GYFG here checking in for the April monthly financial report. If you have been reading these reports for a while you will notice that I introduce each month with the same intro month after month. I do this for two reasons, a) for the newbies to the site (which make up about 50% of the sites traffic) and b) to remind everyone what these reports are all about. By all means if you have read the intro at least once, then please feel free to skip down to the “Summary of April 2016” section where the new content begins (click the orange link to be taken there automatically).
For those of you that are new around this corner of the internet, I wanted to fill you in as to what these reports are all about. These monthly reports are about full transparency. They are just as much for me as they are for you. It’s a hard decision to make all of your financial details public, but it’s also a very motivating one. It’s not just the post, but the process of putting this post together that really benefits me.
My sincere hope is that my transparency will inspire you to take the helm of your own financial ship and be intentional with its direction. I truly believe that anyone can reach financial freedom, if they are willing to do things differently. If you earn an average salary and have an average savings rate, then you can expect an average result! That means you will likely have to work at a job you may or may not enjoy until you’re 65 and then maybe you can retire IF you’re lucky.
Hey, there is nothing wrong with average. If you’re happy with average, then by all means keep doing what everyone else is doing. Not sure how you feel about that, but I have no interest in living an average life. I want EXTRAORDINARY.
Most people don’t want to live below their means in order to reach FINANCIAL FREEDOM, because that’s painful. They think it involves cutting out all the joy in life. You know what I’m talking about, those financial gurus that tell you that in order to get rich you need to cut out the $5 lattes and stop going out to eat. Then after 40 years of diligent and above average savings and super low spending, you will be a millionaire. Basically, you have to live like a college student and suppress all the things you want to do in life and then when you’re old you will be rich.
Okay, that doesn’t sound like the plan for me either.
The good news is there is another way. This site and these reports are here to show you the OTHER path to financial freedom. There is a way where you can have your cake and eat it too. I believe and hope that over time I will be able to convince you of the following:
In order to reach financial freedom you can choose to live below your means by cutting expenses to the bone and living in a state of scarcity or you can expand your means and live in a state of abundance by increasing your income and enjoying the $5 latte or other indulgence of your choice.
Not only that, but if you’re diligent you can reach financial freedom a lot sooner than anyone has ever led you to believe.
Our Mission Statement:
To Humanize Finance, Build Wealth, and Reach Financial Freedom.
I know I don’t have to publish my juicy details every month, but it’s important to me that you know that I put my money where my mouth is (because not that many finance blogs or people giving financial advice do this). I publish all of my financial details not to brag, but instead to show you what is working as well as what’s not working. Sometimes finance can get pretty dense, but I think real life examples and numbers can help slice through the complexities (and BS). Personally, I have always enjoyed the financial reports put out by other bloggers around the blogosphere.
As always, you can find all my previous reports on the Financial Stats page (as well as annual trends and a few other financial metrics not found on this report). In these monthly reports the plan is to give you a month over month update on Gross Income, Assets, Liabilities, Net Worth, Expenses, Contributions, Savings Rate, and progress on the mortgage pay down goal.
Summary of April 2016
Wonder how I pull all this information together every month?
We use Personal Capital to aggregate and consolidate our transactions from across all of our financial accounts (checking, savings, retirement, credit cards, mortgages, HSA, and other investment accounts). At the end of the month I then drop that information into my financial stats spreadsheet for this monthly report.
Tracking your finances is, in my opinion, the best way to stay on top of your finances. You can’t optimize what you don’t measure. You can’t make informed decisions if you don’t know what you having coming in vs. going out. Without a holistic view of how much you spend every month, there’s no way to set savings, debt repayment, or investment goals. It’s a financial freedom must, folks.
Month Over Month Financial Summary
Just three things to point out in case you missed it:
- Cash took a -20.2% hit due to our refinance we just completed, and will take an even bigger hit next month as we deploy $50K in the form of a hard money loan at 8% (with my in-laws).
