Even though this month has been really expensive for us, our net worth increased over $15k to $563,304. We made some progress on some home projects including tree removal and exterior painting. We also took a one week trip to London that had been planned for a while. The fear of Brexit caused the stock market to go into a frenzy several weeks back, but the currency was conveniently at historic lows for our trip. While we benefited from favorable exchange rates and did our best to travel on the cheap, there is only so much you can do to cut costs when visiting one of the more expensive cities in the world. We rented a 2BR apartment through Airbnb that was about 1 mile from most of the main sites and relied heavily on public transportation. (Side note, if you’re travelling in London with small children do your best to learn the bus routes – they were way more prevalent and much easier to navigate with a stroller than the tube).
Here’s an updated look at our numbers.
CASH: Our cash balance is down a bit, mainly from paying $3,500 for tree removal (it ended up being 17 trees). I hate paying other people to do work on my house, but the crew did in one day what would have taken me years to do on my own so it was worth it (plus some of the trees were close to the house and I don’t trust my chainsaw skills enough to risk damaging the house). For our trip to London, we had already paid for our airfare and accommodations in a previous month so this month we really only had to pay for our food and some sightseeing.
INVESTMENTS: Up $13k – we’ll take it! Not that it means anything, but it is fun to see that number over $300k for the first time. We haven’t made any changes to our allocations and keep contributing to my 401k. I like to keep this pretty boring, if you haven’t noticed.
CARS/HOUSE: Nothing really to report here – over time, I expect cars to depreciate and real estate to appreciate and they both moved in the expected directions this month.
Speaking of real estate – while letting the kids get some energy out at a playground near our London apartment, I struck up a conversation with some teenagers who lived nearby and were hanging out at the park. They found me to be a novelty (an American staying in their neighborhood instead of a more ‘posh’ part of town), and I found them to be pretty remarkable too (teenagers who were incredibly informed about the world around them, including the American political system and even the platforms of our current candidates). The topic of real estate came up and they asked me how much I thought a particular nearby house would cost if it were located in my home town. It was a smallish condominium similar to the one we were renting and I guessed that it would be worth a few hundred thousand dollars in an expensive part of town. I just about lost my lunch when they told me that it had recently sold for 1.5 million pounds! That’s like $2 million and we were nowhere near the ‘posh’ part of town. I seriously don’t understand how families can afford to live there.
MORTGAGE: We still paid a little extra on our mortgage this month but reduced the extra to make sure we didn’t have to dip into savings for some of the other large expenses. Our current expected payoff for the mortgage is June 2022, but that has been creeping forward as we continue to increase the extra payments we are making.
It’s nice to back on this side of the pond and back to reality. We are blessed to be able to have experiences like our recent trip while still working towards our other financial goals and not at their expense as I’m afraid is more common. We’ve come a long way but still have a ways to go for full financial freedom.