Updated on 05.02.07

April 2007 Review – Net Worth +7.6%, Debts -2.3%, Assets +2.2%

Trent Hamm

It’s time for that monthly financial review again, where I make sure I’m keeping up with my short-term financial goals. I generally break things down by evaluating my assets, my debts, and then my net worth, and then using these numbers, I attempt to set goals for the coming month. This is a useful exercise for everyone to do, simply so they can keep tabs on their overall assets and debts and make sure that they are consistently heading in the right direction. Let’s break it down.

Assets My assets went up 2.2%, which exceeded my goal by a significant amount. This was mostly due to a very nice month on the stock market.

Debts My debts went down 2.3%, which wasn’t as much as I wanted. I did not waste money this month, however; I had almost $1,000 in income tax that needed to be paid. If it had not been for this payment, I would have come extremely close to reaching my target of 5% debt reduction.

Net Worth With my assets going up and debts going down, it was another good month for my net worth. A 7.6% increase in my net worth was quite nice, growth that I mostly attribute to a steady hand with paying off debt and a solid month on the stock market.

Last Month’s Goals (see last month’s review)
1. An asset increase of 1.5% I beat this goal with an asset increase of 2.2%, which felt really good considering I had a large income tax payment to make.
2. A debt reduction of 5% I didn’t make this goal this month, unfortunately, mostly because of the tax payment.

I didn’t meet both goals this past month, but I believe I could have met the debt goal without that income tax bill. Now, I want to focus on building up liquid capital for the upcoming house purchase.

This Month’s Goals
1. An asset increase of 5% My wife and I are focusing on making this month frugal and instead of focusing on student loan payments, we’re going to pay the minimum and hold on to our cash until we buy the house.
2. A debt reduction of 0.5% Minimum payments made on time and no credit card debt should make this goal reachable.

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  1. alex says:

    I can understand leaving off the numbers, so that people don’t feel jealous/competitive, etc. . . but the percentages don’t really mean much without the numbers. If my net worth is $50 and I increase it to $60, thats a whopping 20% increase.

  2. PF says:

    Alex, the numbers aren’t important. The example of setting measurable and attainable goals and then evaluating the outcome regularly is the point. If someone increases their net worth by $10 and that equals 20%, well good for them if that was their goal. For someone else, an increase of 20K might equal .5%, but that might be reasonable. It’s all about the goals.

  3. !wanda says:

    Dear alex: The post is a word problem. Trent mentioned that if he didn’t have to pay “almost” $1000 for taxes, he would have paid off “extremely” close to 5% of his debt instead of 2.3%. From this, we can calculate a rough estimate of his debt. Using that figure, the percentages he gives, and the fact that (net worth=assets-debt), we can use some simple algebra to get his assets and net worth.

  4. !wanda says:

    (alternate comment)
    Alex: As I understand it, Trent gives all the numbers you need to calculate absolute figures in his post.

  5. James says:


    He actually doesn’t, though if you combined 2-3 months of these reviews then you could probably make a system of equations to figure it out.

    From this post alone you can only estimate his debt, since he tells you it decreased 2.3%, but it would have been almost 5% if that extra $1000 had gone to debt reduction:
    .023x+1000=.05x, solve for x and you have a rough idea of his debts.

    Do the same for the net worth equation and you have one equation with two unknowns (assets and net worth), so you’d have to combine two months of these reviews to get the absolute numbers.

    me = enginerd.

  6. alex says:

    PF-I agree that the post is helpful in showing the usefulness of setting goals and aiming for them, but in terms of setting forth a blueprint for others to follow, it is hard to imitate Trent’s steps without knowing what results to expect.

    What I mean is: if Trent posted next month that he was able to save $50 by drinking nothing but water and milk, I would be in a better position to decide if I to wanted to take such a personal finance step. If Trent tells me he was able to save 1% by only drinking water and milk, the statement is largely meaningless, blueprint-wise.

    It would be able to track Trent’s spending, saving, investing moves.. see their results, and learn from his successes and failures.

    Wanda- I’m not sure I follow you.

  7. PF says:

    Alex, I see what you are getting at, but then again, this is all so very individual based on income, area of the country, student loan or medical debts going in, etc. etc. I still think that everyone must create their own blueprint, but Trent has established a useful framework.

    I agree with your example about how much might be saved by changing a certain behavior, but the big picture stuff is just to unique to the situation.

    On a personal level, there is no way if I were Trent that I would post the particulars. There are so many people out there who will get caught up in that and miss the message. But that’s just me.

  8. !wanda says:

    Net worth = Assets – debts

    This month’s assets – this month’s debts = 1.076 * (last month’s assets – last month’s debts)


    1.022 * (last month’s assets) – this month’s debts = 1.076 * (last month’s assets – last month’s debts)

    Am I missing something?

  9. db says:

    The real issue is I’m not going to take the TIME to convert percentages. It’s just a waste of my time to try to convert somebody else’s post into meaningful information (percentages are not).

    So I can understand Trent’s desire for privacy but I gloss over anything with percentages and don’t even try to get meaning from it.

  10. Rick says:

    If we can assume that an extra $1000 will bring the debt reduction from 2.3% to 5%, then that means his assets on May 1 are $69,250, and his debts are $36,200, give or take a few dollars due to rounding errors.

    Unfortunately, small differences in that $1000 give way to larger inaccuracies in these figures. For instance, if he really needed $1100 to bring the debt reduction from 2.3% to 5%, then his assets on May 1 would be around $71,500, and his debts $43,500.

    But maybe that will get you in the ballpark, for those of you with more curiosity than a cat.

  11. Nicole says:

    Trent – This is my favorite recurring post of yours – the monthly review of your finances. I admit I would like to see hard figures instead of percentages, and it does give some more feelings of transparency, but that’s your call. I am getting just as much entertainment from everyone trying to figure it all out!

    Keep up the good work. Sounds like you are on your way and I can’t wait to hear when you buy your new house.

    -Nicole @ carseattraveler.com

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