2020 Q1 Net Worth Update: Riding Out COVID-19

At the start of 2020, my net worth was a record $810,000. At the end of March 2020, it rests at $717,000. Like the US economy, my losses have been driven by COVID-19 virus.

Despite this, I feel extremely fortunate to have to have a steady income during this unprecedented pandemic and my heart goes out to others who are not so fortunate. I’m also comforted by realizing that my net worth is still up significantly since my last update from October 2018. In other words, despite some setbacks, we’re still making progress!

Net Worth as of March 30, 2020: $717,219

Regular Routine, Exceptional Results: I have changed very little about my investment strategy over the last year and during the COVID-19 outbreak. We’re still double maxing both our 401k’s, maxing out my FSA and my wife’s HSA, and paying off our debt. Our mortgages are also on 15 year loans, so that’s a lot of equity each month! I’m a huge believer of having a strategy and sticking to it, through thick and thin.

We Got a Child: My niece move in with us about a year ago due to some unfortunate family circumstances. I wrote a whole article about this, so I won’t go into detail here. Financially speaking this change has driving two financial implications. First, we began saving for college for our child, putting away $1,000 per month in a mix of cash accounts and 529 college savings plans.  Second, there are more day-to-day expenses associated with her care, but most of this is offset through social security benefits that we receive on her behalf.

Lawyers, Lawyers, Lawyers: Due to our ongoing custody case we’ve incurred about $50,000 in attorney bills, with more expenses coming soon. Not a fun experience, but our lawyers were worth every penny and are allowing us to give my niece a new life.

Grad School, Again: Last fall, my wife decided to get her doctorate. This decision will bring her long term value for sure, but it also costs us about $1,800 per month.

Finding My Side Hustle: For more than four years I worked full-time while attending law school at night. This was a crazy time in my life and looking back on it, I don’t understand how I kept it up for so long. But after graduating and taking the bar exam, I suddenly had nights and weekend free, with no hobbies! Over the last year I’ve found my groove and have begun succeeding in my side hustle, including generating revenue, getting paid to draft an online article, and being featured on a prominent podcast. These fun new developments that are both financially and personally rewarding, which I plan to continue going forward.

The Future: While COVID-19 is wrenching havoc on the world I also expect it will create new profitable opportunities for those who are paying attention and have liquid resources. To prepare for this I initiated a cash-out refinance of my primary home. I expect this to provide me with a significant amount of cash, which I plan to deploy on either purchasing stocks if the market goes lower or new rental properties if the housing market falls significantly. As this move forward, I plan to post updates here.

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