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2018 Goals and Financial Wrap Up!

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2018 Goals and Financial Wrap Up!Happy New Year!!! Good riddance 2018, right? Yuk, December was a schizophrenic month on the stock market. Luckily, I missed most of it because I flew to Thailand right before the craziness started. Actually, my luck wasn’t that great because I had a tough time selling stocks once I was in Thailand. I wanted to take some capital loss deduction this year and I should have sold before I left. Vanguard made it difficult to log in from Thailand so there was a delay. Eventually, I was able to sell some shares, but the market already tanked by then. Oh well, I plan to buy most of them back in January (Wash Sale Rule) so it’s not really a big deal. Anyway, I didn’t pay much attention to the stock market because I was busy visiting families and having fun. That’s really the best policy when the stock market is volatile. The more you look at it, the more you’ll want to do something. It’s better to stick with your strategy and ride it out.

On the personal side, December was a great month for us. I’m here in Thailand with my mom and RB40Jr for 5 weeks. My mom was diagnosed with dementia in 2018 and she was having a really difficult time in Portland. We’re here to find a better living arrangement for her. Thailand has been really good for her so far. The familiar faces and environment help her feel better and she is less stressed out than in the US. Her dementia symptoms are much less severe here. Hopefully, this will last a while.

Currently, she is living with my dad in Chiang Mai. The city changed a ton over the last 10 years. It’s bustling with tourists and the traffic is jammed up all the time. Actually, I’m quite impressed. There are nice malls, condos, food courts, restaurants, coffee shops, theaters, and more. I wouldn’t mind living here for a few years after Mrs. RB40 retires. The cost of living is lower than Portland and our savings would stretch much further. I think we can live a very comfortable lifestyle here for about half what we spend in Portland.

On to the goals! Whew, I’m glad 2018 is over. It’s been a tough year for us on many fronts. For example, we had more problems than usual with our rentals. The night before I left, our renter called and told me the GFCI outlet in the bathroom is broken. I asked Mrs. RB40 to take care of it and left. She had a hard time with this and hired someone to fix it. Also, we had some vacancy early in the year. Next year, I plan to consolidate down to just one property and cash out. There are various other minor problems too.

The second half of the year was tough on the personal front due to my mom’s health. 2018 was just a rough year. I plowed on with most of my goals, though. Check out my goal sheet. I’ll share the details of our net worth and cash flow afterward.

2018 Goals

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. I wasn’t too optimistic about 2018 because so many things were happening. However, it turned out pretty good. I accomplished a few goals, mark some off as fails, and got partial credit for the rest. You can get a quick status update from the chart and then see the details below.

EOY goalsheet

Financial Goals

  1. Increase our real estate crowdfunding investment to $100,000. Incomplete. We ran into a speed bump here. RealtyShares stopped accepting new investments so I need to sign up with a new company next year. Fortunately, our existing investments are all doing well. In 2018, we had $2,156 of passive income from RE crowdfunding. That’s not bad at all. You can read more about my investments at the real estate crowdfunding page. I will keep working on this goal next year.
  2. FI ratio > 100%. A! The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. Our FI ratio is 95for 2018. Whew! It was stuck around 80% for a while. The Q4 dividend payout really helped. It’s still under 100%, but we kept it close. Some years are just harder than others. We’ll do better next year. There are some bargains on the stock market now and I should be able to increase our passive income next year.
  3. Increase bond/cash allocation to 30%. A! Increasing our bond/cash allocation to 30% would beef up our opportunity fund. I took my time with this and it was a mistake. I should have done it in the summer instead of waiting. Currently, our bond/cash allocation is up to 28.3%. That’s pretty close and I’m happy with our progress. I’ll give myself an A in this goal. Next year, I will probably tilt more toward equity again once the stock market starts to recover.
  4. 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 to check on my mom.

