Net Worth Update – October 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.

October 2019 Net Worth

october 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.


a million stairs + toddler = ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If you’ve never experienced fall in New England, then you haven’t lived. We denizens of the northeast spend most of our days complaining about traffic, taxes, and Trump. But for a 6-week sliver in the September-October time frame, we turn our attention to the rustic beauty of harvest festivals, pumpkin spice lattes, and fall foliage.

We at the Brewing FIRE household did our best to savor the season, by taking numerous fall hikes and pilgrimages to scenic overlooks. We also visited Boston for a weekend, with the dual purpose of leaf-peeping and visiting some family.

I had the chance to visit my alma mater after a 15 year absence. It was fun to point out all of the places that I vomited, fell down the stairs, or committed some juvenile act.

The Terrible Twos

We also celebrated Baby BF’s second birthday in October. With this, we usher in a stage of defiance, tantrums, and a general unwillingness to cooperate. I never knew I would have to bargain with a baby in order to put on her diaper (and clothes, shoes, jacket, etc…).

so much crap!

We had a nice birthday party, filled with a handful of wild children and enough plastic junk to fill a pickup truck. We promptly donated more than half of the stuff to Goodwill.

Mrs. BF took a few days off in preparation of the birthday party, and to catch up on household projects. Her primary objective was to stuff the hawk that had been sitting in our freezer since last summer. Finally, she had time to read the taxidermy book she took out from the library and complete the deed.

Behold: Sheila!

Sheila, watching guard over our den

As a reminder, we didn’t kill Sheila. We found her dead in our yard. It may or may not be legal to stuff birds of prey, but it happened, so deal with it.

Garden Update

If you regularly read my net worth updates, you may have noticed that I was talking a lot about our garden in the April-May timeframe, but I’ve kept mum on it ever since. The reason? Our garden failed miserably this year!

So what happened? I planted most of our crops earlier than I normally do by 3 to 4 weeks, based on what I read in Joy of Gardening (not an affiliate link!). Some of what I planted never sprouted due to going in too early, but the bigger problem was the weeds. Never in my 10 year gardening career have I dealt with weeds of this caliber. They literally choked out everything in our fenced-in garden, and I had given up by May.

There is a silver lining, though. I ripped out everything in August in preparation for fall, and we planted some new rows of greens. Surprisingly, they grew quite well even as the weather chilled. On top of this, we grew literally hundreds of radishes which were a holdover from the early season plantings. We’ve been eating radishes in every form imaginable for the past month, including sliced, pickled, roasted and fried.

roasted radishes

Month-Over-Month Comparison

This month, the market returned to all-time highs, and so did our net worth. This is all despite a large drop in our estimated home value, which is bizarre and inconsequential anyway.

net worth

Spending and Not Spending

Utilities$61electric + internet
Home Maintenance$441basement improvements
Student Loan$972praying for PSLF in 2024
Medical$482ultrasounds and such
Shopping / Misc.$396more basement stuff
Entertainment / Discretionary$473new headphones and birthday preparations
Travel$98A couple meals in Boston
October Total$5,552

We changed tenants in the Basement Bungalow at the end of the month, so we took advantage of the short vacancy to make some repairs. Amazingly, we have done almost no work since 2017 when we initially completed the project.

The cellar door was painted, along with some of the trim. We re-caulked and touched up any areas that needed attention. I also installed a new wall-mounted heating unit, which is a major upgrade over the previous baseboard heater.

Updated marketing material for our basement apartment

We paid for our Boston mini-vacation using Capital One Venture rewards points. The additional cost of some meals and gas totaled less than $100.

Our spending overall is higher than I would like, but I’m learning to stop worrying about spending guilt these days.

Income and Investing

We earned our paychecks and collected rental income on the Basement Bungalow in October. As mentioned above, we changed tenants at the end of the month. I keep joking with people that our pilot tenant literally “flew south for the winter.” Classic dad joke.

We installed a new tenant who is a hockey coach at a local university. We exchanged a slightly lower rental rate for the benefit locking in a long-term tenant until May. I’m happy with the trade-off, because dealing with a vacancy every 3 months is annoying.

We have reached our 2019 goal of $25,000 in savings, but I will continue to build a cash cushion for the rest of the year. We have our semi-annual tax bill due in January, plus $12,000 in Roth contributions and an impending birth to pay for ($$$$$). I will probably complain more about this next month, or in a dedicated post.

That it for our October net worth update. Did you reach another net worth high? How did your garden turn out? Did making babies cost you a fortune? Let me know in the comments.

10 thoughts on “Net Worth Update – October 2019”

  1. nice work on that hawk…and reliving the collegiate debauchery. i think we hit our net worth high 2-3 months ago and it’s been hanging around the same level, which is ok. that’s a good looking basement space. i would be praying for loan forgiveness too with a payment that high. that is spirit crushing stuff.

    • Yeah, the student debt kind of sucks. Since we’re already 6 years into the PSLF program, it doesn’t really make sense to reverse course and aggressively pay it off now, but I wish we had given it more thought in 2013. Maybe we would have waited an extra year or two to buy a house, and pay off the loan first.

  2. Equity Assets keep climbing and climbing…. I surpassed my Year end 2019 goal back in August… I’m already approaching my year end 2020 goal! The markets have been strong this year!

    • Pretty crazy, right? Considering a lot of people were predicting a recession after our dip into bear market territory at the end of last year. Goes to show that no one knows what’s next!

  3. You guys have a really nice set up with the basement apartment and your little farm of sorts. I love reading your updates.

    Gardening is WAY harder than people let on, and it’s always a rude awakening when stuff dies because it’s like… you mean I can’t just put it in the ground and have bountiful harvests!? Not sure how my dad and mom ever got stuff to grow where we lived. Glad your second set of crops prevailed!

    • Thanks Liz! Yeah, gardening is much more difficult than people sometimes paint it to be. I had raised beds at my old house, and that actually went pretty well. At our current house, it’s been a progression from battling woodchucks, to battling deer, to battling weeds. It’s something new every year, but I think we’ll figure it out next year. I hope!

  4. Nice equity increase! I wouldn’t pay attention to the equity number either, especially if you’re looking at Zillow or other price aggregator. We have a large portion of our investments in real estate and use Zillow to give us an approximation of value for our net worth tracking, but you can see some wild swings, so we never take the number as gospel.

    • Thanks! Yeah, I can never decide how to track real estate holdings. Obviously the Zillow estimate can be erroneous, and the number really doesn’t matter unless you’re trying to sell the property. I notice that some people just put an estimate of value in their net worth calculations that is only updated once a year or so. Anyway, it’s not like I make any decisions based on the change, so I guess I’ll live with the volatility for now.

  5. “Did making babies cost you a fortune?”

    There some metrics that say the *cost* to raise one child from birth to 18-yr old is about $250k. We’re very ok with having one child 🙂

    • I’m sure hoping it doesn’t amount to $250k! For us, getting through the daycare phase and into the public school system will hopefully be the bulk of the cost. Full-time daycare up here in the Northeast is on the order of 20k a year, which really sucks. Can’t wait for that part of our P&L to drop off!


If You Read Something, Say Something!

%d bloggers like this: