Net Worth Update – January 2021

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.

January 2021 Net Worth

January 2021
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.


One of the reasons we chose to pack up and move to Virginia in December was the climate. I’ve endured 37 New England winters to date, and I wasn’t really looking forward to another one. That’s not to say it’s especially bad in Connecticut, but I’m not really a fan of cold weather, and weeks of staying mostly indoors gets to me by February.

So I must say, I’m feeling pretty good about our move thus far. In the last 2 weeks, our area in CT has gotten roughly 25 inches of snow, spread out among multiple snow storms. Here in VA, we’ve also had a little bit of snow, but we’ve also had multiple 60 degree days in between.

Now that I’m working from home, it’s essential that I get outside and do something physical every day. I’ve been taking to walking the neighborhoods where we live, and the weather has been very accommodating. So far, the weather has been living up to my expectations.

Our son had his first birthday this week. What a crazy first year of life he’s had; can’t wait to tell him about it. Viruses, lockdowns, insurrections, oh my!

Month-Over-Month Comparison

Incredibly, we’ve hit another net worth high this month. That’s at least the 7th or 8th new high in the past year. As I’ve said before, the market’s effect on our net worth far exceeds the effect of our contributions each month. Hell, a 10% move will overshadow all of our contributions in a given year. As long as it’s a positive move, I won’t complain.

Spending and Not Spending

Student Loan$0
Childcare$2,896le sigh.
Shopping / Misc.$336

As I mentioned in my post on our 2020 spending breakdown, childcare is the bulk of our costs. This year, it should be close to 45% of our total spend, which is ridiculous. Even if we sought out the cheapest option for full-time daycare, we’d still be looking at $25,000+ per year. I don’t know how people do it.

I’m also beginning to worry about our food budget. This is the second month in a row that our grocery bill topped $600. From 2015-2019 we were in the $300/month range. Either the kids are eating a hole in our budget, or we’re losing our frugal edge. I guess we’ll see if things settle down next month.

In addition to our spending, we made another $500 donation to I mentioned last month that we’ve decided to start making regular donations to a cause that can have the greatest impact. Barring any major disruptions to our lives, I plan to continue making these monthly donations for as long as we can.

Income and Investing

Mrs. BF’s new job is a little different from her last in that she’s now paid hourly, and so her income is a little less regular. On the plus side, she’s earning roughly 30% more now. The trade-off is that she has to work 12 hour shifts and rotating weekends, so it’s not a great longterm solution.

I continue to draw a paycheck for being a remote chemist. It’s been pretty nice so far, and I’ve settled into a groove with my new role, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it may not last. Our new VP has been shaking up the organizational structure a lot lately, so I’m not really sure what the future holds for me. Thankfully I don’t really need to stay employed.

We’ve been dumping some of our excess cash from last month’s house sale into our investment account. I’m going to keep at least $100,000 in cash for our eventual (imminent?) home purchase, and then I’ll figure out what to do with the excess after that transaction is complete. It’s not like we could be earning much with it anyway (in savings).

That sums up our January. Did you turn a new page in 2021, or is it more of the same old 2020 bullshit? Let me know in the comments.

4 thoughts on “Net Worth Update – January 2021”

  1. i don’t know how people afford childcare either. some pointy headed kid in a dorm has to figure out a “hack” for that like when the uber machine screwed all those suckers who paid up for taxi medallions. i think groceries have gotten a lot more expensive. our grocery store spending was over 700/mo last year if i calculated correctly. we don’t shop frugally per se but we’re not having filet mignon every night either. that included things like dog food and non food items like paper goods, toothpaste and hemorrhoid cream.

    enjoy the warm weather. we haven’t been above freezing in weeks. i forgot what real winter was all about and got soft the past few years.

    • I’m thinking if you put enough kids together in the same room, they will reach some ‘critical mass’, and be able to self-govern, which will do away with the need for traditional childcare. That, or Nanny Robots. Gotta keep working on this one…

      I think we had a stretch of very mild winters, and this year is more like a normal northeast winter, with lots of cold and a bunch of snow. Glad I got out when I did!

  2. I just recently “punished” myself for some funny money investments by upping my automatic contributions, so I can take a positive out of some speculative investing even if those speculations underwhelm. My own meddling aside, it was yet another all-time high for the net worth as well. A little bit of a market correction toward the end of both January and February to keep things more in line with reality. It seems like we’re headed for a longer lull at some point, but hard to predict that when there’s another stimulus/more open economy on the horizon (thought that could all be priced in already). Good for you making those $500 donations–I’m still lacking for consistency with my charitable amounts.

    • I’m actually a little surprised that the “inflation scare” has started already. I think there’s some fear that pumping another $1,400 into everyone’s bank accounts will start causing mass inflation. Who knows, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


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