Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My 2008 Personal Finance Report Card

The past year has been a monumental one for us, at least from a personal finance perspective. Here is a quick summary of some of the highlights and closing positions for the year.

Net Worth - our net worth is up 7% over the past year, but this is entirely due to an unexpected and substantial cash infusion from a family source. Without this cash infusion our net worth would have been down by high single digit percentages. Over all we have kept to our plan and had the market treated us nicely, this could have been a banner year. Maybe next year?

Investment Portfolio - we got completely smacked. Our investment portfolio (which does not include our cash position) is down a staggering 33%  for the year. That burns, especially since this number looks better than it actually is due to new money that we have invested in recent months. Still, we continue to fully fund my 401K - my wife is currently working part time and does not have a 401K - and we continue to make regular monthly contributions to our investment portfolio.

Spending - this year we spent about 4.5% more than we did last year, however most of this increase is on non-discretionary items, such as childcare (up %26) and medical bills (up 52%). Over all, we live within our means: in each of the past 12 months we made more money than we spent, with the exceptions of April (where we got hit with a large, unforeseen tax bill - damn you AMT!!!) and June (where we got hit with unexpected childcare expenses, and my wife was not employed).

Career - a mixed bag here. I left my previous company to take a VP level position with a technology start-up in my industry. Generally speaking, I am very happy with this move. My work is interesting, it carries a great deal of responsibility (and stress), and is clearly an important growth position from my previous job. Even more important, this position puts me in a very good spot for my future career path by giving me a great deal of exposure to high level executives in my industry as well as to a large number of venture capital firms. All in all, a good decision, but not a risk-free or stress-free one. My wife on the other hand has had a tough year at work - she was let go of one position, and resigned from another because that position required her to work too many hours. She is currently happy to be working part time, however this situation may not be a very stable one at the company she is with. We'll ride that horse as long as it runs.

Money and Such - this has been a very decent year for Money and Such. I have continued to gain RSS subscribers (thank you guys!) and traffic has been dramatically higher in October and November thanks to some high profile link-backs and a lot of search traffic. The site has also started to generate a little bit of revenue (although this is really minor for me). I have noticed that the number of posts I published this year is significantly down from 2007 - 151 this year compared to 237 last year, however, this is primarily because I did not do much writing between January and April (suffering from blogger malaise, I guess). My plan is to continue going strong in 2009, with an average of 15 to 20 posts per month. My goal is to double the number of RSS readers to 500 by this time next year. I am also thinking of joining a blogger network, so if any of you guys out there, think I am good enough for you, give me a holler. What started out as an experiment for me, has turned into a real hobby. I think that Money and Such will be around for quite a while, and maybe one day I will even try to figure out how to migrate this site to its own private domain. I am not a very technical blogger.

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frugal zeitgeist said...

Happy New Year, Shadox. Wishing you and yours the very best in 2009 and beyond.

Shadox said...

Thanks! The same to you and may 2009 treat us all a little bit better.