Highlights for February
- Stock markets drove another very good net worth gain for us this month with a $32k pop.
- I signed my wife up for another Barclay Arrival credit card with 50,000 bonus points after $3,000 in spending (effectively a $500 bonus for us). I had read folks were able to leverage this bonus again as soon as they canceled their previous card. We cancelled my wife's previous Barclays card last year to avoid the annual fee so well see if this works.
- Spending is higher than average in February primarily to us spending most of our 2017 healthcare deductible on long term prescriptions ($2,500+). I find utilizing my employer's high deductible insurance plan lowers our annual costs even though we are likely above average users of healthcare services. Still it mentally stings a bit early in the year as we meet our deductible.
- Other notable expenses in February included our annual membership to a local summer pool $500 and a $1,000 prepayment to our local electric utility.
- I moved some cash around in our taxable brokerage account to make some additional stock investments, hence the above average bump in our taxable brokerage accounts.
Its been a couple years since I shared our passive income so I thought I would publish a summary of our 2016 dividend income. This passive income comes from our taxable stock portfolio. All retirement investment holdings are excluded from this dividend income summary. This passive income is an important part of our financial freedom plan. Note we have met our goal in terms of annual taxable dividend income, but we are well short of our interest income and may be leveraging dividends to help bridge the gap.
There are some minor stock holding changes but nothing earth shattering. Some stock have cut their dividends (Connoco) while others have significantly boosted their payout (Phillips 66). Our top dividend payers are the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) and Fairfax Financial (FRFHF) which is consistent with our largest individual holdings.
Overall our dividend growth has slowed over the last couple years (avg ~7% growth annually the last 3 years). We've put less focus on growing dividend income in our investments, but still see dividend income as a important part of our income generation when we are financially free.
Also see our 2013 dividend income for more.
Highlights for January
- We started off the year playing catch-up from 2016 We paid our annual real estate taxes on 2 properties in the beginning of January. We also had a large chunk of our holiday spending hit our balance sheets in January.
- In January I had my longest flight travel ever - a business trip from US to India via Hong Kong. The extended travel time wasn't as bad as I had expected, although I spent more time traveling than I did in India. I wouldn't mind getting the chance to spend more time in India in the future.
- We paid our annual auto insurance premiums (~$1k) this month. We currently use Erie Insurance and tempted to start shopping around again for a better deal, but maybe next year.
- January was a pretty quite month otherwise. My wife and I started discussing vacation plans for 2017, but nothing definitive. It will be hard to top the 3 international trips we took in 2016.
Highlights for December
- Im far behind with updates on the blog for the past several months. Playing catch-up.
- We closed 2016 with a nice gain offsetting increased spending. Our net worth rose $170,147 in 2016 still comfortably ahead of our financial freedom benchmark, but the next couple years will be key.
- In December I completed and received a $500 credit card bonus offer and also signed up again for Barclays travel card bonus promotion in anticipation of vacation travel in 2017.
- Business travel continued with additional trips to Mexico and Hungary in December. As I've mentioned before these days my personal expenses run higher with business travel so I am still looking for techniques to minimize/eliminate the impact. On the plus side I still accrue significant frequent flyer benefits so its not all negative.
- In December we purchased $2,700 worth of Target gift cards with a promotion discounting the gift cards by 10%. We do the majority of our shopping at a Super Target close to our home so we expect to consume those gift cards within 6-9 months without any alterations to our spending habits.
- Spending was up significant in December with holiday gift giving.
Highlights for August
- Our net worth hit $1.5M for the first time in August. It took 43 months to growth $500,000 since January 2013 when our net worth first crossed $1M to get here.
- I signed up for a US Bank Business Edge credit card offer I received in the mail in August. The card offered a $500 bonus after spending $4,500 in the first 90 days.
- I had business trips to both Mexico and China this month. I miss the days when I came out ahead on business trips, but these days my expenses run higher with business travel so I am not as nearly excited about the travel.
- Our net worth in August had a nice pop driven significantly by our large investment holding in Genworth Financial as its our 2nd largest individual stock holding. The very volatile stock nearly doubled in the month of August alone. We have also seen the stock fall by nearly 1/2 in previous months so we will see if the momentum continues.
Last 15 Personal Finance Entries
10/03/2016 | July 2016 Net Worth Update (+$33,703)
07/10/2016 | June 2016 Net Worth update (+7,831)
07/10/2016 | May 2016 Net Worth Update (+$12,330)
06/08/2016 | April 2016 Net Worth (+$19,978)
05/08/2016 | March 2016 Net Worth (+$62,928)
05/08/2016 | February 2016 Net Worth (+$21,570)
02/14/2016 | January 2016 Net Worth (-$63,181)
02/14/2016 | December 2015 Net Worth Update (-$15,351)
01/06/2016 | November 2015 Net Worth Update (+$13,459)
12/30/2015 | October 2015 Net Worth Update (+$67,372)
10/18/2015 | Kashi Settlement Up to $27.50 Back
10/15/2015 | September 2015 Net Worth Update (-$23,199)
10/15/2015 | August 2015 Net Worth Update(-$44,297)
08/16/2015 | July 2015 Net Worth Update (-$2,103)
07/18/2015 | June 2015 Net Worth Update (+2,172)