2015 Net Worth and Expense Recap

2015 has drawn to a close. Last week I wrote about how great my year went in terms of my goals, and then discussed my 2016 financial and non-financial goals. Now I want to get into the nitty-gritty money details, since that is what everyone cares about anyways.

The last time I reported my net worth was at the end of July when my net worth crossed six figures for the first time ever. Now I’m at $120k which is about $10k higher than what I originally planned for 2015, which is great, but this also lets me know that I am bad at projecting since the equity markets were basically flat and all appreciation was due to my contributions. There are just too many variables which go into projecting your net worth that I don’t really put to much effort into the exercise. In 2016, my income WILL change, I will NOT predict equity market returns, I will NOT predict my exact savings rate, etc. And that’s just projecting 12 months out! Projecting 10 years out is just asking to be completely wrong, but I do appreciate that the exercise is educational and gives me somewhat of an idea of where I could be. But on this journey to financial independence, I’m going to concentrate on what I can control, which is mostly working hard to increase my income, monitor my expenses, and invest the difference.

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Cash – Checking account, plus savings account, minus outstanding credit card balances.
Post-tax investments – Mix of a couple individual stocks (which I’ll most likely divest from in 2016) and Vanguard index funds in brokerage accounts.
Tax advantaged accounts – Pre-tax and Roth 401k, Roth IRA, and HSA. The Roth 401k is from previous years, I know better than to contribute to something other than pre-tax now!
Pension – I have a cash balance pension plan with my current employer that I’m fully vested in. I believe if the balance remains small I can roll into an IRA when I leave, but if it gets higher I unfortunately would have to leave it alone until standard retirement age.
Student loans – Only one left at 3% and I’ll pay this off in 2016.

Let me be honest here – I don’t do a good job of tracking my expenses and I am by no means as frugal as some in this community. Personally, I’d rather spend more effort on increasing my income instead. Throughout 2015, I just made sure my average expenses each month were below $3,000 and I left it at that. As you can see below I’ve easily exceeded that goal with total 2015 expenses of $32,056.

In December I really decided to buckle down and monitor my expenses. I’m going to do an internal monthly review in 2016 and really see where my money is going. I used Personal Capital to compile the expenses below, but I’ve noticed it isn’t always right and has double counted expenses before, so this year I want to be on top of that. Therefore I created a great excel template to track my expenses in 2016. I plan on getting my expenses below $30,000, and this will definitely be doable if my remote work arrangement plan is successful.

I won’t go into too much detail about each expense category below but I’ll talk about a few of the big ones. As you can see my rent is my largest expense by far. I live in Manhattan, but actually have a pretty good deal on a place within walking distance to work that I split with two of my friends. Travel is high due to the fact I like to travel, had some weddings to attend, and am in a long distance relationship. The “other” category is something I plan on really locking down in 2016. This is basically ATM withdrawals, expenses I didn’t want to break out on their own, and other miscellaneous items.

15 exp

I don’t include student loan payments in my expenses, because the accountant in me knows that it is all balance sheet (except for a small portion of interest). But I did paid off $6,300 of student loans in 2015, and plan on paying off the last $4,200 in 2016.

2016 is going to be a year of many changes for me, but I’m hoping to use what I learned in 2015 to earn as much as possible and invest as much as possible, all while having a great time. I plan on moving out of Manhattan in 2016 which may shift my expenses dramatically, and hopefully in a good direction. I am a person who is totally comfortable with change, and am looking forward to what 2016 has in store for me!

I know I mentioned up above that I don’t really like to project my net worth, but to have some fun I’m shooting for $180k, while keeping expenses below $30k.

Did you hit your net worth and expense goals in 2015? How closely do you monitor your expenses?

47 thoughts on “2015 Net Worth and Expense Recap

  1. Brian @DebtDiscipline

    Impressive considering you are living in NYC. Knocking out your debt, dropping expenses, increasing income, sounds like a solid plan. I would expect you net worth to really increase in 2016. I track my monthly fixed expenses mortgage, utilities, etc, food is more of a swag.
    Brian @DebtDiscipline recently posted…Net Worth: December 2015My Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Brian. I need to lock down my expenses a little better even though I’m decently frugal by NYC standards 🙂

      Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      True on the restaurants, but my grocery bill is only 4% so it evens out somewhat. If you add them together groceries and restaurants make up 15% which I’m not too mad at since it’s about $400 a month combined. I can always improve, but I’m okay with that. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Transit expenses for work equal zero since I walk to the office, and if I travel for work that’s all covered. I use the subway pretty rarely, mostly on the weekends, maybe ~$20 a month and that’s buried in travel.

      Reply
  2. Norm

    Tracking expenses is essential. But if that’s already how low your expenses are in Manhattan, you’re already doing good. The split between Restaurants and Groceries freaks me out, but I know, I know, it’s Manhattan and that’s how people eat 🙂

    I like the Excel idea. I’ve never got on the Personal Capital bandwagon for the same reasons. I still use my 2003 Quicken which is simple and lets me categorize and display things however I want.

    Where are you looking to move? Still within the boroughs?
    Norm recently posted…The Ridinkulous 2015 Annual Expense ReportMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I’m not the best meal planner, I could definitely do better. But I do a lot of traveling (work and personal) and if I get back on Sunday from a weekend with friends or family, the last thing I want to do is cook for the week… I know I’m just being lazy.

