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November 2013 Goals and Financial Update

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November Highlights and Lowlights

The holiday season is here. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I didn’t even spend any money at all on Black Friday weekend. I just had a relaxing weekend at home and enjoyed family time. Mrs. RB40 on the other hand braved Black Friday to get a few small gifts for her coworkers. Christmas is coming up soon and I hope everyone is ready for it.

  • New Year’s Resolutions – I’m done with my 2013 goals! Well, the ones that I really wanted to get done anyway. I’ll give a full update on this soon.
  • Vacation – Mrs. RB40 wanted to go visit her family so we’re heading down to Southern CA. I should have anticipated this and started the whole travel hacking experiment sooner. Oh well…
  • Online Income – We had a great month in November. Things are going very well on this side and I couldn’t be happier. I will break down the online income in our monthly newsletter so if you’re curious, sign up with our email list.
  • Rental Income  – Woohoo! We had a small positive month at +$311. I also just had the roof moss removed so we will start December off in a -$450 hole. We should still have positive cash flow for 2013 though.
  • P2P income from Prosper was a little low in November at $63. The ROI dropped slowly to settle at 8.33% this month. I really hope we don’t go any lower than 8%. We should be seeing around $80/month on average.
  • Dividend and interest income – The 2nd month of the quarter is always the low month. We collected $354 in November. Next month should be better because many mutual funds pay out in December.

Net Worth (+20% YTD, +1.1% MTM)

The stock market continues its torrid run up in November and the S&P500 ended up about +4%. Our net worth increased 20% so far in 2013 and that’s mind boggling. I only expected 5-10% increase and it’s great to blow past expectations.

If you need help keeping track of your finances, try using Personal Capital to manage your budget and net worth. It can help you keep track of your income, expenses, and net worth, all in one place. Personal Capital is geared for investors and has many great tools. See my review of Personal Capital and how they helped me reduce what I’m paying in investment fees.

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Surplus (+$25,498 YTD)

Our expense was a little over our budget in November. I think it’s time to increase our expense budget because we’ve been pushing the boundary quite often this year. The good news is our income increased more so it worked out.

Our saving this month is +$3,280.

Piggy Bank 2013

  • Earmarked for the 529: $0. We contributed $10,000 to RB40 Junior’s 529 fund, so we’re done with this one for the year.
  • Travel fund: $0. We are pretty much done with our travel this year.
  • Fun money: $1,000
  • Investment/Slush Fund: +$3,280 = $12,214. All of this will go into my solo 401(k).
  • Taxes$2,666. We are done with taxes until next April. From my estimate, we probably need to send in around $1,000 next year.

Cash Flow

November cash flowIncome (target > $4,500)

On the income side, we had another great month. The online income in particular seems to be holding its own. Total take home this month was +$7,374. That’s much better than our target.

  • Rentals: The good news is we had a positive month with the rentals. We’ll end 2013 with a small positive (less than $1,000.) I’m getting a little impatient with the rate of improvement though. I’ll give them one more year. If 2014 doesn’t go well, then it’ll probably be time to sell and take some profit.
  • P2P lending: Our ROI dropped to 8.33%. It’s slowly drifting down and I’m getting disappointed here, too. I’m concerned about what will happen when the economy turns south. The default rate will rise and I don’t know if the ROI will really drop then. At least it’s very passive now.  See my last update – Peer to Peer Lending Is A Pretty Good Passive Investment.
  • Dividend and interest: November was pretty slow, but December should be much better. I sold Shell so I could take some stock loss deduction. I’m planning to pick a few shares back up if it drops to around $68.
  • Online income was great in November (+$4,142.) Thank you for supporting us and signing up for products I wrote about. I will break down the income in the monthly Retire By 40 Newsletter, so sign up now if you haven’t yet (at the top of this post.)
  • Misc income: Mrs. RB40 sold a bunch of baby stuff on Craigslist and made $120. Great job!

Expense (target < $4,000, not including tax)

We spent $4,095 in November. That’s a little over our target of $4,000. The reality is we have to raise our expense budget next year. It’s been $4,000 since I first started this series 2 years ago. Now we have more recurring expenses like preschool, gym, and life insurance. Inflation is no fun.

Cash and groceries: We spent a bit more than usual this month ($776) due to Thanksgiving. We splurged a bit and had a great holiday.

