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April 2020 Goals and Financial Update

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April 2020 Goals and Financial UpdateHey everyone, I hope you’re doing well. April 2020 was another tough stay-at-home month for many of us. However, some states are starting to open up. I think that’s a good thing. Hopefully, the curve will keep flattening as long as people stick to the physical distancing guideline. For now, Oregon is still in lockdown. Schools and most small businesses are still closed. I heard things will start to open up by May 15th, but that could be just wishful thinking. I’m so ready for RB40Jr to go back to school. Homeschooling has been very difficult for both of us. However, I doubt the school will open until September. We have over 30 kids per class and it’s impossible to keep any kind of distance. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

On the brighter side, we did okay financially. Our income dropped a bit, but it wasn’t too bad. Also, we didn’t spend much money because we didn’t go anywhere. However, we didn’t get our stimulus or tax refund yet. What the heck? I filed pretty late so I guess the IRS is taking a long time to process it. Oh well, that’s how it goes sometimes.

Okay, I’ll go over my goals first and then share the details of our net worth, cash flow, and savings.

2020 Goals

Here is my goal scheduling spreadsheet. It works really well. Try it out if you can’t keep up with your New Year goals. The key is to go over the spreadsheet at least once a month to track your progress. That way, you’ll see which goals need extra effort.

2020 New Year goals

2020 is a tough year for all of us. I started out making reasonable goals and I won’t be able to accomplish many of them. That’s life, though. We’ll have setbacks and some years will be harder than others. We need to get through this crisis the best we can and hope for better days ahead. It’s okay to have lower expectations for 2020.

Financial Goals

  • Real Estate Crowdfunding $150,000.  Earlier this year, I added $25,000 to our RE crowdfunding investment with CrowdStreet. This will be it for a while because we’re low on cash now. During this pandemic, it’s best to conserve cash. I plan to complete this goal by the end of 2021.
  • FI Ratio > 110%. This is my main goal for 2019. The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. Once we reach 100% consistently, then we’ll be set to retire in style. 2020 is going very well for this goal. Our expenses were low and our FI ratio looked great. We’re at 130% for 2020 so far. Our passive income is holding up pretty well so I think we’ll be good here.
  • Saving rate > 50%. This one is really tough because I use pretax income. If you make a lot of money, your tax rate is higher. If you don’t, then your expenses overwhelm the income. I’m sure only a few people can reach 50% saving rate. We’re at 63% so far. That’s really good. We’ll see how it goes the rest of the year.
  • Side hustle income > $5,000. Side hustling income is going down to $0. Scooter sharing companies are shuttered and I don’t want to do it anyway. I think we’ll have to put this off until 2021.

Branding (by 40)

  • Content creation > 178 blog posts and videos. This is a huge amount, but we’re ahead of the pace. In April, I posted 11 blog posts and 3 videos. It was a tough month because I don’t have much personal time in lockdown. We haven’t made a cooking video in 3 weeks because we don’t have all the right ingredients.
  • Refresh RB40. This one is on hold for now. I’ll get back to it after lockdown is over.
  • 1,000 subscribers on Eat by 40! Currently, we have 81 subscribers. This is a slow process that will probably take way more than one year. We’ll keep working on this one.

Personal Goals

  • Visit Thailand + 1. I’m putting this one on hold for now until the coronavirus problem improves. I’ll tentatively reschedule for November, but we’ll have to see how it goes.
  • Travel hack 200,000 points. My Alaska Airlines points came in. I’ll probably apply for a new card in a few months. I don’t think we’ll accomplish this goal in 2020. There are too many other problems to deal with this year.
  • Update our Will. I haven’t started this one yet. I’m still looking for an affordable option. The lawyers I’ve talked to asked for over $2,500. That seems really high to me.
  • Happiness level > 9. My happiness level improved a little bit in April. Homeschooling has been tough for me and my son. We got mad at each other pretty often last month. In May, I’ll try to relax more and study less. I also cut back on news and Twitter so I don’t get so angry at the incompetent handling of the pandemic. It’s tough to stay happy while living through a crisis. Anyway, I’ll try to be happier in May.
2020 happiness

Net Worth (-5.5% YTD)

I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006 and it is very motivating to see the progress we made. 2020 is a tough year for investors. The stock market crashed in March due to the shutdown. However, it came back a ton in April. The S&P 500 index is down about 10% from the high. That’s insane. More than 30 million people are unemployed. Businesses are shut down. The economy is in terrible shape and stock is down just a bit. I think the stock market will crash again. The price is too high, IMO.

For 2020, our net worth is down 5.5%. That’s not bad at all. But 2020 is a crazy year. Who knows what will happen next.

Here is a chart of our net worth from Personal Capital.

*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.

April Net worth update

2020 Passive Income ($14,759 YTD)

Here is a quick summary of our passive income. You can see all the details on my Passive Income page.

2020 passive income

Fortunately, our passive income is holding up very well. The payout lags the economy a bit so we might have some bad news in the future, but for now, it’s good.

  • Real Estate Crowdfunding – One of our apartment projects finished on 2/29. Whew! The sale went through and we got a nice payout from that one. RE crowdfunding is holding surprisingly well. You can read more detail here on our RE crowdfunding income page.
  • Rentals – We have two rental units and both our tenants have good jobs. But one might get a pay cut soon. For now, they are both paying rent. Life is tough right now for many tenants and landlords.
  • Dividend – This one looks good so far, but I’m sure some companies will cut dividends if this lockdown extends much longer.

We’ll just have to wait and see how 2020 turns out. If COVID-19 is under control by June, I think we’ll be fine. Otherwise, 2020 will be a very painful year.

Our FI ratio looks great so far. We didn’t spend much and our passive income was good.

*FI ratio = passive income/expense

April 2020 Cash Flow

Our cash flow was good in April. Our income streams were good except for side income. That one will be $0 for a long time. That’s okay, though. Our spending was very low also. That’s probably the only good thing about being in lockdown. We’re spending way less than usual.

This is the Sankey diagram for April. You can get a quick overview here and see the details below.

April cash flow

Gross Income (target > $13,000/month)

This year, our gross income target increased to $13,000/month. If we make this much every month, we’ll be able to save a good amount. I’m optimistic because our blog and rental income are good so far. If these two continue to do well, it shouldn’t be too difficult to meet our income target. In April, our gross income was $15,019, quite good considering we’re in lockdown.

  • Mrs. RB40’s job: $8,480. Mrs. RB40’s job continues to be the pillar of our household income. We could survive without her income, but life would be more stressful.
  • Blog Income: $3,498. My blog income was good last month. You can read more details on my Blog Income page. Also, RB40Jr is on the payroll now as a model, YouTuber, and photographer. His income will go straight into his Roth IRA. He has about $4,000 in his Roth IRA now. That’s a great head start in life.
  • Rental Income: $634. We had a good month with the rentals. This is about the average income if there are no big bills. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
  • Dividend Income: $586. Our dividend income was slow in April, but that’s normal. See more details at my Dividend Passive Income page.
  • Real estate crowdfunding: $1,821. RE crowdfunding was great in April. One of the projects finished ad we received the payout. That’s great. You can see how we’re doing at the RE Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Interest Income: $0.
  • Side hustle: $0. No side hustling for a while due to COVID-19.

Monthly Spending (target < $4,166/month)

This year, I plan to spend about $50,000 so our monthly spending budget is $4,166/month. For now, we are way under budget due to the lockdown. Like most families, we’re not spending much at all. In April, we spent $2,656. That’s quite good.

  • Housing: $1,255. This category includes mortgage, home insurance, HOA fees, property taxes, utilities, home improvement, and furnishing. Our housing cost decreased significantly from previous years. We moved into our duplex and we can share some expenses with our tenant. This helps a lot.
  • Parents: $800. My dad can’t make any money due to the shutdown so we sent him more money than usual.
  • Groceries: $407. Normally, we spend about $550/month on groceries. We stocked up in March so April looks better than usual.

Here are some of the dishes I made last month.

Keema curry (Japanese style)

This one is really easy to make and it’s delicious.

Yum Sardine (Thai style)

This one is a bit different. You might like it if you enjoy sardine.

  • Travel: $0. Yup.
  • Entertainment: $57. We ordered take-out a few times to help support the local businesses.
  • Health: $0. Health care.
  • Bills: $23. My term life insurance payment.
  • Transportation: $62. Car insurance. We didn’t drive much and didn’t need to get gas.
  • Kid: $0. Our son’s clothes are getting too small. We need to buy some stuff for him soon.
  • Pet: $0.
  • Clothing: $0.
  • Misc: $52. I ordered a few things from Amazon

Others

I don’t count these as personal spending.