Blog Goals

  1. Minor Redesign RB40Done! This one was really difficult to do. I just didn’t the expertise to accomplish it easily. 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 hire someone to install a new theme next year to improve the site even more.
  2. 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.
  3. Blog revenue $100,000. B-… This goal was a difficult one so I’m grading it on an academic scale. Making $100,000 from blogging is big league. I’m not quite there yet. Also, our revenue dropped sharply in Q4. We barely crossed over the $80,000 line. Whew, at least I didn’t get a C. Anyway, 2018 was my best year so far so I can’t complain too much. You can see more details on my Blog Income page. Thank you for your support. I really appreciate it.

Personal Goals

  1. Join Toastmasters. FAIL! I visited a local club and it was a good experience. However, there were too many things going on in my life. My mom needed help with her health. Also, when school was out during the summer, I spent more time with RB40Jr. I couldn’t squeeze Toastmasters into my schedule. This will have to be put off until RB40Jr is a lot more independent.
  2. Not paying for leaf removal. Done! I DIY-ed the leaf removal this year.
  3. Consolidate down to one property. WIP! 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. Although, it looks like I might be able to get it done in 2019. Stay tuned for more news about our rentals.

Fun Goal

  1. Visit Iceland. Done! Iceland was incredible. I got some nice pictures so check out my Iceland trip report.

Okay! I’m pretty happy with my 2018 goals. I accomplished more than I thought. It was looking iffy for a while. There are 2 fails and an incomplete, but that’s life. The academic grades were pretty good too. Three As and a B. I’m good with that. 😉

Net Worth (-1.5% in 2018)

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 had a volatile December and our net worth reflects that. We’re down -1.5% in 2018. That’s disappointing, but it could have been a lot worse. 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 down -6.2% for the year (adjusted for the dividend.) Whew, one month made a huge difference. We’re winning. Woohoo! Actually, that’s not really good news. Our net worth is bound to decrease with VFINX going down. Let’s hope for a better 2019.

Here is a graph of our investment portfolio on Personal Capital. 2018 was a tough year for investors. December pulled everything down.

2018 investment

*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 ($57,928 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.

2018 Passive Income

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. Next year, I’ll remove P2P lending from this sheet. It’s negligible now.

2o19 will be a year of change for us. If all goes well, we’ll sell off our rental properties so we won’t have the rental income anymore. The proceeds will be invested in dividend stocks and RE crowdfunding so those incomes should increase. Our cost of living should decrease too. We’ll just have to see how it goes. I’m not really sure how to account for real estate gains either. Should it be a part of passive income? If so, our FI ratio should look really nice in 2019. Taxes will be tough to figure out too.

2019 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 of 2018.

2018 cash flow

*I found some discrepancies in the numbers, but I did my best. I’ll have to wait until I get back home to figure it out. It’s too difficult to go over all the accounts in a coffee shop. I think it’s pretty close so we’ll just go with this for now.

Take Home Income (target > $120,000)

For 2018, our monthly take-home income target is $10,000. That’s $120,000 annually. We handily beat this and took home $162,882. My blog income was quite good in 2018. Our passive income was great too. All in all, we did very well on the income side of the equation this year.

Next year, I’ll use gross income here instead of takehome. Takehome is not quite correct here because I still have the 401k on the expense side of the equation.

  • RB40’s paychecks: $74,479. Mrs. RB40 had a solid year and she plans to continue working until 2020. Next year should be the same here.
  • Blog Income: $62,460. 2018 was our best year yet. I seriously doubt we will make this much income next year. You can read more details on my Blog Income pageRB40Jr 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: $8,999. Our rental income was okay in 2018 even with some vacancy and repairs. I’m pretty happy with this. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
  • Dividend Income: $14,164. More details at my Dividend Passive Income page.
  • Real estate crowdfunding: $2,156. This income is looking good. I’m very happy with this. It just needs to hold up over the life of the investment. Read more at my Real Estate Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Interest Income: $289.
  • Misc:$1,105. Survey, gifts, etc…

Monthly Expenses (target > $4,800)

For 2018, our monthly spending budget is $4,800/month. That’s $57,600 per year. Unfortunately, we blew past that and spent $60,835. For me, the standout expense was the HVAC. We spent nearly $8,000 to replace our HVAC. If we didn’t have that expense, we’d still be under budget. I guess I need to budget better for home repairs.

