I’m a bit nervous about revealing my net worth online because I’m usually a very private person and would rather keep these things to myself. But if I’m going to commit to my financial literacy advocacy, I think it’s a great idea to write regular net worth updates in this blog. Plus Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love) told me that I should give myself permission to be more open and start sharing some personal things.
At first I was actually scared to write down my net worth because I felt I didn’t do enough to improve my finances in 2018. Yes, I adapted Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps into my personal life. But I faced a lot of financial challenges last year, including the months-long hospital stay of a close family member, which I paid for. Also, my parents’ savings were wiped out and their income significantly dropped. I had to provide what The Millionaire Next Door called outpatient economic care, which is still ongoing. I’m not sure how long this is going to last, so, wish me luck.
Starting the second half of 2018, I also committed to shoulder the monthly allowance, dorm and living expenses, and other miscellaneous fees of one of my college-age cousins who’s now attending the University of the Philippines. This one I actually enjoy because once upon a time, an aunt did the same thing for me. One of my mother’s sisters contributed to my allowances and fees while I worked hard to maintain a full athletic scholarship.
Not only do I feel like I’m paying it forward but I’m also vicariously enjoying the college experience once again through my cousin. And maybe do it right this time. Haha.
On the flip side, there were also some positive developments in 2018. The condo unit I bought at pre-selling was finally turned over in the middle of the year and I was able to have it rented out a couple of weeks later. I was also able to treat my mother and my son to an overseas vacation to visit me last spring. It was my mother’s first time abroad so I made sure that she enjoyed herself. I brought her to all the famous tourist spots to do touristy things and other fun activities.
My Net Worth as of January 2019
So here’s my net worth, in matrix format, as of January 2019.
|Amount in Pesos||Amount in USD|
|Investment – Minority Partner in a business||150,000||2,875.12|
|House and Lot||1,800,000||34,501.50|
|Cash for Upcoming Expenses||3,000|
|Loan for condominium||1,952,853.06||37,431.31|
|Loan for house and lot||450,000||8,625.38|
|Assets – Liabilities = 134,843.64 – 46,056.69 = $88,786.95|
|My Net Worth as of January 2019 = $88,786.95 / Php 4,631,882.00|
This is the money I set aside for retirement (duh!). This is already a combination of my PERA account, which I have been contributing for 2 years now but only maximized in 2018. Around half of this amount is a Provident plan through my employer and the rest are invested in the PSE index through First Metro ETF (FMETF) and various stock holdings. The fact that this money is untouchable until I retire more than 30 years from now goes without saying.
In 2018, me and my friends started a dance studio in the Araneta Center in Cubao. I am a minor shareholder. One of my close college friends is the artistic director of one of, if not the, best dance groups in the Philippines. But I did not joint the venture out of pure friendship; we have a well-written business plan and proper documentation. We don’t want to ruin old friendships spanning more than half of our lives because of money. Shameless plug: please support our business by dancing with the best at The Addlib Dance Studio.
Real estate make up the biggest portion of my assets and are my only liabilities. I bought the condominium at pre-selling price in 2013 And was supposed to be turned over in 2016. The unit was turned over two years late but it actually turned out better for me because I got to pay more money towards the principal amount.
To come up with the value of the condo for my calculations, I checked online listings for similar units in my building. The units are being sold between Php 2.8 million to Php 4.258 million. I just averaged the selling prices for simplicity’s sake. Obviously, I can’t tell for sure what’s the value of my condo unit until I sell it.
I still owe almost Php 2 million on that condo. My mortgage is Php13,800 but it’s being rented for Php20,000 so I’m getting positive cash flow for my investment.
The situation on the house and lot is a bit complicated. I bought it at a time when my parents had to move out of the apartment they were renting and were looking for a better place (requesting me to pay for the new rental while they’re at it). The unit is not yet under my name; I just paid the previous owner (who is very close to me) Php500,000 and then assumed the rest of the loan. That means the loan is not yet under my name. We will fix the title once I pay the loan fully, which I plan on doing within 1 to 2 years.
