• Zach

Net Worth and Savings Update, COVID-19 Style


hurt but not devastated

I know that for a long time, I put an update out every month for savings. I figured that would get old for people, so I've decided to roll that into the quarterly Net Worth Updates as well, so all the tracking is only once every 3 months. In case you were wondering what happened.


So, COVID-19 has come and is showing some signs of leaving. Stores are opening up, quarantine restrictions are easing. This could be totally premature, and for myself, I'm not going out unless I have to. But I wanted to show what this quarantine has done to my savings and net worth, because I think that could be valuable, and I certainly want to document this momentous occasion as well.


First of all, savings. In the last 3 months I've saved over 43,000 AED, or over $11,750 USD. That number will actually probably rise, as I think I will cancel a cruise I've already paid for and hopefully get that money back, which would go into February's total when I spent the money.


And let's not forget April, which was the month where I saved THE MOST MONEY I'VE EVER SAVED!


me celebrating all by myself in physical isolation

In April I saved OVER $6,000 (22,150 AED). Which is a first for me. I know, this was a brutal month for millions/billions of people. Don't get me wrong, April sucked! My heart goes out to those who are experiencing the pointy end of the pandemic stick. I had several rough patches myself: sleepless nights, anxiety, outright terror. But I also applied what I preached in several articles that I published during quarantine. My expenses plummeted, and due to some nice income I was able to save 85% of my income. It was opportunity combined with necessity.


I realized that I could set myself No-Spend day challenges. I had 10 days in April where I didn't spend a single, solitary cent. I even looked back at my spending tracker to see the last time I did that, there was only one other day this whole year that was the case, it was in late January. All I had to do was not go to the grocery store, eat food I prepared at home, and chill. Laziness for the win! All categories of spending went WAYYYYY down.


That was also spurred on by a bit of fear and uncertainty about the future. While my job for the next two years says that everything is fine, I also know that job is in China. I don't know if I'll be able to get into China by the start of next school year. I hope I can, but I am preparing for the worst. In my mind, preparing for the worst means saving a crap ton of money so that if I don't have income for all of next year, it's ok. Right now, my emergency fund is sitting around $30,000 with another $10,000 in a credit card if need be. If all goes well, and China loosens up their restrictions and I get to China, I will simply take that money and invest as per usual, but until I get there, my emergency fund is building. I know, I know, I should be investing and taking advantage of lower stock prices, but right now, my situation is just too unsettled for me to not have a giant war chest which should allow me to weather a long period of uncertainty.


Now for the bad news.... Net Worth


Did you notice that chart at the top? Notice how it stopped going up and actually went... down? Yep. Even with saving a bunch of money, the stock market volatility and giant downturn took a nasty swipe at my Net Worth. Officially, it's down about $13,000 from when I calculated it at the end of January.


But you know what, in my book, that's a pretty big MEH from me. I didn't panic sell and lock in losses. My money is still making me money in the form of dividends (over $800 in April alone). I kind of feel like things are recovering and I went through the worst of it and didn't deviate from my investing plan or do anything really stupid. That's a win in my book. I'm also in the fortunate position that I don't need my money that invested right now anyway. It's just an abstract concept, ones and zeroes floating in the ether. I'm not planning on retiring right now. I have plenty of cash on hand to deal with any emergency. In all, it's ok! It's not always going to go up. As long as I'm saving a bunch every month, and investing periodically, it will be ok.


I expect more volatility in the future, and you know what, I'm just not going to watch. I'll check in every now and then, hopefully only once every 3 months or when I check up on my dividends, but I have better things to do than be stressed out over stuff I can't control.


So, what can we learn from this?


1. Keep saving money. Now is the time to be more conservative (unless you just wanna buy buy buy stocks right now, which I can totally understand) if you think your life may be more uncertain than usual.


2. Keep track of your Net Worth, but don't obsess. As long as you're following your financial plans, and they're decent plans, you'll be ok. Put your mind to more productive tasks.


3. Stay safe and be grateful for what you have. I'll bet there are good things in your life right now that you're not paying attention to because of all the terribleness around.


If you made it this far, thank you, I appreciate you reading along with me. Have a great day.


If you liked this post, come join the discussion over at The Happiest Teacher Facebook Group! I would love to have your voice added to the discussion! Also, if you're into that Twitter life, come follow me!

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Currently in Dubai, UAE