For 2019, I’m not sure what our expense will look like. We’re planning to move and that’s always an expensive proposition. I also plan to travel to Thailand to check on my mom. That’s not cheap either. I guess we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully, we can keep it under $60,000 next year.

  • Housing: $28,420. Ugh! I hate this category. We spend way too much on housing. We have HOA, property tax, mortgage, and more. I hope our housing expense will decrease after we move, but I’m not sure. Portland isn’t cheap anymore.
  • Groceries: $5,680. We spent quite a bit on groceries in 2018. We could eat out every day in Thailand with this budget. A cheap casual meal cost just a few bucks and a nicer meal in a restaurant cost $5 to $10. The food is awesome too. I’m about ready to move. 🙂 Check them out! (Of course, you can spend a lot more if you go to a fancy restaurant.)

Khoa Soi

Khoa Soi – Curry noodle with chicken. This one cost a little over $1. You can expect to pay about $15 in Portland for one that’s bigger, but not as delicious.

Isan Sausage

Isan Sausage – This sausage is stuffed with rice and fermented pork. It usually cost around 30 cents each.

Tom Yum

Tom Yum soup, Fried wings, and a whole fish – This meal was about $17. That’s not bad for 4 people.

grilled chicken

Charcoal grilled chicken and sticky rice – This lunch cost us about $7. The chicken was awesome. It was perfectly juicy and tender. American chickens are just too big. Thai chickens are so much better. This was at a roadside shack so it was a relatively cheap meal on our road trip.

Khoa Mun Gai

Khoa Mun Gai aka Hainanese chicken – OMG, this meal was so delicious and it cost just a buck! This Khoa Mun Gai in Chonburi was so much better than in Portland. It’s incredible people pay $11 to eat an inferior dish there. It’s sad. I’m never eating Khoa Mun Gai in the US again.

Follow me on Instagram if you’d like to see more of my unglamorous early retirement lifestyle.

  • Transportation: $1,254. We share one car and we usually don’t drive much. I filled up a couple of times last month. This category works pretty well for us.
  • Kid: $762. This includes clothing, activities, toys, and various other things for RB40Jr. I think we did okay here in 2018.
  • Pet: $130. We have one cat.
  • Bills: $2,978. Electricity and insurance (auto, home, term life, and umbrella.) This seems like a lot of money to me, but that’s part of living in the US.
  • Health: $1,956. Gym membership fee and co pay for various doctor visits. I guess we did okay here too. We’re still young so we don’t have a ton of healthcare bills.
  • Cash: $460. We didn’t withdraw much cash in 2018.
  • Travel: $9,836. We traveled to Iceland and Thailand in 2018. Iceland was a very expensive trip. I think this expense will come way down in 2019. I have some points I can use to help pay for various trips. This current Thailand trip should be relatively cheap. I used some points and we’re staying with families for the most part. Travel hacking is a great way to help pay for trips. See my credit card page if you want to travel more for less. I just signed up for the Capital One Savor and got $500 bonus. Sign up before the bonus expires if you want the same deal. See my credit card page.
  • Clothing: $1,574. Whoa, we spent a lot of money on clothing this year. I blame Mrs. RB40 for this expense. Heh heh.
  • Entertainment: $316. Okay, this one seems low. I guess we didn’t spend a lot on entertainment this year.
  • Misc and HVAC: This is mostly the HVAC.
  • Pre-Tax Savings: $75,000. This is one of the discrepancies. I’m having a tough time adding up the figures because I can’t log on to Vanguard today. I’ll have to fix it when I get back. It’s pretty close to this.
  • Extra Savings: $27,817. I rounded the numbers out with this. It’s a bit off and I’ll have to fix it later.

