Happy holidays! Is your Christmas tree up? I can’t believe 2018 is coming to a close in just a few weeks. It’s been a whirlwind year for us. Sadly, we’re not putting up our Christmas tree this time. RB40Jr and I are heading off to Thailand for 5 weeks to help my mom find a better living arrangement. Mrs. RB40 will stay in Portland. It’s going to be a strange Christmas, but we have to roll with the punches. I’ll write more about our trip next week. Stay tuned.
On to the goals. There isn’t any time left to accomplish anything. If you’re not done with your goals yet, it might be time to give up on some of them and focus on a few. Actually, I’m doing pretty well with my goals. I’ve closed out of most of them and only a few are left. Check them out below.
I’ll go over my 2018 goals first and then share the details of our net worth and cash flow.
This is my goal scheduling spreadsheet. Last year, I found that I needed to start working on these goals in the first half of the year. If I wait until summer, they just won’t get done. 2018 isn’t looking too good because the goals are more ambitious than previous years. You can get a quick status update from the chart and then see the details below.
- Increase our real estate crowdfunding investment to $100,000. Incomplete. We ran into a speed bump here. RealtyShares stopped accepting new investments so we’re stuck for now. Our current investments are all still doing well. In November, we had $452 of passive income from RE crowdfunding. You can read more about my investments at the real estate crowdfunding page. I will keep working on this goal next year.
- FI ratio > 100%. The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. So far, our FI ratio is 79% for 2018. This year is not looking good because our expense is higher than normal due to a major home repair (HVAC) and a pricey vacation. Some years are just harder than others. This year is going to be one of those and we need to learn from it.
- Increase bond/cash allocation to 30%. Going to 30% bond/cash will beef up our opportunity fund. This is very slow going because I’m not in a big hurry. Currently, our bond/cash allocation is up to 22.2%. That’s not too bad. The US stock market has been very volatile recently. The bond allocation really helps stabilize our portfolio.
- Travel hack 100,000 points. Done! We signed up for some new credit cards and collected quite a few points. These points will come in handy for our vacation next year. It looks like I’ll have to go to Thailand a couple of times in 2019.
- Minor Redesign Retire by 40. Done! This one was really difficult to do. I just didn’t have enough time. It is already tough to write and keep the site running. Anyway, I switched to https, got a new logo, and cleaned up the site a bit. I hope you like the cleaner look. I’ll get a new theme next year to improve the site even more.
- Blog 12 times at Fit by 40. Fail. I’m just not motivated to write about fitness this year. For now, I’ll keep FB40 as a test site for the redesign. You can see how I started the site here – How to Start a Blog and Why You Should.
- Blog revenue $100,000. This one is going to be very difficult so I’m grading it on the academic scale. Also, I changed the goal from blog “income” to blog “revenue.”Income is after taxes and expenses. Revenue is just gross income. Retire by 40 generated $78,141 so far in 2018. That’s actually really good. You can see more details on my Blog Income page.
- Join Toastmasters. Fail. I visited a local club and it was a good experience. However, there are too many things going on right now. My mom needs help with her health. Also, when school was out during the summer, I spent more time with RB40Jr. I just can’t squeeze Toastmasters into my schedule. This will have to be put off until RB40Jr is a lot more independent.
- Not paying for leaf removal. Done! I DIY-ed the leaf removal this year.
- Consolidate down to one property. We plan to move into our rental duplex and sell off the other 2 properties. This one is going to take more than one year. I changed the due date to 2020.
- Visit Iceland. Done! Iceland was incredible. I got some nice pictures so check out my Iceland trip report.
Okay! With no time left to accomplish much more, I closed out most of my goals. There are only 3 goals left and they’re on autopilot. Let’s wrap up 2018.
Net Worth (+1.7% YTD)
I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006 and it is very motivating to see the progress we’ve made. 2018 has been uneven. The US stock market was volatile and our net worth reflects that. It is up 1.7% year to date. That’s disappointing, but it happens sometimes. At this point, we just need to stick with our asset allocation, buckle up, and enjoy the rollercoaster ride.
My bet with Warren Buffett – I’ll benchmark our net worth against VFINX for 10 years starting in 2018. VFINX is up 2.8% for the year. That’s about 1% more than our net worth gains. It’s early in the race yet.
Here is a graph of our investment portfolio on Personal Capital. 2018 was a tough year for investors. We’re up just a bit.
*Sign up for a free account at Personal Capital to help manage your net worth and investment accounts. I log in almost every day to check on our accounts. It’s a great site for DIY investors.
2018 Passive Income ($45,166 YTD)
Here is a quick summary of our passive income. You can see all the details on my Passive Income page. We had a slow start in 2018 because one of our rentals was vacant for the first 2 months. It’s occupied now so the passive income is looking better.