- The liabilities side of the balance sheet improved significantly overall due to the refinance. We amortized mortgage debt by $23,432 in April.
- Our credit card float increased substantially from $1,942 to $7,068 for a 264% increase.
What went down in April?
Last month I was forecasting a drop in income down to $18,200/month, yet we beat it again thanks to Mrs. GYFG. She continues to blow her numbers out of the water bringing in an additional $5,000 in income again this month (that’s 4 for 4 for anyone keeping track).
Since this extra income from Mrs. GYFG is not guaranteed our current forecast still has income dipping to around $18,200/month, with the exception of July, which is currently forecast at $43,400 due to my mid-year bonus. There are several factors that could help us exceed expectations:
- Mrs. GYFG is still killing it. The last four months she has brought in an additional $5,000/month above and beyond her salary from monthly bonus payouts and notaries.
- There is the potential for a mid-year promotion to VP that I am working towards. This could lead to a substantial increase in both my base and bonus compensation.
But we won’t count our chickens before they hatch.
Here is a look at the trend for the last 13 months:
I updated the 2016 forecast, and it’s now forecasting gross income of $300,158 for 2016 (based on new information, and I think we will actually come in closer to $315K or more). If you’ve read my blueprint for how I plan to reach $10M, you will notice that we have jumped about 6 years ahead of schedule on the income front.
I didn’t have us at this earning level until 2021 in the original blueprint…which will obviously need to be updated (post to come probably late April).
The Juicy Details
- Previous Month: $21,906
- Difference: +$974
Now where did all that money go?
I have come to the realization that there are always going to be unplanned expenses. Our goal is to save 50% of our income and live off and enjoy the difference guilt free. With that type of rule governing our financial life, it is a free pass to inflate our lifestyle, but only proportional to our income. You can see prior financial reports here. We do however try to line up expenses with expected income as much as possible.
Notes on April Results:
1 – House Mortgage & HOA was up $25K or 543% over March. This is due to the cash-in refinance we just completed. We refinanced our 5/5 ARM at 3.625% into a 3/1 ARM at 2.25%. In order to qualify for this rate we needed to bring in enough cash to increase our equity position to 20% of the current market value.
Bringing in this cash also allowed us to get the refinance done for about $1,200, as we had no points and no loan origination fee. It also helps that my wife was able to waive our escrow fee since she is in the business. Some of this was prepaying property taxes and we will be refunded our current impound account balance in May (about $2,000). This helped reduce a large chunk of debt on the liabilities side of the balance sheet and increased our mortgage payoff goal from 7% to 14%.
2 – Home Improvement should continue to slow down as we had front loaded the year.
3 – Condo Mortgage & HOA we had property taxes due in the amount of $1,070, these are not impounded, as we have elected to make the payment separately from our mortgage.
4 – Travel & Hotel has a nice $3,070 favorable variance as we had pre-booked our Costa Rica trip in March and paid for our February trip to Nicks Cove in March.
5 – Auto & Transport we had our car registrations due on both cars.
6 – Health & Fitness I ordered a 21 day detox program that I did back in 2012 to get my eating and nutrition back on track. I will talk about this more in my goals update for April.
The refinance is the major driver this month for expenses being up month over month. But January through April tend to be our most expensive months of the year.
Next month expenses will come down substantially. A big part of that will be due to the one-time items I called out above, but also due to the fact that we will not have a mortgage payment due in May.
Here is the trend for the last 13 months:
I have now changed the chart to reflect the add-back of loan amortizations to reflect what I call “real spending” above. This is done because amortizations are really just a balance sheet transfer from cash to pay down liabilities, it has no impact to net worth.
CALL OUT: It is crazy how slippery money can be. Because of this I totally recommend you automate as much of your finances as possible, especially the saving and investing piece. We set our financial goals at the beginning of the year and then automate the process of reaching them.