2018 Savings

We saved $102,817 in 2018. That’s quite a bit of saving, but our net worth is down -1.5%. It isn’t ideal, but that’s investing. It’s hard to make any headway when the stock market corrects. I’m not too worried, though. The stock market should recover in the long term. For now, we’ll just focus on saving and investing as much as we could. It’ll pay off when we’re 65.

  • Joe’s 401k: $40,680 (Some of this was 2017 contributions that I made in February.)
  • Mrs. RB40’s 401k: $18,500
  • Roth IRA: $11,000
  • 529 college savings: $4,600
  • Extra savings: $27,817

The extra savings was invested in real estate crowdfunding and dividend stocks.

2018 Wrap Up

All in all, we got through a challenging 2018 without hurting too much. Our net worth dropped a bit, but it could have been much worse. Our cash flow was good overall. The annual expense was higher than expected, but I think we’ll improve next year. On the income side, it was fantastic in 2018. Unfortunately, I doubt my online income will be this high in 2019. Business is already slowing way down and I’ll need to figure out how to improve it.

I’m not too worried, though. Our expense is modest and our income is way higher than that. Unless something drastic happens, we should be fine in 2019. I’ll focus on increasing our passive income through dividend stocks and RE crowdfunding next year. I’m optimistic for 2019.

Did you have a good 2018? Did you accomplish all your goals? It’s okay if you didn’t. Let’s wrap it up and start over with 2019. Happy New Year!

*Sign up for a free account at Personal Capital to help manage your investments. I log in almost every day to check on my accounts and cash flow. It’s a great site for DIY investors.

Disclosure: We may receive a referral fee if you sign up with a service through the links on this page.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he couldn't stomach the corporate BS.

Joe left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle. See how he generates Passive Income here.

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 DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.

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{ 60 comments… add one }
  • Katrin December 31, 2018, 2:03 am

    Even if 2018 was sometimes rough for you, it sounds to me like you set up a real big win this year with deciding to take your mom back to Thailand. So Happy New Year and many prosperous returns to you and your family. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your life on this blog!

    Katrin

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 5:49 pm

      Thank you for your support. Lots of people disagreed with this move, but I’m really glad we did it. My mom is so much better here. I just hope it lasts at least a few years. It’d be great if she keeps improving. Happy New Year!

      • Pennypincher January 2, 2019, 5:14 am

        Brilliant move for your mom, Joe. We’ve always loved your thinking, logic, planning. Helps us all.

  • Ernie Zelinski December 31, 2018, 2:33 am

    Overall, I think that you did great. The majority of families in the US and Canada would love to be in your situation in net income and net worth. I am writing a book on gratitude and one of the points I will be making is that it is just as important to be grateful in bad times as in good times. Recently, I did a calculation of my total income between the start of 1981 and the start of 1991 and it was between $77,000 and $80,000. That’s right, I made an average annual income of under $8,000 for ten years, which was under the poverty line for single individuals. Yet I never considered myself poverty stricken.

    As for me net worth in the last year, I am sure that it dropped pretty good. I haven’t checked my dividend stock values for the last three months, however. I made a decent income again for 2018 and that’s what counts. If I keep making the same income for the next 10 or 20 years I could lose all my net worth and still live well.

    I just signed up for a Blues Cruise out of San Diego for October 2019 that will cost me a total of $8,000 Canadian. In May I am also going to see Eric Clapton at the Royal Albert Hall in London England, flying International Business Class, and taking a friend on VIP tickets that cost $750 each. Before that, however, I am flying to Honolulu in the second week of February for a week. A week before that I will be having a book launch for my new book called “The Joy of Being Retired: 365 Reasons Why Retirement Rocks – and Work Sucks!” ( just released on Amazon’s POD here at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1927452058/ ) that will cost me $1,500 to $2,000 to host.

