Why Track Net Worth
Imagine you have undertaken a journey to a far-off mountain paradise. As you trek, you catch glimpses of your destination obscured in the distance. Time passes, and while you know you are getting closer to your destination, by not tracking your progress you have no idea how much ground you are covering day by day. For all you know, you may very well make it before winter hits. By the same token, you may not be making enough progress and without that knowledge, you put yourself in danger of not making the adjustments needed to reach your goal.
This was my situation, just over five years ago, and eight months after graduation. During those eight months, I scrimped and saved to finish paying off my student loans and was just engaged to be married. I knew I wanted to build income and invest, to work towards retirement (paradise). This would give us valuable time to pursue additional hobbies and interests including serving and helping others.
I didn’t like the risks of the stock market, so I decided to focus on real estate which made the most sense to me at the time. Over the next four years, we purchased two homes that we were able to rent out while living in them. I also changed jobs four times to boost income and learn new skills, including Web Development. During that time I knew I was making progress towards my goal, but like in the story, I couldn’t quantify how much progress and momentum I was building.
In September of 2016, I started tracking my net worth, and boy was it eye opening. Now I knew how much my net worth was increasing every month; Giving me a clear picture of the progress and potential changes needed to reach our goal. That alone was worth it, it gave me some peace of mind. I also noticed that when tracking my net worth those impulse buys didn’t have the same draw as before, I was focused on a bigger more important goal and that gave me strength. My only regret is not having started tracking my net worth sooner, It would have been enlightening to see how home purchases and job changes affected my monthly net worth increases and projections over time.
Tracking And Sharing Net Worth
For the first couple of months, I tracked my net worth using Google Sheets, in the middle of every month I would look up all my key accounts i.e. Savings, Retirement, HSA, Loans. Other accounts such as those designated for budgeting or other monthly expenses I omitted to reduce the noise and keep the focus on primary indicators, but It wasn’t long before I wanted more features, such as the ability to see a graph of my net worth over time, future projections etc..
As I was looking into net worth tracking tools, I started to form an idea of building a new tool. The idea of having a support group as a valuable resource to keep motivated and on track financially. What if net worth tracking were fun and engaging? What if you could earn achievements and awards you could display for hitting certain net worth milestones etc…
I am a web developer by trade so I set out to build such an application. I am calling the application Worth Watchers because working towards a sustainable net worth is just as important as maintaining a healthy weight. The application is currently in its early stages of evolvement, so now is a great time to jump in and help influence the direction of the project. I would love to get your input. I am confident we will see many great features implemented based on feedback from early users!
The purpose of this blog is twofold. First to share new features added to the Worth Watchers application as they are developed. And second to share monthly net worth updates and retirement goals with you.
Let’s work together to achieve our goals!