December Net Worth

Lil’ Sizzlers Portfolio:
Total Market Value: 447 (-652)
Total Divs: 46.10 (+9.86)

Cash:
3,715+100+420+632 = 4,867 (+2,357)

Roth IRA Basis:
5,225 (+190)

Roth IRA Cap Gains/Divs:
-241 Gains 12/31
+46 2014 DRIP
+94 2015 DRIP
Total: -101

401k:
My Contribution Basis: 1508
Company Match:  1508
Total: 3,016 (+510)

CC Cash Back:
+16 Chase, +8 AmEx

Motorcycle:
3,500

Car:
1,500 (-100)

Personal Assets:
5250 (+200)

Total Assets:
23,728 (+2,085)

“Liquid” Assets (cash, stock and retirement):
13,478 (1,985)

Liabilities

Chase Freedom:
12 (-102)

Amercan Express:
73 (-21) (0%)

Bank CC:
25

Student Loan:
Paid on loan: 50
Balance: 23,902 (+64)

Total Liablities:
24,012 (-59)

Net Worth:
-284 (+2144)

Monthly Income: 3,993
Monthly Assets Change: +2,085
Monthly Liabilities Change: -59
Monthly Net Worth Change: +2,144
Monthly Savings Rate (IRA/401k+Match/Investments/Cash/StudenLoan(No Cap Gains/Divs/CB)): 51% or $2,033!

Blessed month this December, as a lot of things treated me well and fell into place.  Christmas rewarded me with over $330 in cash to deposit, as well as a $200 addition to the personal assets category with some high-quality power tools and a few other quality items.  I was able to utilize 10 hours of overtime per week this month, which added a hefty sum to my savings.  My work allows weekly changing of W4’s, so I changed my last few weeks of the month to claim exempt.  I calculated my estimated tax return and it was well over the $1,500 mark, so I decided to reduce that by exempting the last few weeks to get cash in my pocket sooner!

I have been actively house hunting and am nearly prepared to begin on the journey of homeownership.  I have been able to save aggressively this past month, and hope to do so next month as well, to help pay for the down payment and other fees associated with the task of buying a home.  I plan to deduct whatever else I need out of the IRA, as painful as that may be.  There will be no fees or penaltys for it, and it will allow me to hit the 5% down-payment mark in order to achieve the best rate from my lender.

I also decided to liquidate the Lil’ Sizzlers portfolio over the next few weeks to add to my cash funds for the house.  The portfolio was intended for long-term dividend income, however, I did this before learning how important a large emergency fund and tax-efficient investing was.  I probably won’t rebuild the porfolio after I liquidate it for at least several years, if ever.  In the meantime, my savings will go toward the Roth IRA, 401k or student loan payoff.

I will continue to save hard and watch my spending while working towards this goal.  It’s finally time to stop wasting $950 per month of our money on rent, and have it go towards a forever home that can grow in value and add equity.  I have rented for six years now, and it’s time to finally bite the bullet and take charge of this daunting task.  Tune in next month for further updates!

October Net Worth

Lil’ Sizzlers Portfolio:
Total Market Value: 1,061 (+71)
Total Divs: 32.81

Cash:
1,643+150+696 = 2,489 (-22)

Roth IRA Basis:
4,835 (+250)

Roth IRA Cap Gains/Divs:
-34 10/31 Gains (+216)
+46.21 2014 DRIP
Total: 12

401k:
My Contribution Basis: 1083
Company Match:  1083
Total: 2,166 (+364)

CC Cash Back:
14+20 Chase, 35 AmEx (Credits)

Motorcycle:
3,500

Car:
1,700

Personal Assets:
5000

Total Assets:
20,832 (+731)

“Liquid” Assets (cash, stock and retirement):
10,632 (+731)

Liabilities

Chase Freedom:
55 Payment Bal (-17)

Amercan Express:
412 (0% Interest)

Bank CC:
25

Student Loan:
Paid on loan: 200
Balance: 23,931 (-103)

Total Liablities:
24,423 (+292)

Net Worth:
-3,591 (+439)

Monthly Income: 2,531
Monthly Assets Change: +731
Monthly Liabilities Change: +292
Monthly Net Worth Change: +439
Monthly Savings Rate (IRA/401k+Match/Investments/Cash/StudenLoan): 36% or $931.

This month was decent!  Due to the 3 year anniversary with my girlfriend and a job change that required some shopping, I spent quite a bit more than usual this month (over $500).  I got my third credit card, an AmEx Blue.  They started me at a 5k line immediately, which almost doubled my available credit – nice!  I’ve not got $11,000 available credit.  Also, a recent check of the FICO credit score puts me at 763, while CreditKarma is reporting 750 and 743!  Looking good there.  I am excited to get my $250 cash back after a $1,000 spend on my AmEx as well.  The savings are real!