Our mortgage payment is automatically set up to pay $1,600 in additional principal.This will be put on hold until further notice (see below)
- My 401K contribution is automatically deducted at a rate that will ensure I max out by year end ($18,000)
- My HSA contribution is automatically deducted at a rate that will ensure I max out by year end ($6,750)
All of these things take priority over any spending that we do in a given month. We monitor expenses but don’t really manage them. Instead we manage savings and investments and let the expenses work themselves out.
What were Investments and Contributions?
- Contributed $0 There is no longer any tax benefit for us to contribute to my wife’s IRA due to our income level in 2016.
- Previous month: $0
- Difference: -$0
- Contributed $962 Into my 401K. Contributed $7,065 so far in 2016.
- Previous month: $962
- Difference: -$0
- P2P Lending $0 We now have $6,000 invested here (post to come soon). We opened an account with Lending club last month. Trying to spread the love 🙂
- Previous month: $0
- Difference: -$0
- Rich Uncles REIT $0 This was from reinvested dividends. We currently have $5,555.
- Previous month: $0
- Difference: $0
- Increase in Savings $0 This includes checking, savings, and CD’s.
- Previous month: $0
- Difference: +$0
- HSA Contribution $488 This is set up to max out by the end of the year. We currently have $8,000 here.
- Previous month: $488
- Difference: -$0
Total Investments & Contributions $1,450
- Previous month: $1,450
- Difference: -$0
You will notice that we have not been making much in the way of contributions to other investments. This has been intentional as we have been preparing for this refinance we just completed as well as a $50,000 hard money loan we will be making to a family friend that is in the real estate business (he does a lot of volume of flip and rehabs). We are going in with our in-laws, who are putting in $200K, and will be receiving 8% interest on our loan. The duration will be anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months.
This is all done with the proper paperwork, we are just playing the part of the bank. The worst case, which we think is very unlikely, is that we end up getting into another rental property. The property is collateral for the loan and we (and the in-laws) are the sole and primary lien holders on the house.
Below is how we’re tracking to our goal of saving 50% of our after tax income.
You can see that although our goal for the year is 50%, we bounce all over the place on a monthly basis.
So far in 2016 we are still on target to hit our goal of 50%.
Speaking of savings rate, have you checked out my recent post where I mathematically prove the importance of your savings rate as a higher priority than the compound return? If you’re trying to build wealth quickly, then you have to read this post.
Net Worth and Mortgage Pay Down Update
My ultimate goal is to build up a Net Worth of $10M returning 6% a year or $50,000/month in gross income (at the end of March we are officially 3.7% there). Don’t freak out, this is only about $5.5M in today’s dollars when you take into account a 3% inflation rate.
I am not anywhere close to a 7-figure net worth yet (or what some refer to as the double comma club). However, it is growing at a very respectable rate (just take a look in the side bar for growth at a glance). If you want to see how I plan to get there you can read all about it here (soon to be reviewed and updated
in April of 2016 at some point).
April Net Worth $370,744 (this puts us up $53,017 or 16.7% vs. 2015 with 8 months to go)
- Previous month: $368,985
- Difference: +$1,759
Since publishing the first financial report we have been able to post 16 consecutive months of positive gains to Net Worth. Let’s see how long we can continue this trend. The larger the number becomes (and the more invested we become), the more difficult it will be to continue this trend.
Net Worth Component Break Down:
With the refinance this month, our primary residence has crossed a threshold over our target of 25% or less of net worth. This means we will be discontinuing our additional principal payments until we can dilute this number to reduce our concentration risk. This doesn’t really effect the pay down goal, as the refinance forced us to bring in enough cash to satisfy our scheduled extra payments through April of 2017.
Speaking of net worth, the next 3 months should bring some very healthy increases. We are currently forecasting an increase of about $38,000 over the next 3 months. We are currently on track to increase net worth by $119K in 2016 vs. our original goal of $112K.
Something I have been thinking about and worth pointing out is that our net worth was actually negative to the tune of almost -$300K back in early 2009, so we have come a long way in a relative short period of time. Until now I had only reported our ending net worth from 2012. I am thinking up a post that would give the full story of how we started so negative right out of college and how we have improved it so dramatically in such a short period of time. I mention the first drag in this post about our investment condo.
