Net Worth Update 2016

Welcome to our very first Net Worth Update! It’s something that we only do about twice a year around our house. So it’s usually a fun surprise to see how our hard work has paid off. But this year we took a whole year off from work! We contributed $0 to our investments this year (so far) as planned. When we started, I wasn’t really sure how this might affect our net worth.

So imagine my delighted surprise when our net worth went up $50,000!

Here is why that is so crazy to me. I’m 33 years old, and have never personally made $50,000 in any given year from a job. Ever. I grew up in a family that would have spit soda out their nose at the idea of bringing home $50,000 a year.

My last job paid really well, $30k-$40k a year. But I worked every weekend, every holiday and at least 45 hours a week to bring that home. As did all my coworkers. Most people needed 100% of that money just to pay the bills. They were lucky to find a few thousand to set aside each year. So the idea that our net worth went up $50,000 while we…. um… traveled, hiked, picked cherries. BLOWS MY MIND.

My 8 year old is right. Compound interest is magic folks.

But beings this is the first time you all are taking a peek, let’s break this down for you.



1.Cash: Despite buying a few toys this year, taking a 6 week vacation, and doing 2 major remodels; our cash reserve is high. Perhaps a little too high, even for my taste. Part of the reason is that we haven’t quite decided what our next season in life is going to look like. We are keeping our options open and cash in the bank for the next few months.

Fun Money: You might also notice our fun money accounts. Mr. Mt and I have very different spending personalities. Like $2,000 vs $100 different.  I don’t know what the heck to spend my fun money on. Mr. Mt keeps joking that I can just give some of it to him. He can take care of that: no problem!

Giving: Our giving account is earmarked for donations. We were whirlwind busy this summer and have just been giving our automatic $226 a month. Every month an extra $200 goes into this account and we use it for 1 time gifts. I love feeling like we can give spontaneous gifts without it touching our family savings.

Rentals: Our rentals also have their own checking account. All rent checks are deposited here, and repairs or improvements come out of it. Every month funds are transferred over to our personal checking to cover our monthly nut, plus some. We went a long time before we started taking income from this account in order to improve the properties and build up this fund. I like to see it around 10k. I feel like that will cover most things that could go wrong. Even if 3 or 4 all happen at once. So with the extra cash in this account, we might take on another project soon, or just start taking more income.


2. Kids College: We are starting to talk more about what we want to give our kids as far as college goes. I’ve held off investing more in the account this year, because I am toying with the idea of having my kids report their income and start Roth IRA’s for them once they turn 10. This lines up more with what I am trying to teach my kids.


3.Our houses: We own three right now, and got a great deal on all of them. We paid cash for our first home. For pricing, I used Zillow. It’s rather spot on in our area, if not a bit low. Then I took 10% off that price. I follow the markets here very closely because we always have our eyes open for the next deal. It would take about a day on craigslist to sell the homes for these prices. Two of our homes still have some projects we could finish that would push their value up even more.


4. Retirement accounts: Everyone has a messy closet somewhere in their house, right? Well, here is mine. I really hate paperwork, and IRA rollovers seem like torture to me. I didn’t even want to post some of these random little accounts, because I know I need to clean this up.

A million years ago, I went on a first date with a guy, and we stopped by his house to pick something up before we went to the movies. I waited in the doorway and he said, “Just wait here, but don’t go into the kitchen. It’s a mess.” So what did I do? Walked directly to the kitchen as soon as he was out of sight. People. It was nasty! Really, really bad. So bad, in fact, that as we drove to the theater in our separate cars, I ditched him. And never called him back.  I know. That’s not nice. But I had never seen a kitchen that gross. In a nice home of all things!

So please don’t stand me up after seeing this. I figured by posting my mess, I might actually get it cleaned up before the next time you look in the messy kitchen. The Misc. account? It’s actually from an old employer, with a $20 maintenance fee, all cash. I know, I know. Feel free to roll your eyes now. This is what NOT to do. I just need to get childcare for a whole day and get it done. Which is perhaps why I haven’t yet. If I have childcare for a whole day, this is the very LAST thing I want to do! Hot date? Yes. Girls Trip? Yup. Fill out stupid paperwork? Um, no thanks. I’d rather hang out with my kids.

I’m really hoping that blogging makes me a better person.

So that brings our total asset to just over $700,000.



