Wow, it’s December already and 2016 is coming to a close very quickly. RB40Jr keeps telling us that it is almost Christmas. That’s true, but I’m just not into it at all this year. That’s okay, though. Christmas is Mrs. RB40’s favorite holiday and she doesn’t mind doing all the work to make it an awesome holiday for Junior. We just came back from our 3 week Thailand trip so it’s a bit disorienting to be back. We arrived in the US at 8 pm on Black Friday. It was very strange to see almost no travelers in the passport control area. Usually there is a huge line. Anyway, we’re glad to be back and we’re slowly settling back into our old routines.
November was a bit different for us because we were on the road most of the month. We already paid for most of the trip ahead of time and our expenses look relatively normal. Our grocery bill was down, but our cash withdrawal was up. We used cash to eat out and pay for various tourist activities. All in all, November looks almost like a regular month.
We left the US right before the presidential election and we missed most of the excitement during that period. (We’d sent in our ballots before we left.) The stock market did quite well in November so I can’t complain. I think it was good that we were busy with something else and didn’t worry about the stock market. It will probably be volatile for a while so we need to keep calm and avoid making any big moves in our portfolio.
Okay, let’s see how I’m doing with my 2016 goals and then check our cash flow for November.
Non Financial Goals
Improve Fitness (November result = Pass)
I got a Garmin Vivofit 2 for Christmas last year and I’m using it to track my activity level. It’s been almost a year and I enjoyed using it to track my activity level. It’s not 100% accurate, but it gives me an idea of my activity level. If you’re still looking for a healthy Christmas gift, I’d highly recommend this fitness item. It cost around $80 from Amazon.
In November, I averaged 9,755 steps per day. That’s really awesome! My goal was to average 6,000 steps per day and I blew past that in November. Being on vacation, we didn’t have a car and we walked a lot more than usual. I didn’t go to the gym at all in November, though. I’ll pick it up next week.
Control my triglyceride level (WIP)
Here is another reason I need to exercise regularly – I’m struggling with my hypertriglyceridemia. My doctor increased the dosage of my medication earlier this year, but my triglyceride level is still elevated (around 250). We are making a big push to eat healthier now. I stopped buying beef and we are eating more fish, tofu, poultry, and vegetables. I’ll get a blood test in 2 weeks and see if it improves. We ate way too much in Thailand so my numbers probably aren’t very good at this point.
Try 6 great restaurants (Done!)
We completed this goal in October and we ate at a bunch of really great restaurants in Thailand. It’s been a fantastic gastronomic year for us.
Take an extended trip to Thailand (Done and $6,971 saved)
We had a great vacation and you can read about our 3 weeks Thailand trip here.
Saving for this trip was made easy by Digit. Digit deducted a small amount from my account every few days and I didn’t notice the “stealth” saving at all. Check out my Digit review if you don’t know about them. Our current balance is at $6,971 an increase of $674 in November. This is an awesome way to save for a trip. The balance was more than enough to pay for our trip and we’ll have a bit left over to send to our Roth IRAs. Nice!
Attend a conference – (Done!)
I went to FinCon in September! I had a great trip and met many awesome bloggers. Next time, I will make an effort to talk to the brands more. All in all, it was a great trip. If you are a personal finance blogger, you must go at least once. FinCon will be in Dallas in 2017.
Visit a national park – (Done!)
We went camping at Crater Lake in July. Crater Lake is a caldera lake which resulted from a volcanic eruption and subsequent collapse of the empty magma chamber. It is the deepest lake in the US and the deep blue color is breathtaking. We’ll keep this same goal next year and visit another national park. As a bonus, we stopped at Khao Laem Ya – Ko Samed National Park in Thailand and checked out one of the beach areas.
Start a non-finance website – (Fail)
This one is getting punted to 2017… but I did have some practice writing about travel during our Thailand trip!
Financial Goals (92% of the year is gone..)
Invest $50,000 in our tax advantaged accounts (90% complete)
In November, we saved $3,632 in our tax advantaged accounts. That increased our investment total to $48,833 so far in 2016. We’re doing well with this goal and it should be completed by the end of the year.
Increase Dividends to $11,500 (82% complete)
We received $669 in dividends last month. That’s $9,525 so far in 2016. I don’t think we will complete this goal in 2016. I sold off a few stocks in October to offset some gains. The dividend portfolio has more cash now and I’m looking for some good dividend stocks to invest in. We’ll keep searching for good dividend growth stocks in 2017.
Surpass $50,000 in RB40 Junior’s 529 account (Done!)
