FIRE Progress Report – July 2019

Fireworks

The Money Related Numbers

25.16% (previously 23.26%)

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.

109 months (previously 110)

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

104.23 months (previously 108.50)

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

8.45 times annual spending (previously 8.23)

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.

33.81% to minimum FIRE (previously 32.91%)

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

33.61 times annual spending at goal number (previously 35.37)

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.

Where We Saved This Month

401k – $1882 total (employee and employer)

HSA – $430

Roth IRA – $1000

ESPP – $495

Taxable Investments – $667

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

We’re continuing to see our money related numbers move in a positive direction, while our expense related numbers decline. We probably won’t see our expenses start to level off until about December and we get a full year of tracking our expenses more accurately under our belt. Overall, this will be positive change in calculating our retirement numbers, but it doesn’t look good in the meantime.

One of the larger expenses this month was our car and homeowner’s insurance. We can expect it to be this way each year in June for the foreseeable future. We also had a couple of short excursions that added to our expenses. It’s not worth living like a hermit just to reach financial goals. If it adds to our quality of life, we’ll spend money on it.

That being said, we’ve started to accumulate experiences more than things. “Stuff” gives you a temporary satisfaction, but you can talk about experiences and get excited about them for a long time before and after they happen.

The stock market continues to move in a positive direction, which will continue to bolster our numbers until a correction occurs. At that point, we’ll be buying at a discount and stick to the plan so we can take advantage of any recovery that occurs.

FIRE Progress Report – June 2019

fire

The Money Related Numbers

23.26% (previously 24.10%)

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.

110 months (previously 111)

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

108.50 months (previously 106.61)

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

8.23 times annual spending (previously 8.71)

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.

32.91% to minimum FIRE (previously 34.88%)

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

35.37 times annual spending at goal number (previously 36.19)

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.

Where We Saved This Month

401k – $1882 total (employee and employer)

HSA – $430

Roth IRA – $1000

ESPP – $495

Taxable Investments – $2061

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

This last month saw a slump in the markets which made all of our numbers move in the opposite direction. On the bright side, all fund purchases while the markets are down are purchased on sale!

We also had a windfall in the Taxable Investments category due to the employee stock purchase program coming in this month. I calculated this number by doing some rough calculations to determine how much was gained over what was put in. This last 6 months was great, but the next 6 months might only be average. Since I’ve been putting in the ESPP numbers in the previous updates, it didn’t seem right to put it under Taxable Investments and double count it. Essentially all of the ESPP proceeds were moved into our taxable investments at Vanguard instead of leaving it in company stock, which could be volatile.

We reevaluated our auto and homeowner’s insurance this past month and were able to find a better deal. For years. our homeowner’s insurance has been increasing by quite a bit, but we haven’t been able to find a better deal because our auto insurance was incredibly competitive. This year we finally found a better deal and have combined them under one company again.

FIRE Progress Report – May 2019

ship with sails

It’s May and we’re finally moving full speed ahead!

The Money Related Numbers

24.10% (previously 23.45%)

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.

111 months (previously 112)

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

106.61 months (previously 108.07)

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

8.71 times annual spending (previously 8.65)

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.

34.88% to minimum FIRE (previously 34.58%)

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

36.19 times annual spending at goal number (previously 36.87)

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.

Where We Saved This Month

401k – $1882 total (employee and employer)

HSA – $430

Roth IRA – $1000

ESPP – $495

Taxable Investments – This will start after we’ve built up an extra cushion in our savings account, which will be next month!

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

Our annual expenses continue to become more accurate, which means they are also increasing each month. That means our “expense related numbers” will improve at a much lower rate, or possibly go backwards for a while. Some of the larger unusual expenses this month include life insurance, car maintenance, and a deposit on a cruise next year.

The investment numbers for this month are not at the very end of April/beginning of May because we went through the process of transferring many of our investments to Vanguard. It took a couple of weeks to complete the process. I gathered the numbers as soon as the transfers completed. We’ll be moving some of money to different mutual funds over the next month or so.

