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February 16, 2012


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Those are some great numbers -- congratulations!

14.43% over the past 15 years is very impressive! Impressive and encouraging! Thanks for sharing.

Congratulations! That crossover point is right around the corner!

Congratulations on the positive numbers!

One question: Are you including new contributions in that 14.43%? If so, without actual numbers the annual percentages are pretty meaningless to readers, aren't they? E.g., contributions of $40,000 annually would give radically different percentages to someone with a new worth of $100,000 vs. someone with a net worth of $1,000,000.

I totally understand why you don't give your actual numbers but it would seem like there might be a more useful way to present the numbers.

It also might be useful to understand how your money is allocated -- what percentage in equities, bonds, cash, real estate, etc.

MonkeyMonk --

I include everything in the 14.43%. My net worth in one year versus my net worth in another year.

And while I understand that you may like to see actual numbers, I do not feel comfortable sharing them. If you've been reading along for awhile, combine info from various posts, and do a few calculations, you can get a good sense of the sort of numbers I'm talking about. Others have done this and been rather accurate.

As for the allocation question, that's an interesting one. I'll consider it for a future post.

I agree that you shouldn't be posting your real numbers and as a long-time reader I do have a very good idea what sort of numbers you're dealing with. Still, I've always wondered about the best way to present this sort of data while skirting around what is essentially the most important aspect ... the actual numbers.

For example, the annual growth rate of my net worth over the past 15 is better than yours but I suspect it's mostly due to two factors: 1) starting off with a very low net worth 15 years ago, and 2) making a few very profitable real estate transactions early on that in hindsight feel more like winning the lottery than any sort of financial saavyness on my part.

When I was just starting out a flat or downward stock market wouldn't have much effect on my net worth but now that I'm heavily invested in equities it can feel disasterous.

Regardless, I'm not in any way trying to diminish your accomplishments. Great work!

MonkeyMonk --

My progress has been much less dramatic than yours (or so it seems.) My biggest yearly gain was close to 28% I believe and I've only had one annual loss. So my increases have been slow and steady, built up over time, just like I talk about here much of the time.

And yes, it's much easier to have a large gain when your base is low. That's why my percentage gain this year was low but my increase in actual dollars was "average." ;-)

All this said, someday I may reveal all my finances, but that would probably be in my last "I'm outta here" post...

If you don't want to show numbers, you could always show the total increase as you have, and approximately how much of that was new money. For example, if you have $1 million, you added $40K, and you had a total of 14.4%, you could say that your total was 14.4%, of which 4% was added money. I realize this is far from exact, because your "new money" also earned returns, you paid off some of a mortgage (well not you of course, but some people!), etc. But it gives a useful ballpark figure.


I am confident I have a good idea where you are at but will not mention anything as I respect you wishes. Just under 7% is not a bad number but it does tell you that as your portfolio gets larger the savings coming from savings will get smaller & smaller percentage-wise without investments producing gains.

My net worth was up 8% year over year, and nearly all of it came from savings, so we are nearly in the same boat.

Well done and keep it up- the cross over point may recede or come nearer by a few years but you will get there eventually.

Best regards,



I've been a long time reader to. I've been slow to switch my portfolio over to a pure Index strategy, so I'm wondering how different your % allocation to Index Funds and across your Index Funds has changed over the years or has it been fairly similar for a while. Have you adjusted your allocation? Can you share your allocation of Index Funds? Thanks


Have you used Yodlee before? You can set it up so you could review your net worth daily.

Mike --

Yes, you and I are on the same path. Here's to a good market this year to help us along! :-)

Stacey --

That's a good question. I'll look at it for the subject of a future post.

Alex --

I use Quicken (offline) and have for years. If I went online with my data, I'd probably use Mint.

I never kept track of my investment portfolio when I was working other than to look at my 401K over which I had very minimal investment choices.

I retired in September 1992 and have kept a daily record since the start of 1993 when I had consolidated all of our investments at Fidelity. The numbers below are for our Fidelity investments only, they do not include our real estate, cars or credit union accounts. For comparison purposes I am using VFINX which is Vanguard's S&P500 fund that includes dividends.

Between 1993 and 2006 I was trading actively with mutual funds and using both fund selection and market timing techniques. In 2007 I decided to move into the slow lane and invest strictly for income.

Year APR (Old Limey) .. APR (VFINX)
1993 ........ 75.19 .............. 10.96
1994 ........ 6.69 ................ 1.88
1995 ........ 16.04 ............. 37.48
1996 ........ 7.28 ............. 25.49
1997 ........ 29.27 ............. 31.00
1998 ........ 41.39 ............. 30.18
1999 ........ 60.75 ............. 20.78
2000 ........ 29.79 ............ -9.06
2001 ........ 5.11 ............ -12.20
2002 ........ 2.03 ............ -22.15
2003 ........ 27.37 ............. 28.50
2004 ........ 7.64 ............. 10.74
2005 ........ 4.12 .............. 4.77
2006 ........ 17.59 .............. 15.71
2007 ........ 5.13 ............... 5.41
2008 ........ 2.59 ............. -36.91
2009 ........ 4.44 .............. 26.49
2010 ........ 4.46 .............. 14.91
2011 ........ 5.51 ............... 1.97

19 Yr. APR ...... 17.42% ........... 7.73%
19 Yr. GAIN . 2014.13% ....... 311.35%

In case you're wondering why my first year was so great I saw that emerging markets were exploding so I put everything into one fund which was FEMKX, Fidelity's emerging market fund. It went straight up until it peaked on 1/5/94 and then fell off a cliff so I bailed out quickly. I have never concentrated everything in one fund since. During the bubble, 1997 - March 2000 I used 4 or 5 funds but they were all aggressive growth hi-tech funds that contained the best of the Nasdaq 100 companies.

Congratulations on the great results!

I was up 10.5% in 2011 largely based on my high savings rate. If you are like me, 2012 is looking pretty good so far.

Five years is within sight. Thanks for sharing, and here is to hoping your 2012 is even stronger.

Toal CAGR is somewhat misleading. People normally love using CAGR after having a down year (denominator).

I would be interested in the growth rate y/y of existing investments less new deposits

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