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