June 2018 Progress Update

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In June 2018, our nest egg finished at 34.3% of goal. Our goal is a conservative 33x our current expenses, less a 0% interest car loan that will be paid off in January 2019. This goal anticipates a 3% withdrawal rate, as opposed the 4% rate cited in the Trinity Study. Our mortgage is currently scheduled for payoff in 2029 and we don’t expect to do so before reaching financial independence. Of course, this is subject to change, but the payment and interest rate are quite low. We plan to keep travel and other discretionary spending low if decide to retire early while we owe a balance on the mortgage.

Are we looking at fatFIRE based on our expenses? Maybe. We live a pretty great lifestyle currently and have resisted efforts to scale back. So, we’ve decided to set our goal to accommodate our present spending levels. If we’re able to reduce expenses, we will update our timeline and progress to goal accordingly. Are we even technically considered “RE” if we are both well into our 40s by the time we reach the FI portion of the equation?

How did we do on our June goals?

  • Total spending within budget
    • B We exceeded our monthly budget, but not by much. The overage was due to the purchase of plane tickets for a trip coming up in December. Our overall annual travel spending should finish close to the (much reduced!) budget we set for 2018.
  • Schedule a primary care appointment (Ms. Vine)
    • I will do this! Eventually
  • Finalize holiday travel plans for 2018
    • A We booked airfare and used our timeshare to be economical for lodging.
  • Develop a plan for timeshare use in remaining 2018 and for 2019
    • B We accomplished some of this, but some our use remains undecided.
  • Finish reading current book (Ms. Vine–I’ve been working on this one for way too long!)
    • C I made some good progress, but it’s not done yet.

As I mentioned, June was a busy month. Our nest egg went backwards for two reasons. One, the markets were down in June. Two, we pulled some cash out of our backup fund to pay off a zero interest credit card that had a balance. Last December, our stove failed. Because we were considering replacing our fridge this summer, we decided to replace the stove, the fridge and the over range microwave. At the same time, we increased our investment contributions. Although we’ve made some great strides with our spending, we aren’t perfect yet. Swallowing those feelings of failure, we cleared this debt to move onward and upward.

June was a difficult month for me outside of personal finance. It felt like my world was spinning out of my control. There wasn’t a lot of time to slow down or think.

Now, how about July goals:

  • Total spending within budget
  • Schedule a primary care appointment (Ms. Vine)
  • Finish reading current book (Ms. Vine–I’ve been working on this one for way too long!)
  • Lean in to my career job (this seems vague, but I have a few metrics I’m tracking daily for this one)
  • Daily exercise (anything from a 10 minute yoga practice to walking 10,000 steps counts)

The information on this chart dates back to September 2016 (the far left side of the chart). Big spikes in expenses involved items like a major bathroom renovation that we completed last summer, new appliances, and some tax-related expenses. Most of this has leveled out, as you can see from the right side of the chart. Investments include our pre-tax contributions to 401k plans and HSAs.

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