FIRE Progress Report through March 2020

Progress Report (Pandemic Edition)

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

Wow, what a month it has been! If I had 10 guesses, a pandemic or stay-at-home orders would not have been on that list. I know this is a scary time for a lot of people and many people have lost their jobs. I’m fortunate to work for a company that will be impacted, but will weather this storm without any job loss.

If you’re struggling right now, I know it’s easy to think “if I would have done this or that, this would be easier”. Unfortunately, I think it’s our nature to go back to business-as-usual once things recover. If you’re stressed right now from a financial perspective, you may want to consider writing down how you feel. Then write down what you’re going to do when everything starts to return to normal. One example may be to build an emergency fund large enough to get through something like this. Put that note somewhere you won’t forget about it. Look at it in 6-12 months and start to do those items when you’re able.

How did this affect us?

This past month, we’ve pretty much done everything as we normally have. Some larger expenses this month include taxes, building a custom closet (which was cheaper doing it ourselves), and I paid for a year’s worth of haircuts ahead of time. I had learned about doing this through the ChooseFI podcast. Essentially, find those things that you’re going to use when you’re no longer stuck at home. Then offer to pay for those products and services in advance to support those businesses or individuals through difficult times.

You’ll notice that all of the numbers this month except one went in a negative direction. That number was “X times annual spending at goal number”. This month saw our largest drop in expenses year over year! A lot of that has to do with the fact that we didn’t do a spring break trip and our tax bill was lower this year. Overall this is a positive thing as our expenses continue to be tracked more accurately. Now that we have a full year of tracking our expenses more accurately, our year over year monthly numbers are accurate. However, our rolling 12 month averages still have another 9 months to become fully accurate.

If you’re able to save and invest right now, you have a great opportunity to really springboard ahead. This is not the time to shy away from saving because you see the markets drop. The stock market is on sale!

All that sounds great if you’re able, but if you’re not, that’s okay! The most important thing is to stay safe and healthy!

The Money Related Numbers

26.10% to target number (previously 29.79%)

This is our invested assets/target number. Our invested assets span across a variety of investment vehicles such as 401k, HSA, IRA, Roth IRA, ESPP (Employee Stock Purchase Program) and standard taxable mutual funds.

100 months (previously 101)

The number of months until my 45th birthday and our finish date.

97.44 months (previously 88.28)

The number of expected months until we reach our target number based on our current expected monthly contributions, assuming a 10% annual return.

The Expense Related Numbers

7.88 times annual spending (previously 8.51)

This is how many multiples of our annual spending we have saved up towards our goal. For example, if this value was 9.1 and we spent $10,000 annually, we would have $91,000 saved up.

31.52% to minimum FIRE (previously 34.03%)

The minimum number to achieve FIRE is 25 times our annual spending. This number shows how close we are to the absolute minimum.

30.19 times annual spending at goal number (previously 28.55)

We have a goal amount that we’d like to reach. Given our current annual spending, this is how many times our annual spending we’ll have saved when we reach our goal number.

How Much We Invested

35.40% of Gross Income Invested

This is the amount we invested in things like 401k, Roth IRA, taxable accounts, and Employee Stock Purchase Program divided by income from our main employment.

43.99% of Net Income Invested

This is the amount we invested in things like 401k, Roth IRA, taxable accounts, and Employee Stock Purchase Program divided by income from our main employment, but with taxes subtracted.

39.39% of Gross Income Invested with Employer Contributions

This is the amount we invested in things like 401k including employer contributions, Roth IRA, taxable accounts, and Employee Stock Purchase Program divided by income from our main employment.

48.95% of Net Income Invested With Employer Contributions

This is the amount we invested in things like 401k including employer contributions, Roth IRA, taxable accounts, and Employee Stock Purchase Program divided by income from our main employment, but with taxes subtracted.