With the holidays coming up, the cash savings will probably continue to remain stagnant, but retirement and student loans keep the top priority and will not decline.  The current decline in student loan is due to putting half into an account for the girlfriend, who has an immediate college bill that wasn’t covered by financial aid.  All is well here!  Hopefully I’ll be another $1000 closer to that $0 net worth mark after the end of this month as well.

April Net Worth

Assets

Lil’ Sizzlers Portfolio:
Total Market Value: 1,129 (+417)
Total Divs: 11.02

Cash:
1,617+300 = 1917 (-715)

Roth IRA Basis:
3,697 (+170)

Roth IRA Cap Gains/Divs:
+96 4/30 Gains (+61)
+46.21 2014 DRIP
Total: 142

401k:
My Contribution Basis: 158
Company Match: 158
Total: 316 (+316)

CC Cash Back:
0.00

Motorcycle:
3,500

Car:
1,700

Personal Assets:
4800

Total Assets:
17,212 (+238)

Liquid Assets (cash, stock and retirement):
7,212 (+259)

Liabilities

Chase Freedom:
500 Payment Bal (Zero % APR) (-75)

Bank CC:
21 (+0)

Student Loan:
Paid on loan: 686
Balance: 25,527 (-583)

Total Liablities:
26,048 (-658)

Net Worth:
-8,836 (+896)

Monthly Income: 2218
Monthly Assets Change: +238
Monthly Liabilities Change: -658
Monthly Net Worth Change: +896
Monthly Savings Rate (ret/inv/cash/loan): 39% or $874

Decent month here in April.  With my tax refund exhausted, I came back down to level ground and got back on track with normal amounts of cash.  I saw a big hit on cash due to a $300 student loan payment, as well as boosting up my payment to $96 per week, averaging $416 per month instead of the normal $300 I was doing.  I am also “losing” $25 or so per week in cash due to 401k starting up at the beginning of the month.  Those two, along with a Chevron purchase of $419, lost me over 800 in the cash supply.  I may decide to put the Lil Sizzlers on hold for a while, and work up a larger cash fund for ’emergency’ situations.  I will continue with my 401k and IRA contributions.  Definitely excited to have the 401k started and am taking advantage of that 5% match.

A small raise is near, and by the end of the month I may be making about 50 cents an hour more, which will be nice.  May be adding a few additions to the home gym, which will cost but also raise the net worth by a few dollars.  This is my last month of $400 rent, and starting in June it will move to $475.  That obviously isn’t great, but I am moving into a new place with my lady and it’s very nice and worth the extra cash.  Besides that, I will continue normal spending and enjoying life.  With the weather getting nice, it’s awesome to be able to head outside and take advantage of the motorcycle and other fun things!

March Net Worth

Assets

Lil’ Sizzlers Portfolio:
Total Market Value: 712.67 (+386.49)
Total Divs: 11.02 (+5.81)

Cash:
2352+280 = 2632 (+582)

Roth IRA Basis:
3527.23 (+470.02)

Roth IRA Cap Gains/Divs:
+35.94 Gains (-42.10)
+46.21 2014 DRIP
Total: +82.15

CC Cash Back:
20.00

Motorcycle:
3,500

Car:
1,700

Personal Assets:
4800

Total Assets:
16,974.05 (+1397)

Liquid Assets (cash, stock and retirement):
6953 (+1376)

Liabilities

Chase Freedom:
575 Payment Bal (Zero % APR) (-125)

Bank CC:
21 (+0)

Student Loan:
26,110 (-398)

Total Liablities:
26,706 (-523)

Net Worth:
-9,732 (+1920…. NICE!!!!!!!!!!!)

Net Worth w/o Student Loan & Last Pmt:
16,878 (+1722)

Monthly Income: 1893
Monthly Assets Change: +1397
Monthly Liabilities Change: -523
Monthly Net Worth Change: +1920
Monthly Savings Rate (ret/inv/cash/loan): 101% (1920) (Without tax return: 39% / $740)
Unique Monthly Contribution: $1250 Tax Return 2014

Well, this month will be tough to top!  I was able to recieve a lovely tax return of $1250.  The breakdown can be seen in an earlier post, but the majority went to a fairly even spread of IRA, Portfolio, CC Balance and Student Loan payments.  The rest went to paying for the tax service and a bit of coin for myself.  Besides that, I reached near 40% savings rate, which is fair but not all that impressive.  50% is my continued goal, but I do have lots of expenses to pay for monthly.  Actually, my exact, unavoidable expenses equal exactly 50% of my current income.  That means I would get to spend zero on fun / myself / others, which I am not willing to do at the time.  So, I am happy with getting close to that mark consistently.