Note: I think people tend to glaze over the fact that the savings rate plays a much bigger role in increasing your net worth than the rate of return on your investments (in the early days of your journey). In the short term, savings rate has a bigger impact on net worth. The goal is to eventually build a big enough asset base that the gains from compounding will eventually outpace the gains from savings. Actually, check out the post I recently wrote: Savings Rate – The Most Important Variable to Wealth Building [and the math to prove it]
Progress On Our Mortgage Payoff Goal
You can read about our strategy to pay off our mortgage in 7 years (and 3 months). When you break it down and follow the 3 simple rules, it’s not as hard as it sounds. We bought our house in February of 2014 and then refinanced it into a 5/5 ARM in September of 2014 to remove PMI and free up cash-flow to put towards the principal and keep us on track to pay the mortgage off at an accelerated pace. We have since refinanced again into a 3/1 ARM at 2.25%, which has freed up almost $400/month.
The progress chart above shows how much of our goal we have completed. Last month we were at 7.6%, which means we picked up another 650 basis points in April.
This goal will move a bit slower over the next few months as we work to reduce the concentration of our net worth in this area.
I hope these reports inspire and move you to action. Don’t take a passive role in your finances and hope for the best. There is a famous Jim Rohn quote that I think everyone should keep in mind:
If you don’t plan your future, somebody else will. And you know what they have planned for you? NOT MUCH!
You have to be intentional with your finances if you ever want a fighting chance to make it to financial freedom. It doesn’t have to take 40-50 years of slaving away for the man before you have the option to retire. I personally think that 15-20 years is really all you need, and for the folks that are more aggressive (i.e. extremely frugal, not us) or very high earners you can probably reach financial independence in 10 years or less (maybe us, it’s yet to be seen but income is our focus vs. expenses).
I am looking forward to chatting with you all in the comments below. How was your month? Also, if you have a blog, I encourage you to write a monthly financial report and come back here and share the link. I would love to be part of your support and accountability.
One last thing before we go. If you are new or even if you’re not new and you have been wanting a more guided tour of the blog, I finally launched a “Start Here” page. I highly recommend you check it out.
– Gen Y Finance Guy
Oh, you’re still reading.
Do you want to help keep our lights on? You’re under no obligation, but if you were already thinking about it or were a little bit curious, why not help us out?
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Solid work and great trajectory you folks are on! Keep up the good work and kudos to GYFG for killing it!
Mrs. GYFG is freaking killing it. This is the cartoon I should have posted:
Thorough as always! I’d love a post just digging into the hard money loan you just did – how did the deal come about? Did you approach them about investing or did they ask you? Always interesting investing with friends and family – how did you go about the due-diligence?
Brian – I would love to say there was a ton of due diligence and thought. But to be honest this one was all lead by my wife. We have a friend that buys distressed properties for a living and works with hard money lenders all the time. His main lender is getting out of the business and he remembered us telling him a few years ago that if there was ever an opportunity to think of us. My wife’s parents had already done one deal with him in the past for $120K and are going into this deal with $200K.
I am not that worried since my wife and mother in-law are in the business and do these kinds of transactions all the time. They will make sure all the proper paper work is filed. Between our $50K and my in-laws $200K there is no one else involved on the loan, which is secured by the property. We are the primary lean holder just like the bank.
Worst case we end up with a fully paid property. It is not going to cash flow as good as your out of state properties, but based on market rents we should be able to get 6-8% cash on cash returns. Plus the property is getting picked up for below market value.
This deal is set to close on the 19th of this month.
I really like the charts. It’s great that you started tracking from the beginning. 3.7% completed on a $10M journey seems like it will take forever, but as you know the snowball effect kicks in and it goes faster and faster. Thanks for sharing.
