One of the ways that Mr. PoP has enjoyed learning about business and investing over the years is by reading (and re-reading!) Warren Buffet’s annual Shareholder Letters written to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. In honor of the release of Buffett’s 2014 letter (which is due out tomorrow, 2/28), here is our own PoP 2014 Shareholder Letter. Click through for the 2012 and 2013 editions.
2014 was another solid year for us financially. Our net worth growth was lower than it was in 2013, but we’re not that surprised by that since we didn’t have 30%+ market gains in 2014 to effortlessly boost our portfolio in the same way. Instead, more of our gains this year were from our income, which was a bit higher in 2014, and by not missing our spending targets by too much. So in that way, we feel better about our 2014 gains than we do about the 2013 ones.
Out with the old and in with the new, that’s what remodeling and getting our new kitchen is all about, right? Well… there WILL be a lot of new in the space when we’re all done with it. But when it comes right down to it, I took the messages of Recycle Rex to heart as a kid. And one of the best parts about DIY-ing this huge project is that we get to…
Recycle – Reduce – Reuse… and Close The Loop!
Which along with our solar panels (installation due to start at the end of the month!!!) just hits all of my hippy happiness buttons.
Here are some of the cool ways we’re making Recycle Rex proud these days.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, an event that usually passes without a whole lot of notice in the PoP household. They go something like this:
Love on the beach!
Mr PoP:Happy Valentine’s Day, baby!
Mrs PoP:Aww, thanks. Right back at ya! Want to stop and get yourself fancy chocolates from [the fancy chocolate shop near your office] on the way home from work?
Mr PoP:Nah. There’s always a line out the door on Valentine’s Day!
I’m pretty sure the only time one of us has ever gotten the other a gift or tried to “celebrate” this holiday was in the first couple of months we were dating. As a single RA (definitely the best job for college students) the previous semester, I had happily volunteered to work Valentine’s Day weekend, which kept me on duty until 2 in the morning. It wasn’t that big of a deal, and worked out well when Mr PoP went out for his friend’s birthday while I worked. When he came back to the dorm that night, he brought me a single rose he bought at the gas station on the way home.
The thought was very sweet and I told him so, but I also told him he never had to get me anything for Valentine’s day ever again. To which he responded that I was the best girlfriend ever. =)
It sounds very domestic, but every week, I iron our clothes for the work week ahead. I’ve been doing this for years, ironing my father’s work clothes when I was in middle school and high school, then my own when I got a job that required something slightly nicer than jeans and a t-shirt. And after Mr PoP and I got married, I started ironing his clothes as well.
Some people might think the ironing is overkill, but when it comes down to it, there are times (work especially) when we want our clothes to have a nice crisp look to it that we never seem to get with “non-iron” clothing items. (Mr PoP looks adorable in the morning with some nice crisp creases in his khakis!) Plus, there’s an element of indulgence to the ironing at this point in my life. We’re not people that plop down and zone out in front of the tv for hours (it feels like such a waste of time!), but if I watch a show or two while ironing, well no time at all is being wasted and I *still* get to know the latest on Jane the Virgin* guilt-free.
So I iron. And I don’t hate it (thanks to Jane’s entertaining saga). But up until recently it did take me a solid 60-90 minutes each week to do all the ironing. What changed?
We use the structure of a monthly income statement and balance sheet in tandem to make sure we are keeping our expenses low and planting our pennies wisely. If you’re not already tracking your finances using these two methods, go to mint.com and get started today! If you have any questions about how we do this just post a comment and we’ll be sure to help!
The markets were down in January, but we managed to salvage asset growth due to Mr PoP’s big year-end commission check. No big changes to the accounts, except we’re particularly cash heavy at the moment while we wait for our permits for our new solar panels to be approved (at which point we’ll have to fork over a large amount of cash). We could lean on our HELOC if we wanted to, but the current rate on that is around 5%, and we’d rather just forgo putting money into our taxable account for a month or two instead of paying interest on the HELOC. (Feels too much like borrowing to invest in the stock market, and that’s the type of leverage we’ve never been comfortable with.)
So for the month of January:
Our total assets went up by $11.2
Our total liabilities went down by $0.8
Net worth rose by $12.0K
Total net worth as of the end of January is $838.6K, which represents a 1.45% increase this month.