I will be offloading a bunch of the extra cash this April.  I actually made an investment today into CVX which I will post about later, so there goes $420 of it.  I plan to add another $200 on top of a student loan payment (and close out my second student loan of six!), and drop some more into my IRA.  I am excited to see that with this stable job, I am finally able to start making things happen on the regular for several months now.  I am headed in the right direction slowly, but surely!

How Did You Spend Your Tax Return?

Tax season can be a time of frustration or jubilation for many of us.  Getting shafted on your return and having to pay even more in to the system can obviously be painful.  On the flip-side, coming out on top and getting a swell return can cause elation for many.  So far, I have been one of the latter people, but as time goes on and my salary/income increases, that could change.

One thing that pains me is seeing folks get a solid tax return, and instantly scream, “I’m going to Disneyland!”  Or something of the like.  Many folks get a very nice first-time homebuyers credit.  Some of them put it towards their home.  Others may do less money-efficient things with it.  Getting a tax return is a fantastic way to give yourself a boost in net worth.  If you’re having trouble getting started with your financial journey, getting a solid return can help give you a kick-start.

It’s okay to reward yourself now and then.  Dropping your whole 1,500 tax return on rewarding yourself/family is not the financially ideal way of doing it.  The most important things to do are to: pay off existing debt, and get started with retirement/portfolio investment as early as possible to get those reinvestments rolling.

The past few years I was able to get very solid tax credits in relation to being a college student.  This past year, I was unable to get any of those credits due to graduating over a year ago, so I was just hoping to come out even and not have to pay in.  Turns out I was able to land a $1250 tax return!  The only credit received was a $200 credit for investing over a certain amount in my Roth IRA.  The funny thing about that was that I would have been ineligible if I had made over 30,000.  My documented income was 29,500!  I barely squeaked by, but was able to get a free $200 because of my retirement investment.

So, how did I decide to spend my tax return?  I will provide a breakdown of what I did and how much was allocated to it.

Initial Return: $1250
Step one: Pay $70 for tax service (TurboTax)
Step two: Roth IRA.  I invested $350 into my Roth IRA, which provides dividend and capital reinvestment anually.
Step three: Portfolio.  $350 went to a purchase of UHT, which provides a solid 4.47 dividend yield.
Step four: Credit card.  $200 went to credit card “debt”, which I was NOT losing money on due to 0% interest.  I decided to move my normal balance to 500 from 700.
Step five: Student loan.  $200 went to the current 6.55% student loan I’m paying off, on top of a regular $300 payment per month.
Step six: Profit!  I paid myself the remaining $80 to enjoy in whatever way I will.

Now, let’s see how much hypothetical money I made for myself over the next 10 years by reinvesting most of my tax return instead of taking a vacation with it.  Steps one, four and six are null because they have no financial implications (remember, my credit card is 0% interest and the balance will be paid in full when that time ends).
Step two: Using the Roth IRA Calculator at Bankrate.com, and using a 7% annual gain, my $350 would turn into $689!  That’s a 96% increase.
Step three: Using a DRIP calculator at hughcalc.org, I used a 5% annual gain and constant 4.47% div/yield for my UHT purchase.  My initial $350 purchase would become $865, a 147% increase.
Step five: My #6 student loan is sitting at 6.55% and I applied an additional $200 principal to the balance.  That saved me $131 in interest using a calculator at webmath.com.
Total hypothetical money saved/earned: 339+515+131=$985!  NICE!  I almost got my whole tax return back in compounded interest/reinvestment, and interest savings.  Not a bad way to spend my tax return.

Always think before you act.  Would you rather buy some fun material things or go on a vacation, or instead invest in your future and save yourself even more money with your free money from the IRS?  I would pick option number two every time!

Here are a few things that have helped me and others I know get a good tax return:
*Do your own research, and think before you just go to any random tax place.  I personally use TurboTax.  It’s cheap, user-friendly, and very thorough.
*Always exhaust your ability to get tax credits!  Even some “professionals” are unaware of college/other tax credits (I know someone who was told twice by a major tax business that they were ineligible for certain tax credits or that they didn’t exist – they went to a smaller business and found they were indeed eligible and they did exist).
*Claim the highest amount of taxes to be taken out of your paycheck.
*Invest in your future – tax credits are available for people investing in retirement & make less than 30,000/yr.  This was in my case being “Single” marital status.
*Pay off existing debt.  It’s always good for you, plus paying mortgage interest is a good way to get helpful deductions.
*Keep track of tax-return related expenses.  Per diem, work related costs, and other things help you get deductions.

