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January 2016 Goals and Financial Update

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Wow, the first month of 2016 flew by very quickly. The gym traffic is already starting to get lighter. I hate going to the gym when it is crowded so that’s good news for me. The weather is also getting nicer and we are starting to see flower buds already. I am so ready for spring. We had a ridiculous amount of rainfall this year in the Pacific NW. I’ve had just about enough of it. Okay, let’s go over my 2016 New Year goals first and then see how we did in January.

2016 Goals

Non Financial Goals

Improve Fitness – (January Fail..)

I got a Garmin vívofit 2 for Christmas and I’m using it to track my activity level. Actually, I was pretty sedentary in January. I’m just so lazy when it’s raining so much. Anyway, I did not meet my step goals in January. I had 162,865 steps and the goal was 186,591 steps. That’s about 5,200 steps per day and it is classified as sedentary. I need to bring this up to at least 6,000 steps per day in February.

Control my triglyceride level (WIP)

I’m trying to eat better to control my hypertriglyceridemia. I’m cooking more fish and vegetables, but I don’t think it will make a big difference unless we change our diet completely. Mrs. RB40 keeps adding cheese to things she makes. I will get a blood test in about 6 months and check the triglyceride level. I’d probably have to increase the dosage of my medication.

Try 6 new great restaurants (17%)

We only went out once in January to try a sushi restaurant. SuBe is in downtown Portland and the sushi was very good. Mrs. RB40 liked the Tokyo tower – “layered tower of sushi, with rice, avocado, tamago egg, spicy crab mix, ahi tuna, topped with tempura flakes, wasabi infused tobiko, spicy aioli and unagi sauce.” It’s non-traditional, but we liked it. I give the place 4 stars. 🙂

Take an extended trip to Thailand ($988.96 saved)

I’m planning a 3 week trip to Thailand in November. I want my family to experience the Loy Kratong festival in Chiang Mai. Saving for this trip is made very easy by using Digit. Digit deduct a small amount from my account every few days and I don’t notice the “stealth” saving at all. Check out my Digit review if you don’t know about them. The current balance is just a tad under $1,000.

Attend a conference – (WIP)

I got a ticket to FinCon 2016 in San Diego! Next, I need to reserve the hotel room.

Visit a national park – (WIP)

We’re planning on a short trip to Crater Lake this summer. I need to reserve the campground very soon.

Start a non-finance website – (September)

I will start this after kindergarten begins.

Financial Goals

Invest $50,000 in our tax advantaged accounts (11%)

In January, we saved $5,286 in our tax advantaged accounts. I added $1,000 each to our Roth IRA to max out the 2015 contribution. If you haven’t maxed out your 2015 Roth IRA yet, now is the time to do it.

Increase Dividend to $11,500 (7%)

We started off 2016 pretty well with $791 in dividend income.

Surpass $50,000 in RB40 Junior’s 529 account (86%)

The stock market went down quite a bit in January and the 529 is now worth $42,895. This is discouraging because the value decreased about $3,500 in a month. It’s not looking good this year, but I think RB40Jr’s account should be fine by the time he’s ready for college. We have 13 years left to work on this.

Increase Net worth by 3x risk free rate (currently -1%)

The 10-year US government bond yields about 2%. So my target net worth increase for 2016 is 6%. This will be very difficult to achieve if we have a bear market this year. We will save over $50,000 this year, but that won’t be enough to turn the tide. This goal seems almost futile in a bear market. Currently, our net worth gain is -1%. We’ll see how it goes.

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January 2016 cash flowCash Flow

Take Home Income (target > $5,000)

Our take home income was a bit low last month ($4,719) because I transferred $2,000 to our Roth IRA. Oh, I received my dent check from the insurance company. That helped quite a bit. I decided to keep the cash instead of fixing the dent.

Mrs. RB40’s Paychecks: $4,376

Rental income: $614. This is the ideal amount of monthly rental income I’d like to see in 2016. It won’t last, though. We have a few more repairs to deal with this year.

Online income: $1,962. I’m hoping to average around $2,500 per month this year. We’ll see how it goes. I will break down the online income and expenses in our monthly newsletter so if you’re curious, sign up with our email list.

Dividend: $791. This is not bad for Q1.

Interest: $8. The interest rate is quite low so this will be small for the foreseeable future.

P2P lending: $46. Our ROI is holding stable at 8%. That’s not bad at all. I don’t have to do much for this account and it is making much more than our saving accounts. The fund here is not very liquid, though.

