Part of my apprehension about starting this blog was knowing how much information was appropriate to share. Americans are raised in a culture where discussing your monetary value is considered taboo. I was also concerned about maintaining my privacy and anonymity if I shared too much information.
Some blogs and websites are very successful in giving recommendations and financial advice, without actually disclosing much personal information. But I’m not a professional who has the experience to be handing out advice. I’m just a regular person who wants to share her victories, struggles and failures as she works to grow her financial worth. In order for that to work, I have to be willing to share the numbers and the details. As time goes by, I’m hoping my journey can motivate others to grow their own worth.
I’m going to start off by showing you where I am today. Future posts will deal with where I’ve been, where I’m heading, and how I plan to get there. So, as of today, here are the numbers:
House – In 2007 I purchased a 650 sq ft house on half an acre of land for $ 54,900. I currently owe $ 50,400. If the house is still worth $ 54,900, that gives me about $ 4,500 in equity. The area I live in did not take a large hit when the housing market collapsed, since home values were obviously not hyper-inflated. However, my neighborhood has taken a slight downturn in the last few years. According to zillow.com, the house is currently worth $ 54,700. I’m not sure how much I trust their figures though, especially since there is a repossessed house halfway down the block that the bank is trying to unload for $ 30,000. Granted, it’s in terrible shape, and is on half as much land as mine, but it also has 1 more bedroom. Accordingly, I’m more comfortable with knocking the value of my home down to $ 45,000. Home Equity: -$ 5,400
Vehicle – In 2011 I purchased a ’11 Nissan Versa Hatchback. I currently owe $ 7, 250. According to Kelly Blue Book, it’s valued at between $ 10,000 and $ 14,000, depending on how it is sold. I’ll use $ 10,000 for these calculations. Vehicle Equity: $ 2,750.
Liquid Assets – For this I’m including checking and saving accounts and cash. Total: $ 2,900
529 Plan – In 2012 I invested money into a 529 educational plan to pay for upcoming expenses towards my Masters Degree. I did this mainly to gain the 20% tax credit offered by my state. Total: $ 1,000.
401k Plans – My current employer offers a 401k plan. I enrolled in the plan as soon as I was eligible in 2012, and contributed 4% to gain the 4% match. At the beginning of 2013, our parent company decided to close our plan, and combine us onto their 401k plan. The new plan comes with an automatic 6% contribution from the company, however I’m treating it as a matching plan and also contributing 6%. The old plan is frozen until they decide what to do with it, so at this moment I have two separate 401k accounts, both with small balances. Combined Total: $ 3,211
Roth IRA – In my mid-twenties I decided to open a Roth IRA. Smart move. A few years later, after quitting a job, I cashed out my contributions to the account. Not so smart move. I did however have some interest in the account, which continues to grow fairly well for starting off as such a tiny amount, despite all the economic issues. Total: $ 799
Student Loan – I have one remaining student loan from my days as an undergrad.
Total: -$ 7, 670
Graduate Expenses – I’m currently working towards my Masters in Accounting. I had to take an additional 10 courses as a prerequisite to the program (apparently a Bachelors in Graphic Design does not translate well into Accounting). I’ve been paying for these classes out-of-pocket, and therefore have a balance remaining that will be paid off by the beginning of May. Total: -$ 1,344
Tax Refund – Since it should be deposited into my account any day now, I felt I should count my State and Federal Refund towards my net worth. I know common financial advice is to set up your deductions as to not have a refund at the end of the year. I’ll discuss my beliefs on this in a future post. Total: $ 2,000
Which means my current net worth boils down to:
– $ 5,400
Total: -$ 1,754
Ouch! Starting off with a negative number is definitely not what I’d like to see. As you can see though, some of the numbers aren’t very clear-cut. I could have come up with a much better Total had I used the highest estimated values for the house and the car. Without any hard facts to back up a higher price though, I prefer to aim low and be a little more realistic with my numbers.
When was the last time you calculated your net worth? Why not gather all of you financial information and do it now? The results might be a real eye opener as to how you really stand financially!
– Ms. W