I’m sure there are lots of other things, but those are ones that I have had experience with, or know of others who have.  If you have any valuable information to contribute, please feel free!  Also, how did you spend your 2015 tax return?  Did this post help you make any different decisions than what you normally would?  Let me know below!

A Reason To Love The Red: A New Stock Purchase

It’s warming up outside and it’s a beautiful day.  The stock market on the other hand is cold as can be.  However, there are positives to these red days.  When the majority of people are freaking out and selling like mad, or thinking they’ll never make their money back, people like us are taking advantage and making purchases of our “waiting list” stocks while they are cheap.  Today was one of those days for me.  The market has been doing iffy lately, and today it was abysmal, so I decided to make another purchase to add to my portfolio.  I am very excited about this one!

Universal Health/Realty Income Trust (UHT) was on my list for a while now and I’m happy to have finally made the buy.  UHT is a “Dividend Champion”, and has been providing timely and steadily increasing dividends to their shareholders for over 25 years.  Their most recent dividend was $0.63.5 cents, and they just announced another disbursment about two weeks from now.  UHT is an REIT that deals with the healthcare industry.  It sports a very attractive yield % of 5.14, and like I said, the Champion class (like the AT&T purchase recently).  UHT’s P/E is around 12, which is attractive to me – as an established company with a low PE I am estimating it will stay pretty steady over the years to come.

Another reason for this buy was to further add to my diversity inside the portfolio.  Before this buy, I had two powerhouse large-cap stocks including Telecomm: Industry and Cyclical Consumer Goods/Services: Industry.  This will add some cap diversity with the introduction of a small-cap stock and another sector (Financial: Industry).

I am looking forward to having UHT deliver some excellent dividends to DRIP and amplify my holdings!

Portfolio overview:
Ford – 5.086 Sh – 84.90 Basis – 3.28 Total Div – Large Cap – Cyclical Consumer Goods/Services: Industry
AT&T – 7.099 Sh – 239.97 Basis – 3.30 Total Div – Large Cap – Telecommunications: Industry
UHT – 7 Sh – 346.43 Basis – 0 Total Div (4.44 coming Mid-March) – Small Cap – Financial: Industry
Total – 19.18 Sh – 671.30 – 6.58 Total Div
Total “Eaten” Commission – 14.85 – This is not counted in Basis, I choose to “eat” the commission – pay it once and forget about it, never to be seen again.  Not to be included in the portfolio at all.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional and am not to be taken as such.

January Net Worth

Assets

Lil’ Sizzlers Portfolio:
F: 79.98+1.88 Div = 81.86 (+1.86)
T: 244.28+3.30 Div = (+247.58)

Cash:
1,882 (+164)

Roth IRA Basis:
2,947.20 (+100.02)

Roth IRA Cap Gains/Divs:
-21.39 Gains (+13.86)
+46.21 2014 DRIP
Total: +24.82

CC Cash Back:
8.00 (+.30)

Motorcycle:
3,500

Car:
1,700

Personal Assets:
4800

Total Assets:
15,191.46 (+573.83)

Liquid Assets (cash, stock and retirement):
5158 (+513)

Liabilities

Chase Freedom:
800 Payment Bal (Zero % APR) (+15)

Bank CC:
21 (+21)

Student Loan:
26,715 (-176)

Total Liablities:
27,536 (-140)

Net Worth:
-12,345 (+714… Woot!)

Net Worth w/o Student Loan & Last Pmt:
14,670 (+535)

Well, January was a decent month for me!  I increased my overall net worth by over 700 dollars.  While I find it sad that I put 300 a month into my student loan and only knock off 175 of that from the overall total, at least I’m moving in the right direction.  This student loan is just a killer and really dampens the mood.  However, I’m doing it smart and taking it all out of one of the highest interest loans.  My stock purchase earlier this month caused a lack of cash increase but it was not reflected as a loss in assets.  My CC balance continues to float around 7-800 for that good utilization rate the credit keepers like to see.  I missed 12 hours of work this month as well due to two half-days off of work to catch the Packers games (a loss of $145). I will continue to remain vigilant and keep doing what I can do!  I have scored a permanent job (before I was seasonal) which allows me a small pay raise as well as a 100% match up to 5% on my 401k, after 60 days.  That will be huge!  I can’t wait to get that started.

Monthly Income: 1,607
Monthly Assets Change: 573
Monthly Liabilities Change: -140
Monthly Net Worth Change: +714
Monthly Savings Rate (ret/inv/cash/loan): 54% ($873)