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.
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!
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||$147||electric and internet|
|Student Loan||$974||praying for PSLF in 2024|
|Shopping / Misc.||$516|
|Entertainment / Discretionary||$79|
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.