Cash on hand
My emergency fund is currently in US dollar since I’m based abroad. I plan to adding to my emergency fund to round it off to US$10,000 simply because I like round numbers. I’m also planning on adding more money on my pesos savings account with BPI Save UP for a counterpart pesos emergency fund because my son and parents are in the Philippines. In case they have an emergency, I will have ready money to mobilize instead of transferring from overseas.
Financial Goals for 2019
For 2019, I want to achieve the following things:
- Invest at least 15% of annual income for retirement.
- Rebalance my portfolio. Right now I’m too invested in real estate. I will either pay that down as soon as possible or increase holdings in equities.
- Diversify my investment to other markets.
- Shop and buy health insurance for my parents and make sure they are always covered.
- Prepay planned expenses in 2019, such as son’s annual visit, planned travel for leisure, etc.
- Keep a list of all assets, including furniture, books, etc., not only for net worth tracking purposes but also for insurance claims, if ever.
- Figure out my savings rate.
Practices I want to continue in 2019
- Continue using budgeting and tracking tools.
Last year, I’ve been using the free version of Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar app. My problem was I didn’t have access to the mobile version of the app and can only update through the web version. So I asked a coworker who I regularly talk with about financial matters and she recommended Moneyfy. I’ve been using Monefy for more than 3 months now and it’s working well for me so far. I enjoy the fact that I can plug in my income and expenses anytime and anywhere as long as I have my mobile phone.
- Continue the savings challenge I started in mid-2018 and continue the one I started this month.
For some reason, I haven’t tried one of those savings challenges before but in the middle of 2018, I committed to saving a set amount by setting aside a small portion of my salary and putting them in envelops. It may not sound fun, but it is! It’s very satisfying to put cash in the envelope and cross out the entry for the week.
One envelop was only for 6 months or until last December while the other is for a full year. I already finished the one for December successfully and deposited the money in a savings account. I will be using that to prepay part of my son’s travel expenses for when he visits during the Philippine summer vacation. The 1-year savings challenge is for a fun trip to Central Asia by the second half of 2019.
- Continue being frugal.
In 2018, things just clicked in my brain. Buying new clothes lost its novelty and I just started recycling whatever I have in my closet. Never mind the fact that I already wore the same outfit that week. I stopped caring what people say or think. I’ve learned that people don’t really think about you that much; they mostly care about themselves and have very little spare time to think about other’s outfits.
Since I stopped my twice-daily expensive coffee habit, I’ve been saving a lot of money. The dubious joy of hanging out in the cafe and the empty calories were totally not worth it, especially since I already have decent coffee grinder and coffee maker at home and Netflix.
More importantly for my finances, I stopped mindlessly shopping off Amazon for random stuff. I’m mostly on board with the KonMari method of only acquiring stuff that brings me joy. Except for books. I still have a hard time controlling myself from buying books. I justify my book obsession with the fact that I didn’t have a book of my own choosing until I was 14 years old. Isn’t that sad? So I totally deserve to buy all the books I want now that I can afford them.
Still, I committed to put an embargo on book shopping until I have read all the books in my library. This probably means that by the end of 2019 I would be reading Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning The Two Chief World Systems (I got this on sale; also because I have high intellectual aspirations and/or a poser) for lack of other, easier books to read.
This embargo does not apply to Barack Obama or Bill Gates recommendations that I can’t get for free through Great on Kindle. Last year, I had so much Great on Kindle credits that I got more than 10 Kindle e-books for free (including Michelle Obama’s Becoming). I still have some free credit to spend which I’m saving for interesting titles. But if my bois Barack and Bill tell me to read books I can’t get for free, you can bet I’ll be buying those books with actual money.
So there you have it. Writing this post has been very cathartic for me and made me realize that things are not so bad. A lot of room for improvement for sure and I may be behind compared to others but it’s fine. I can’t beat myself up for starting below zero and having a lot of responsibilities. I can only look forward and continue to implement my plans.
Have you taken the time to write down down your assets and liabilities to calculate your net worth so far? How about your financial goals for 2019? Let me know in the comments.