Happy New Year everyone! December was an interesting month for us, as Mrs. NFF went back to work following her maternity leave and I took mine. (Today is my first day back, and explains the late posting of this month’s net worth). For anyone who is on the fence about taking paternity leave, TAKE IT! I had an amazing time with my boy, and it is incredible to see him grow and learn new things every day. I was also lucky because I could delay my leave and so I took it as my wife went back to work. This gave me some great alone time with my son, and being the sole caregiver was a great experience.
It was also a decent month for us financially, though that is owed almost exclusively to the stock market gains. Present shopping, end of year charity donations, and holiday travel expenses really hurt our spending, and consequently December was our worst “savings” month this year. However, a very healthy stock market more than made up for it, and we were able to grow our net worth by ~$11,000. We also received some very generous gifts for NFF Jr. to put into his college fund, adding an additional $25,000. (Note: I include college savings in our overall Net Worth to keep a full view of every dollar we have. However, our FIRE number does not include this money for obvious reasons.)
Emergency Fund: I love my CIT Bank fund. Twice in the last few months, I’ve received notices from them that they are RAISING my interest rate. I joined them because the rate they offered was one of the best, and it just keeps getting better! An additional $100 bonus for signing up this year also hit my account this month.
Working Capital: My wife has a terrible habit of upping her personal spending in December, right at the time we spend more on gifts / charity / etc. It frustrates me to no end, but it’s her money. We have a plan to make up for it in the coming months, so hopefully this number remains positive after this month for some time.
Related Article: Managing Our Finances as a Couple
Down Payment: We only saved ~$2,500 from our salaries this month, the lowest of the year. I’m a bit disappointed in us, and I think we should / could do better. I want to hit our down payment goal of $150,000 early this year (we should get our bonuses in January which will push us most of the way there), but $2,500 a month won’t help us. I’m looking for this number to be much higher in January.
Education: NFF Jr. received some very generous gifts from his grandparents and great-grandparents this year. My wife and I decided that any money he receives will go into his 529 account and this money is no exception. The high levels of the stock market make me nervous, but luckily (or unluckily) gift rules mean that I can’t invest it all at once. So we will spread out the gifts over time and hopefully the market will come down a bit before it is all invested.
Retirement: Our contributions ticked back up this month as my wife returned to work in December. That, and a very strong stock market rally to end the year added a nice boost to our overall net worth numbers.
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how we ended the year. I started 2017 with a Net Worth target of $425,000. Stripping out the gifts we received throughout the year, we still hit our target handily so I’m pretty pleased with where we are at this point in time. Not a bad way to bring in 2018!
How was your December? Your 2017?