    Insofar as my main goal for 2019, it’s “To bring back Dignity to being a Bum – along with a lot of Swagger.”

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 5:51 pm

      Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s hard to be grateful when times are tough, but there are always people with more difficulties. I’m already in a very good situation so I can’t complain at all. Great job on your income. I need to generate this kind of lasting passive income too.
      Have fun on your cruise! You’re really enjoying life to the fullest. I like your main goal for 2019 as well. HNY!

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance December 31, 2018, 2:40 am

    Congrats on a successful year! Your income on all fronts is pretty solid, and the expenses are reasonable in a big city like Portland, I think. Our spending is pretty close to yours. The HVAC replacement is indeed expensive. I’m not look forward to replacing ours any time soon >_<

    The food in Thailand looks so good. And it's cheap too! Whenever I go back to Vietnam, I also try to enjoy the food as much as possible. But I have to pay attention to the food safety though because it can get pretty bad in VN @[email protected]

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 5:53 pm

      Thank you! Our income was great in 2018, but it’ll be lower next year. Well, maybe not. If we sell our rentals, those will be taxed. 🙁
      The food in Thailand is awesome. I haven’t had any problem yet. I think the food safety is pretty good here. If you stick to cooked food, you should be fine. I didn’t know food safety is an issue in Vietnam. We’ll have to watch out when we visit.

  • Dave @ Accidental FIRE December 31, 2018, 3:32 am

    Looks like you still had a great year and the fact that your Mom is doing better in Thailand is the most important thing. Happy New Year Joe!

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 5:54 pm

      Thanks! I’m really happy that my mom is better in Thailand. It was the best decision we made in 2018. Happy New Year!

  • Tom @ Dividends Diversify December 31, 2018, 4:38 am

    Happy New Year Joe. Looking forward to seeing what you do with dividend stocks in 2019. There are a lot of nice dividend yields out there now that the market has pulled back. Tom

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 5:54 pm

      Happy New Year to you as well. Dividend stocks are looking much better now, but I feel the market will keep heading lower for a bit. Maybe another 10%?

  • Pennypincher December 31, 2018, 4:39 am

    Those GFCI outlets take alot of use, wear and tear everyday. Not surprised it broke.
    Man!! I’m surprised you sold, stocks are for the long term. Last time the Govt. shutdown, I panicked beforehand and moved more stocks into bonds. I wish I hadn’t done that! No more panic moves, I say. Long term thinking is better for us all.
    So amazing about your mom doing better.
    I want to know how the leaf removal went, ha,ha!
    Those food shots, Joe! Holy smokes!
    Thank you for sharing, caring and helping us all w/your blog this past year, RB40 family!!

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 5:59 pm

      I wanted to take some capital loss deduction. That’s free money, why not? Well, if the stock market rises during the 30 days, then I’ll lose some money. We’ll see how it goes. I’m pretty good now, though. I’ll stand pat until I see some opportunities.
      The leaf removal wasn’t very exciting. I just went and swept up the leaves 4-5 times. It wasn’t that difficult because we had a dry fall and early winter. 🙂
      Thank you for your support! I really appreciate it.

  • Steps To Early Retirement December 31, 2018, 5:05 am

    Congratulations on your income goals!! With respect to some of the more challenging items you mentioned it sounds like you managed through them well and could look forward to the new year.

    Your income from the blog is incredible!! Hopefully one day I’ll get close to that level. I read through your blogging posts and learned a lot!! Thank you for that!

    Good luck in 2019!!

    Ernest

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 6:00 pm

      Thank you! I’m pretty sure my blog income will drop a lot next year. It takes a lot of effort to maintain that kind of income. I’ll be happy if I can make $50,000 next year. Happy New Year!

  • Young And The Invested December 31, 2018, 5:29 am

    You did fairly well on your goals for the year, market turbulence aside. I’d say you managed to perform well in spite of that.