The only trouble spot now is P2P lending. We’re seeing more defaults and the interest payments aren’t enough to overcome the hits. If we reinvest in P2P lending, it would look better. However, I like real estate crowdfunding more so I’m investing new money there.
November 2018 Cash Flow
Our cash flow was rough in November. Rental income, online income, and dividend income were all lower than average. Our crowdfunding income and side hustle income were better than usual, but they couldn’t make up the gap. Our expense looked good, though. I also saved extra in my i401k during the market dip. I maxed out my i401k contribution for 2018, but I still need to add the employer contributions. You can see the details below.
Here is the Sankey diagram for a quick overview.
Take Home Income (target > $10,000)
For 2018, our monthly take-home income target is $10,000. We didn’t meet this goal in November. We contributed $4,430 to our 401k. This cut down our take-home income by a large amount. I think I’d better change this to gross income next year.
- Mrs. RB40’s paychecks: $5,645.
- Blog Income: $2,543. You can read more details on my Blog Income page. RB40Jr is on the payroll now as model and photographer. The income will go straight into his Roth IRA. I’m excited to see how this experiment will turn out.
- Rental Income: $128. We had to replace the gas stove at one unit. That destroyed our rental income for the month. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
- Dividend Income: $750. More details at my Dividend Passive Income page.
- Real estate crowdfunding: $452. This is still looking good. We’re finally getting some traction here. Read more at my Real Estate Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
- Prosper P2P lending: $3. P2P lending isn’t doing so well this year.
- Interest Income: $53.
- Misc:$150. I participated in a couple of surveys and collected $150. Nice work if you can get it.
Monthly Expenses (target > $4,800)
For 2018, our monthly spending budget is $4,800/month, an increase of $300 from 2017. This does not include contributions to 401k, Roth IRA, and college savings. This year has been really tough and we went over budget many times already. We did well in November, though. We spent $3,935. That’s well under our budget. December should be pretty good, too. We don’t have any big planned expense coming up.
- Housing: $2,386. Our housing expense is getting too high. This category is over 50% of our spending most months. This includes mortgage, HOA fees, and property taxes.
- Groceries: $416. We spent less than average on groceries this month. Here are some of the dishes I cooked.
Pizza! It is the perfect time to make pizza at home. The oven helps warm up the living area and the place smells great.
November was a hectic month for us. I took my mom to 4 doctor appointments and she had some issues. So I cooked easy meals for us. The Thai omelet and chicken curry are easy to cook. The last one here is Pho Ga, Vietnamese chicken noodle soup. I’m not going to cook much in December because we’ll be in Thailand. However, I will take many pictures of cheap and delicious food there. Follow me on Instagram if you’d like to see more of my unglamorous early retirement lifestyle.
- Transportation: $81. We share one car and we usually don’t drive much. I filled up a couple of times last month.
- Kid: $20. I got a pair of sandals for Jr.
- Pet: $0.
- Bills: $236. Electricity and insurance (auto, home, term life, and umbrella.)
- Health: $66. Gym membership fee and co-pay for a doctor visit.
- Travel: $654. This is for our tickets to Thailand. $654 is cheap for 3 tickets there and 2 tickets back. I used lots of my points to help pay for this trip. Travel hacking is a great way to reduce your travel expense.
- Clothing: $0.
- Entertainment: $76. We went out to eat and ordered 2 new board games from Amazon.
- Tax: $1,000. This is for my blog income. Estimated tax is about $3,000 per quarter this year.
- Pre-Tax Savings: $4,430. I contributed $3,000 to my 401k. Mrs. RB40 contributed $1,430 to hers.
- Extra Savings: $359.
We saved $85,621 so far in 2018. Our saving rate this year is around 57%. That’s really good. (The savings rate is savings divided by gross income.) However, it’s actually a bit depressing. We saved a lot this year, but our net worth didn’t increase much. It’s like running in place. This happens sometimes when the stock market is volatile. Oh well, we just have to keep investing.
- Joe’s 401k: $31,680 (Some of this was 2017 contributions that I made in February.)
- Mrs. RB40’s 401k: $17,060 (is this a negative number or is the dash just a replacement for a bullet point?)
- Roth IRA: $11,000
- 529 college savings: $4,600
- Extra savings: $21,281
The extra savings was invested in real estate crowdfunding and dividend stocks.
November 2018 Wrap Up
All in all, we got through November okay. Our cash flow wasn’t great, but we saved what we could. The stock market was volatile and our net worth bounced around too. I didn’t pay attention to the stock market much because life was hectic last month. However, I picked up a few shares of dividend stocks when the market was down. I’m happy with that. More dividend income is always nice.
Did you have a good November? 2018 is wrapping up very soon. Are you happy with how 2018 went so far? There isn’t much time left to improve it.
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