With a new month and new year upon us, it is time to take a look how my family’s finances have done month over month as well as year over year. I think I’ll save my goals and objectives for a different post.

Thoughts before Calculating: For the umpteenth time this year I get to bitch and moan about being correlated to the market, but live by the sword die by the sword. When I am up for the month/year I am a genius but when I am down it is obviously Mr. Market’s fault! With the broad market down about 5% in December 2023, and over 19% for the year there is just no way I can overcome those hurdles with my non-correlated asset (whole life insurance), slow amortized debt repayments and cash accumulation.

Calculating my Net Worth

My Family’s Assets

While I have a number of asset categories, I don’t think they are particularly complicated.

  • Cash Equivalents – Back in the day I would save to my cash accounts weekly. I haven’t done that in quite sometime, but last month I wrote, “I am not sure if it is because I have decimated them recently or the market is making me very nervous (and I have taken on some put assignments) but a few months ago I decided to start back up weekly deposits into my cash accounts” these transfers have been set up, and I will define the markers in my goals post.
  • My Trading Account – This one account is both where I invest in my dividend growth companies and risky speculative option trades.  Easily my favorite asset, despite not being the biggest (by a long shot) – this also currently provides me the most stress. For example:
    • In June I wrote, “During the recent downturn I have been very active with this account rolling puts. The volatility has been crazy. Notwithstanding, I have accumulated too much cash earning zero, so this is going to be the second place I grab some cash for my debt plan.”
    • Only to write in August, “I absolutely killed it here this month. My rolling work has paid off and I was able to get out most of my dicey trades. Sometime in August I will use some of the free cash to pay down debt.”
    • And now I have been assigned a ton of shares in two companies that have been taking a beating. Both are dividend payers, so I will continue to sell covered calls until I can get out. One of the five lots (3 of MMM and 2 of INTC) was called out and I keep selling covered calls.
  • My 401(k) – My 401(k) has some terrible investment options that have ridiculous fees, but since I am getting a match at work I fund it to a little bit above the match. This has been hurt the most, probably because it is completely correlated with the market and is my largest non-real estate holding. Despite 18 months of contributions my balance is back to 2020 levels! I don’t mind this one as much since I can’t touch it for 19 more years at a minimum.
  • My Traditional IRA – Just some companies that have caught my attention at some point or another.
  • The Wife’s Roth IRA – Again, some companies that have caught my attention at some point or another.
  • The Wife’s SEP IRA – The Wife was talking to my father in law last year who told her that she should have a SEP IRA, and since she is funding it with business proceeds, I was not going to argue. Just going to be sending $100/week to the account. The original plan was to just buy a broad-based equity ETF (VOO) and a smaller position in a dividend-focused ETF (NOBL), but I have taken very small positions in individual companies along with those broad ETFs.
  • Crypto Currency – This account was basically started for FOMO purposes. It is a shitty reason, but it is mine nonetheless. With Crypto down hard this account has basically given back all the gains that once existed…and then some.
  • Life Insurance Cash Surrender Value – As described I own a number of permanent, cash value whole life insurance policies. Since the cash is accessible I include it in my net worth statement. This money is also accessible via a loan against the cash value. These values now have a loan against the cashThis is another debt item that I would like to retire sooner than later as I am throwing a nice chunk of free cash flow back at it monthly and I would like to have that back. I decided a few months to use some more CSV to pay down credit card debt, so as I sit here I have zero credit card debt and have an aggressive pay back schedule on the life insurance loan.
  • Physical Gold – A few years back I decided to start buying physical gold, I am hoping one day to be that crazy guy with a stack of gold I can swim through. I accidentally deleted my gold amounts a few months back. 4 months ago I wrote, “while I believe I have the right number I need to audit my “vast” reserves” well I didn’t so should do that sometime soon…I have continued to fail myself here.
  • My Rental Property – Every month I update a spreadsheet I keep for the minority owners of my rental property.
  • My Main Residence – My Family’s home!

Currently, I do not include my investment clubs in my net worth.

My Family’s Debt

  • Law School Debt – Refinanced a few months back at 2.6%, probably going to ignore the account for a while. While it would be nice to finish these off I haven’t done so to date.
  • Mortgage and Home Debt – I have a mortgage on each home and a home equity line of credit on the rental property.
  • Revolving Credit Card Debt – Zero It’s fucking back (for now).

My Net Worth Change

  • Month over Month my family’s net worth was down 1.25%
  • For 2023 my family is down about .80%

As expected, we were down. Notwithstanding my first negative year since 2018 (-.50%) I have some positives that I want to highlight for myself:

  1. Long term debt is down about 3%. Further, I don’t have any discernable credit card debt (there is some but nothing crazy). I don’t think I need to speed any of this debt up but may consider it.
  2. My 401(k) accumulated shares at a lower cost. I know this may seem like a cop out, but there is something amazing about picking up shares of a broad based fund at a lower cost today than I did last year or two years ago.
  3. I really killed it with my trading. I am not thinking this is another career, but the idea that I found a strategy that works for me (selling naked puts), and that I (for the most part) reinvested those trading gains into a safe investment strategy (dividend growth investing) absolutely excites me.

I think the above three things will compound into 2023+.

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