We have two mortgages on our rentals. House 2 has $38,000 remaining. House 3 has $98,000 left. I am happy to say that I never made a single one of these payments with our personal money. Never. Not once. We flowed the rental income into its own account and they take care of themselves financially now (and us, I might add). We haven’t started paying them off aggressively for a few reasons.

  1. We might buy another property at some point. I would rather pay cash (if possible) vs. pay these loans down then have to take out another loan (and pay all those fees again.)
  2. Our assets are already leaning very real estate heavy, and I would rather invest more in stocks than pay down the loans.
  3. We have very low interest rates, and the tax advantages on rentals are very favorable.

Once we are 100% sure what our next move is, we might start paying them down.  Our monthly cash flow will increase by $700 a month as soon as they are paid off. That is the upside. It will a happen eventually either way. But it’s yet to be decided if it will be sooner vs. later.

We started this journey 14 years ago when we married. I never thought that I would travel through 27 countries, adopt 4 kids, or own 3 houses. And most definitely not have a 1/2 million plus net worth.  We just kept doing all the little things right, and hoped they would add up to big things. I feel incredibly grateful for all the ways it’s added up, on the spreadsheets and off.




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27 thoughts on “Net Worth Update 2016

  1. This is so awesome to see! Thanks for the transparency. We have ~$25k in cash, ~$60k in retirement accounts, and saving to buy our first rental property. We live in a much more expensive area than you, but I love to see how our little daily actions now could look five years down the road! 2016 was the first year we maxed out all retirement accounts available to us (my 401k & IRA, my husband’s IRA). It felt so good!

    One question – this is totally personal, so no pressure to answer 🙂 But as I read your posts, I notice that sometimes you say you have five kids and sometimes six?

    • Britt, that is incredible! Maxing out all your retirement accounts is a HUGE milestone. It takes a bit of time to build some traction, but keep it up. In 5 or 10 years it will be nuts. I actually wrote a piece about my kids, but never published it. I might get around to that soon. We have been married 14 years, but have enough life and stories to fill a book.=) So yes, we have 6 kids all together. 4 adopted and 2 bio. But we have 5 at home. We adopted our oldest 12 years ago, when he was a teenager. Just that is a million stories. I suppose I am going to have to blog for a long time, to be able to tell them all. =)

  2. Thanks for sharing, Ms. Montana! I love that you guys have the rentals. That is the very next step for us and your situation provides even more motivation to move forward with it. I haven’t yet worked up the nerve to share our net worth yet, but maybe soon…

    When I was looking at your numbers, I didn’t notice your “messy” investment closet, really! (And ditching messy, nasty kitchen guy – so funny!!!) Sometimes publicly sharing this information provides a ton of motivation to get moving on those things we tend to put on the back burner! I did notice Mr. Mt is enjoying his fun money!

    • Mr. Mt and his fun money. We are actually a really good example of how two people can 100% be on the same page for goals, but have totally different spending personalities. You can see in our monthly expenses, we each only get $75 a month. He literally spends his down almost every month. New ski bindings just showed up last week for him. A new speaker for the TV a few months before. He cracks me up. Every time he finds something that we “need”, I just give him that look and ask, “Fun Money?” As long as he uses Fun Money, I don’t care what it is. It’s probably saved us 1000 arguments.

      I should write about our rentals more! I love the monthly checks that come in with out taking away from the value on the property. I would have a harder time pulling out 4%, even if it worked out the same.

  3. This is incredible and I hope that Ms. FP and I can get to that level one day! Crazy to see how much you can accumulate by saving over time. And I’m shocked you weren’t making a ton of money either! You do a great job spending on the things that you value.

    I’ve only got 3 years of work history under my belt, and 2.5 years of that was spent cleaning up student loan mess, but we’re gonna play catchup once Ms. FP gets done with her residency.

    Thanks again for sharing. It’s always helpful to I see actual numbers.

  4. Nice work Ms. Montana! Love that you opened up your books for all of us to see. My fun money is pretty low like you, but my wife’s fun money looks more like Mr. Montana’s for sure :). Glad to see other couples can make it work as long as they’ve got the same goals despite having different spending habits.

    The whole year off to travel, hike, and pick cherries lol, sounds amazing! It’s the little things in life we gotta enjoy right? Taking time away from my day job to travel is a dream that my wife and I share. Congrats on making it happen and increasing your net worth while doing so. Pretty incredible.

