Its Autumn! Living here in Portland, October definitely felt more like fall than Houston ever did. The leaves are changing, it’s chilly in the morning and everyone seems to be getting excited about the various upcoming holidays. October is also in the Pacific Northwest when the rainy season starts. w\We were lucky this year that we actually had quite a dry month, this year’s Halloween was supposedly the first dry one in 10 years.
So how did the markets and we ourselves do in October.
|Benchmark Vanguard 2040 Fund||1.84%||1.84%||17.08%|
|Our Net Worth||0.30%||0.30%||-0.14%|
The markets themselves had a pretty good month with all the major markets up by 2-4% in the US. The Vanguard 2040 plan returned a bit under 2%, mainly due to international exposure which was up by under 2% and the de-risking from bond exposure.
Our own net worth did not increase as much as I would have liked due a couple of larger expenses which i’ll outline below and also about 10% of our portfolio is made up of ex-company stocks. Our old company’s stock is currently quite depressed due to the continued bottoming out of the oil industry. In fact this stock dropped almost 10% in October and is currently at a 5 year low.
One other thing you’ll notice is that our overall net worth is currently down for the year. Last month I had it up YTD, and with an increase this month it should be up still. What gives? I decided from now on to not include our children’s college 529 plans in the net worth calculation, this is not really “our” money; it is instead “their” money. So by taking it out of the net worth calculation it removes temptation. These plans are doing well and are both up about 15% this year.
October in Detail
We continued monitoring our “$100 a day” for day to day items and we were right on that spending $3100 in October. Groceries were higher than normal, but that was mainly due to still being in freezer and pantry restock mode after the move. We also spent $250 in clothing, which is unusual for us but that was mainly stocking up on winter clothes.
We had a couple of large expenses, firstly there was a chimney repair which was left over from when we bought the house (although we received buyers credit for that so the cost is a wash). Secondly there was one final moving related bill.
Overall though we were well under our budget for the month which in general terms is $100 a day for day-to-day items and $100 for big ticket items (insurance, health, taxes). Of course the big ticket items typically occur at odd times of the year rather than regularly month to month. I have considered amortizing across the year by having a separate account just for these but in the end that was more trouble than it’s worth.
Next moth though we will have a couple of large items. Our last COBRA bill before moving to ACA next year and also a full year’s property taxes are due ($6000). So next month won’t be great, however after this i’m not anticipating any large items until next summer other than booking next summers vacation flights. Tickets to Europe have been among the cheapest for next summer I’ve ever seen. A couple of weeks ago I could get flights for $650 a person, i’m kicking myself for not buying then as they are now back at over $800 but hopefully they will drop again and I can jump in.
Overall i’m happy with how October went. I’ll admit that to see our net worth remain flat in a period of extreme growth in the markets is disappointing, but considering the sheer fluidity of this year and with the move and everything i’m not too concerned.