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The Money Lessons We can all Learn from Reading a Diary of Income and Net Worth Reports

In the realm of wealth building, you often come to bloggers like myself to ask me what you should do, “I am doing XXX is this the correct thing to do at this point?”, “Doing ZZZ vs YYY, which one should I choose to do?”

These are probably doubts that you have, and need to be answered by myself or someone else (perhaps a book as well).

However, I often feel that just like playing DOTA, you can get a lot of growth by looking at what someone did. You might come to a epiphany yourself upon looking at what someone did.

There are people that like to read the diaries of important people written into books.

I think it allows us to immerse into the though process, the fears, doubts and job the person are feeling in different stage of their lives (which we eventually know, are pretty pivotal).

And overtime, instead of budgeting, I have asked you the reader to do a simple tracking of your net worth.

It allows you to show your progression. It allows you to see if you have some deeper issue. If there is a deeper issue, then you start budgeting.

But if you can come up with your own balance sheet, and income vs expenses report, it will be good.

It is always nice to have something that you can show your children next time so that you can create a conversation about money with them.

It also allows you to browse through next time to see how far you have come and and silly things you did.

As a finance blogger, I do acknowledge that publishing income reports and net worth reports play into the voyeuristic side of people,  but as an individual, you don’t have to do that. You could just open up a Microsoft Word Document, or a Google Doc and create a “August 2018 Net Worth Report”.

Its private.

I was listening to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast and they interviewed this couple called Planting Our Pennies. (Side note: If you wanna get immerse in these personal finance subject, have no time to read books, prefer to hear other people’s experience, subscribing to podcast like this is pretty good to spend your time, if you are doing recurring things that require less brain juice)

The couple is interesting in that one of them has a stable job and the other has volatile sales income. So when you see their income report, you can see the income fluctuates.

Can you save with income fluctuation? How do you do it?

They own real estate and index funds. For those who asked which is better, what does the net worth statement showed over time?

We readers benefit because the couple have now over 6 years of monthly reports they published here.

6 years of personal income report and net worth report

If you need to know the nuance of how a couple went from $300,000 to $1,500,000, reading through those reports might give you some realization.

You could probably keep a spreadsheet but if  you really want others (such as kids, co-workers after you leave the job, friends you trust and family members) to learn more, putting out why you do it this way, what are the key events happening in the world gives people a different realization.

For example, this is a reflection of what happened after the Brexit Vote in Dec 2016 and what the market did.

And how their net worth still went up.

You could also see that no 2 net worth statement looks a like, and you could probably start one, with a trigger list of items such as above.

Years of Savings at Monthly Burn Rate

I find their savings at monthly burn rate interesting. The idea is how much financial security have you accumulated versus the level of spending you have right now.

It is different from looking at your withdrawal or spend down rate in that it is taking your rate of return at 0%, inflation and spending growth at 0%.

Not sure what happened in Oct and Nov 2016 though.

Do check it out. Certainly better than seeing the progression of a single guy without much liabilities.

My consolidated resources on:

  1. Building Your Wealth Foundation
  2. Active Investing
  3. Investing in REITs
  4. Dividend Stock Tracker
  5. Free Stock Portfolio Tracking Google Sheets that many love
  6. Retirement Planning, Financial Independence and Spending down money

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Mr. Pop

Sunday 12th of August 2018

Thanks Kyith! Tracking both our spending and investments has been really important to our journey to Financial Independence. We'd recommend it to anybody.

At a glanceOctober/November 2016 were just low-spending months. Yes, we added to our net worth, but the big reason why our burn rate went down was that we simply spent less-frugality is very, very important if you're pursuing FI.

Cars/homes on the balance sheet is a perennial really just depends on why you're tracking NW in the first place.


Monday 13th of August 2018

Hi Mr Pop, thanks for coming by and thanks for doing that podcast. I see the reports as more helpful than our own personal financial diary because folks can just peek into it. unfortunately in the Asian realm you have to remain anonymous enough so that this doesn't get into way of life. If not you will get into all sorts of problems.

I was wondering do you have a post where it shows a separation of your wife's income and your income. i think that will be damn interesting haha

Miss Niao

Sunday 12th of August 2018

Oh wow! I'm doing a small scale one on my blog occasionally but now I know someone else on the blogosphere who is doing something similar. Thanks for sharing!


Sunday 12th of August 2018

Hi Miss Niao, nice to see you back from your trip. What they did was that they consolidate all their report in a single page. It makes it very easy for someone to spend an afternoon reading all of it in chronological order. You could do something similar for yourself since you are anonymous haha.


Friday 10th of August 2018

Hi Moats,

Regarding your qn of wat happened in Oct / Nov '16 --- think that was the Trump election .... markets tanked initially when everybody realized Hilary might not make it, and then the sharp relief rally when people felt that Trump wouldn't be that bad.

BTW I wouldn't consider the property that I'm living in, as well as cars, but anyway....


Friday 10th of August 2018

Hi Sinkie, thanks for sharing what happened during that period. We can consider property if we can easily liquidate and willing to do it.

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