Updated on 01.06.08

December 2007 Review – Assets +2.3%, Debts -1.1%

Trent Hamm

Once again, it’s time for a monthly review of my finances. I generally break things down by evaluating my assets and my debts (which together make up 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.

December went very well, mostly thanks to the fact that I didn’t spend nearly as much on Christmas as I was originally anticipating. I actually already had many of the gifts on hand and others were handmade gifts that I invested time in rather than money. The end result? The Christmas bill wasn’t nearly as big as I thought.

Thus, I far exceeded my goals. I wanted to achieve a debt reduction of 1% (check), an asset growth of 0.2% (check plus plus), and Christmas gift-giving without worry (check plus plus).

When I have months like this, where I’m able to do the things I personally want with no worries at all, it makes the frugality and cost-saving choices that I make seem really worthwhile. At that pace, carried over several years, all of my debt vanishes in about eight years and my assets double in value in about twenty eight months – and that’s in a down stock market. Now, admittedly, I can’t keep up the pace – in some months, I have tax bills and other unexpected expenses. But that doesn’t change one simple fact: I’m making good progress each and every month, and that good progress really adds up.

My goals for next month are fairly modest, mostly based on the fact that I have to do some traveling.

Asset growth of 1% This requires my normal plan plus either a non-disastrous month on the stock market or some strongly frugal living from me.

Debt reduction of 1% Again, I’m hacking away at debt at the same pace as before, so this is pretty expected provided there are no unforeseen events.

These should both be achievable if I stick to my basic principles of frugality, reasonable spending, and automated saving and investing. I’m not planning on any big “stretch” goals until the spring, because the next few months are filled with some travel and a few unpredictable expenses.

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  1. I was just wondering if this included debt on your house? We have finished all unsecured debt and only have the house left. This is a much slower process so I only see a small percentage of debt leaving while I am making good payments to reduce the length of my loan.

  2. Jason says:

    Great job, Trent. It’s tough to see any asset growth in this market. Tracking my retirement savings balance every night looks like a roller coaster ride. If you don’t have a long-term perspective, these ups and downs will have you in knots. We spent a little more on Christmas than we intended, but the silver lining is we added no new debts, something we failed to accomplish in holidays past.

  3. WarFighte says:

    Good morning,

    I found your web site by accident. I was reading a editoral against rich dad poor dad i agreed with it and it was yours. I then went to your website. Which brings me to my question.

    Can you explain how you came up with the Debt assest plus and minus numbers? I like the idea of not using actual dollar figures. Can you explain the methodology?



  4. Sam Carrara says:

    It’s awesome that you are tracking your assets and debts and sharing your insights. Looks like you are going in the positive direction.
    Keep it up,

  5. PEC says:

    Trent, I have my 2008 spending plan finished and have subtracted all my fixed expenses from my projected income from now until the end of the year. How do I calculate my impact on debt monthly?..it would be helpful to see the results on a monthly basis in percentage rather than dollars.



  6. miguel says:


    I’m with you on the market. My retirement accounts have been flat for several weeks now, even though I am putting in a lot of money.

    Like you I have my eye set on the longterm, but it’s hard to remember a dip in the markets is a good for a young investor when your “loosing” thousands of dollars.

  7. ShootDawg says:

    Here is the link to how Trent is tracking his debt/assets..


    I would like to know how to calculate the asset value of the house? Possibly taking the latest assessed value, minus the remaining mortgage balance? I know this does not take into the account the interest you pay towards the mortgage loan

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