Net Worth Update – December 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.

December 2019 Net Worth

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.

2019 in Review

Instead of my usual recap of the goings-on in the Brewing FIRE household over the previous month, I will take a couple minutes to reflect on 2019 as a whole.

This past year was a solid success in terms of all metrics we monitor.

Our net worth increased by a whopping 38%, which is quite high for us considering how far along in the game we are. This was mostly achieved through >$100,000 in savings/retirement contributions combined with a 30% increase in the S&P 500.

Our savings rate was 64% in 2019, which was a nice improvement over 2018 (58%) but just below my arbitrary target of 65%. I’m still very pleased with this number, because a few more high savings years is all we need to start coasting.

Career-wise, 2019 was fairly status-quo year for both of us. Since we’re seriously thinking about when we can Coast FIRE, neither of us is ambitious to climb the professional ranks anymore. As I mentioned in my 2019 Goals, I’m more concerned with helping elevate my younger colleagues. Still, we both received moderate raises and bonuses this year, which is great.

stop playing with your food!

We took three extended trips in 2019, including two visits to Virginia to scout a potential geoarbitrage landing spot, and a two-week European Holiday to see family. Traveling with a toddler was certainly challenging, but it still a great experience for us all.

Speaking of Baby BF. I’m pretty sure most of the childless readers of my blog are sick of seeing pictures of her. A few years ago, I’d have the same sentiment. But guess what- my blog, my baby pictures!

In all seriousness, becoming a father has easily been one of my most rewarding experiences of my life. Especially now that she has started talking, the entertainment value she provides alone is worth paying for. Five years ago I wasn’t positive I wanted to be a family man, but I’m incredibly grateful that we decided to breed.

And here’s to the next step – less than a month from Baby #2!

Month-Over-Month Comparison

We had a Santa Claus rally in December, and thus another all-time high for our net worth. Also, a large cash infusion from the sale of my lackluster rental property.

Spending and Not Spending

Utilities$147electric and internet
Home Maintenance$28
Student Loan$974praying for PSLF in 2024
Shopping / Misc.$516
Entertainment / Discretionary$79
December Total$4,377

Utilities: the solar credits we accrued during the summer finally ran out, so we had our first electric bill since March.

Shopping / Misc.: we stocked up on a lot of our bulk purchases such as dog food and diapers in December. Did I just say dog diapers?

We also had some seasonal spending (Christmas lights, tree) and bought a new rug for the living room. If I actually bought dog diapers, I wouldn’t be buying a new rug.

Our overall spending in 2019 came in at $68,000, excluding the capital expenditure of central air conditioning. This was roughly inline with my expectations. We had a couple shitty surprises (septic-related), but otherwise nothing too bad.

Here’s a pie chart:

You can see that approximately 44% of our spending went to The Big 3 (housing, transportation, food), which is close to the BLS statistics.

Eventually, those childcare and student loan debt expenses will come off the board, and we’ll be in much better shape, spending-wise.

Income and Investing

The majority of our 2019 income came from Mrs. BF and my W2’s. We both received modest bonuses, which was also nice.

I earned over $2,600 from simply participating in my company’s Employee Stock Purchase Plan this year. This would amount to a 5% pay increase for someone who earns $50,000 a year. I can’t emphasize enough that you are leaving money on the table if you’re not taking advantage of this option.

I spent some time down at the brewpub this past year, and picked up some cash there. However, I rarely go down more than once or twice a month, so it’s not a lot of money.

The Basement Bungalow grossed $13,300 this year, and a total of $30,960 since we built it in 2017. This does a lot to balance out the (relative) high cost of living where we are.

We had a couple one-off windfalls, including a large solar tax rebate (which went straight to the AC install), and the sale of my rental property.

That’s it for my final net worth update of 2019, and the decade. Hope you have enjoyed coming along for the ride, and here’s to even more success in 2020. How did your 2019 turn out? Let me know in the comments.

4 thoughts on “Net Worth Update – December 2019”

  1. that’s a great picture of your kid walking around with that lobster. it doesn’t seem you’re too far away from starting to coast. y’all are pretty young to have made such strong progress in my humble opinion. that basement apartment is really doing well for you too and you’re around to know if the tenants are doing anything grossly asinine. here’s to another good year.

    • She’s fearless. We might be within a year of taking the foot off the proverbial gas, depending on what we decide to do about our location. We couldn’t have made this progress without above-average salaries, but I guess we’ve made a few smart decisions along the way too. Hoping for more of the same in 2020.

  2. I love seeing pictures of your kid, so keep them coming! And I think it is awesome how well you have done. Even with the whole rental house learning experience through the years, you have been smart with your money and made solid investments! I always enjoy reading your updates.

    I cannot wait to hit 6 figures in my own retirement account. It feels like a pipe dream right (sitting at $15k) but I know if I keep plugging along, I’ll get there.

    Hope your 2020 is just as great as 2019!

    • Thanks, you too! You’ll be surprised how fast your NW climbs as you settle into your new gig. Sometimes I think back on my early 20s, when I was earning a modest salary, saving what little I could, and watching the market take a massive dump at the same time. I’m surprised that I kept going. It just takes time.


If You Read Something, Say Something!

%d bloggers like this: