FIRE Monthly Progress Report for October 2023

Scary month for tracking net worth

What happened this last month?

Another down month when looking at the numbers. The only bright side we have is that we saved more this month than the month prior. With the markets performing as they did, our net worth continued to decline. This doesn’t concern me that much because overall, things are on a positive trend.

One trend that we need to get back under control is our expenses. They’ve been elevated for the past few years for a number of reasons: remodeling the kitchen, residing the house, purchase of a car, in addition to other things. Under normal circumstances, we won’t have those types of expenses over and over again. Once our expenses begin to settle, many of our expense related numbers should turn positive.

I’ve begun setting a monthly goal of what I’d like us to keep our expenses under, which will hopefully help us spread out expenses over time instead of having a few months where we get hit hard. For example, I’ve determined what it will cost to pay the rest of the orthodontics bill. I’m planning on doing that sometime over the next few months so that we can eliminate the recurring monthly expense and lower our month expenses slightly. The plan will be to pay it off in months where our expenses were high last year, so that way we can still reduced our spending compared to last year.

As for what we spent on this past month, one of our most unusual expenses was a new English saddle with matching tack. The previous one my daughter was using was a very beginner saddle and it was time to get one that she can use for a long time to come and is higher quality. Fortunately, a friend of ours found a very gently used one online, potentially saving us thousands.

I also bought a new Pixel 8 Pro phone and Pixel Watch when it came out. The watch was “free” with the purchase of the phone. Plus, they gave me an excellent trade-in value for my previous phone. The only last unusual expense was for a small server that I have setup in my network rack. I had been wanting something small and efficient that I could keep on all the time to backup things to and run other software on. I had been using Backblaze for backup, but after failing to be able to restore some files from them, I questioned the value of paying $99/year for something that couldn’t do what I needed when I needed it most.

Where did we spend the most?

Our monthly expenses were down slightly compared to last month. Annually, they’re up about $3100 compared to last September.

  • $1740 Saddle and accessories
  • $563 New phone and smart watch
  • $480 Dance
  • $264 Server
  • $205 Life insurance
Current and future value against Minimum FIRE Goal and 25x Expenses Goal

49.05% to target number (previously 50.54%)

This is our invested assets divided by our target number. We have investments in a variety of types of accounts such as 401k, HSA, IRA, Roth IRA, and brokerage accounts.

58 months (previously 58)

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

47.37 months (previously 45.09)

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

7.97 times annual spending (previously 8.42)

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.

31.86% to minimum FIRE (previously 33.68%)

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

16.24 times annual spending at goal number (previously 16.66)

We’d like to save 25 times our annual spending. This is how many times our annual spending we’ll have saved when we reach our goal number.

How Much We Invested

5.66% Month to Month Change In How Much Saved (previously -77.59%)

This number shows the change in what we saved this month compared to the prior month. It includes account like 401k, Roth IRA, and taxable accounts.

5.06% Month to Month Change in How Much Saved With Employer Contributions (previously -75.58%)

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

-2.88% Month to Month Change in 12 Month Savings Average (previously 0.41%)

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.

-3.02% of 12 Month Average Net Income Invested With Employer Contributions (previously 0.33%)

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

How we track the numbers

I’ve been using Mint primarily to grab the numbers each month because they do a great job of updating them. I put them into a spreadsheet that calculates the numbers you see above. However, with Mint closing their doors, I will begin using Empower again for net worth tracking.

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