I've decided to add the financial goals chart below to our monthly update.
Tomorrow or very soon, I'll write up a post dedicated to review of goals.
So far, I'm pleased with our progress on our networth increase, we're 69% of the way there. Due to a pending medical leave I expect that up to $30,000 of that networth increase is vulnerable (circa October).
I'm hoping that additional savings, short term disability insurance and my new job (when I find it), will offset the possible $30k expense.
Here's our financial charts summary. Our retirement accounts recovered nicely from the April - mid-July drop in the markets, however, I compared our annual gain in March to end of July where I learned that in March our investments were up $25,000 for the year, as of now, they are only up about $15,000 for the year.
I took almost a $3,000 loss on the sale of Shanda (SNDA) in order to move the money into more productive investments. Specifically into Morgan Stanley's Eastern Europe fund (RNE). RNE was down from a high of $54 to the very low $30s when I bought in. I expect the Russian and Eastern European economies to keep growing. In addition the 10% dividend looks very nice.
In August, I will purchase Morgan Stanley's India Fund (IIF), if the price reaches a reasonable target. It's still selling at a premium to NAV -- it's a close-end fund (CEF). In part, I think that reflects the difficulty of buying and managing investments in the Indian markets. It's price has been declining recently. I expect the declines to continue a bit further before I'm willing to buy in. IIF, too, has a nice dividend.
Looking over our expenses for July, I found the following extraordinary items:
- Airline tickets for visiting relatives $850
- Dental treatment $115
- Entertainment expenses friends visiting from out of town $250
- Property tax for automobiles $850 (annual state tax)
- We also had some additional expenses for a trip to a sick relative out of town $300
- Acceleration of 401k employee deferal contribution $14,100
#6 had the biggeest impact. We accelerated 401k deferals this month. Our target was $15k, but due to an error only $14,100 went in. We actually tried to time the market. About $12,800 went in about mid-July just as the market began recovering from the huge drop it had experienced the last few months. Since the amount was not too large, we didn't make a huge gain, but it was a nice one.
More signficantly, we had a big drop in operating cash due to the deferal. We had to borrow from our operating cash reserve to offset it. This is an important point -- our monthly chart shows a net decline in cash, however, we actually had a net increase in cash if you exclude the transfer of cash into 401k. Actually, July was a good savings month for us.
I'm hoping July and August will be fairly decent savings months for us.
My experiment with half.com has had mixed results. The DVDs, priced $3 below market, sold quickly, as did several professional books. Most of my professional books are very slow selling (if at all). Overall I gained about $220 so far and will see about $47 in the next few weeks.
Have a wonderful day,