August 2019

Net Worth Update – August 2019

Each month, I share a net worth update for the Brewing FIRE household. This brief summary of our financial standing serves as a progress report on our journey to financial independence.

In addition to giving a snapshot of our net worth, I will take a brief look at our spending, saving, and investing activity for the month.

August 2019 Net Worth

via Personal Capital

We use Personal Capital to track our net worth. Personal Capital makes it easy to track all of our banking accounts, investing accounts, credit cards and loans all in one place. Personal Capital also has numerous other functions for analyzing your investment holdings, asset allocation and performance, as well as some great retirement planning tools.


August

As the summer winds down, I always feel the need to pack as much fun into the remaining days. I get this irrational feeling that “we didn’t do anything” while the weather was nice, and we squandered some opportunity.

Native corn is the best!

Of course, this is not true. We had three vacations this summer, including a two week excursion through Europe. There were plenty of beach days, mini road trips, and patio parties. I crossed a number of breweries off my bucket list. And most importantly, we were able to relax and spend more time together as a family than we get to during the normal weekly grind.

August was especially productive in terms of doing fun and interesting things. Some stuff that happened:

  • I finally got to see the Mountain Goats, and it was awesome.
  • Baby BF got to spend some time with her great grandmother, who has been in CT for most of the summer.
  • We did plenty of swimming, hiking, and biking.
  • We added 6 baby chicks to our flock.
  • I got to celebrate my birthday in style with a picnic at one of my favorite breweries.

Sick Dogs and Barren Fields

Posing with our deaf guard dog

August wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns, unfortunately. Our four-legged compatriot, Percy, had a health scare that led to a night in the ER. What originally looked to be a stroke turned out to be a vestibular episode (think vertigo). He recovered after a few days, but lost his hearing as a result of the attack. We’re happy that he’s still with us, even if he can’t listen to instructions now. At least fireworks and thunder don’t bother him anymore!

Another ongoing issue that I haven’t talked about recently is the side yard. As mentioned in the March net worth update, the power company leveled the 2+ acres on the side of our yard. As part of the demolition, they promised to replace all trees with new plantings of our choice. We had planned a nice privacy row and an orchard. But after almost a year and dozens of phone calls, they haven’t returned to plant as promised.

Well, We found out last week that the company tasked to do the planting was fired, and there’s “no money left in the budget.” Who knows when this will get sorted out. But I can tell you this: hell hath no fury like my wife, pissed off about our little piece of nature getting fucked up. She will escalate this until it’s resolved, I’m sure of that. In the meantime, we have a nice grassy field to play on.

Nice field, but would be nicer with some fruit trees

Month-Over-Month Comparison

August saw a lot of market turmoil, mostly spurred on by China tweets and yield curve inversions. Amazingly, we hit a new high net worth among all this nonsense. This was mostly driven by an influx of reimbursement payments, which also served to bolster our cash cushion.


Spending and Not Spending

CategorySpendingComment
Mortgage$1,363
Utilities$63solar power = $13 electric bill in August
Home Maintenance$186lawn care
Student Loan$972praying for PSLF in 2024
Transportation$175
Childcare$585
Medical$691ER and follow up for Percy
Groceries$360
Restaurants$92
Shopping / Misc.$192baby chicks and supplies
Entertainment / Discretionary$214beers after softball, a concert, and supplies for a birthday picnic
August Total$4,893

August was a relatively tame month for our spending. Mrs. BF has been reading a lot about pesticides lately, which has resulted in inflated grocery bills because we’re buying organic versions of the “dirty dozen” foods. The entertainment / discretionary spending is always higher in the summer, but it’s certainly been worth it.


Income and Investing

We earned our paychecks and collected rental income on the Basement Bungalow in August. I also worked down at the brewpub a couple days and picked up some side income there.

The biggest influx of cash came from some reimbursement payments we received this month. This includes approximately $3,500 in FSA reimbursement money for our dependent care account, and a $1,400 check to reimburse expenses for our two summer mini-vacations- I mean, Mrs. BF’s medical conferences.