    I need to make my own goals for 2019 professionally, personally, and for my blog. That’s what I plan to do tomorrow on my day off from work. New year’s resolutions are big in my household, so I’ll need to be very thoughtful with what I write.

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 6:01 pm

      Thank you! Good luck on 2019. I’ll work on my goals this week too. Cheers.

  • Xrayvsn December 31, 2018, 7:28 am

    Have a wonderful new year Joe. I am glad Thailand is workout out for your mother.

    I love that part of the world. The food is amazing and the cost of living is low. I went to Bali a couple of years ago and it was really tempting to move there (the humidity was the only thing I needed to get used to)

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 6:02 pm

      Thank you! Thailand has been great for my mom. It’s pretty amazing. I hope she continues to improve. The environment in the US just didn’t work for her.
      I’m ready to move to Thailand… Mrs. RB40 and Junior aren’t. So I’ll have to wait a while. 🙁

      • Pennypincher January 2, 2019, 5:29 am

        Living in these states can be pretty miserable sometimes. Not easy for any of us.
        I’m even embarrassed to say I’m from here half the time, ha,ha.

  • Susan @ FI Ideas December 31, 2018, 8:17 am

    My favorite part of this is when you say “The stock market should recover in the long term. For now, we’ll just focus on saving and investing as much as we could. It’ll pay off when we’re 65.” 65! You’re making me laugh as you are already retired and that age is so classic as the “normal” retirement. But the sentiment of continuing to stick with the market through thick and thin is good advice.

    Glad all is going well with your Mom. I love the food pictures. Happy New Year!

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 6:04 pm

      I still have 20 years left in the market so I don’t mind have a large part of our allocation in the stock market. It should be fine over the long haul. In the short term, I’ll probably keep some asset in cash/bond. I’ll change our asset allocation to 90/10 soon. 😉
      Thank you & Happy New Year!

  • Tigermom December 31, 2018, 8:53 am

    Best wishes and happy New Year! I am glad your mom is doing better, I hope this sticks for her. My parents are also more stable, and one of my siblings joined us for Christmas, so that was nice for them.

    Thank you for sharing your life, it makes a difference for me, you are a light for the world!
    Tigermom

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 6:05 pm

      Great to hear that your parents are doing better.
      It’s amazing how much better my mom is doing in Thailand. I’m really glad we came sooner than planned. I was going to move her next summer. That would have been worse for her health.
      Thank you for your support!

  • Adam @ Minafi.com December 31, 2018, 9:49 am

    Whew, your spending always seems impressively low for how much you’re doing. $60k is pretty much my goal for the new year haha. I’ll be excited to see your 2019 goals!

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 6:09 pm

      Thanks! I think $60k is moderate. We’ll try to decrease it next year by moving to a less expensive home. We’ll see if that works out. Happy New Year!

  • David @iretiredyoung December 31, 2018, 10:07 am

    Best wishes for the new year Joe, and I look forward to following the next steps in your early retirement journey in 2019.

  • Financial Samurai December 31, 2018, 12:41 pm

    So glad your mom is enjoying living back in Thailand! Great news. I worry about my parents and I do want them to live their best lives possible.

    Hope your dad and mom can take care of each other. Familiar surroundings must do a kind good!

    HNY!

    S

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 6:11 pm

      Thanks! My mom is doing so well here in Thailand. It’s amazing. Life is just easier. Being in a familiar environment and seeing friendly faces help a lot too. I hope my mom and dad can take care of each other for 10 years. After that, I can spend a lot more time in Thailand.
      Happy New Year!

  • mary w December 31, 2018, 1:28 pm

    Things can never be too bad when savings, in all its forms, is by far your largest budget category. Three times as much as your next largest category – housing!

    How did the leaf raking work out? How did the conversation go? Did you do your section of the yard and your neighbors did the rest? Or did you all in-source it?