IH – Glad you like the charts, it really helps to visualize things and to break up the text 🙂
Yes, at 3.7% it sometimes feels like $10M will take forever. We should end the year 4.5%, with a possibility to hit as high as 7% depending on how some things in the works pan out.
Based on the road map we need to be at 4.8% or $480K in net worth by the end of this year.
Awesome job man! Our net worth continues to go through the roof as the Bay Area bubble seemingly has no end..right….right?? hah..
Our net worth ended at $445k for the month of April, much of this increase was from a high savings rate, though. The nice thing is this includes having paid for most of our Bali trip. The only exciting thing on the horizon for me is July 15th marks the 1 year anniversary of buying our condo, which means we can finally refinance our 80/10/10 loan as I’ve only put 10% down, but have appreciated to about 30% equity in such a short time. I will likely also be doing a cash out refinance to pull $80-100k out, depending on how the real estate market is come mid July. I already mentioned it before, but I will look to do a 10 year interest only loan on this as well.
I suspect 1 or 2 more good months away from the $500k number!
Have yet to do any forecasting, but if I had to take a stab in the dark I will hope our net worth ends 2016 around $600-650k, much of this dependent on the market conditions, however. Both stock and housing.
Best of luck in May!!
Hey Sean – Not as much progress as I would have liked to make. I actually realized I missed about $2,000, so it is slightly understated, but that’s fine, I will pick it up in May. The reason is that we have been stashing cash away in the safe just to have it on hand and convenient.
We for sure don’t have the kind of appreciation you are experiencing. Actually, the appraisal we got in order to close the refinance we just finished confirmed the price I have been carrying the value of our house at $400K. We bought our house two years ago at $370K, so we have experienced an appreciation rate of about 4% per year.
What will you plan to do with the $80-$100K you pull out? Also, how often do you update the value of your condo? And do you do it purely from Zillow/Redfin or do you also take into consideration recent cells to smell test the value?
I do recall in you guest post you talking about refinancing into an interest only loan.
In two months you will be hitting $500K and we will be hitting $400K (you keep the lead for now) 🙂
If I ignore a few things brewing on the job front with promotion and equity (don’t count your chickens til they hatch), the we are looking like we will end the year around $450K. But there is a possibility for it to end as high as $600K to $700K if things go really well (time will only tell).
The race continues!!!
Nice!! You’re certainly making it interesting 🙂
I just have personal capital pull the value of my house on a daily basis from Zillow, it updates real time to my entire net worth. That being said, I am sure I could get north of $900k if I put it on the market today, and Zillow has it listed at $841k at the moment. It wouldn’t be a stretch for me to tag it at $900k and call my net worth $505k today, but I will ere on the conservative side. Exact same units in my property with worse views have been pushing $920s, one done up really nice with great remodel just sold for $1,015,000. It’s the exact same unit as mine, just a done up kitchen and bathrooms. I suspect I’d need to drop about $100k to get mine up to the level it was at.
As far as what I plan to do with the $80-100k there’s several options I am considering:
1. Remodel our place
2. Hope the market pulls back 15-20% and put it to work
3. Just sit on the cash for a while, pretty painless proposition considering I am paying ~2% net of tax deduction
#3 is obviously my least desirable choice. Would prefer #2, wife will most likely convince me of #1 😉
Very strong progress for you. It seems that the job of Ms GYFG is getting along very well! And her job allows to bring in some nice financing deals.
What would happen to your plan if the savings rate went to 60pct orso? Would hat be feasable for you? On our side, we could increase our savings rate, we just do not want to do it right now.
AmberTree – The easy answer is that saving 60% would expedite the achievement of our $10M goal. Last year we saved 44% of our income. This year we will hit 50% or a little more. I think in 2017 we will be able to pick that up to about 55%, which could be more, but we still have a few things that we want to do to our home like upgrading the flooring throughout the bottom floor.
Our bare minimum expenses based on two mortgages, property taxes, HOA’s, utilities, food is about $5,500/month. So, we have plenty disposable income that we spend every month that we could save to increase our savings rate, but like you, we don’t want to at this time.
