FIRE Progress Report – January 2024

New year, fresh starts

What happened this last month?

A new year is a great time for reflection. We did a lot last year with the residing of our house along with other house projects. That was a major expense that we never really thought we’d save up and do. We’re planning on putting a metal roof on this year, which will be another major expense equal to or greater than the siding.

Last January we had spent quite a bit of money, so I used this month as an opportunity to pay for some items to free up cash flow in the future. Paying off my wife and daughter’s orthodontics frees up $185 each month going forward. We spent the night at a hotel with family on New Years Eve and planned some future trips for the year. Did you know you can get a mortality policy on a horse in case something happens to them? Now you do.

While our expenses haven’t decreased, we’ve continued to find ways to make and save more money. Out of nowhere over Christmas break, my wife got a call asking if she wanted to fill in as a science teacher for the rest of the school year. She accepted, which will give us extra funds to do things we may not have otherwise planned on doing this year.

We’ve been blessed quite a bit since we started this FIRE journey. It’s almost like the Parable of the Talents. As we’ve shown we can be trusted with some, we’ve been given more to manage and do good with. Things were tight early on in our marriage and we made some mistakes along the way. Eventually we corrected them and started down a better path. As time has passed, things have aligned in ways we couldn’t have imagined even 5 years ago when we started down the path of FIRE. Our goal of FIRE has not been to binge Netflix all day, but to free up our time to use our talents to help others.

Where did we spend the most?

Our monthly expenses were up quite a bit compared to last month. Annually, they’re down about $1300 compared to last January.

  • $3060 Orthodontics
  • $1162 Property taxes
  • $935 House projects
  • $480 New Years Eve/Future Adventures
  • $450 Horse insurance
Current and future value against Minimum FIRE Goal and 25x Expenses Goal

59.35% to target number (previously 58.83%)

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.

54 months (previously 55)

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

34.18 months (previously 35.04)

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.

9.46 times annual spending (previously 9.28)

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.

37.84% to minimum FIRE (previously 37.12%)

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

15.94 times annual spending at goal number (previously 15.77)

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

30.08% Month to Month Change In How Much Saved (previously -58.83%)

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.

39.96% Month to Month Change in How Much Saved With Employer Contributions (previously -61.04%)

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

2.28% Month to Month Change in 12 Month Savings Average (previously 1.22%)

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.

1.66% of 12 Month Average Net Income Invested With Employer Contributions (previously 0.61%)

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

How we track the numbers

I’ve been using Empower (referral link) to track our numbers. I put them into a spreadsheet that calculates the numbers you see above.

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