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It is a bit early to do an update, since it is supposed to be at the end of June, but whatever.

I am probably not going to reach 1 million by my fortieth birthday. This is partially because I am only a few months away, but also because the portfolio isn't quite large enough without spectacular return. But I'll be closer than I was expecting :)

Speaking of which, I just added a historical record of DJIA to my spreadsheet, so I can compare my progress to the DJIA. This will give context to overall portfolio motion. It had been somewhat unclear what was going on (well, it is still somewhat unclear what specifics are happening), but now at least one can see the DJIA as a purple line.

Overall portfolio increase since a year ago - 10% year over year, including adding investments. Not bad, since the DJIA looks like it tanked over this same period. I guess I was shoveling in money faster than I could lose it! This either implies I really didn't have that much to start with, or else I was a bit aggressive with funding. Perhaps both are true. However, compared to the previous year (25% portfolio growth) or the previous (27%) or the previous (30%) it sucks. (Those include contributions!, not just growth in investment).

I would like some way to tell how my investments did which had contributions, but frankly this would be a pain in the neck. I'd have to subtract out contributions to 401k and associated accounts. This seems like it would be a pain.

But on the accounts where no money is going in, I can list them:

Old 401k rollover -3% year over year
ROTH 1 -9% year over year
ROTH 2 - 7% year over year
IRA 1 + 5% year over year
IRA 2 + 9% year over year

So some up, some down. This is to be expected in a down market. Well, perhaps more down than what we have. A lot of foreign investment explains part of it. Need to investigate the others really. My investment strategy has been honestly- nothing. That is, rely on an old brilliant friend who did a lot of research- myself, years ago. Now I have gotten dumb, so am more inclined to trust his judgment than my own. Yeah I revisit my investment thesis periodically, and still buy it.

The entire retirement account is only up 7% for the year. (Cash growth explains the rest of the 3% up over the entire port year over year).


Now back when I started this spreadsheet, on column A (now on column U, on a quarterly basis, so you can figure its age) I made an estimate of where I would be at this time. To be nice to myself, I gave myself reasonable returns (8% year/year growth) and reasonable contributions.

According to this initial calculation, I am 5 quarters ahead of schedule!

YEEEHAAAA

I can party for more than a year and not invest a dime, and I will still be on track to retire (eventually)!


But sadly, this knowledge has trickled into my subconscious. I still have a budget, but if it doesn't quite follow reality, I just "work the numbers" (transfer money out of potential savings into whatever spending category went over). Or perhaps this is an opportunity for celebration- I really don't care, or mind, if we have a party for a relative I rarely see and my wife blows a couple hundred bucks making a memory which won't come off the wall, even with comet. Don't let her know this please.

But also, my new job kicks a$$, and the old one was terrible. I have great hours, and love it. So my incentive to get off the mill wheel has declined somewhat too.

Don't get me wrong- we max out our 401ks, ROTHS, and beyond. It is just a little sloppy on the budget front.

Also, there are a few "tipping points" in a portfolio. One of the tipping points is at the end- when you have enough to FIRE.

But there are earlier tipping points too- once you reach the financial position where you can pay off your house with cash, have funded your children's educations sufficiently for your comfort, all the calculators say you can retire at a normal age with no contributions, and now only really you need to pay for expenditures until that time, you are at a tipping point. You now really can take any job which has health insurance. The sweating period is concluded. Have I reached that point? This is somewhat subjective (do you want a house in a better school district, a larger education fund, etc) but by the some estimates, perhaps I have tipped.

In the song Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, she sings:

"Can I handle the seasons of my life
Well, Ive been afraid of changing
cause I've built my life around you"

Well if you change this to "I've built my investment thesis around a portfolio plan" at some point you sail through the plan, and arrive at the other side. I haven't gotten all the way through, but the sailing has been fairly mild, despite the storms. My spectacular losses look like breezes in the face of a constant onslaught of added investments.

Things may well change of course. But I've got a cushion for that too. Its time to finish off this beer, dial a few more numbers into this spreadsheet, and get ready for the next column. V.
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Speaking of which, I just added a historical record of DJIA to my spreadsheet, so I can compare my progress to the DJIA. This will give context to overall portfolio motion. It had been somewhat unclear what was going on (well, it is still somewhat unclear what specifics are happening), but now at least one can see the DJIA as a purple line.
---------------------------------------------

Can you explain how to do this??

I'd like to start tracking our performance annually as well and this sounds like a great way to visually show my hubby who doesn't have the same head for numbers!

Thanks,

SweetP
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I am sure there is a better way to do this. But what I did was simply find quotes for DJIA on the quarterly dates where I do a portfolio summary. (The last day of the month of the specified quarter).

You can go here to get historic quotes:

http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/

type in DJIA where it says "enter symbol"
enter a date like 3/28/2003 (the 30th was a Sunday)

And you get back 8,145

Alternatively, you can eyeball the values from bigcharts
http://www.bigcharts.com - choose a five or ten year span and just look with your eye and estimate.

Then type these values into your spreadsheet as a new row.

I normalized these values - I made a new row which is the value of the DJIA normalized to the first date of the portfolio. For example, if my portfolio was worth 80,000 on 3/28/2003 then I would apply a multiplication factor about 10, so it matched the value of my portfolio on this starting date. Then drag this multiplication across all cells (if you want help on how to do this ask) and it will show the value of the DJIA through time (without dividends) compared to your port performance.

This is most helpful when you are graphing it so you can see it in the context of the ups and downs of your port.
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if we have a party for a relative I rarely see and my wife blows a couple hundred bucks making a memory which won't come off the wall, even with comet.

Hit man?

I suppose it depends on the relative..
;)

-progmtl.
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