Transportation: Back to normal and only filled up once in November.

RB40 Junior: $171 for a new preschool. $40 for childcare at the gym. $46 for Christmas gifts. This category will go up a bit now that he is in preschool.

Misc: $466. This is for our flight down to southern CA later this month. That’s not too bad for 3 tickets.

Wrap Up November

We did great with our income in November. However, our expense is still near the limit on our budget. This is a lesson in inflation. Expense will go up even if you are frugal. You need to make sure your income increases in retirement as well.

How about you? Did you have a good month? Any progress on your New Year Goals and Resolutions?

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{ 32 comments… add one }

  • Maverick December 4, 2013, 12:31 am

    Looks like RB40 is in excellent position. BTW, what specific treatment was used used to remove the roof moss? (I’m looking for a good DIY treatment that does not include bleach.) Thanks in advance! FYI, I’m still into my first month of RW trial with the Moto X and $10 plan…so far so good. Only one call was dropped on cell while I was in a basement with no signal bars. I’m thinking of killing the land line also, but I don’t know where I should sent the calls; to my cell or my wife’s cell.

    • retirebyforty December 4, 2013, 9:30 am

      Here is what the guy did.
      – Removed moss from roof (hand brushed). $300.00
      – Cleaned gutters and checked downspouts. $75.00
      – Treated roof w/12lb. zinc sulfate Liq. Apl. sprayed. $75.00
      – Total = $450.00
      The moto X sounds good. I’ll keep it in mind when I need to upgrade.

      • Maverick December 4, 2013, 12:45 pm

        Ah, zinc sulfate was sprayed on…thanks for the info. FYI, I read that installing a strip of copper or zinc plated strip sticking out past the top course of shingles was a preventative method as well. The theory is that when it rains, a very small amount of copper or zinc will wash down the roof with the rain and prevent any moss/mold from forming on the shingles below. Especially useful on the roofs with northern exposure.

  • Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle December 4, 2013, 4:00 am

    My electricity bill just went up 3%, city council is planning a property tax increase of 3%. Gas is about $1.17 a litre all the time now and I don’t think it will ever get under $1.10 a litre again. I am working on my 2014 budget and goals and will have to cut back on debt payments and savings to pay for the increases.

    How is the new nursery school going? Both of my boys loved school all the way along and the positive nursery school experience got them very enthused about school and they are both doing well at university.

    • retirebyforty December 4, 2013, 9:32 am

      Sorry to hear that. Our expenses is growing too. We’re really lucky that our income is increasing.
      The new preschool is going really well. Now he doesn’t want to go home when I go pick him up. It’s great for him to play with kids his age.

  • Moneycone December 4, 2013, 5:00 am

    Terrific Joe! I too am interested to know what you used to remove roof moss?

    Clothes and shoes for my toddler costs more than what it costs for me! But then that is expected! But they are cute and fun aren’t they?!

    • retirebyforty December 4, 2013, 9:33 am

      See my answer above about the roof moss.
      We don’t buy a lot of clothes for our kid, but he goes through a lot of shoes. They get messed up really quickly because he ran around so much and he is really rough on them.

  • Great job on your income and net worth increase! Great job making so much online as well. I signed up for email updates so I could get the inside scoop =)

    • retirebyforty December 4, 2013, 9:33 am

      I’ll get it out next week. 🙂

  • The Warrior December 4, 2013, 6:20 am

    Congrats on another great month.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing your online income report. I’ve somewhat established a base for NWW, but need to start generating some income (any income) going forward.

    Congrats again and keep at it!

    The Warrior

    • retirebyforty December 4, 2013, 9:34 am

      Sign up for my newsletter to see the online income report. 🙂

  • Jeff December 4, 2013, 8:24 am

    Looks like everything is going fine for you joe. I remember you mentioning considering selling the 4 plex a few months back – is that still in the cards?
    Either way, good luck!

    • retirebyforty December 4, 2013, 1:08 pm

      I’m still thinking about it. The problem is I don’t know what to invest in once I get the proceed. The stock market seems high at this point. Maybe it’ll be better to wait for a bear market.

