Creating content for Gentleman of Leisure has motivated me to keep better records, evaluate my savings, and monitor my investment progress. I have recorded my dividend income for the past few years, which has proved to be revealing and motivating, as I’m able to watch these numbers grow each year.
My real estate portfolio has been a bit of a financial wild west. I have a separate bank account for my real estate LLC, and I’ve basically just checked to make sure the account has enough money to pay the bills. I know the houses are profitable, because the account balance increases over time, but the details for each property are sorely lacking. I’ve begun to remedy this situation by issuing monthly real estate income reports. December of 2016 was my first report, and I plan to continue to provide a monthly report going forward.
I’m making progress.
This past year, I opened a 403b account, and I decided the dividends and capital gains from this account should be included in my notebook. As I was over-viewing the past year’s transaction data, looking for dividends and capital gains, I began to feel that something was off.
I had been depositing $1,500 per pay for the first 6 months of 2016.
I am paid bi-weekly, and I noticed a large gap in deposits from March to April. I pulled up my pay stubs online, and sure enough discovered a pay check from March 25, 2016. My pay stub showed a voluntary deduction of $1,500, but my 403b account didn’t show a corresponding deposit.
$1,500 was unaccounted for, this represented an entire two week pay period, as I was depositing nearly 100% of my take home pay. I’m all for volunteering, but this was unacceptable! I promptly called Vanguard only to find they were experiencing high call volume. (Side note – how often can companies claim high call volume before said volume is considered normal and they higher another person or two.) Anyway, they promised to call back later, and so they did that afternoon. After bouncing between departments, I spoke to someone who quickly assured me the error wasn’t theirs and that was all she knew. Since it was now after 5pm, my detective work was shut down for the day.
First thing the next morning, I emailed my human resource department, explained the situation, and provided them the exact date in which the error occurred. Shortly, I received an email indicating they were looking into the situation; a few hours later the funds were found. I was assured they would be placed into my account according to the appropriate date, and all would be right with the world.
Frustratingly, as I write this, nearly 1 month after my initial phone call the funds have still not been deposited, although I’ve been assured it is being resolved. The moral of this story is to always double check your accounts. Transfers, deposits, bill pays, all of it should be monitored. Make sure funds are deposited in the correct accounts, and for the correct amounts. Without due diligence, I would have lost $1,500. I would have completed two weeks of work – FOR FREE! I would have lost the lifetime earning potential of that initial $1,500, which if left alone for 30 years, and assuming a growth rate of 7%, will become $11,418.
Have you ever lost a large sum or money, or discovered mistakes within your accounts?