Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Analyzing my net worth for August 2008

I am still surprised we have reached September already. It just seems like summer slipped by me although my garden would tell me otherwise. Where does the time go? The same place my money seems to go--in the wind. Actually, August was not that bad, but I realized I have not checked in with my yearly goals so that will be the next post after this. After two months where my assets decreased, I have a positive month. I am reservedly cheering my 2.3% gain and hope that the trend continues.

That crazy 401(k) (and Roth IRA)
In August, both the Fidelity 401(k) and T. Rowe Price Roth IRA were up. While the Roth IRA gained almost $100 of value over my monthly contribution, the 401(k) was up but no where near the amount contributed. However, I will take a few hundred dollars more than last month especially with the markets closing more down than up. The very modest gains seen with the mutual funds prevented these stock-driven values from decreasing my total assets, contributing to a gain for the month.

The extra paycheck month
Being paid biweekly means twice a year, I receive an extra paycheck. Since I calculate all my expenses based on 24 paychecks rather than 26, I carefully plan how to save the extra month I receive. While a good portion is taken by the automatic transfers set up for each pay period, the extra $1,000 means I can pad my emergency savings account or open a new account or CD. This month I chose to split the money from my extra paycheck among emergency savings, car savings, found money account and opened a farm account. The farm account is for accumulating money for my long-term goal of owning and operating a small farm in the country. The extra check also means a boost to my overall cash situation, substantially helping August end on positive note.

Lack of activity on other accounts
Some of my assets are updated yearly, biannually or quarterly. Without new statements, these numbers remain unchanged. With half of my assets remaining unchanged and the others moving into positive territory, I came out with a gain for August.

While I am glad my mortgage is moving glacially downward and my assets are increasing, the gain is not moving as quickly as I like. I really need to buckle down and determine what means I can use to generate more income. I still have plenty of items to sell, but need something more sustainable for the long term to really get me closer to my goals. In looking at my finances, I need an extra $150 per month to get me closer to my dream of self-sufficient living on a farm.

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