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August 2016 Goals and Financial Updates


August 2016 Goals and Financial UpdatesI’m sad another summer is gone. Summer is my favorite season because there are a lot of things to do and the weather is so nice. We went swimming many times in August and RB40Jr improved quite a bit. He had a long layoff from swimming because he had an ear infection earlier this summer. The days are getting shorter and the weather is already turning cooler here in Portland. Autumn is nice, too. A lot of Portlanders love fall. I don’t really enjoy this season because the trees will drop a ton of leaves on our rental home. I’ll have to drop by and clean out the gutter every week. I’ll install some gutter screens this year and see if they will help.

There is one reason to like the fall – the kids are going back to school! RB40Jr started kindergarten last week and I finally have some extra time to catch up on all the things I need to do. The first thing on the list is getting regular exercise. I have been very inconsistent all year and I need to make a big improvement because I’m getting older. The plan is to head to the gym right after the school bus leaves at 7:10 am. Once I get into the routine, it should be much easier. Other than that, I need to revamp the blog a little bit. It’s looking a little dated. This will be a long term project, though.

Ok, let’s talk finance. The stock market was flat in August, but our net worth continues to reach new heights. We didn’t gain much, but a new high is still a new high. We continue to save and invest in all market conditions so even if the market is flat, our net worth should keep increasing. I’m still bracing myself for a big correction, though. Let’s see how I’m doing with my 2016 goals and then check our cash flow for August.

2016 Goals

Non Financial Goals

Improve Fitness (August result = Pass)

I got a Garmin Vivofit 2 for Christmas and I’m using it to track my activity level. August was a good month, but the Vivofit lost 8 days of data for some reason. It has been very reliable since I got it so I’m not sure what happened. It seems to be working fine now. For the days recorded in August, I averaged 7,996 steps per day which exceeded my goal of 6,000 steps/day. That’s really good for me. Hopefully, I can keep this up even though the weather is starting to turn.

Control my triglyceride level (WIP)

Here is another reason I need to exercise regularly – I’m really struggling with my hypertriglyceridemia. My doctor increased the dosage of my medication, but my triglyceride level is still elevated (around 250). I’m trying to eat better, but it doesn’t seem to help much. I even stopped buying beer. It’s a sad year, indeed. I don’t eat much junk food, but I will need to cut out all simple carbohydrates and eat less fat. Losing a little weight could help, too. I’ll work on it and go in for a blood test at the end of the year. It’s no fun getting old.

Try 6 great restaurants (66% complete)

No progress in August. We stuck with our old favorites in Portland. We tried a few new places in Eugene, but they weren’t very good. The quest continues.

Take an extended trip to Thailand ($4,517)

I’m planning a 3 week trip to Thailand in November. I want my family to experience the Loy Kratong festival in Chiang Mai. It was a big deal when I was a kid and I had fun with the various activities around the holiday. Saving for this trip is made easy by Digit. Digit deducts a small amount from my account every few days and I don’t notice the “stealth” saving at all. Check out my Digit review if you don’t know about them. Our current balance is at $4,517, an increase of $820 in August. This is an awesome way to save for a trip.

I don’t think I will be able to use my reward points for this trip. It just cost too much for 3 tickets to SE Asia. We’ll save the points for next year. It’s much easier to use the points for travel to South/Central America.

Attend a conference – (WIP)

It is only a few weeks to FinCon 2016 and I’m very excited. I’m an introvert so it’s usually tough for me, but this year I will make a big effort to turn it on for a few days. I will be on the Financial Independence panel on Thursday morning so stop by and say hi if you’re there. 🙂

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. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the US and the deep blue color is breathtaking. It was a great experience and I think we’ll have the same goal next year.

Start a non-finance website – (WIP)

I plan to start this project after kindergarten begins in the fall, but life is still pretty busy this month. This project will probably kick off very slowly because I have all sorts of stuff to catch up on.

Financial Goals  (66% of the year is gone..)

Invest $50,000 in our tax advantaged accounts (75% complete)

In August, we saved $9,997 in our tax advantaged accounts. That increased our investment total to $37,937 so far in 2016. This is higher than usual because I transferred $5,500 to my Roth IRA. I kept it in cash and I’ll keep an eye out for a buying opportunity over the next few months. We’re doing well with this goal and it should be completed before the end of the year.

Increase Dividends to $11,500 (63% complete)

We received $738 in dividends last month. That’s $7,206 so far in 2016. We’re on schedule with this one. In July, I sold off some Intel and KMI and kept the cash. I’m also looking for a good buying opportunity for our dividend portfolio.

Surpass $50,000 in RB40 Junior’s 529 account (Done!)

