Net Worth: Why and How to Track It (Free Printable Tracker)

A funny thing happened to me this week.

Let’s start from the beginning. I left my old job in August 2016 to prepare for teaching abroad. Last week, the payroll & benefits manager from my old job hit me up on LinkedIn.

Something told me on Wednesday to actually read the message.

She asked for a new address for my 401K benefits.

I’m thinking, “I don’t have any. I rolled over everything into an IRA before I left for China.”

So I rushed to Fidelity’s website, got my username, reset my PW and “SURPRISE!” $1,060 was waiting for me! WOOT WOOT!

In March 2017—a full 7 months after I left—the company put another lump sum into the accounts of employees from the previous year. I HAD NO IDEA!

After calculating my net worth in October, I knew I needed to pay off, at least, $1,713 in loans to finally break even.

With this newfound money, I recalculated. My other investments went up enough that I finally became NET WORTH-POSITIVE. Ya girl is worth $13.83, as of November 6, 2019. Got a long way to go. My 20s were a mess!

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Overall, I’m pumped! I remember a day when I thought I’d never get to $0. The increase is due to shifting my mindset and habits and hard work.

Since January 2017, my net worth has turned around by almost $38,000! I can’t wait to see it climb higher.

So why am I so geeked about this number?

What is net worth? 

Your net worth is a snapshot of your financial situation at the time. It is the sum of your assets (what you own) minus your liabilities (what you owe). The goal is to always have more assets than liabilities—own more than you owe—to have an increasingly positive net worth.

Click here to get the net worth formula and more.

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The Ultimate Goal-Setting Checklist (Free Printable)

You can’t get anywhere without clear, specific goals. Here’s the ultimate guide to writing crystal-clear goals that will help you improve any area of your life: career, financial, physical.


13 Tips to Making Awesome, S.M.A.R.T.-er Goals

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  1. Is it your goal—not someone else’s goal or expectation?
  2. Does it have a strong, emotional “why”? In Think And Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says all thoughts which have been emotionalized (given feeling) and mixed with faith, begin immediately to translate themselves into their physical equivalent or counterpart.
  3. Is it specific?
  4. Is it measurable? For example, $100 each month for 12 months or 3 workouts a week. Anything that’s tracked usually grows.
  5. Is it attainable? Reach and dream, but understand what you really need to do or have to achieve your goals.
  6. Is it relevant to your values or a bigger vision? This goes back to your “why”.
  7. Does it have a deadline? Giving yourself a deadline helps you reverse engineer your goal into smaller, easier-to-comprehend pieces. For example, if you want to save $1,000 in 6 months in a vacation sinking fund, then you need to save $167 at a minimum each month. Also, Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. Time management is largely psychological. We naturally pace ourselves to finish a project in the nick of time, for example, clean the whole apartment in 90 minutes. So giving yourself a deadline could subconsciously make you complete your goal on time.
  8. Is it written on paper or typed? You become 42% more likely to achieve goals just by writing them down on a regular basis, according to a psychology study from Dominican University.
  9. Is it somewhere you can see it every day?
  10. Did you share it with another person? An American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) study found you have a 65% chance of completing a goal of you committing to someone.
  11. Did you list specific tasks you must complete to achieve the goal?
  12. BONUS: Is it written in the present tense? In No Excuses, Brian Tracy writes: “Write them down in the present tense, as if you have already achieved them.” For example, replace “I will earn $100,000 a year by 2021.” with “I earn $100,000 a year by December 31, 2020.” These goals activate the law of expectation and law of attraction, Tracy states. He believes your subconscious mind is only activated by goals that are stated in the personal, positive and pretense tense—the “3 P’s.”
  13. BONUS: Did you list potential obstacles and how you plan to overcome them? In Exponential Living, Sheri Riley writes “Preparation is the key to getting through the NOs, and getting through the NOs is the key to victory. Preparation equals expectation. To prepare is to have a plan. That means thinking about the obstacles you might face ahead of time, and having contingency steps ready to implement when those obstacles arise. You will face obstacles; the key is to not let those obstacles come as a shock to you. … if you mentally prepare for obstacles and have a plan in place for dealing with them, you’ll be able to remain engaged.”

Click to read more about goal-setting.

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2018 Mid-Year Reflections: Crushing goals and learning lessons

Wow, guys! We’ve made it halfway through another year. HOW SWAY?!? It was just winter yesterday!

Check out what I’ve accomplished so far and read the BIG NEWS about what’s coming up in the fall. Please share your wins and opportunities for improvement in the comments.

How have I done with my 2018 goals so far?