  • Taxes and deductions: $2,880.
  • 401k savings: $3,145. I contributed $1,625 to my 401k. Mrs. RB40 contributed $1,520 to her 401k.
  • Roth IRAs: $1,000. We contributed $500 each to our Roth IRAs.
  • 529 College Savings plan: $0. We contributed $4,000 earlier this year. I think we’re done for 2020.
  • Extra Savings: $5,338. I had to borrow some money from our savings account this month.

2020 Savings ($39,686 YTD)

So far, we saved $39,686. This is a great way to start off the year. Our expense was lower than usual and we were able to save a huge percentage of our income, 63%. That’s really good.

  • Joe’s 401k: $16,875.
  • Mrs. RB40’s 401k: $6,060
  • Roth IRAs: $4,000
  • 529 College Savings: $4,000
  • Extra savings: $8,751

YTD 2020 saving rate = 63%

April 2020 Wrap Up

Overall, April 2020 was a great month financially. It was a big improvement over March, for sure. The stock market came back strong and our net worth did too. Our cash flow was good and we were able to save a big percentage of our income.

The personal side was good too. I was able to cut down on negative news and social media chatter. This helped me stay somewhat positive. My New Year goals are not doing too well, though. That’s okay. I don’t mind too much. Some years will knock us back. We just need to get up and keep fighting. I’m sure the future will be better once COVID-19 is under control. The curve is flattening so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s continue to do our best to keep at least 6 feet apart.

How about you? Did you have a good month? Hang in there!

The following two tabs change content below.
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, the job became too stressful and Joe retired from his engineering career to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.

Joe also 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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{ 34 comments… add one }
  • Joe May 6, 2020, 12:12 am

    Hi Joe, not sure I agree that opening up things at this point is a good idea. The number of new cases is holding steady day after day and not decreasing, and the country still does not have a handle on testing, tracing, PPE, or even toilet paper and hand sanitizer production for that matter. And now reports of 50% lower meat production.

    But on the other hand, shelter-in-place US style has been a joke with nothing enforced, all public transportation still operating, and people defying wearing masks. So maybe opening up isn’t going to be that much different.

    • retirebyforty May 6, 2020, 8:08 am

      Oregon is opening up very slowly. A few state parks are opening for day use. That’s about the only thing I’ve heard so far.
      Slow is good. It’s a bad idea to open full out like Georgia. I think they’ll run into trouble soon.
      You might be right about the lite lockdown. Maybe that’s why our death # is so high.

  • Dividend Diplomats May 5, 2020, 7:54 pm

    RB40 –

    Solid month, that’s a very solid blog income month, as well.

    Yes, the dividend cuts have been painful, but not as surprising. Disney did drop the news they will forgo the 1st half dividend payment this year. One that surprised me is WestRock, a company I own, they “reset” their dividend back to $0.20 per share/quarter.

    If we can get through this, which we will, we can get through anything. Keep it going RB40!

    -Lanny

    • retirebyforty May 6, 2020, 8:05 am

      Disney stock is doing pretty well. I’m sure they’ll bounce back so I picked up a few shares in March.
      They have lots of good properties.

  • FIRECracker May 5, 2020, 5:44 pm

    Sorry to hear that homeschooling isn’t going well, Joe. It’s difficult for kids to be cooped up all day. Some parents in Toronto got so desperate they tore off the yellow tape around the play structures and got their kids on it anyways. I guess they figured “sure they could die from covid, but if I don’t let them out I’m going to kill them NOW!”

    Hopefully it gets better for you soon. Things are starting to open back up so maybe we’ll get back to normal soon (though what exactly is “normal” anymore, no one knows).

    That’s good that your portfolio only went down 5.5%–that’s similar to ours. The market could go down farther or maybe once the economy opens up or a cure to covid or vaccine is found, we’ll go back to the way things were. I’ve read that French scientists are experimenting with lab-created antibodies that could stop covid. Lots of brilliant minds around the world working on this problem so I’m confident. Hang in there!

    • retirebyforty May 6, 2020, 8:04 am

      I think it’s okay for kids to go to the playground as long as they don’t play together.
      Our playground has been deserted and we sneak in once in a while. We take a rest there on our bike ride.

