FIRE Progress Report through October 2019

fire

Let’s dive right into the numbers for October.

The Money Related Numbers

26.84% (previously 25.84%)

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.

105 months (previously 106)

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

96.44 months (previously 98.75)

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

8.42 times annual spending (previously 8.26)

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.

33.67% to minimum FIRE (previously 33.02%)

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

31.36 times annual spending at goal number (previously 31.94)

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

31.03% 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.

37.99% 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.

35.03% of Gross Income Invested with Employer

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.

42.89% of Net Income Invested With Employee

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.

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

We’re still ramping up towards getting a full picture of our yearly expenses. Only a couple months away and we’ll have a full year of adjusted expenses.

This month’s unexpected expenses include a new 12V battery for the Prius and paying for our AirBnB for our trip to Nashville. It wasn’t a crazy amount, but were still expenses we wouldn’t normally have.

Most of our numbers improved this month because the market had a nice little run towards the end of the month. Next month, the Employee Stock Purchase Program will doing it’s semi-annual stock purchase, which will allow me to reinvest those dollars with a guaranteed return on the money I put into the program.

FIRE Progress Report through September 2019

fire

Let’s dive right into the numbers for September.

The Money Related Numbers

25.84% (previously 25.40%)

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.

106 months (previously 107)

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

98.75 months (previously 101.41)

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

8.26 times annual spending (previously 8.34)

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.

33.02% to minimum FIRE (previously 33.35%)

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

31.94 times annual spending at goal number (previously 32.82)

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

49.43% 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.

60.52% 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.

53.42% of Gross Income Invested with Employer

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.

65.40% of Net Income Invested With Employee

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.

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

The How Much We Invested numbers look great this month. However, that’s because I got paid for some side work and I don’t include that in my income side of the calculations. If you have a skill that you enjoy using and someone is willing to pay you for, use it. This will accelerate you debt pay down, investing, or simply meeting other financial goals.

Our expenses continue to climb every month. I’m optimistic that by the end of this year, they’ll begin to level off. As of December, we’ll have been tracking our expenses more accurately for a full year.

Finally, this month, I’d like to mention some expenses that we don’t normally have every month. First, I got my wife a new phone. She had used her old one for almost two and a half years. The battery still held a great charge, but it just couldn’t keep up anymore. We found a great deal on a new Moto Z3 Play direct from Motorola. Granted it’s last years model, but at a significant discount and comes with a full warranty.

We also purchased some plants to finish our landscaping. We had ripped out some old plants that had outgrown their space, moved all of the stone, and laid new weed barrier. It took several weekends but looks much better and the plants won’t look overgrown anymore.

Last but not least, winter is on its way. That means it was time to get the furnace and A/C tuned up. We generally do this every couple of years. It’s always a good sign when the technician opens it up and says “this looks brand new”.

I hope your autumn is off to a good start. My wife has picked up a seasonal job to raise enough money that we can replaces our downstairs carpet. It’s long overdue and one of the last remaining projects the house needs to feel “complete”.

FIRE Progress Report through August 2019

bonfire

Don’t worry, you’re not experiencing déjà vu. This is a new post. Starting this month, I’m changing the naming so that it coincides with how I track things. When I keep track of the numbers to report here, I always keep track of them with the month they occurred. For example, if I put $100 away on August 10, it goes torwards the month of August. However, I’ve been putting these posts out using the month I’m telling you the numbers, not the month the numbers actually occurred. Obviously, that gets confusing for me, and might confuse you when I mention Christmas in the January report. Going forward, the title of the post and the numbers will match to when things actually happened.

The Money Related Numbers

25.40% (previously 25.65%)

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.

107 months (previously 108)

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

101.41 months (previously 102.62)

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

8.34 times annual spending (previously 8.66)

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.

33.35% to minimum FIRE (previously 34.63%)

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

32.82 times annual spending at goal number (previously 33.75)

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

29.38% 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.

35.74% 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.

33.38% of Gross Income Invested with Employer

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.

40.60% of Net Income Invested With Employee

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.

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

August was another 3 month paycheck, which means we automatically put away more this month. Our expenses continue to climb until they will eventually level off in December due to the the fact that I started counting them more accurately last December.

I’ve changed the How Much We Saved section to be How Much We Invested and I started tracking new numbers. I’ve saved off the numbers I was publishing in previous months and I’m now using those to track future progress based on how much we’ve invested on average over the last 6 months. In the past, I came up with an estimated number and used that for future projects. This should be more accurate over time.

You’ll notice that the How Much We Invested are now percentages. I thought that posting actual numbers may not be as encouraging when people are looking at them and might be thinking “I could never save that much”. However, when it’s all relative (such as a percentage of income), it potentially becomes more achievable. The other goal numbers that I’ve been posting have always been relative to either our target numbers or our expenses, so now I’m simply making that consistent across the board.

FIRE Progress Report – August 2019

fire

The Money Related Numbers

25.65% (previously 25.16%)

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.

108 months (previously 109)

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

102.62 months (previously 104.23)

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

8.66 times annual spending (previously 8.45)

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.

34.63% to minimum FIRE (previously 33.81%)

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

33.75 times annual spending at goal number (previously 33.61)

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 – $235

What’s Happened and What’s Happening

Surprisingly, all of our numbers moved in a positive direction this month. That’s great news and most likely due to the markets hitting record highs.

Our expenses for last month were lower than they were the previous year. This is the first time that’s happened in a while. There were several factors that probably helped with that. We changed our homeowners and car insurance and paid it the previous month. We also cancelled a cruise we had planned for January and got our deposit back.

On the expense side, as is true every year this time, our property taxes were paid. Finally, we had some regular maintenance to do on our 2006 Toyota Prius. It crossed the 250,000 mile mark this month! I ran some numbers and realized that we’ve put over 20,000 miles a year on average on it since we bought it.

Next month is a 3 paycheck month. We’ve decided to take the extra paycheck and split it across three different things: saving to replace a car, house projects, and vacations or trips. We keep separate budget categories for each one. We used to throw it all into one savings account, but then we would question whether paying for maintenance on the car would jeopardize our ability to pay for an upcoming vacation. By separating it, that’s no longer a concern.

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!