FIRE Monthly Progress Report for September 2023

The streak is broken

What happened this last month?

After 6 straight months of positive gains, this month was the first month that we were down from the previous month in our investments. That’s to be expected. We still have almost 5 years left to reach out number.

Our expenses this month would have been lower than the previous month, but we ended up paying for some car repairs for our oldest daughter’s car. We would normally expect her to pay for car repairs, but given the amount and that we plan on buying a new English saddle for our youngest daughter, it will even things out. Unfortunately, these are the types of repairs that are sometimes needed on high mileage cars. Fortunately, they only tend to be needed once and don’t ever have to be done again.

After replacing the tires, we still noticed considerable road noise. We took her car to a shop we’ve used in the past, and 3 of the 4 wheels needed new bearings. They also couldn’t do an alignment on the rear wheels because of some parts that had essentially seized up (probably from road salt). After getting all that fixed though, the car runs much quieter.

On a more exciting note, my youngest and I also planned a trip to see an MLS soccer game. We’ve started watching them at home and thought it would be fun to see one in person. It was a awesome experience and a lot of fun. It’s probably my personal favorite type of live sporting event to go and see.

There weren’t any unusual income events this month, such as bonuses. The side business continues to do well and I’ve been using to help rebuild savings each month and invest the rest.

Where did we spend the most?

Our monthly expenses were up considerably compared to last month. Annually, they’re up about $1600 compared to last September.

  • $1880 Car repairs
  • $481 MLS soccer game
  • $290 Horse show
  • $277 Veterinarian
Current and future value against Minimum FIRE Goal and 25x Expenses Goal

50.54% to target number (previously 52.81%)

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.

58 months (previously 59)

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

45.09 months (previously 42.69)

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

8.42 times annual spending (previously 8.92)

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.

33.68% to minimum FIRE (previously 35.66%)

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

16.66 times annual spending at goal number (previously 16.88)

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

-77.59% Month to Month Change In How Much Saved (previously 165.51%)

This number shows the change in what we saved this month compared to the prior month in things like 401k, Roth IRA, taxable accounts, and Employee Stock Purchase Program.

-75.58% Month to Month Change in How Much Saved With Employer Contributions (previously 145.83%)

Same as the prior number, but with employer contributions counted.

0.41% Month to Month Change in 12 Month Savings Average (previously 27.42%)

This number show the change in what we saved this month compared to the prior month, but on a 12 month rolling average. This helps to smooth out months over time and shows a more general trend.

0.33% of 12 Month Average Net Income Invested With Employer Contributions (previously 23.88%)

Same as the prior number, but with employer contributions counted.

How we track the numbers

If you’re wondering what I use to track our numbers monthly, we use both Mint and Personal Capital. I use Mint to grab the numbers each month because they do a great job of consistently pulling them and then I put them into a spreadsheet that calculates the numbers you see above. I use Empower (formerly Personal Capital) for their planning and forecasting tools.

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