Logan's question is next. After doing your net worth
statement to start the year, do the Money Guys ever look back at their net worth during the year? Do you set goals and milestones for the year, or just wait till next January, hands off? What do you think? I'll share what I do, and then Brian can share what he does. I have said this before, so if you've heard this before, I apologize for repeating myself. I love surprises, and I hate ruining surprises. Like when my family wants to do something for me, like plan something for my birthday or buy me a present, I actively avoid it so they don't ruin the surprise. My net worth statement is the exact same thing. I love it when it comes to December 31st, and it's time for me to do my net worth statement. I've not actually looked at the numbers closely for a year because I want to be amazed at how much it grows. So, I don't reference back to my net worth statement except for one time a year.
Now, one thing that I do, because I think this matters, is that I constantly revisit how much I am saving, what accounts I'm maxing out, and how much is going into my after-tax account to make sure my savings rate stays pure. Our income is variable, so I want to make sure I'm always saving my appropriate amount. But in terms of account values and balances, outside of making sure I'm doing my periodic rebalancing and looking at my total portfolio to ensure that the risk tolerance and risk capacity are still aligned, I don't like doing the net worth update any more frequently than annually because I love the surprise and the excitement of it once a year.
But let's be real here, even though it's an annual update, you're probably going to get an extended period of discussion time. I know with my own net worth statement, I don't have to do it every month. I do it annually, but then I will have a sit-down with my wife and talk about what changed. I'll go through the variables and do some planning, thinking about what goals to update because I have five-year and ten-year goals. I'll figure out what the stretch opportunity is next. So, I will use the net worth statement and the feedback I get from it to go through it. Even though I'm only updating it once a year, it's probably two to three months where this thing is a key tool that I'm using to figure out my journey. It's also important to note that banks and others may require copies of it as part of our process.
But here's something I would encourage everyone to do to have a better understanding of how often you should look at your net worth. I talk about net worth statements being like children in the beginning, and I've made this analogy before. You're there with them constantly, changing diapers, waking up multiple times a night to feed them. If you're updating it every month in the beginning, I don't blame you because it's so cool to see the dramatic changes as you go from neglecting your financial life to prioritizing it. You'll see rapid changes quickly. Net worth statements are much better than exercising because you'll see immediate benefit. But as it turns into a toddler, it's okay to update it every quarter or every six months. By the time your net worth statement reaches a mature standpoint, it becomes more of a strategy on how to maximize your wealth.
I encourage you to focus on making sure every dollar has a purpose in the beginning. But as your net worth matures, you'll use it as a tool in a completely different way. That's what I love about what we get to do. We share the tools so that you can use them. So, load it up in the beginning and get all the encouragement and positive results from updating it frequently. But as it matures, there's nothing wrong with it becoming an annual tradition because it's mature. There's a lot of exciting stuff that comes with it. I told you one of the biggest things I look for is when your net worth increases more than you made in wages. Hot diggity dog! You are getting so close to financial independence. It's really cool to watch and get that feedback.
We think that's such an important point that we actually put it on our net worth template
. If you've never tracked your net worth before, check out our template at learn.moneyguy.com. It is the actual one that Brian and I use every single year, we just put our branding on it so it looks super pretty for you guys. Go use it because it is a tremendous tool where you can see how powerful your army of dollar bills is working. Go check it out at learn.moneyguy.com if you want to use our template.