The goals include:

  1. Reduce debt balance by $18,000.
  2. Become a certified teacher in Florida through an online program.
  3. Pay cash only for all certification costs.
  4. Pay off Barclay balance transfer card by June 30.
  5. Climb the Great Wall of China.
  6. Create passive income stream(s).

Through dedication and the universe working in my favor, I’ve checked off 2.5 goals so far. I’ll explain the .5 in a bit.

  1. Reduce debt balance by $18,000. This was a goal I made before deciding to pursue my educator certification. If it weren’t for paying nearly $6,000 for the program, I would have kept up with my debt snowball and been on track to accomplish this goal. Instead, my debt balance has only been reduced by $3.074 from January to June. Womp womp! Maybe I should have amended this goal after I enrolled in the certification course so it would be more realistic and attainable. I could have reduced more debt if I hadn’t traveled and overspent in other areas. But I wouldn’t trade my trips to Beijing, the U.S. and Hong Kong for anything. Bonding with family and friends worked wonders for my soul.
  2. Become a certified teacher in Florida through an online program. ALMOST DONE! Here’s the aforementioned .5. From January to mid-June, I managed to complete all of the lessons, pass three Florida Teaching Certification Exams (on the first try!) and turn in all of the paperwork to complete the TeacherReady program. What a relief! The Florida Department of Education has to evaluate my certification application to finish the process. I’ll be certified by the fall, God-willing.
  3. Pay cash only for all certification costs. DONE! Each lesson cost $600. Thank goodness I could pay I as I went, so each month I sent home cash. Some months, I finished a lesson before I sent home money, so I used a credit card and paid off the balance in full each month. No long-term debt was accumulated to get this certification.
  4. Pay off Barclay balance transfer card by June 30. I’ll miss this goal by 2 weeks. Paying off the teacher certification course and traveling took priority over paying off the balance transfer card. It’s not a big deal considering that the card won’t charge interest until December. As soon I get my paycheck on July 10, I will be sending money home to pay this bad boy in full ($1,670).
  5. Climb the Great Wall of China. DONE! I honestly think just putting this goal out in the universe help it manifest. While a friend was styling my hair, she mentioned that she was going to Beijing to sell her candles at a new business expo. My ears perked up. She hadn’t gone to the Great Wall either. My wheels started turning. In less than a few weeks, I was on the plane with two friends and we were doing the Electric Slide on the Great Wall on Easter Sunday. EPIC! One of the best weekends of my life!
  6. Create passive income stream(s). The second half of 2018 will be dedicated to this goal. I’m a knowledge whore. I read, read, research and read some more, but I have yet to really plan and act. Having multiple streams of income is paramount to getting out of debt quicker, pursuing financial freedom and giving myself the opportunity to work and travel at will—not out of necessity.


2018 mid-year reflections Wise Woman Wallet_2

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Wise Woman Wallet Featured on the Clever Girls Know Podcast

Another incredible thing happened recently. Bola of Clever Girl Finance hit up my DMs on Instagram and asked if I could tape an episode of her “Clever Girls Know” podcast. She wanted to talk about my stint in her 6-month accountability program.

I said “YESSS!!!”, of course.

Bola’s one of my sheroes and money mentors. I stumbled across her Instagram feed about two years ago and got hooked. It was an honor and pleasure to talk to her via Skype.

She called at 10 p.m. my time, 10 a.m. her time. Bola noted that it was the first time we had actually had a real-time conversation. I couldn’t believe it!

It was as if I already knew her. Her voice is so familiar becuase of all of the webinars, live calls and podcasts I’d listened to. Plus, she’s so easygoing and relatable.

I had just gotten home when she called. I told her I was tired and asked her to excuse me if I broke out into song due to deliriumm. She giggled.

Bold told me what she planned to ask during the recording and tested the audio. Then we got started. I could have gone on and on. I’m fired up about my debt-free journey, and Bola’s the cheerleader rooting me on. It was a great convo. We talked about the limiting beliefs I’d learned growing up and my plan to change my family legacy.

It was 11 p.m. when we finished. She thanked me for joining. I thanked her for the invitation. She said she didn’t want to keep me up any longer. I joked that I’d probably sit on my futon and watch another movie with Clint Eastwood or Robert Redford. She laughed as I explained that I’d developed a strange propensity for watching films with handsome, old men. LOL! But I digress.

This was my first interview about my debt-free journey. I hope I can continue to share tips and give encouragement through other outlets.

Bola and I hope this episode with inspire others to take more control of their finances and kick debt to the curb. Check out the interview below.

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

What did you think of the podcast? Tell me what you took away from the conversation, and subscribe to “Clever Girls Know” if you haven’t already!

