

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