  • FI Fighter December 4, 2013, 8:46 am


    Good to see the rental becoming cash flow this year, even if just slightly. If you do sell after 2014, will you see a good profit in regards to appreciation? If so, it might make sense to sell and do a 1031 exchange into another property that cash flows better. I’m contemplating making this move on my own Bay Area properties that have appreciated $100k since last year. That’s a lot of equity I want to recapture and invest elsewhere (without being subjected to any taxes!).

    • retirebyforty December 4, 2013, 9:35 am

      We will see a pretty good profit if we sell. I’ll have to do our tax first. We might be under the 15% tax bracket and won’t have to pay long term appreciation tax. We’ll see. 1031 exchange sounds good too, but I heard it scare buyers away.

  • wallet engineer #1 December 4, 2013, 10:12 am

    Looking pretty good as usual. I hope that rental really starts producing for you!

    • retirebyforty December 4, 2013, 1:08 pm

      I hope so too. I’m pretty sure 2014 will be much better.

  • Michelle December 4, 2013, 11:28 am

    Sounds like a good month! I hope December is even better 🙂

    • retirebyforty December 4, 2013, 1:08 pm

      I hope you have a great December too!

  • Done by Forty December 4, 2013, 11:55 am

    Joe, it’s so helpful to have the perspective of someone already in early retirement. A lot of the blogs I read are from those in similar boats as the missus and me: debt pay-down or wealth accumulation. Things like inflation or added expenses from children in early retirement don’t get covered a lot, and it’s invaluable to get breakdowns like these. Thanks again!

    • retirebyforty December 4, 2013, 1:10 pm

      I didn’t think about inflation much either when I was planning for early retirement. Preschool can be really expensive. We’re lucky to get into an affordable place.

  • Justin @ RootofGood December 4, 2013, 2:04 pm

    Looking good man! The combo of your dividends (over the course of the year) plus P2P plus online income is getting you above your expenses. Any chance Mrs RB40 is going to retire early soon? 🙂

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2013, 1:29 am

      No, she doesn’t feel secure yet. She enjoys working anyway. 🙂

  • Micro December 4, 2013, 3:03 pm

    Well, at least your Prosper account is still returning a positive amount. Hopefully you just hit a string of bad notes and it will pick back up.

  • mike December 4, 2013, 5:03 pm

    hi Joe:

    just read your report. Congrats again for a great month. Now if only the rest of us can do good too!

    Seems like your golden ticket has been the online income. Good for you! Ever thought about dropping everything else like the rentals, p2p, dividend , etc and focusing on the blogging full time more or less. Look at MrMoustache. Seems like that guy is making a way decent income from doing it.

    Though with you , you are more modest. It seems that guy never stops bragging about how everything he touches turns to gold 100% of the time, and he’s in bliss.

    Keep up the good work! Its good to hear you’ve made it work so far.

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2013, 1:31 am

      The online income has been really great lately. I hope it will continue, but I’m never sure.
      MMM has a ton more traffic than I do so I’m sure he makes a lot more too.

  • Dividend Mantra December 4, 2013, 5:34 pm


    Keep it up! You’re killing it, especially with the online income.

    You guys are cruising. The passive income is coming in pretty strong, and the expenses are right about what you guys budgeted. You saved a ton of money this year even though you’re no longer chained to the cubicle. Awesome!

    Best regards.

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2013, 1:32 am

      Thanks! I’m pleasantly surprised how well we did this year. We just need to keep it up.

  • Harry December 5, 2013, 10:34 am

    Congrats on your net worth development!
    Question: Can you really make do with $ 700 – 750/month on groceries? Up here in Ontario, I am hard pressed to come in below CAD 1,100/ month for a family of three (and I am not indulging into our ridicuosly expensive beer or wine).

    • retirebyforty December 6, 2013, 6:56 am

      $700 is plenty for groceries. That budget also includes eating out for us.
      I really need to track all purchases one month and see how we spends on groceries.
      We don’t buy a lot of organic stuff and brand names so I guess that keeps the cost down. Actually, we do need to eat more organic.

  • EL @ Moneywatch101 December 5, 2013, 1:06 pm

    Great month once again Joe. I wanted to ask how did you guys handle the craiqlists sales? Through the mail or in person? I have only done ebay and Amazon for selling my stuff.

    • retirebyforty December 6, 2013, 6:54 am

      We handle the sale in person. I think Craigslist is mostly for locals. I only sent one thing through the mail in the past 10 years.

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