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Monthly Status: January 2018

Pull up a seat,  grab a cup of joe and settle in for this month’s financial status.

For the most part, the monthly financial status articles usually write themselves. It typically consists of taking a few screen grabs from our mint account, reflecting on the numbers a bit and then calling it a day. However, right before this month end, one of our banks decided to do a complete system overhaul to their online banking platform which caused Mint to puke. It was messy but after FI Girl battled with it for half a day, we finally got our information and act together in time to write this article. Whew!

So let’s get to it. How did we do with our spending?


Starting with the expenses we are still slightly over our $39,000 rolling target at $40,822.  This cost is a little overstated which we will explain when we dig in to the details  a bit later. Overall though; not too bad.

So let’s break it down…

Health and Fitness:
So with life comes uncertainty and no amount of planning can account for all situations.  Last month that uncertainty hit FI Girl going 60 mph on the highway from behind.  Due to this, our health related costs spiked dramatically to account for all of her scans, doctor’s visits and physical therapy to get her back to her usual FI Girl self.  That was by far the biggest cost of the month and will probably be removed later on in the year when she gets reimbursed from the party at fault.  But for now it’s in the numbers.

Bills & Utilities
It’s winter… we heat with oil.  Heating oil is expensive and comes 200 gallons at a time for us.  This past month we had to refill the good old oil tank in order to maintain the “warmish” 60 degrees Fahrenheit house.  (67 degrees for a few hours in the evening)

Food & Dining
This was somewhat of a normal month from a net perspective. We spent less on work food and more on restaurants.

Auto & Transport
Our typical high cost of parking is not to be found this month because FI Girl has been able to tough it out and work from home through her recovery. I guess that might be the silver lining in that whole unfortunate mess.

Ok so next up… our overall progress:

The green bars tell us that we are incredibly close to executing our early retirement plans.  We would hate to set things in motion at work only to find that we really aren’t where we should be to retire forever. So let’s take a look at our net worth to see where we stand.

Achievement unlocked! At January month end we reached yet another milestone by hitting $2.2 million in net worth.  We are so close to our goal of having $2.3 million (100K in cash with 2.2 million in dividend investments).

The assumption we have had is that 2.2 million would be able to generate 2.5% in dividends ($55K annually).  Of course with the market run up, our S&P and International ETFs are now closer to a 2% yield for our current mix.  We are going to have to pay more attention to this over the coming months.  Bond rates are for the first time in years approaching a rate that we might consider attractive.  It’s possible we introduce bonds into our investments when we sell our house.  Timing will be everything.

So let’s look at our asset allocation at a high level…

Note: the chart above does not include our liabilities:  14K in student loans / credit card expenses

As you can see our net worth is made up of $681K of real estate.  This number is taken straight from Zillow. While we haven’t done the homework to figure out exactly how much we could expect to get from the sale, a more realistic assumption would be to exclude realtor / legal fees and repairs to get the house “sell ready”.  This would bring us closer to 92% of the Zillow price or $627K which would subtract a little over $50K from our net worth.  So that means, we really need $2.35 million to FIRE.  So with that $150K to go, it’s quite possible we will be paddling upstream in the near future with any near term market corrections.

So January was yet another month where the market carried us to multiple times more than our conservative savings target.  We grew our net worth by over $90K in a single month.  I mean every week S&P went up almost 2% on average.

Now that’s certainly not something we can ever expect to get used to, though it’s a nice thought.  For now, we will be staying true to our long term plan and will continue to report back to you all.  Here is to enjoying the ride!

Editor’s Note / Update

So the wild and crazy ride has begun. As I (FI Girl) am sitting here editing FI Guys post, the stock market has erased all of the gains we made in the last month. Sorry, if you have already read up to this point. You can pretty much erase this article from your memory. FI Guy is strangely excited because he’ll have more interesting things to write about this next month, even though we lost over $50K in one day.


Our response?  We bought some more stocks with excess cash like we do every month.  If there was a 10% correction today we would have taken the same action.  We have faith in civilization.  The money we have invested is intended to be there forever. Living off the dividends alone will greatly shelter us from market volatility.

So big numbers go up and big numbers go down. It’s what happens. We would much rather there be a major correction in the market BEFORE we pull the retirement trigger than directly after.

Check in with you soon!

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