FIRE Progress Report – April 2019

field of tulips

April showers, bring May flowers. Let’s hope so!

The Money Related Numbers

23.45% (previously 22.95%)

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.

112 months (previously 113)

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

108.07 months (previously 109.21)

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 Number

8.65 times annual spending (previously 9.63)

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.

34.58% to minimum FIRE (previously 38.51%)

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

41.95 times annual spending at goal number (previously 36.87)

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.

Where We Saved This Month

401k – $2805 total (employee and employer)

HSA – $645

Roth IRA – $1000

ESPP – $738

Taxable Investments – This will start after we’ve built up an extra cushion in our savings account, probably closer to the end of the year.

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

Tax season! That exclamation point doesn’t really express my feelings about having to pay as much as we did. You’ll notice that most of the expense related numbers have moved in a negative direction compared to the previous month. That’s due to a dramatic increase in spending this month from a spring break trip to Florida and paying our federal tax bill. For what it’s worth, our Florida trip cost less than the tax bill.

On the bright side, our money related numbers got better. There was an extra paycheck that helped cover some expenses and gave us an extra boost in what was invested this month. We should be very close to getting our savings account padded. We call this the emergency fund to the emergency fund. Once that’s done, we’ll be kicking up the taxable investments!

FIRE Progress Report – March 2019

Beware the ides of March, unless you’re saving for your future!

The Numbers

22.9546%

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.

113 months

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

109.21 months

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

9.63 times annual spending

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.

38.51% to minimum FIRE

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

41.95 times annual spending at goal number

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.

Where We Saved This Month

401k – $1846 total (employee and employer)

HSA – $430

Roth IRA – $1000

ESPP – $486

Taxable Investments – This will start after we’ve built up an extra cushion in our savings account, probably closer to the end of the year.

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

This was a relatively steady month in terms of just putting money away. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, we got hit with a pretty big federal tax bill. That’s going to delay our savings plan by about a month. The plus side is that we made more this last year in side work and investments.

We are getting a small refund back for our state income taxes that only marginally offsets what we owe the federal government. Hopefully, with some side work and an extra paycheck in March, we’ll be almost back to having our savings account padded again and can finally start putting more money into taxable investments.

FIRE Progress Report – February 2019

Chugging through 2019 at full speed ahead!

The Numbers

22.2137%

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.

114 months

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

110.93 months

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

9.37 times annual spending

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

37.48% to minimum FIRE

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

42.18 times annual spending at goal number

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.

Where We Saved This Month

401k – $1846 total (employee and employer)

HSA – $430

Roth IRA – $1000

ESPP – $486

Taxable Investments – This will start after we’ve built up an extra cushion in our savings account, probably closer to the end of the year.

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

Overall, most numbers improved this past month. We essentially have two goals to reach for FIRE. The first is a money amount that we want to have invested before we can say we’ve reached FIRE. The second is a multiple of our annual expenses that we would like to have saved before reaching FIRE. Numbers related to our money goal improved greatly. Because I’ve been tracking our expenses more accurately in YNAB, our numbers related to expenses will probably look worse for about another 10-11 months. In the end though, we’ll actually have a much more accurate indicator of where we stand when looking at how many years of expenses we’ll have saved up.

We should be able to finally get our savings account padding built up this month and start putting money into taxable investments starting next month!

FIRE Progress Report – January 2019

It’s the first FIRE Progress of 2019

The Numbers

20.4316%

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.

115 months

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

117.11 months

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

9.1 times annual spending

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

36.41% to minimum FIRE

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

44.55 times annual spending at goal number

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.

Where We Saved This Month

401k – $2361 total (employee and employer)

HSA – $420

Roth IRA – $1000

ESPP – $621

Taxable Investments – This will start after we’ve built up an extra cushion in our savings account, probably closer to the end of the year.

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

While we did see capital gains and dividends paid out in December, because of the drop in the stock market, many of our numbers moved backwards. Some people may be concerned about this, but this just means we’re getting more shares when we invest.