We also listed a few more things on eBay and Craigslist. I sold my set of golf clubs that I haven’t used in 10 years for $75, and got rid of some glass carboys as well.

I’m happy to say that our cash balance has finally recovered after some major capital expenditures earlier in the year. We’re not too far off from our 2019 goal of $25,000 in savings.

We’re also thinking about whether it makes sense to refinance our mortgage. We can probably shave 0.5% off the interest rate, and even get cash out if we had a good use for it. Not sure what we’re going to do yet, but we’ll see how things go from here.

That’s it for our August net worth update. How was your August? Did you have $600 in vet bills? Are you thinking about refinancing? Let me know in the comments.

12 thoughts on “Net Worth Update – August 2019”

  1. I would be pretty pissed if the power co leveled something and didn’t follow up on their promises. 2+ acres of side yard? How big is your property?!

    Thanks for sharing…I always enjoy reading net worth updates from the community

    R2R

    Reply
    • We have slightly under 3 acres, and a little over 4 including the side property that is mostly our land. This debacle has now gone on for more than a year, it’s pretty annoying. Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  2. i have to believe a court will award you more from the power company than the cost of just plant some trees for you. it sucks having to wait for justice though. i’m glad the dog made it through the episode.

    we didn’t have a big vet bill but we bought a darned car that set us back…and a lot of wine for smid-con.

    Reply
    • We’ve already threatened legal action once and it worked. The problem is, I don’t want to get attorneys involved. This event has already cost us ~$2,000 out of our pocket to finish clearing the land, planting grass seed, etc.. so I don’t want to spend any more on legal representation.

      At least you can fit all that wine in your new wagon! I’m actually planning a trip to a famous MA brewery this weekend where I will drop $150 on beer. More on this in my September update.

      Reply
  3. “We’re also thinking about whether it makes sense to refinance our mortgage. We can probably shave 0.5% off the interest rate …”

    Jeez, I was literally looking at the rates yesterday! Currently at 3.875% on 30-year fixed. Could go down to 3.25% on a 15-year.

    Reply
    • yeah, I’m torn on whether we should look it into it further or not. If we don’t change the term to 15-year, then we’re really just doing it to get cash out. Maybe I’ll write a post about it.

      Reply
  4. Sorry to hear about the pup, but glad he’s still with you. Best of luck to you guys getting the field issue taken care of.

    We’re a week or so away from (hopefully) finishing a refinance to a 15 year fixed. As we near paying off our remaining student loan debt, we were planning to start throwing more money at our mortgage anyway. Taking this opportunity to drop our rate from 4% to sub-3% seems like a relatively easy decision for us as the payback period for the refinance will be relatively short.

    Congrats on hitting a new all-time high. It’s always a highlight for me to check in on the Brewing Fire family each month. Hope you and yours are well.

    Reply
  5. Thanks for stopping by, and the kind words. As mentioned above, we were also looking at refinancing to take advantage of the lower rates (before last week’s rebound). However, when I ran the numbers, there’s not a huge difference between refinancing from 30-year to 15-year and just continuing to pay ~$300 toward our principal each month. We would save a little bit in interest, but the monthly payment would be the same and we’d pay off the house in the same year. Anyway, glad to see you’re tackling the next ‘debt mountain.’

    Reply
    • Yes, I should teach him signs! Good idea- I’ve been pointing aggressively, which works but makes me look like a lunatic.

      The brewpub is a per diem situation. It’s actually how we set it up in the beginning, and I can’t commit to any regular schedule so it’s the easiest setup for me.

      Reply
  6. Curious if your equity position has changed at all. We recently rebalanced more heavily into emerging markets, and I have over the years been prioritizing value-driven and small cap funds. I don’t expect to see results right away, and we don’t rebalance often (we look quarterly but tend to make adjustments less frequently than that).

    Reply
    • At the moment we’re about 90% total stock market, and 10% aggregate bond fund. I’ve been thinking about playing with the allocation lately, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. If you haven’t been to https://portfoliocharts.com/ before, you should check it out, lots of model portfolios there. Some pundits argue that the small cap value trade is dead, but I think that’s still a good option.

      Reply

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