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2017 Mid-Year Reflections

We made it halfway, folks! It still amazes me how time flies at warp speed. And with each minute, I hope I’m getting wiser, better and closer to my goals. Unlike other years, I locked my mind into this debt-free journey for the long haul. My 2017 goals reflect that decision. Check out what I’ve accomplished so far and read the BIG NEWS about what’s coming up in the fall.

How have I done with my 2017 goals so far?

The goals include:

  1. Saving $1,000
  2. Paying off my Chase credit card
  3. Paying off two of four parts of my undergrad student loan group
  4. Reading 12 books
  5. Visiting Thailand
  6. Visiting family and friends back in the U.S.

So far, I’ve checked off four out of six goals! Crazy! These were stretch goals in December because I wasn’t sure of my cash flow. I’ve got to think bigger next year.

  1. Saving $1,000. I completed this task shortly after getting my tax refund in February.
  2. Paying off my Chase credit card. I made four payments in May to wipe out the remaining $825.31 balance I had on May 1.
  3. Paying off two of four parts of my undergrad student loan group. These two small debts were knocked out in the first quarter.
  4. Reading 12 books. How about reading 16 books? Yeah. I devoured 16 books thanks to my long commute and my appetite for self-improvement. And my goodness, I’ve learned so much!
  5. Visiting Thailand. That’s still on the docket. Right now, I’m eyeing a Christmas getaway. I told myself, however, that I wouldn’t take an international trip until I’d paid off my credit card debt. I must pay off about $4,300 to stay true to myself.
  6. Visiting family and friends back in the U.S. This goal may be pushed back to February when I’ll have a month off for the Chinese New Year.

I also paid off two medical bills in the first half. Overall, I paid off $2,926 in debt. Not bad for a teacher on a low income! AND THERE’S MORE!

2017 Mid-Year Reflections

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Second Quarter 2017 Reflections

*This post contains affiliate links. That means I receive a small commission that could help me on my debt-free journey —at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase using the links.

Reflection helps you know what habits to keep and kick to the curb. So here I am, reflecting on my second-quarter goals:

  1. Paying off the Chase credit card.
  2. Sticking to cash envelopes.
  3. Blogging every week.
  4. Reading 9 more books.
  5. Finishing the CFG accountability program. And finishing strong!

How did I do?

1. Paying off the Chase credit card. This was a smashing success! Chase is gone, baby, gone!

  • On May 1, I had a balance of $812.89.
  • On May 3, I decided to devote a ton of side hustle money and money I’d saved for a trip to make an extra $285 payment.
  • On May 23, I made a $210 payment thanks to a direct deposit from another side hustle.
  • On May 31, I used a chunk of my paycheck to pay off the remaining $329.06.

It was such a relief to get rid of that 24.24% interest rate from a $1,000 cash advance I took out in September 2016. It helped pay for my China move. This money also helped me pay off about $500 I owed CarMax when I sold my 2013 Hyundai Accent back to them. Less than 12 hours after selling the car at CarMax, I was on the plane. Crazy!

Second Quarter 2017 Reflections - Wise Woman Wallet.png

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First Quarter 2017 Reflections

*This post contains affiliate links. That means I receive a small commission that could help me on my debt-free journey —at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase using the links.

The older I get, the more I understand how important it is to reflect. To think about what went wrong and, most importantly, what went right. Reflection helps you know what habits to keep and kick to the curb. So here I am, reflecting on my first-quarter goals. Here they were:

  1. Save $500 (3500¥).
  2. Cut recurring bank fees.
  3. Earn a raise and promotion.
  4. Cashflow birthday turn-up.
  5. Read 3 books.

How did I do? I checked off every goal. Yayyyyy!

1. Save $500 (3500¥). I ended up socking away $1,000 by saving my entire federal tax refund and putting a little away from my March paycheck. To complete CFG’s 26-week savings challenge, I’ll save $378 more by the end of June.

Reasons To Become Debt-Free(2)

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5 Big Money Mistakes I Made in March + How to Avoid Them

March started out with good intentions. So you know what my next sentence is gonna be, right? My execution was terrible. I lost focus pretty quickly. Here are the biggest money mistakes I made last month—and how I plan to avoid them from here on out.

1. I didn’t track my spending.

I had a budget on EveryDollar and everything. But the app won’t work unless you open it. For the first time in seven months, I don’t know what I spent my money on and didn’t save a dime. It’s an empty feeling to have an empty checking account, a paltry savings account and no idea why.

How to avoid this mistake: Create habits or alerts that force you to track spending every day in your budget. I will get back into the habit of recording every purchase at the time of the purchase in my phone. I’ve also set a reminder on EveryDollar so I’ll get that “It’s time to track your purchases” alert every night just in case Plan A fails.

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