Monday, 30 November 2015

Counting

I count my money once a month. Occasionally I add up the major assets in between just to see how bad things are going - or good.

I have counted my assets semi-regularly since 2009. Now I always count my money the same way but I do change it every now and then. This makes it impossible to graph the assets over a long period of time. But at least I am able to compare one month to the next. 

I have no debt and have not had since 2010.

I only count assets that are mine. The man counts his own assets, and in his own way. There are a number of reasons for this, all private. We also have lived and earned and saved more years apart than we have been together. We are also fundamental individualists so counting assets as a family makes no sense for us. (He is doing very well though and this last year has been amazing for him financially.)

I also only count assets that are mine right now. I do not include state pensions, locked assets that are only to be available after certain years, and assets that are currently not in my control. I do not distrust the pension systems etc, but it is out of my control so I will just count them as blessings when I get them.

Right now I also only include assets that I do not live in. I do not include the value of my apartment.
Because I live in it. I need it. I can not get rid of it without buying something else. It is therefore not an asset. If you have your assets locked into a house, I do not know what you would do. I realised those assets a year ago, reached FI and started living within the budget that my assets allow me to keep for thirty years. But you must make your own decisions.

I also do not include the value of items I still own. I may one day sell them, but the value of them then is completely unknown so incalculable. I might say the same thing about stocks and shares, and it would be a fair and just statement, but I have chosen to invest my money that way and I will just have to accept that I do not make sense all the time. 

All my assets are counted (minus pension, minus property I live in, not including any unrealised value of items) and then divided with my annual budget.

My annual budget is higher than my annual spending, my annual costs. Why? Because I am not stupid. Budgeting as low as you can go will get you into trouble. You must include all what if's and just in case's that are reasonable for the coming year. Not budget a year on the stingiest non-spending you can make yourself endure. Budget a year where you pay all the occasional costs of dentist, optician, health care, some kind of travel, clothes, heating, food and insurances to a reasonable level. Then you LIVE WITHIN YOUR BUDGET.

Every month I count my money (my assets) and divide it with my annual budget. The number tells me how many years I can live on my assets, as long as the costs stay the same (which they do not) or the assets do not increase (which they hopefully do). Dividing the assets down to a monthly sum only makes sense if you live hand to mouth and never pay anything in advance.

There are thousands of budgeting tools out there, and I use none of them.
I make notes in a note book.

2 comments:

  1. Excellent post! My situation is similar. I don't count my house as part of my net worth because it is just for living in. If I sell it someday, I will need another place to live. Both home prices and rents will be higher then. My spouse and I also track our assets separately. We have some individual goals and different savings rates.

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    1. I think it is wise. Even a plan to downsize will have unknown costs and fees. And as well as assets, tracking spending separately makes life together so much easier.

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