October 2018 Progress Update

We are changing the format for updates. Instead of explaining our goal in detail each month, we’ll simply post the bar graph that shows our nest egg progress to goal at the bottom of the post. In exchange for less detail on our monthly progress, we will share more narrative of what we’ve been up to in the past month.

The market gives and it takes away! Despite having a great month in terms of the items we can control, October saw a drop in our investments due to on-paper loss. Because we still have several years of accumulation, we view this as buying stocks on sale. Beyond the financials, October was a busy month and it flew right by as we adjusted to some major changes from September.

I intentionally set some pretty easy goals for October, knowing that we didn’t have a lot of time or energy to work on anything big. For November, we are looking at end of the year, wrap up goals to set us up for 2019.

How did we do on our October goals?

  • Total spending within budget
    • A October was a great month for spending! It was our lowest of the year.
  • Determine new investment contribution to take effect in January 2019
    • A- We have determined the amount, but I think it’s a little low. We also have yet to communicate it to our financial planner. But, we’ve decided to start the increase a month earlier, in December, rather than January.
  • Complete 401k Rollover
    • A I mailed the forms out on the last day of October, so I barely made this one. The funds will go straight to my managed account, though, so I shouldn’t need to take any additional action to get this rolling. Bonus points for having one less account to check!
  • Mortgage balance under $100,000
    • This is purely an emotional milestone as we didn’t do anything special to achieve it. It’s also nice to know that our liquid investments could pay off our mortgage if necessary or desired.

And now, November goals

  • Total spending within budget
  • Finish reading current Kindle book (Ms. Vine)
  • Finish previously planned destination half marathon (Ms. Vine, despite breaking my foot)
  • Publish one blog post in addition to monthly update
  • Pre-pay 2018 estimated tax bill
  • Schedule increased investment contribution with financial planner
  • Set up new 401k for management by financial planner

Check out that low blue line on the chart below! I get a thrill whenever our expenses drop below our investments (which should happen more often than it currently does). Tracking is very much the foundation for behavioral change. Although many of our big expense spikes were planned and within our means, it helps to see the impact of these decisions.

As a reminder, our goal is to reach financial independence (which we define as no longer needing to work to pay our bills). Our nest egg goal is based on our current expenses, less a 0% interest car loan that will be paid off in January 2019. We did not strictly follow the 4% rule (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.

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