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 6:14 pm

      You’re right. I’m very happy with our saving in 2018. My blog income was good so it was easy to save. Next year will be much more difficult.
      I went to sweep up the leaves 5-6 times, but didn’t have a conversation with my neighbors. They are renting out their home. From what I understand, I did my side and they hired someone to do the rest. This happened after I left for our trip so…

  • Dr. McFrugal December 31, 2018, 3:46 pm

    Ahhh, your food pictures are mouth watering. I still have dreams of eating khao soi in Thailand. Mmmm so good!

    If you’re still in Chiang Mai, check out Taste From Heaven. It’s our favorite vegan restaurant in Thailand.

    And great job in the savings department. $102,817 is an impressive amount of money to save for a retired person 😉

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2018, 6:15 pm

      I love the food here. It’s great and so cheap compares to the US. There are expensive restaurants too, but we rarely go to those.
      I’ll look up Taste from heaven.
      Happy New Year!

  • Helen December 31, 2018, 8:08 pm

    Hi Joe, I like to visit Thailand some day, and try the food there. Yeah, 2018 has been a volatile year for stock market. I was thinking about doing the Roth IRA conversion again this year in December. But due to this unexpected trip in China, I had to give up. I’ll do it in 2019 for sure. Hope your mom likes the place, and you folks have a great time there. Happy New Year!

    • retirebyforty January 2, 2019, 4:49 am

      Hi Helen, You should come visit Thailand. It’s a lot of fun. There are a ton of Chinese tourists here. Although, I hear there is less this year. It seems like the Chinese tourism industry is tightening up due to economy and Trump. Take care of yourself. Happy New Year!

  • Mr. Tako January 1, 2019, 2:25 am

    Congrats on meeting many of your goals in 2018 Joe. Impressive all around!

    Here’s to 2019! Happy New Year, and best of luck to you!

    • retirebyforty January 2, 2019, 4:49 am

      Thank you! It looks like you did very well with your finance. Nice job! Happy NY!

  • WTK January 1, 2019, 2:38 am

    Hi Joe,

    Glad to know that your mom is faring better in Thailand. I think that you know the best options for me based on the current circumstance.

    I note that your networth decreased for this year. I am of view that this is just a temporary circumstance due to the ongoing volatile market. Keep invested, is the way to go and I believe that your networth will return to the positive when the market recovers in time to come.

    All the best to you and your family in 2019.

    WTK

    • retirebyforty January 2, 2019, 4:50 am

      It’s no fun to see our net worth decrease, especially since we saved so much this year. That’s just life, though. Now is the time to buy.
      Best wishes and Happy New Year.

  • Shels January 1, 2019, 11:14 am

    Your bills are so low! What about other bills like cell phone, internet, etc….I didn’t see those listed.
    You did great on 2018! Your mom is also blessed to have a son who takes such good care of her.
    Here’s to a fantastic 2019!

    • retirebyforty January 2, 2019, 4:51 am

      I offloaded some of those to the business account. I use my cell phone and internet for business pretty much 100% of the time.
      Thank you for your support. Happy New Year to you as well.

  • Mom Money Map January 1, 2019, 4:26 pm

    Hi Joe! I’m a new reader to your blog. I’m impressed by your detailed numbers and thoughtful insights in your wrap up! Thanks for sharing your experiences. Hope all goes well with your mom. That’s a tough situation. Wishing you and your family all the best in the new year.

    • retirebyforty January 2, 2019, 4:51 am

      Thank you and happy new year to you as well. I hope my mom continues to improve. Cheers.

  • Pennypincher January 2, 2019, 6:15 am

    Joe, one more thing-if you space out your Thailand visits to, say, every eight months, instead of six, you will save some $ over the long haul. I hope this doesn’t sound cheap or like you are cheating your mom.
    With my mom in the nursing home w/dementia, we go every weekend, so it seems more like twice a week. Sadly, the moment we leave, she doesn’t ever remember us being there. Sad reality, but true. Hope this helps.

