Well, the first quarter of 2016 is in the books and what a wild market ride it was. The first half of the quarter saw a market bloodbath with lows not seen in several years, while the second half saw celebrations and cheers. I have to be honest, as a Dividend Growth Investor with a growing portfolio still in the accumulation phase, I like those down days when it’s red everywhere. It’s like going to my favorite retail store outlet and every item on the shelf is marked down 20 to 30%!
This is our Net Worth update! This is where we lay it all out for the world to see. It’s where all our income, expenses, assets and debts come together. We have been doing really well as we push towards our 2016 goal, even with Mrs. TOL leaving the workforce. Even on one income, we believe we can still reach our goal and will continue to pursue it! We will continue to live financially smart, reducing wasteful spending, eliminating debt and investing in top-notch, blue chip companies that pay reliable dividends. Living with these habits will only continue to do wonders towards our goal of financial independence. Here are the numbers for March:
Boom! Like clockwork, our Net Worth now stands at $112,791.70, an increase of over $4,900 (4.56%) from February’s figure! After the ending of the first quarter of 2016, we are a little more than $23,000 from our $140,000 goal. With 9 months left, that averages about $2,600 a month Net Worth increase, an amount that is very reachable based on our current pace.
Let’s break the numbers down a bit…
Our progress in the area of debt reduction for March was extraordinary, eliminating over $3,000 in debt! We achieved a monumental milestone as we paid off our remaining credit card debt of $1,700! In addition to our regular monthly car payments, we added additional payments totaling $790, as we push to pay our cars off. Our mortgage balance remained unchanged as we made March’s payment at the end of February. All in all, it was a great month for debt reduction. No complaints here.
CASH: Our cash balances remained stable, dropping 1.1%. I am not a fan of holding a lot of cash; however, being a one-income family, we need that cushion for life’s unexpected emergencies. Though we hold more cash than I would like, it earns 1%, which is better than the fraction of a percentage that most banks give, and we also converted some cash to a Certificate of Deposit (CD) to realize a better return on our cash.
PORTFOLIO: Our New Life Portfolio grew 43.3%, from $5,004 to $7,171.51, mainly due to new additions/purchases of T. Rowe Price, Pfizer and AT&T, and also the resurgence of the market, as it returned the value that was lost during the first half of the quarter. We are fully satisfied with the purchases of these dividend stalwarts.
RETIREMENT: Our retirement accounts saw a nice bump of 4.5%, again fueled by March’s bull market. We contribute to our retirement accounts sparingly, and any increases/decreases will be due to overall market fluctuations.
OTHER ASSET ACTIVITY:
- Our vehicles saw a pretty decent decline in value, losing 2.2% of their values. I have long commutes to work, therefore the miles are accumulating at a rapid pace!
- Our home value took a slight tumble, losing 0.6% of its value. It has had a nice run-up in 2016, gaining over 5% year-to-date.
- Paid vacation leave took a significant tumble of 18.3% due to Mrs. TOL being paid the remaining vacation leave after leaving her job in mid-February. I don’t really count it as a loss as it went from one category, PAID LEAVE, to another category, CASH.
We are truly blessed to be where we are with our progress as we push towards our goal of $140,000 net worth. There was a time when I had a negative net worth, and by negative I mean NEGATIVE…like six figures NEGATIVE! The progress we made in March is pushing us even closer as we crossed over the $110,000 mark. Passive income is growing, debt is evaporating and the world keeps on spinning!