July 2018 Progress Update

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In July 2018, our nest egg finished at 35.7% 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 July goals?

  • Total spending within budget
    • B+ Our spending looked worse than it was because we prepaid for portions of a group vacation, and our friends have since reimbursed us. After accounting for the reimbursement, we were barely over budget.
  • Schedule a primary care appointment (Ms. Vine)
    • A I completed this one!
  • Finish reading current book (Ms. Vine–I’ve been working on this one for way too long!)
    • B- Still working on it…
  • Lean in to my career job (this seems vague, but I have a few metrics I’m tracking daily for this one)
    • F Although I felt more balanced in July, it was not a very productive month.
  • Daily exercise (anything from a 10 minute yoga practice to walking 10,000 steps counts)
    • C Strictly in terms of daily exercise, I probably deserve an F. But I started a virtual coach plan in preparation for a half marathon I’m running in the fall. I’ve walked more steps and completed more runs in July than June, so I’m bumping up the grade a bit.

Our total investments more than recovered from the setback. We were pleasantly surprised by that! We also reduced our investment contributions to help recover from our runaway spending and prevent dipping into savings in the future. July marked the third consecutive month of drastically reduced restaurant spending. We also had an impossibly low grocery spend (due largely to buying bulk pork and a CSA share). It feels as though the practices we’ve implemented are finally bearing fruit. This is what my post about earning it was all about–we have time to not only grow our investment balance, but to perfect a luxurious lifestyle at the minimum cost.

And now, August goals

  • Total spending within budget
  • Finish reading current book (Ms. Vine)
  • Daily exercise (this is tough, but worthy of striving for)
  • Complete semi annual declutter project (get rid of one item based on the day of the month)

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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