I have added some new numbers that I’m now tracking. If these numbers are confusing, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to describe them a bit better. All three of these numbers are based on our current annual spending. I’ve reorganized our YNAB categories so that our annual spending will be more accurate. Unfortunately, that may mean that these new numbers may decrease slightly as we get a more accurate annual spending number.

FIRE Progress Report – December 2018

fire

Let’s dive right into the December 2018 FIRE progress report.

The Numbers

21.6151%

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.

116

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

114.20

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

Where We Saved This Month

401k – $1754 total (employee and employer)

HSA – $420

Roth IRA – $900

ESPP – $231

Taxable Investments – This will start after we’ve built up an extra cushion in our savings account, probably closer to the end of the year.

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

Usually the end of the year will show a boost to all accounts with capital gains and dividends being distributed. Not only that, but starting next year, the amount we contribute to the Roth IRA will increase in order to invest up to the new maximum in place for 2019.

The ESPP (employee stock purchase program) started this month and will continue into the future with a higher amount showing up soon because of it hitting both paychecks each month. The plan is to withdraw it when the stock is purchased an buy other index funds.

I’ve found that having scheduled deductions pull the money out before I even realize it helps significantly with staying on track. It’s very easy to spend what shows up when it doesn’t have an explicit purpose. That’s one reason I signed up for the ESPP.

FIRE Progress Report – November 2018

Let’s dive right into the November 2018 FIRE progress report.

The Numbers

20.9111%

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.

117

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

115.92

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

Where We Saved This Month

401k – $1754 total (employee and employer)

HSA – $420

Roth IRA – $900

ESPP – This will be starting in the next month.

Taxable Investments – This will start after we’ve built up an extra cushion in our savings account, probably closer to the end of the year.

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

This last month saw a hit to the markets which caused an increase to the number of months until we reach our goal and a decrease to our percent-to-goal. On the bright side, I decided to sign up for my employer’s employee stock purchase program (ESPP).

For 6 months, they’ll take a portion of my paycheck and then at the end of the 6 months, they’ll look back at the stock price at the beginning and the end of the six months. Whichever one is lower, they’ll buy it at that price and take a 15% discount on top of that. When the stock is purchased, I’ll sell it shortly afterwards and move the money into a Vanguard fund. That should give me at a least a 15% return minus taxes.

In addition, the side business has done very well and has allowed us to get much closer to building the savings account cushion back up.

FIRE Progress Report – October 2018

fire

Let’s dive right into the October 2018 FIRE progress report.

The Numbers

22.3716%

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

118

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

112.38

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

Where We Saved This Month

401k – $1754 total (employee and employer)

HSA – $420

Roth IRA – This will show up on November’s report since the transactions will occur in October.

Taxable Investments – This will start after we’ve built up an extra cushion in our savings account, probably closer to the end of the year.

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

Since we paid off the house, we’ve been working on building our savings account up a bit. We didn’t have to touch our emergency fund to pay it off, but did pull some money from savings. It’s been slow going, but should be done by the end of the year even with our increased investing.

Recently, we got a nail in the tire of our Toyota Prius that wasn’t repairable. The two places we would normally go didn’t have the same tire in stock and weren’t sure they could get it. Our Costco membership came to the rescue as they had the same one in stock and could install it right then. Since the tires had 44k miles on them, we replaced a pair of them.

I learned about a couple of other Costco membership discounts.

  • We were already getting a good price on the tires, but to make the deal even better, they include a road hazard warranty, which if I recall correctly, normally costs around $16-20 per tire at other places.
  • They suggested I get an alignment, but they don’t do them there. However, I was given a card with a website where I could enter in my membership number and zip code to get a 15% off coupon to few different places that offer auto services. One of them was the place we normally go for oil changes. From now on, we’ll be getting 15% off of oil changes, which adds even more to the membership savings!

All that to say, it’s great to be able to use things that we already have to save extra money, but a disappointment that we had this unexpected expense pop up that will slow down our savings.