End of year financial report…

End of year financial report…

Earlier this week I thought I would sit down and for my own interest take a bit of an ‘end of year’ look at how 2018 has been financially for our household. I don’t do this on a set date each year, I just felt interested this week so I’m checking it out. Being the over-sharer that I am I thought you may also be interested?

I keep pretty good records and have done so for the last four years, for which I am repeatedly mocked, by those who know me! Prior to that I also kept records but they were a bit hit and miss. Now I have a system that works for me and I keep a couple of spreadsheets to track:

  • Our Net Worth (what I own vs what I owe)

  • Earnings and Expenses

  • Investments

And because by some weird twist of fate I’m particularly interested in this I don’t just keep a numbers spreadsheet on my own computer but I also use:

www.sharesight.com - to track my investments

www.everydollar.com - to track my expenses and earnings

And more recently I’ve been fooling around with www.pocketsmith.com - I’m still trying to work out what I’m doing here but more on that another day!

So, the lack of data is not my issue. Having it all over the place certainly is and if you were to sit down and look at my numbers they won’t mean much to you, but to me, they tell a story of the year that Jonny, myself and our daughter have had because each group of data and each transaction tells me a story of what we have been up to.

My number indicator of how we are tracking is our net worth (not including our house or vehicles):

For 2018 vs 2017 we had a small 2.9% increase. I’m disappointed.

Because for 2017 vs 2016 we had a 14% increase. Much healthier!

However, over the last four years, our net worth has increased by 15%, so despite a quiet year it is at least heading in the right direction.

Flicking to my expenses spreadsheet I can see a hint as to why we have had such a small increase this year. That trip to Vietnam we took was FANTASTIC, but travel ain't cheap! In fact, when I look back over the last four years we have spent a conservative $40,000 on travel to Rarotonga, America and Vietnam, plus also trips to Auckland and Wellington. And we updated our car. In the years prior to this, we went to many many countries as well and I can’t see this stopping, we love to travel. At least we paid with cash but when the money leaves our bank account it also impacts on our net worth. Ce la vie!

So how did our investing go?

Well according to my Sharesight stats:

My FNZ (NZ Top 50), MEL (Meridian), USF (US500) and NPF (NZ Property) funds had a total return (after fees and tax) of 11.08%.

They paid 4.54% in dividends and had a capital gain of 6.55%.

Jonny and my KiwiSavers are up 5.5% at the moment.

Everything was sitting a little higher but in the last month or two, the markets have dipped a bit so the values have lessened. 2018 has been a bumpier ride that is for sure.

And our income? Well, that was down 7%.

But I have to keep in mind that we start from a pretty low base and that is the price we pay for both of us only working part-time.

If my end of year report to myself were to conclude with a final statement it would say:

We spent too much!

But despite a slow growth year financially, 2018 has been a really good year on every other level. We stuck to the basics of good money management and continued to spend less than we earned (but we still spent too much) and although our net worth increase is small, it’s still an increase. We only added to our investments and took nothing out and any money that we spent came from cash flow where I had allocated money to certain budgets (like a holiday fund).

However, money is only one small part of life right?

Numbers are black and white and to interpret them with any meaning you have to put a human element to them. So my end of year financial report would not be complete without the following:

We had some low points to be sure; the death of my Dad, losing a close friend, plus Jonny snapping his achilles. But many good things too; Mum's cancer is stable and my sister moved back to town. Everything that occurs just adds to the person I am and I got out of bed every morning and really made the most of each day. As a family, we have had a lot of fun this year with a heap of unforgettable experiences which may or may not have cost money.

A great day for me is getting up at dawn, writing some stuff for you to read, going for a run or a walk with my dog or maybe doing some yoga. Then taking our daughter to school and having the chance to linger and chat with the other kids and her teacher. Then after a coffee and chat with Jonny or a friend I head off to work for a couple of hours (I love going to work!) with an awesome bunch of people before collecting our daughter from school. We wander home, hang out and do some stuff over the afternoon and then roll on into a wine with my dinner. Then a great book in bed. You might read this and YAWN with the plainness of it all! But to me, I’ve connected with myself, with my family, with my friends and with my colleagues and felt part of my community without feeling bothered, stressed and harassed. It’s called work-life-balance and Jonny and I am pretty darn happy with the mix at the moment.

So, that’s 2018 almost done and although I blog about money, it’s only one part of living an enjoyable life. We made the conscious choice to forgo the nine to five so we could do what we felt like doing today and not keep putting life off until we reach some magical retirement number. But to do it we have to be sensible about it, track our progress and make sure that each part of life is in balance. And I really think it is. How has your 2018 been?

Happy Saving + Merry Christmas!


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