Misc income: $2,221. My dent check arrived!

Expense (target < $4,500)

I think we did pretty well with our expenses in January ($3,965.) We spent about $250 on entertainment and miscellaneous. Everything else was core expense.

Housing: $2,256. Mortgage, HOA, and property tax.

Cash Allowance: $0. We’ve been using our debit card for grocery purchases so we don’t use much cash anymore.

Groceries: $506.

Child/Dependent: $584. I’m really looking forward to sending him to kindergarten at our public school..

Healthcare/Medical: $0

Bills: $276. Electricity and insurance.

Entertainment: $220. Gym membership fee, a day trip to Mt. Hood, and tickets to the Mochitsuki (Japanese New Year celebration.)

Misc: $48. I got a new pair of sneakers to replace my old holey pair. Mrs. RB40 ate out at lunch a couple of times.

Transportation: $55.


Extra Saving ($754 so far in 2016)

We had $754 extra saving in January. I’ll take it in the win column.

All in all, January was a pretty good month for us. Our net worth is down a bit, but it’s not bad considering how much the S&P 500 decreased. I also had a nice start on my 2016 goals. It feels nice to start with a clean slate. The hard part is to keep the momentum going the rest of the year.

Did you have a good January?

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{ 28 comments… add one }

  • Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes February 1, 2016, 12:34 am

    I’m so tired of the winter rain here in the PNW too. Is it spring yet? Alas, it is not. I think we’re going to head to Hawaii for a change of pace this spring. It can’t come soon enough.

    Looks like January went great for you Joe! The rental is kicking out some cash (for a change). That has got to be a good thing after all the money you put in recently.

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2016, 10:20 am

      This year felt like the first year I moved up in ’96. It was so rainy all the time and it’s just easy to feel down. The weather is starting to improve so I’m feeling better.
      It would be great if the rental can bring in this much every month. It will probably be a few years down the road, though. There are just too many deferred repairs.

    • Mauij February 24, 2016, 10:32 am

      I was noticing the rental income as well. It is looking very nice this month.

  • Jim Wang February 1, 2016, 4:21 am

    We got slammed with snow near the end of the month and were stuck in our house for 4-5 days, that helped with keeping our expenses down. 🙂

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2016, 10:22 am

      We got snow earlier this year too. It’s nice for a couple of days, but then everyone gets really restless.

  • Res @ Happy Later February 1, 2016, 5:31 am

    What I would also add, is increase insurance against any market corrections. You could buy puts on the S&P long dated or QID or SDS. I think investing is about managing both the upside and the downside. Protection is as a worthy goal as growth is!
    Keep up the inspiring work!

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2016, 10:23 am

      I’m not very good at managing the downside. I need to study up in that area.

  • Mike Drak February 1, 2016, 6:03 am

    We are having a great winter up here in Toronto Canada. Still haven’t used the snow blower so far this year! Our editor did the first pass on our new retirement book and what an eye opener that was, felt like quitting for a moment but have now finished the required changes. Trying to write is not easy but I’m getting excited now that we are approaching the finish line. My biggest challenge right now is getting healthy before we start to do the seminar circuit with the book. Need to lose about 38lbs and start eating healthy. I plan to blog about my progress and for motivation set myself up as the poster boy for the book. The goal is to create an interesting, healthy low stress lifestyle now that I’ve achieved FI. On the investment side I ‘ve been changing my portfolio mix to 100% high quality dividend payers as I will be covering my living expenses via the dividend cash flow plus whatever active income I can generate during my Victory Lap Retirement which by the way is the name of the book.

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2016, 10:24 am

      Keep going with your book! It will be worth it when it’s done.
      Fitness goals are so much more difficult for me. Good luck with losing weight.

  • Gwen February 1, 2016, 7:03 am

    January was ok for me. Ended up slightly positive as I had some unexpected expenses pop up. I’m super happy I didn’t spend anything other than my rent last week though. I was pleasantly surprised to see that, since it was really easy to do.

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2016, 10:25 am

      Great job on keeping your expense down. It’s tough to not spend any money for a week. 🙂

  • Sam @ Financial Samurai February 1, 2016, 8:21 am

    Watch out for the Zika virus. It has spread to Thailand and the rest of South East Asia!


    • retirebyforty February 1, 2016, 10:28 am

      Well, I don’t plan to get pregnant so the risk is minimal for me. 🙂 Joking aside, we will load up on DEET, but it’s inevitable to get bit by mosquitoes. Hopefully, they will get it under control soon. We got 3 cases in Oregon already.