Personally I am much more interested in keeping our adjusted spending (before loan amortizations) at less that $120K/year. I know it may not seem like it, but we are projecting to spend $7,000 less than what we spent in 2015. However we have front loaded the year with a lot of expenses.
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Love the hard money loan, although 8% is pretty generous to the borrower!
Now to decide what to do with the interest – easily my favorite “paycheck” of the month.
Things are progressing along quite swimmingly! Congrats to Mrs. GYFG on her diligence and tree-shaking, those money-making opportunities do not happen to everybody, GYFG. But I’m not jealous, not at all!:-) 8%, great rate and win-win and this is the way repeat business and opportunity for shared profitability happens.
fwiw, would love to see a post on your tax preparation and estimate/actuals, before we get too far away from April 15. Continued success!
JayCeezy – Not sure I have a whole post about tax preparation. Did you stay on the comments thread to my original post last October when I first thought I would owe $13,000?
I had left a comment for you that after everything was said and done our final gap ended up being just $2,600. After making several tweaks to my spreadsheet it still says I owe $5,600. So, not sure what else I am missing, but I prefer it be an estimate that is too high than one that is too low. Later in the year when we get towards the last 3-4 months I will take a closer look at the sheet again and maybe even take you up on your advice to plug it into tax software…not sure if Tax Slayer will let me do what you suggested by making a copy of previous years return…but it is worth a try.
All the best to you!
Ah! Thanks! Did not see that comment, and was curious how it turned out. Makes me think I should go back to see what I missed on other threads.
Great news for Mr. and Mrs. GYFG on your 2015 liability, and am impressed at your forward-thinking strategy. My thought is (if you cannot dupe and draft 2016 on Tax Slayer, or just don’t want to) is to just plug in a bottom-line percentage adjustment on your ‘tax spreadsheet’ to bring you closer. This is another exercise that might not be worth your time to do in detail, because (as you know well from your profession) “a plan is just a list of things that won’t happen!”:-)
Also, to follow-up my estimate (was combined $4K for Fed and State for 2015) Mr. and Mrs. Ceezy owed $2,400.
Thanks for the follow-up, have a great weekend!
hey are the 3/1 arm normally available below 2.5 % i see thats a really low % you got!
Andy – That is the rate I got through my credit union (Navy Federal Credit Union). In my experience I have not found any commercial bank that can compete with the rates I get through this credit union. I think in general rates through credit unions tend to be much more competitive…at least for primary residences.
Impressive net worth gains so far in 4 months this year!
I have been tempted to look at rental properties, but keep putting it off so far. With so many different options, it is hard to pick an investment direction and stay with it.
Hey Vawt – It’s been a while. I have not seen a new post from you in a while, must be busy living life 🙂 Hope all is well!
Thanks for checking in. Like you we have been talking about picking up a 2nd piece of rental real estate for almost a year now and have failed to pull the trigger. As a way to buy a bit more time, we are participating in this hard money loan. But we really do want to get something before the end of the year.
I am interested in out of state, but my wife is partial to keeping it local, mostly because we have all the talent we need locally to do just about anything in real estate, which would give us a bit of an edge in the CA market. My wife’s dad is a contractor/designer, my wife is in Escrow and holds her real estate license, her uncle does custom cabinetry, her other uncle does flooring. We also have a great property management company that we know like and trust.
So, it is looking more and more that our next investment will be locally.
Congrats on the huge income stream! The key will be to see if you can sustain the corporate environment for the 10 to 20 years to come. I thought I wanted to work until age 40, or 18 years, but I petered out even though the income was really good too.
Thanks Sam! Still got a ways to go to reach the kind of income you had when you were in investment banking.
Right now things are moving really fast and are keeping me engaged, excited, and having a lot of fun.
10 to 20 years is too far out to forecast exactly where things will land on the career front. But the next 5 years look promising.