September 2018 Progress Update

In September 2018, our nest egg finished at 37.55% 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 September goals?

  • Total spending within budget
    • A- Finally! We got our spending down into the budget range, and our investment contributions exceeded our spending. Restaurant spending was a bit high in September, but more on that later
  • Finish reading current book (Ms. Vine)
    • F Still haven’t done this, but I did manage to read three other books during September, so the month was not a total bust from a reading perspective 
  • Complete at least one item from my 101 things list (more on this later)
    • A I feel like I sort of cheated at this one because I accomplished something, but it was almost by accident.
  • Publish a post weekly
    • B+ On account of a tech fail, my 9/28 post wasn’t scheduled properly. So it appears that it was published on time, but it wasn’t. This is the opposite of my prior goal; I feel like I accomplished the spirit of this one, if not the substance.

September was the most surprising month of the year. I made a huge job change and broke my foot. The upheaval of both of those events contributed to more eating out. The new job, and attendant adjustment, has sucked up a majority of my discretionary time. The broken foot has been very frustrating because it needs rest to heal. I’m bummed to be unable to get out for hikes and runs during my favorite season of the year. In any event, we are still plugging away at our financial independence goal. We’re about to make a big increase in our investment contributions as soon as we have a good idea what my new salary looks like and when the vehicle loan disappears. The best part about automating our goals is that we continue to make progress, even when major life changes interrupt our ability to spend time thinking about those goals.

And now, October goals

  • Total spending within budget
  • Determine new investment contribution to take effect in January 2019
  • Complete 401k Rollover
  • Mortgage balance under $100,000

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.

I’m trying out a new chart that shows our nest egg size compared with the goal on a monthly basis. This chart might not be that interesting because the progress is so small on a monthly basis. Let me know if you like it, and want to see it in the future, in the comments!


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