  • Tawcan February 1, 2016, 9:59 am

    Spent a week in LA for work last week and it was nice to get away from the Vancouver rain. I hear you, I’m looking forward to spring/summer.

    For triglyceride, have you looked into fish oil supplement?

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2016, 10:32 am

      We went to the Bay Area during Christmas and it was a nice little break. It was cold, but sunny. It’s been so rainy this year in the NW.
      I am taking fish oil regularly again. I neglected it for a while, but I’m back on the program..

  • Stockbeard February 1, 2016, 11:26 am

    Thanks for the update Joe.

    January was terrible for my net worth. I’m down 5% total, which sucks considering that it was my best month ever in terms of income (salary + online business). In other words, all my income for the month (and some) was engulfed instantly by the bear market + estimated taxes.

    Terrible for the morale!

  • Exflyboy February 1, 2016, 12:52 pm

    Exflyboy here from the MMM forums. Yeah we are down on Corvallis and looking forward to the improving weather soon. We are visiting the Chiang Mai area towards the end of June this year. We are funding the trip with my Hobby Job, (I am supposedly retired after all), which so far has made about $6500.. Hoping to get that to $10k before we go. The idea to is see if this is a place we could permanently retire to when Mrs Exflyboy finally quits work for good.

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2016, 3:27 pm

      That’s great! I don’t know if you know Jason (Dividend Mantra), but he is going to Chiang Mai now. Maybe you can hook up with him and see what he thinks.

    • mary w February 1, 2016, 3:35 pm

      You might also check out Go Curry Cracker. He recently spent several months in Chiang Mai.

      • Exflyboy February 1, 2016, 5:01 pm

        Yes I have read about GoCurry’s exploits, I was not aware that Jason was there though.. I will see if I can hook up with him. The thought of retiring away from both the crap weather and Earthquake risk of the PNW.. Not to mention the political landscape of the USA is highly appealing right now.

  • Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life February 1, 2016, 4:31 pm

    I’m pretty much on track for my goals for the year so far. I’m trying to save some retirement and a trip to Europe. I’m a bit ahead on each of these right now, but we have some big changes coming at the end of the year (husband is finishing school and we have no idea what will happen for him job-wise), and I don’t know how this will affect our ability to save.

  • Winston February 2, 2016, 6:47 am

    You done all right except exercise. January was also my slow month. Even when is warm in house I feel chill and I am lazy to workout. Hope February will be fine! I moved from my sofa and now is time to lose some of winter pounds.

  • Nathan @ Investment Hunting February 2, 2016, 11:12 am

    Control triglyceride level and try 6 new great restaurants. I like these opposing goals. Hopefully you can enjoy the new dining establishments (order what you really want) on a low triglyceride diet 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your progress.

  • Spudguy February 2, 2016, 1:18 pm

    Hey there, good job in setting goals for 2016!

    I wouldn’t recommend setting any short-term goals tied to market performance. What the market does is out of your control, and isn’t reflective of what you can personally achieve. It’s fine to set short-term savings goals (i.e. place $5k in Junior’s 529 account), but actual financial goals tied to performance should only be longer-term.

    My belief is that setting short-term financial performance goals can lead to distortions in behavior in some people (not necessarily you)…they might take more risk to achieve their goal, and that’s not ideal. Better to set short-term savings goals.

    Also – I want to push you on your Fitness goal. You are young, and if you want to live long, fitness is so important. I started in a sedentary category as well, but in 2010 I made a commitment to start running, and ran 100 miles in my first year. That’s not a lot, but it was a start that I have raised every year since, and I’ll be on track for 800 miles this year (about 15.5 miles a week). If I can do it, I am confident you can too. The important thing is to start, and focus on raising your own bar, not comparing performance to others.

  • Andrew Fin February 2, 2016, 2:14 pm

    Happy to see the new year started out smoothly for you guys. Hope the rest of the year goes just as well.
    I have been looking into financial conferences here in California, but there are so many it is hard to chose. I will have to check out FinCon! Thanks for the tip!

  • Ray February 9, 2016, 10:07 am

    Thanks for running this blog. It is very helpful and inspiring. How do you keep your transportation costs so low?

    • retirebyforty February 9, 2016, 10:47 am

      We share one car and we don’t drive that much. Mrs. RB40 takes public transportation to work and her employer pays for the annual pass. Thanks for the compliment.

      • Ray February 10, 2016, 10:25 am

        Thanks for the info. Amazingly low cost!! This is one area where most households spend a lot of money.

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