      More to come on where I’d like to move in a later post 🙂

      Reply
  3. Alyssa @ GenerationYRA

    Nice goals for 2016, and I hope the remote work situation works out for you! Also – kudos, to paying off the remainder of your student loans that’s going to be amazing. I am also one for not monitoring my expenses like a hawk. I do track (via 3 apps & excel spreadsheets), but I have a ballpark number of what I would like my expenses to be at or below monthly. I definitely don’t beat myself up if it surpasses the number, I just know I need to make up for it in the upcoming month(s).To me it’s all about flexibility, one month is going to have much higher expenses when the next will be incredibly low.
    Alyssa @ GenerationYRA recently posted…Generation YRA & Mavenly + Co. Podcast Series CollaborationMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Alyssa! Sounds like we’re fairly similar on the expense monitoring front. We’ll see how much better I get in 2016. At this point with my expenses under $3k a month living in Manhattan, it’s much easier for me to increase my compensation by $6k a year than decrease my spending 🙂

      Reply
  4. Maggie @ Northern Expenditure

    I think you’re doing a great job living in NYC! And congrats on the increased net worth. I’m excited to see where you go in 2016! Here’s to increased net worth for us all! (and the remote working arrangement would be AWESOME – good luck!)

    Reply
  5. Our Next Life

    Nice work! You definitely hit some big numbers in 2015, so why not aim high for 2016? Totally agree, btw, that it’s silly to project net worth over long periods of time, BUT if you’re planning for early retirement by a certain date, you have to work toward something to make sure you’re on track to have enough to retire. That’s basically the extent of our goal-setting — just making sure we’ll have enough when we pull the ripcord.

    Good luck getting approval of your remote work arrangement!
    Our Next Life recently posted…Time to Climb a New Mountain // Setting Our Sights HigherMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Totally agree on the net worth projecting. If I was two years away from FI, I’d be much more willing to nail it down. But for me, in 10 years I could have $500k or $1.5m… who knows 🙂 (I’m hoping for the latter)

      Reply
  6. Leigh

    I’m not a huge fan of Personal Capital or Mint…I find that they don’t count transactions very well sometimes by missing them or categorizing everything wrong, etc. I just use Mint to avoid logging into all of my accounts to verify nothing is up, especially when the account I want to check doesn’t use Touch ID.

    Congrats on exceeding your net worth goals! Here’s to a wealthful 2016! I see that you’ve also rounded your net worth numbers to the nearest $100 🙂
    Leigh recently posted…2015 In Review: Goals, Savings, Net Worth, Investments, and Charts GaloreMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I know some people that enter all their expenses into an excel spreadsheet, but that’s just not for me. In 2016, I’ll review expenses on PC once or twice a month and that will give me a good enough picture. As an accountant we usually round things to nearest thousandth or millionth but for the size of my assets I figured hundredths were better 🙂

      Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I did about 70% in 2015, but obviously each year it should go down. Shooting for 50% in 2016 still feels like a good goal. Thanks.

      Reply
  7. DC @ Young Adult Money

    What stands out to me here is how low your rent is. Don’t you live in NYC? I have a colleague who left our company (a Fortune 20) to be a controller at a startup in NYC. She got a studio in Jersey City. We talked about the costs involved but I looked for myself just to see what the prices truly were. Holy cow….I’ll stick to Minneapolis-St. Paul. Looks like you were able to get your rent down pretty low though, so kudos for that.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…12 Financial Moves to Make This YearMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I have two friends who I live with, we share a three bedroom. Plus we found a pretty sweet deal when I moved here two years ago.

      Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I’m good at saying “no” plus I get to eat some fancy meals for work (which I don’t pay for) so they wet my whistle enough to get me to not shell out my own money for that kind of stuff. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  8. Abigail @ipickuppennies

    We hit our savings goal thankfully. Unfortunately, all that awesome, saved money will be going into oral surgery, but at least we won’t have to go into debt for it.

    This year, it’s about learning to live without his disability check, which will be interesting, and maybe growing the blog a bit.
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…How we found $766 in our budgetMy Profile

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  9. ambertree

    Progress is more important than hitting a fully planned number.
    Even is planning is difficult giving all the variables, a plan is still needed I believe in order to have some reference and an extra incentive to put in place the right actions and mindset.

    I follow up every month. More to keep the focus than to worry about deviation. That being said, I have hit the savings and net worth goal in 2015. The savings goal is due to automation and the rather Large monthly amount I set aside for future expenses. It keeps it easy and more predictable.
    ambertree recently posted…My 2016 goalsMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I disagree with everything going to hell, but even if it was, I wouldn’t change my financial plans.

      Reply
  10. Sylvia @ Miss PF

    Kudos to making such great improvements. My sister wants to move out to NYC this year. Any recommendations on neighborhoods that are safe for a single woman and close to Manhattan?

    Happy new year! Good luck in 2016! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I live in Manhattan so really only know this borough. Anywhere in Manhattan is safe in my mind. People I work with if they don’t like in Manhattan live in Brooklyn, Hoboken, or Jersey City. Heard good things about each of those places.

      Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Depending on what industry you’re in, there is usually a ton of room for income appreciation at a MUCH more rapid rate than cutting expenses. Take care!

      Reply
  11. Mr. Enchumbao

    Hi FF,
    Great job on your numbers. We spent around $32,000 last year as well. We do include our rental property proceeds into our monthly rent calculation. Our net worth increased but mostly due to our incomes since the market was flat.

    Reply
  12. Tracy@ Financial Nirvana Mama

    Hmm…I do track my net worth, but only in the last three years to help build courage in trying a completely different path, path of many people on this blog, entrepreneurship…

    I don’t really monitor my expenses but I have to say that I am mindful of what I spend and I try to invest a lot so that each additional income stream I receive covers an expense…then my largest source of income is used for more investments… But it didn’t always start out that way..

    Thank you for being transparent about your net worth and i look forward to seeing you grow!

    Reply

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