    • Thanks so much! Since we have been married we have carved out little breaks to travel. And I am SO glad we did. Life changes so fast, and traveling in each season is so important to us. Being on the same page for the big stuff is where it’s at!

  5. So nice to see compound interest doing its thing for you! And I totally understand about those messy retirement accounts — I’m pretty sure our 401ks are in a similar state. We figure we’re so close to retirement and will roll them over to Vanguard soonish, so we’ll just worry about them then. Bad, I know. But we’d just rather be spending our limited time in other ways than researching and rebalancing our 401ks! 🙂

    • I can find an easy 1000 things I would rather do! And if it takes more than one step, or if I need to sign and fax something: I’m out. But I know it’s low level stress that I just need to deal with. Thanks for stopping by! You guys might have two days of paper work when you finally pull the plug!

  6. Thanks for the detail, but ugh such a mess in the retirement accounts 🙂 …j/k j/k! Maybe you’ll find the time soon to complete the rollovers. The nice thing is that once it is done, it is done for good and you won’t have to worry about it again!

    • I have a feeling it will happen about 2 weeks before my next net worth update! We have gotten a few done over the years. Your right, that at least they stay done. This is really horrible, but I have tried to calculate what the 3% match would be. Then see if it’s worth the hassle of a roll over. Because I left my last job a few months after they started a 401k program, I think I only got 50 bucks in matching money. I’m on the fence if this roll over will be worth the $50. =) And I am frugal bordering on cheap!

  7. You’re looking good. It’s great that your rentals are doing so well. It’s harder here because the property price is so high.
    You should rollover your accounts to Vanguard. They are really helpful and there’s no fee if you invest in Vanguard funds. Well, if you don’t like Vanguard funds, then maybe rollover to somewhere else. Great job!

  8. Awesome job !!!! You and your family are ahead of many people. I also am going to open Roth IRAs for my kids. Because the account is in their name, most brokerages require the person to be 18. Great idea to get a start in saving !!!!!

    • I never really think of it in terms of ahead or behind. But I am darn please with all the things we have been able to do in the last 14 years. And we are really enjoying the amount of financial freedom we have now. So that counts as a win!

  9. This is such a great example of “it doesn’t matter what income you have, saving and investing will get you to where you want to go”. I’m thinking of doing my very first net worth update also soon 🙂

    I love the transparency of how your first date went also with the guy. I can’t believe he didn’t even drive to your place to pick you up!

    • Bonus if you don’t have a tremendous amount of income, you are saving to replace a smaller income. =) As for the messy kitchen guy, I didn’t really know him well enough to want to ride with him. Which is why I didn’t realize how messy his kitchen would be! Mr. Mt apparently had forgotten that story, and felt bad for the guy. But I am talking: 2 feet of dirty dishes and pans, or boxes of open food covering every surface. Spilled rotting food all over the floor. It was a nice house in a nice subdivision. It took one glance to tell, I was not the girl for him!

  10. It’s awesome that you are now at $564,000 and started $50,000 in the hole! That’s a quick turnaround (14 years). I want to get into rental property investing soon, and find your example very encouraging. I expected to see a ton of mortgage debt for your properties, but it’s relatively low. Congrats!

    Also, thanks for being transparent with your net worth. I’m considering posting mine, along with a breakdown of assets and liabilities, but I’m worried someone will “track me down” and want my money. Ha (that’s a half laugh). I’m curious if you had the same fear before posting your net worth.

    • I wasn’t really worried about being “tracked down”, my email is on the site or people can always connect with me via comments, fb or twitter. (My answer is no.) In the off chance someone shows up at my house, the answer is still no. And we do live in Montana, so our shot gun and bear spray are mandatory household items. =)

      Kidding aside, my biggest fear was how it would impact my personal relationships. So there are very few people I told about the blog, and no family members. Mr. Mt worked in social services and made about 30k a year, which is about average in our peer group. But we also mentor and are friends with people who live way below the poverty line. I worried how they might perceive it. Half a million might as well be 15 million to some folks. I spoke at a youth ministry a few months back and afterward the youth pastor and I dropped a kid off at his parents rv that was parked in the backyard of someones house. It was from the 70’s and had caught fire earlier that year so was covered in a tarp. I don’t want to seem like I can’t relate to kids like that. So that was my main concern.

    • It was SUPER weird. I am not sure I will be able to do it. We might take some of our cash and max our our IRA at the last minute. =) We have been maxing it out for 11 years now, and it has become the normal.