  • Katie Camel May 5, 2020, 4:47 pm

    “It’s tough to stay happy while living through a crisis.”

    Yes, exactly. Everyone I know has been hitting a breaking point the past week or so. We all have different things going on in our lives that have been magnified by this pandemic. We are upset by things that would otherwise be inconsequential, but that’s how it goes right now. Hang in there! Your days of homeschooling are limited, even if they don’t seem that way right now. Summer will come and go, September will be here, and hopefully your son will be back in school. I’m guessing you’ll have a homeschooling reprieve in a few weeks, so that’ll be good. But, yeah, we’re all struggling in some way, but finding happiness somewhere, somehow at this point is key. It could always be worse, right? That’s what I keep telling myself as I down another chocolate treat!

    • retirebyforty May 6, 2020, 8:02 am

      Thanks. It’s getting harder because this is dragging on for so long. People are starting to get a bit laxer about this.
      Take care.

  • The Financial Engineer May 5, 2020, 3:06 pm

    Joe, it is great to find a fellow engineer (by trade) who has successfully achieved his goals and retired early. I am working on a slightly different path, but with the same end goal. I agree with you, it has been a tough month for everyone. I feel for a lot of people who are struggling right now and think there will be a lot of discounted Real Estate opportunities that will be popping up in the future.

    What is your take on short term property rentals? I have a current financial goal to acquire the first one in the very near future.

    Great website. I am looking forward to learning more from you.

    P.S. Love how you use WIP in your tracking, as I use that monthly on projects in my 9 to 5.

  • GYM May 4, 2020, 11:10 pm

    April just seemed to fly by. The feeling of dread is not as bad as end of March to middle of April definitely and I agree that the economy should be opened up safely.

    I’ve never tried Keema curry before, looks interesting. I like anything that Just One Cookbook makes.

    • retirebyforty May 5, 2020, 8:30 am

      The Keema curry is delicious and it’s really easy to make. I love it.
      I’m a big fan of JOC too. She’s great.

  • CP rich man May 4, 2020, 6:16 pm

    Hi , Joe

    Could you provide more detail information about Happiness Level ?

    thanks

    • retirebyforty May 5, 2020, 8:29 am

      The happiness level is just how I feel throughout the month. It’s arbitrary. Generally, I’m pretty happy so the last 2 months were lower than usual.

  • Michael Quan @ Financially Alert May 4, 2020, 1:05 pm

    I love Keema curry! You’re making me hungry and I literally just ate lunch… haha.

    So yeah, April was an interesting bounce back month for us too. We have been saving a ton on restaurant expenses since we’re still on lockdown in CA.

    I’m planning to sell one of our properties since the tenant just moved out. There’s a bunch of equity that I think I can put to better use. I suspect there will be some great property deals a couple of years out.

    • retirebyforty May 5, 2020, 8:29 am

      Good luck with your property. I think it might be hard to sell right now, but it really depends on the market.

  • jim May 4, 2020, 12:50 pm

    Good work JOe.

    I’ve been trying to limit / cut back on my own news & social media too. Only so much coronavirus 24/7 that a guy can stomach.

    The Sankey diagram is cool. Do you have a tool to make those ?

  • Tawcan May 4, 2020, 11:14 am

    The cash flow chart looks pretty good to me, despite you said it’s not so great. Side hustle income is definitely hard to come by during the lockdown.

    The keema curry looks awesome, will have to try that one of these days. We usually make curry with chicken.

    • retirebyforty May 5, 2020, 8:27 am

      It looks okay, but it was way better in Jan/Feb. We’re very fortunate compare to many households and I’m very grateful for that.
      The keema curry is pretty easy to make. It’ll probably be okay with ground chicken.

  • freddy smidlap May 4, 2020, 10:40 am

    hey joe. i liked that curry cooking video and especially the secret ingredient of the japanese curry roux. i always like incorporating things like this into my cooking so thanks for the tip. i am just now figuring out how to make really good french bread, so that has been a stay at home project.

    we had a good money month. as of may 1 we were even up for the year on total assets. anyone would take that.

    • retirebyforty May 5, 2020, 8:25 am

      I’ve seen those curry roux at Safeway. It shouldn’t be too difficult to get. And I’m you sure know how to use roux. 🙂
      Nice job with your investment.