    • retirebyforty January 3, 2019, 3:57 pm

      We’ll have to evaluate it again. I can’t take RB40Jr out of school too much once 3rd grade begins. They have standardized tests and such. Realistically, it’ll probably be once per year in the summer. My mom is pretty good right now. Hopefully, she’ll be stable for a while. Best wishes.

  • Mr. Groovy January 2, 2019, 11:12 am

    Me like. Hope to get to Chiang Mai in 2020. This year Australia beckons. So glad young Mr. RB40 has the Roth going. Awesome!

    • retirebyforty January 3, 2019, 3:55 pm

      Chiang Mai is great. But I’m not sure if you’ll like it. It’s very busy. There are a ton of tourists and traffic jams now. There are many benefits, though. Happy New Year.

  • Wice January 2, 2019, 4:17 pm

    This stock market volatility has been a bumpy ride lately ! Gotta agree; the more you look at it and analyse, the more you wan’t to take action and quench the losses. It’s easy to sit on your hands if your not watching it too closely. Taking the capital losses is a good idea if it helps with the tax – I’m sure there will be some good opportunities for buy back this year. Hopefully 2019 brings better returns!

    • retirebyforty January 3, 2019, 3:54 pm

      The volatility is pretty scary. If you watch the stock market drops 3% every day, you’ll feel like you have to do something. I’ll ignore it until we get back, then I’ll shop for some dividend deals. Happy New Year.

  • Tawcan January 3, 2019, 1:20 pm

    The stock market volatility is here to stay for a while I think, should be an interesting year when it comes to stocks.

    Boy I need to visit Thailand one of these days and enjoy all that delicious and cheap food! They look amazing.

    Goals wise you did very well. 95% FI ratio is pretty amazing!

    • retirebyforty January 3, 2019, 3:52 pm

      I think you’re right. Investors just have to buckle up and enjoy it.
      Thailand is great, I’m ready to move here. 🙂

  • Tom January 3, 2019, 7:58 pm

    It is amazing that you have added more than 100k to your accounts This year. With YTD down 62k, the total amount down is about 160k which is about 10% of your total asset. I thought you have more than 20% cash/bond and mostly in index fund. With sp500 down about 5% this year, how could you be down more than that? Thanks.

    • retirebyforty January 4, 2019, 8:07 pm

      Hi Tom, I took a closer look and the culprit was international index funds. They’re down more than sp500. I have about 30% in international equities. That’ll teach me to invest outside of the US, right?

  • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early January 3, 2019, 9:16 pm

    You’re killing me with all those food pictures. Thai food has been a favorite of mine pretty much all my life and I would happily eat my way through Thailand.

    Glad to hear your mom is doing so well.

    • retirebyforty January 4, 2019, 8:09 pm

      The food here is so good and cheap. A local meal cost just $1-2 each. I probably wouldn’t cook much if we live in Thailand. 🙂
      Thanks.

  • Todd at Invested Wallet January 4, 2019, 4:35 pm

    This was some serious in-depth material and loved it! Just finally been checking out your site.

    Looks like 2018 was a pretty good year and blog income is awesome! Hope to make a just a fraction of that in 2019.

    My good friend just got back from Thailand and said how great it was. Now on my bucket list to visit.

    • retirebyforty January 4, 2019, 8:10 pm

      Thanks! 2018 was a banner year in many ways. I don’t think we can match it in 2019. I’ll try, though.
      Thailand is great. I wouldn’t mind living here for a few years. 🙂

  • Aaron Abrahams January 6, 2019, 12:53 pm

    How do you only spend $130 on your cat all year?

    • retirebyforty January 6, 2019, 5:42 pm

      That’s just kitty litter from the pet store. We buy cat food when we go grocery shopping so that’s part of grocery. It’s too much work to keep track of cat food expense…

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