FIRE Progress Report – December 2023

The most wonderful time of the year

What happened this last month?

Despite our annual expenses reaching an all-time high this month, our investment number also reached an all-time high. Christmas was obviously our biggest expense. We don’t purchase for too many people, but we do like to get things they either really want, or something they’ll definitely use.

Our daughter has a new horse to ride starting this month. We’re thankful for the connections that we have that helped us find a wonderful project horse that needed a job. He is from another barn and had plans to be used for lessons, but when one of the owners passed away from cancer, he ended up being a pasture pet. Fortunately, he’s still young, athletic and eager to please. We have a great arrangement where we pay for his board and care and treat him as if he is our own, but when our daughter is done learning everything she can with him he gets to go back to his real home. He’s essentially a horse exchange student. He’ll go home in better shape and with new experience under his belt, all with the hopes that someone else will be able to continue riding him. Because of that, we had a lot of expenses related to him coming to the barn, such as purchasing horse blankets and first month’s board. Future board will just be a regular monthly expense not noted below.

In addition, car insurance became due this month (and will every 6 months). We also started a project repainting the majority of our downstairs doors and putting new hardware on them all so they match with other improvements we’ve done. You don’t realize how much of a difference new hinges, door knobs and a fresh coat of paint can make. We’re also adding a door back in a spot that used to have one before we moved in to help keep light from the closet out of our bedroom. More on that next month. Finally, I paid for my cell phone bill for the year.

As for fun things during Christmas break, we spent an evening at Kings Island WinterFest. This involved eating out, a hotel room, and tickets. We had went several years ago and decided it was time to check it out again.

Where did we spend the most?

Our monthly expenses were up quite a bit compared to last month. Annually, they’re up about $2200 compared to last December.

  • $1770 Christmas
  • $938 Remi (a horse)
  • $656 Car insurance
  • $348 WinterFest
  • $292 Doors project
  • $250 Annual phone bill
Current and future value against Minimum FIRE Goal and 25x Expenses Goal

58.83% to target number (previously 55.13%)

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.

55 months (previously 56)

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

35.04 months (previously 38.97)

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.

9.28 times annual spending (previously 8.85)

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.

37.12% to minimum FIRE (previously 35.41%)

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

15.77 times annual spending at goal number (previously 16.06)

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

-58.83% Month to Month Change In How Much Saved (previously 132.14%)

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.

-61.04% Month to Month Change in How Much Saved With Employer Contributions (previously 123.48%)

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

1.22% Month to Month Change in 12 Month Savings Average (previously 9.94%)

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.

0.61% of 12 Month Average Net Income Invested With Employer Contributions (previously 9.17%)

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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