RB40Jr’s 529 did okay in October. It’s worth $52,600 and it is holding above the $50,000 line. I’m planning to transfer this account to Vanguard in 2017 to take advantage of their low fees.
Increase Net worth by 3x risk free rate (YTD +12.9%)
The 10-year US government bond yields about 2% in 2016. So my target net worth increase for 2016 is 6%. The stock market did quite well in November and our net worth followed suit. The S&P 500 has gained about 7% so far in 2016. Our net worth increased by about 13% in 2016. That’s including new investments. I’m very happy with our net worth gain so far and I think we’ll easily beat my 6% gain goal in 2016 as long as nothing crazy happens in December.
Here is an interesting graph from Personal Capital. Our investments are dead even with the S&P 500 index. We were ahead earlier, but the market caught up very quickly this month. This tells me that most of our extra gain for 2016 came from the increase in value from our real estate. It’s great to own properties in one of the hottest real estate markets in the US.
If you need help keeping track of your finances, try using Personal Capital to manage your investment accounts. We have many accounts and Personal Capital helps us see the big picture quickly. Also check out their awesome retirement calculator. You can read my review here – The Best Free Retirement Calculator.
Take Home Income (target > $5,000)
Our November income was a little better than average. Everything was firing on all cylinders and we didn’t have any unexpected business expenses. The rental income was good, our online income was better than usual, and our dividend income posted. I only wish it could be like this every month. Our October income was lower than normal so November helped made up for it.
Our take home income for November was $6,751. That’s higher than our target of $5,000 so I’m quite happy.
Mrs. RB40’s Paychecks: $5,254.
Rental income: $666. Hmmm. I guess that’s an unlucky number, but it’s better than being in the red.
Online income: $3,768. My online income in November was higher than usual. We switched advertising networks in October and the payments are starting to come in. 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: $669. Our dividend income was a bit lower than average. I sold some stocks and I’m waiting for the opportunity to reinvest. You can check our dividend portfolio if you want to see the investments.
P2P lending: $35. I’m slowly taking money out of our P2P lending accounts. I’m planning to move the money to RealtyShares next year because I think real estate lending is more secure than uncollateralized lending.
Misc income: $0.
Expense (target < $4,500)
Our expense was $4,144 in November. That’s under budget and quite good considering we were on vacation most of the month. We spent very little money in Thailand because I have many older relatives there. They picked up a lot of the tabs. The only big expense we had in November was the $300 we spent at the Nike employee store. We got a pass from a friend and went a bit crazy there. I shouldn’t have to buy new shoes for 3-4 years, though.
Housing: $2,312. Mortgage, HOA, and property tax.
Cash Allowance: $697. We spent about $600 in Thailand and Cambodia. That’s $300 for 2 days in Cambodia and $300 in Thailand for the rest of the 3 weeks. Cambodia was more expensive because we went to see Angkor Wat.
Groceries: $220. We didn’t spend much on groceries because we were out of town for 3 weeks.
Pet: $200. We paid a friend $200 to help take care of our cat while we were away.
Child/Dependent: $19. We got some fun travel toys for our trip.
Bills: $230. Electricity and insurance (auto, home, term life, and umbrella).
Entertainment: $26. Gym membership fee.
Misc: $305. Most of this was spent at the Nike employee store.
Transportation: $5. Public transportation to the airport.
Extra Savings: $15,289 so far in 2016
We had $2,617 extra in November. We saved $15,289 extra this year. All this will go to our tax advantaged retirement accounts.
- $5,500 each to our Roth IRAs
- Around $4,000 to my i401k as employer contribution.
Can Mrs. RB40 retire?
This is a new section I’m adding for 2017. I want to see what happens if Mrs. RB40 stops working. Basically, I will remove Mrs. RB40’s income from our spreadsheet and stop contributing to our retirement account.
For November 2016, Mrs. RB40 didn’t have to work!
Both our online and rental income was excellent and we’d have a surplus even if she didn’t work. Nice! I’ll keep track of this in 2017 and see how it looks from month to month.
November 2016 Wrap Up
November was a great month considering we were on vacation for most of the month. Our income was good and our expense was reasonable. If every month could be like this, we’d be set. As for December, I think we’ll do pretty well. We’re not going anywhere and we’re not planning to too much on gifts. I’m looking forward to wrapping up 2016 and taking it easy around Christmas.
Did you have a good November? There is only a few weeks left until 2016 is over. Let’s try to finish up our goals and wrap up the year on a good note!
For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.
Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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