This is my first attempt to calculate my net worth. I'm currently 22 years old and a happy freelancer - my parents would say "unemployed bum, " but I did plan for this rocky of a road. I'll start using the 4th column next month when I have something to compare it to. (That's the reason I'm starting in May; I want 3 months of good comparisons.)

Assets Balance $ Change % Change
Cash (including my checking and savings accounts) $11, 993.71 N/A N/A
Stocks $42,505.25 N/A N/A
Education fund (529, as of 3/31/09) $60,489.71 N/A N/A
Retirement (Roth IRA - I have no 401(k)) $20,726.75 N/A N/A
Total Assets: $135,715.42 N/A N/A
Debt and Liabilities Balance $ Change % Change
Credit Card (I have 1) $1,202.17 N/A N/A
Total Debt $1,202.17 N/A N/A
Total Net Worth
$134,513.20 N/A N/A

Accounts these numbers come from:

  • Cash: my wallet ($1), checking account ($4,253.35), and savings account ($7,739.36), both from Bank of America.
  • Stocks: my E*TRADE account ($42,505.25).
  • Education fund: an American Funds "CollegeAmerica" account.
  • Retirement: Roth IRA (American Funds)
  • Credit card: I have a single VISA credit card with Chase.

Categories most people have that I do not:

  • Real estate. I don't own property; I've never lived in one place for more than 9 months since I started living away from my parents at age 14, and show no signs of immediately settling down. Consequently, I also have no mortgage.
  • Bonds. I... just don't have any.
  • Car. I don't have one. I have a bike and rollerblades and sneakers, but it seems silly to list them in my net worth calculation; they're not that expensive (compared to a car), I'm wearing them out just about every day, and they're so customized to me that thinking of selling them would be a stretch. For similar reasons, I don't list my books and computer equipment, although they are substantial fractions of my property. I may want to list my keyboard, but I didn't this month.
  • 401(k) - in "Retirement," everything is my Roth IRA. I haven't worked anywhere long enough to get into one yet.
  • Student loans. Most of the "worth" in that "net worth" number is a direct result of not having these. I was blessed to attend a college where each student is given a full tuition scholarship for all 4 years. My class also got a room scholarship, and I worked all 4 years I was in school, meaning that I had more money when I graduated than when I entered. The amount of freedom that having no student debt has given me is priceless - if not for that, I would not have been able to take a year off and volunteer, which led to my first job, which led to my discovery of community engineering as a career... it's changed my life in ways I can only dream of. I hope to be able to provide this kind of opportunity to others in the future. And by giving up alcohol for Lent and donating to my alma mater, I'm trying in a very small way to help it happen now. You're never too young or too poor to pay it forward. (Also, good lord but alcohol is an expensive social grease.)

Budget for May:

In order to cater to my lazy bum self, my May budget is very, very simple.

  1. Save $1000
  2. Live on $1000
  3. Learn with $1000
  4. Save everything else

"Living expenses" money (#2) is stuff like rent, food, train tickets within the Boston area, utilities, phone, moving costs (since I relocate to pika this month). "Tuition" (#3) is everything else. The obvious is stuff like piano lessons and the posture workshop I'm attending next weekend, but it also covers things like my notebooks and pens ("study materials") as well as massage therapy ("somatic awareness lessons") and VAs ("delegation 101"). What this does is it makes me think of those things in a different way - as things I should learn from to get a better ROI, rather than expenses that I throw money at and then don't think about.

'Course, earning $3000 is going to be an interesting challenge, as I don't have a regular salary yet. I've been living off my gap year savings, which were designed for exactly this sort of thing and have many months of cushion-worth left, but I'd like to start replenishing that ASAP. So! Creativity, begin.