October 2009: Net Worth, Stock Loss, and New Home Update
Published 10/30/09 (Modified 3/8/11)
Well gang, it's time for another networth update. For those unfamiliar with these reports, I've been calculating my net worth and tracking my financial progress for a few years now. The personal balance sheet numbers I report on these updates are not meant to be boastful or intended to be wantonly exhibitionist (although unfortunately I understand how they might come off as such). The purpose of following my networth changes over time is actually to inspire and encourage readers to do the same for themselves. These periodic progress updates are not only great ways to help one track the successful self accumulation of monetary assets over time, but they help to ensure, encourage, and remind oneself of the importance of routine accountability of personal financial decisions. Coupled with free online budgeting tools and my NetworthIQ.com account, I use them all to chart my finances and keep myself consistently on the right track. The issue of money and income has always been a rather taboo subject among people, but it's too important to not pay regular attention to.
Yes, I Am Still Upbeat For The Future: Things Will Get Better In Time
Wow, what a roller coaster ride of a month in terms of the stock market. One minute the Dow is breaking past the psychological 10,000 mark and soaring to new bullish heights - the next, the entire stock market is sinking like a rock. In terms of economic volatility as a function of gains and losses, the last few weeks have definitely not been ideal for the emotionally squeamish short term traders out there. But for those that truly call themselves long term investors, I really don't think there is anything to fear in this market but fear itself. Back in Fall 2008 and Spring 2009, there were serious questions about the ability of the American financial system to survive the ongoing subprime mortgage meltdown. The economy, on the verge of total collapse and teetering on the brink of a major economic depression, was clamoring for immediate stimulus and decisive federal government intervention.
But what a difference a year makes. There are still lingering concerns about the economic health and ability of consumers to start spending money again to stimulate the economy, and there are still trepidations about the plight of the current housing market - but I think the absolute worst case scenario has passed. We are now in a gradual economic recovery phase. To repair the American economy and restore all of the lost jobs that vanished subsequent to the credit crisis fallout will take time, but the healing will come to fruition in due time. Meanwhile for stock market investors, there are bound to be periods of extreme volatility and shocking price swings. But as I've championed many times before in past personal finance blog posts, if you can take a certain amount of risk now and hold on for the long haul, you are bound to come out hugely ahead when we finally emerge from this recessionary nightmare - whether that be 12 months, 2 years, or even 5 years from now. Recessions are terrible things to behold, but the great thing about them - is that they don't last forever. The federal government, and the American people with its never ending entrepreneurial spirit will find a way. Don't invest recklessly and take un-calculated, un-thought out risks, but I do encourage readers to be bold if they can. Place your stock market and real estate bets today in this down economy and reap what you sow today in the not too distant future.
This month, despite the fact that the market viciously tanked and dealt out a pretty severe lashing of my stock investment portfolio, I intend to stay the course and fight against my instinctive nature urge to pull out. For now at least, any short term losses due to market price volatility remains mere paper losses - so long as I don't sell. My small legal practice remains healthy and my persistent efforts to make money by blogging online continues to yield positive dividends. As my monthly income remains stable and I have sufficient cash savings and credit card options for emergency fund purposes, I thankfully have ample financial resources to ride out the market doldrums. I don't see it as overly-risking or gambling my life savings away - but rather, I see it as a pure exercise of my faith and belief that in the long run, things will be okay.
My Current Net Worth and Financial Status Update Compared To Last Month
Being Greedy When Others Are Fearful: Investing For The Long Term
If you want to save money and invest wisely for the future, it's important to learn from the best - one of them being renown Billionaire investor, Warren Buffett. The gist of my own current trading strategy and approach towards investing can be summed up in this famous 2001 Warren Buffett quote:
- "Occasional outbreaks of those two super-contagious diseases, fear and greed, will forever occur in the investment community. The timing of these epidemics is equally unpredictable, both as to duration and degree. Therefore we never try to anticipate the arrival or departure of either. We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful."
My attempt to be sunny and optimistic at the present time despite the uncertainty and fear that still permeates the economy is not because I'm foolhardy or desire to get rich quickly - but rather I believe it's during such periods of pervasive fear and pessimism that great wealth can be made. After sitting on the sidelines and hoarding my cash in high yield savings accounts and certificate of deposits for many months while the economy suffered its worse collapse in decades, I finally pulled the trigger recently and started investing again. If your gut sentiments are like mine and you also believe that the worse has passed but that the positive feelings have not yet been properly reflected in stock market prices, then now may be a good time to start investing again.
New investors and those who have been cautiously staying away from the action for some time may now want to open up an investment account with a reliable and affordable discount broker, and start evaluating potential investment opportunities. In case you're not sure which brokerage firm to go with, here are a few recommendations. I've complied a list of online brokers that have consistently received accolades and praise from the financial experts and have enjoyed favorable reviews among new investors and advanced traders alike. In the list, I particularly like TradeKing, Etrade, and Scottrade.
Progress and Status Report Of My New Single Family Home Construction
As I've been reporting for months now, my new home is currently under construction. I visit the construction site every few days or so to walk around the lot and take photos to document the construction progress for my own personal photographic archives. After all, it's not everyday that we get to see the construction of our own home and witness the transformation of a simple pile of dirt into a free standing structure that will one day be called home.
Currently, the concrete and rebar mixtures for the home foundation are in the process of being laid. Once the foundation has been properly poured and allowed to harden, the wooden housing structure usually goes up pretty quickly. Barring any unforeseen hindrances to construction activity by inclement weather, the house is expected to be built and delivered sometime in February 2010. For now, I'm in the active process of applying for a home mortgage loan. Because I've been tracking my free credit reports and my free credit score updates on a consistent basis for some time - not to mention I've also been taking concerted actions to keep my FICO score persistently high, I anticipate being able to ultimately qualify for a top mortgage interest rate of 4.75% APR or lower on a 30 year, 20% down home loan, give or take depending on interest rate conditions at the time of home delivery.
Continuing To Make Money Online As A Part Time Blogger
As should be pretty evident from the advertisement banners and occasional affiliate links that pepper this website, I blog to make money online and engage in Internet affiliate marketing as part of my home office business. I also earn some nice change on the side with online paid surveys and a couple of other online money making methods. While I do operate a small attorney practice as well and earn additional income through a small collection of other income sources, my blogging income is steadily becoming a larger and larger part of my total income stream. One of these days, perhaps I will transition into a full time problogger and run my collection of income producing websites as a full time job. But for now, I prefer to see it as merely an integral cog in my total overall income diversification plan. After all, in this sluggish economy and in this period of unpredictable layoffs and economic implosions, you never know when your primary breadwinner source of income will suddenly dry up. It's best to diversify one's financial life with a varied mixture of both active and passive income streams if possible.