September 2017: The Month-End Financial Review

Month-end financial review - September 2017

Now that October has begun, it is time to put September in the books. Think of it like having a small business. There are the day-to-day operations, but there is likely a designated time to review the financials. This time is used to determine if financial objectives are being met. It’s hardly different for a regular person. If one tracks their finances, it will make a world of difference.

For me, it normally takes a few days into the next month in order to gather the data I need. Once I retrieve the data, I document the information in a spreadsheet for tracking and analysis purposes. When I started this blog, I wanted to give the reader a view into my life in terms of my journey to financial independence and early retirement. I concluded this should include a view into my finances.

At this point, being a few weeks into blogging about personal finance, I decided that I would release financial details as I felt comfortable. A large part of this reasoning is to let you get to know me and allow me to document my full story. These articles will most likely be posted in the upcoming weeks.

As of right now, I have decided to give the reader a partial view into the financial tracking and analysis that I do on a monthly basis. As time goes on, I may add more data in terms of real-time balances and specificity in areas that may be of interest. For September, I have provided a view into the percentage of monthly expenses and the change in balances within my investment accounts.

 

Month-end financial review - September 2017

Financial Review

September Monthly Expenses – By Percentage

My monthly expenses vary slightly month-to-month. There are months where it seems as though all the subscriptions, services, and yearly costs come into play. That is what happened for September, as it was not ideal in terms of expenses.

As you can tell from the pie chart below, the large part of my household expenses are the mortgage (19%), groceries (23%), and health insurance (11%). Although retail (16%) and the miscellaneous (10%) sections are rather high in percentage for September, that is normally not the case.

September Monthly Expenses - by percentage
September Monthly Expenses – by percentage

For anyone wondering why my household groceries (23%) are higher than my mortgage (19%) – simply it’s because the mortgage payment is relatively small. My mortgage payment does not include property taxes and property insurance. I don’t utilize an escrow account. I have several set times throughout the year that I pay those expenses. Also, on a side note, the consensus in my household this year was to eat more home-cooked meals, which meant less money spent eating out (3%).

The miscellaneous section (10%) includes various expenses that are not normally paid month-to-month. For example – taxes, donations, and other variable costs. For September, some of the expenses included various renewals, a job board subscription, and blogging start-up costs.

I will note that the balances I used to input this data are based on my credit card rolling period. These balances do not align with the full month of September. These are the expenses that I would consider to be paid for September. All my recordings follow this path, and are largely the reason why I use a spreadsheet for tracking purposes.

Monthly Change in Investment Value

Next, let’s take a look at the change in investment balances throughout the period ended 9/30/2017. You may remember, from the welcome page, that I mentioned my household’s investment value had exceeded my would-be contributions.

Keep in mind, other than one account, all my investments are in the market working for me. There is no guarantee that the sum of the change in balances for the year will hold true come December.  I will release the end-of-year change at the beginning of January 2018.

The Month-End Financial Review - September 2017
2017 Year-to-date monthly change in investment value

For month ending 9/30/2017, the change month over month was $8,064.80, which brings the current year increase in investment value to $49,429.51. To date for 2017, I contributed a total of $3,500 of fresh capital into my investments (IRA #1 & #2).  Also, an additional $2,186.42 was added to a small pension that is currently not available to be invested. This brings the total contributions to $5,686.42 as of 9/31/2017.

You can determine that without significant contributions, my household investment accounts have grown well beyond my contributions for 2017. Right now, the change in value is in line with the contributions made in prior years. Those contributions were approximately $40k-$50k/year “all in” while I was working. “All in” includes employer contributions as well.

Until Next Month

That’s a small peek into my September financial tracking and analysis. I hope this provides some insight into where my money is going in terms of monthly expenses and a high-level view of the accounts and balance changes behind my investments.

Please note: The stock market can be highly volatile, with past results not being an indicator of future results.

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How did September fare for you? Are you on track to hit any financial milestones with 3 months left in the year? I hope to hear from you – please comment below!


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