  • Lazy Man and Money May 4, 2020, 8:50 am

    You started off the cashflow section saying that it wasn’t good, but it looks great to me – due to the better than average income and lower than average spending. Maybe a typo, or I’m interpreting it wrong.

    I’ve also been putting a fried egg on almost everything I cook. I’ll have to look up that Keema Curry recipe. I usually don’t get to many Asian dishes (I don’t have patience to mix a lot of spices), but we recently did a pad thai (mostly out of a couple of prepared boxes) that came out well. I do much better at ordering these in restaurants ;-).

    • retirebyforty May 4, 2020, 10:21 am

      Thanks for letting me know. Yes, it’s a typo. I fixed it.
      Keema curry is really easy. You just need Japanese curry roux. I’ve seen them at Safeway so it should be easy to find.

  • Dragon Guy May 4, 2020, 7:10 am

    I really like your FI ratio and will look to incorporate it into my own financial numbers. One question though about your spending..where do you track health insurance premiums? Are they part of the taxes and deductions? Just wondering if the FI ratio is overstated since there are no health insurance premiums in the calculation (whereas whenever Mrs. RB40 retires you would need to incur that expense).

    • retirebyforty May 4, 2020, 10:20 am

      The health insurance premium is in the taxes and deduction.
      Yes, the FI ratio is a bit inflated due to the absence of health insurance payment.
      However, my online income should be able to cover that. I don’t count it as passive income.
      I think it will work out fine.

  • Ernie Zelinski May 4, 2020, 2:25 am

    Great job! Trust me, your family is doing well. Millions of American and Canadian families would be envious of your family’s financial position, both from the income regard and the net worth regard.

    I didn’t have a great month at all in regards to income since my books sales, both print and ebook, have dropped by 80 percent compared to last year. But I am feeling very grateful for my overall financial position compared to the vast majority of North Americans.

    Here is the highlight for me for April, however. I published a new edition of my book “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Success – Financial Independence and Personal Freedom Too!”. This is something I have been meaning to do for 10 years but have put off for that long. I sent the PDF of the book to my financial advisor friend in Toronto and he liked it so much that he ordered 300 copies from me to give to his clients. You can see the cover and description of the book on Amazon.com at:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0981311849/

    Joe, I am sending you a signed copy of the book this week. If you are stuck for material for blog posts this year, you can excerpt from the book whatever you feel your readers would be interested in. I would be thrilled if you particularly excerpt the topic at the end of Chapter 1 titled “3C Vision Will Help Make You More Successful than 3D Vision”.

    • retirebyforty May 4, 2020, 10:17 am

      I’m very grateful to be in this position. My parents would have been in a lot of trouble if this problem hit 30 years ago.
      I’m looking forward to reading your book.

  • Financial Freedom Countdown May 4, 2020, 1:40 am

    Great job on keeping up with your goals. I do like your idea of reviewing monthly and staying on track. The last 3 months I have been spending way too much time reading all about Coronavirus and treatment options and vaccines 🙁
    I could have spent that time being more productive.

    • retirebyforty May 4, 2020, 10:15 am

      Yes, you should cut back a bit. I was obsessed with the news and it just made me angry. Now, I read less and I’m feeling a bit better.

  • David @iretiredyoung May 4, 2020, 1:33 am

    An idea for a cooking video – what you can make when you don’t have the ingredients you need? My daughter and I have made some surprisingly good meals using up the ingredients that we’ve found hidden at the back of the cupboard

    • retirebyforty May 4, 2020, 10:14 am

      I don’t feel right making a video with too many improvised ingredients. But we’ll try. We really need to make a video this week.

  • Mr. Tako May 4, 2020, 12:28 am

    Nice month Joe! Your income is really holding up well under lockdown! Ours is holding up fairly well too. (Crossing my fingers it stays that way.)

    You guys saved a lot, and I believe this is one of the reasons why the market is up. Most white collar households aren’t doing much, yet they have the ability to work from home and still earn an income. This creates a lot of free cash flow, which I believe is pushing up stock prices.

    Normally those households would be spending free cash on travel, entertainment, restaurants, and of course buying things. Covid has all those things on hold, and I believe it’s being funneled into the stock market, pushing up prices.

    Like you said, the state of the economy isn’t anything to be joyous about.

    • retirebyforty May 4, 2020, 10:13 am

      I heard investors around the world are looking for a safe place to invest too. That’s another reason why the stock market is doing okay.

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