Another quarter in the books! Every three months, I take a look at my personal finances, share recent news from The Best Interest, and show you more dog pictures.
Here are my previous quarterly updates:
Why share this info? To brag about money?!
I want to be transparent. I practice what I preach and want to show you the results—both good and bad. Many of you have said that seeing my progress (or my bad quarters!) helps you gain confidence in your financial life.
What’s my personal finance strategy? I keep a detailed budget, spend money on what makes me happy, and invest the rest in a diverse portfolio of low-cost investments.
Below are the recent results of those practices.
(…and dog pics 🙂)
Spending and Income
In October, November, and December, I spent $3558, $4393, and $3757 respectively. That’s an average of $3909 per month, or about $200 more per month than last quarter. All of that increase can be explained by our honeymoon expenses in November. It was money well spent and a trip well traveled!
[Speaking of…this series of recurring quarterly net worth updates might change in the future if/when Kelly and I combine our marital finances. I recently spoke with the Wall Street Journal about just that topic.]
My goal is to keep my spending less than my net income. I want to be cashflow positive. My net income outpaced my spending by $1488 total for the quarter, or $496 per month.
That’s $496 monthly that I can save or invest for the future.
The Best Interest’s Finances
The Best Interest had a solid quarter too, bringing in $266 of book sales revenue against $478 of expenses.
A loss! Oh no.
While it might disappoint some of your ardent capitalists, The Best Interest‘s primary operation is not as a profit-seeking business. If it was, I’d be running ads and selling you products every week.
My goal is to help you learn and have fun in the process.
Sure, I’d prefer to not lose money on this project. But thanks to prior book sales, The Best Interest‘s overall profit/loss statement remains strongly positive. The book sold over 1000 copies in 2022, grossing over $35000. (Yes – almost all sales occurred in Q1 and Q2, with the book’s marketing push dropping off completely in Q3 and Q4.)
And there’s one more side benefit from The Best Interest. Some of you have reached out to me professionally (I work full-time for a financial planning and wealth management firm). If my fun writing/podcasting also builds enough trust for you to engage me as your financial planner, I’m honored.
FYI, you can get an e-book copy here. Reach out and I’d be happy to give you a big discount code.
…or get a hardcopy from Amazon here.
My net worth is up for the quarter by $24,515.
As always, we have to ask:
- Is this “new” money being added? e.g. paychecks or a sudden windfall
- Or is this from investment performance?
The table below shows all my numbers. You can see that:
- My cashflow is positive.
- My mortgage payments are mostly going to home equity.
- I’ve kept on investing.
- And the investments I’ve purchased over the past decade were up $17,287 on the quarter. Reminder – the previous three quarters saw negative investment returns of $13,800, $17,520, and $10,437. 2022 was a rough year!
|New Investment Principal||+$3300|
To answer the question I posed above: yes, the majority of my net worth change is due to investment performance. This is typical. Part of being a long-term investor is understanding that your portfolio is expected to rise or fall by 5%, 10%, 15% in any given quarter.
When you’re young or new to investing, that might equate to a 3- or 4-figure net worth change. I’ve been investing slowly for a decade, so I typically see 5-figure quarterly changes. By the time you retire, it’s possible for normal savers to see 6-figure changes in their portfolio in a single quarter.
This is by design. Don’t run from it. Embrace it. Reward doesn’t come without risk.
What’s new on The Best Interest?
I’m back behind the podcast mic! Check out The Best Interest Podcast here. Episode 44 in particular got some great reviews – you can check it out below.
And I’m a co-host of a new podcast called The Trusted Partner Podcast, where we interview experts in financial planning, investing, and personal finance.
Teaching Financial Literacy
I’ve continued to give speaking presentations to large groups.
I recently spoke to a group of undergrads at the University of Rochester, and to a large group of public employees outside of Seattle, Washington.
If you have a group that wants to learn about personal finance and investing, send me an email!
Four articles this quarter outshined all the rest in terms of your feedback:
I quit social media. And the article I wrote about it, coincidentally, was my most popular article of 2022.
Kelly and I got back on the foster train after returning from our honeymoon. Harry and Marv, below, were our 21st and 22nd foster dogs (apologies if I’ve misreported the count in the past!)
These two, and their three siblings, were abandoned outside a dog pound in rural Ohio. Pretty sad, right?
Our organization in Rochester stepped up to bring the puppies here, and a few of us volunteers took them into our homes until we found them permanent homes.
If you want to add a dog to your life, consider adopting a dog in need!
I’ll write the next update in March. Here’s to a great winter!
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Want to learn more about The Best Interest’s back story? Read here
If you prefer to listen, check out The Best Interest Podcast, or listen to me on a bunch of other people’s podcasts.