RB40Jr’s 529 did pretty well in August. It’s worth $51,610 and it is holding above the $50,000 line. I’m planning to transfer this account to Vanguard at the end of 2016 to take advantage of their low fees.

Increase Net worth by 3x risk free rate (currently +9.6%)

The 10-year US government bond yields about 2%. So my target net worth increase for 2016 is 6%. The stock market was flat in August, but our net worth kept hitting new highs. We didn’t gain much, but 9.6% YTD gain is much better than I expected. Hopefully, we can keep it above 6% for 2016. We’ll see how the rest of the year pans out.

If you need help keeping track of your finances, try using Personal Capital to manage your portfolio. We have many accounts and Personal Capital helps us see the big picture. Also check out their fantastic retirement calculator. You can read my review here – The Best Free Retirement Calculator.

Cash Flow

August Cash FlowTake Home Income (target > $5,000)

Our income was a mixed bag in August. The duplex needed a new hot water heater and that shot our rental income for the month. However, my online income was good and we finally received our state income tax refund! They sure took their time this year. It was also a 3-paycheck month for Mrs. RB40. So our income was great over all and we did well even with the hiccup at the rental. Our take home income was $7,584 in August, much higher than the $5,000 target.

Mrs. RB40’s Paychecks: $7,955. Who doesn’t love those 3-paycheck months?

Rental income: -$672. It cost $1,200 to replace the water heater on the 2nd floor. That was more expensive than I thought. The guy said it was not a standard size tank so they charged more. The old tank was 17 years old so I was expecting a leak at some point. Hopefully this new one will last as long.

Online income: $2,980. Our online income in August was very good. 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: $738. Our dividend income was fine. We should see a big boost next month because many of my stocks pay dividend in the 3 month of the quarter. You can see my dividend portfolio if you want to see my investment.

Interest: $17

P2P lending: $65. Our P2P lending investment is doing better now that NSR Invest took over. Our ROI is currently 8.39%, that’s higher than when I was screening the loans. I was thinking about moving the money to real estate crowdfunding, but maybe I’ll just fund the new investment with cash instead.

Misc income: $998. Woo hoo! The state income tax refund came in.

Expense (target < $4,500)

Our expense was right under budget for August. I thought we’d be over budget because we got new tires for our car, but we came in at $4,464. Not too bad for a high expense month. Housing: $2,256. Mortgage, HOA, and property tax.

Cash Allowance: $0.

Groceries: $485.

Child/Dependent: $173. School supplies and some new clothes.

Healthcare/Medical: $175. Doctor visits.

Bills: $222. Electricity and insurance (auto, home, term life, and umbrella.)

Entertainment: $36. Gym membership fee and eating out.

Misc: $497. We took a short trip to Eugene in August. I also purchased the tickets for Mrs. RB40 and Junior for their visit to CA.

Transportation: $577. Gasoline and 4 new tires.


Extra Savings: $14,223 so far in 2016

We did very well in August and saved $3,161. So far in 2016, we have saved $14,223 extra. The money here will be transferred to our retirement accounts later this year.

  • $5,500 each to our Roth IRAs
  • Probably around $6,000 to my i401k as employer contribution.

All in all, we had a great August. We had a quick road trip to Eugene, went swimming a lot, and enjoyed the last of summer. The rental had a negative month, but that’s how it goes sometime. I’m planning to raise rent in 2017 so we should have more cushions soon. In September, I’ll need to book the tickets for our Thailand trip so we might have a tough month on the expense side. We’ll see how it goes.

Did you have a good month in August?

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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, 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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{ 42 comments… add one }
  • Cash Lab September 13, 2016, 6:57 pm

    Your online income is stellar! I signed up to get your newsletter to learn more. I’m bummed about summer being over as well. Good luck on achieving your goals for the rest of the year.

  • Dividend Growth Investor September 7, 2016, 8:13 am

    I am glad to see you are doing well, and progressing along nicely with your goals. You have some impressive numbers across the board with your savings, and even a dividend income too.

    As for FinCon, have you been there before? I am not going to go, but I would be interested to read your summary/impressions after you attend it.

    • retirebyforty September 7, 2016, 9:05 pm

      Thanks! I have been to FinCon before. I think it’s really good for beginners and very serious bloggers. Beginners can learn a lot and the serious bloggers can network. I’m more in the middle. I’ll probably take a few years off after this.

  • AC September 6, 2016, 1:46 pm

    FWIW, the 10-Year is closer to 1.50% – 1.60%. So you are more than killing it if your metric is 3X. Keep kickin’ butt!

    • retirebyforty September 7, 2016, 9:03 pm

      Close enough. 🙂

  • Nathan September 6, 2016, 11:42 am

    Great update. I hear you on the dieting goals; they are tough. I’ve set them the past three years with little success. For me third year has been the charm. I set a goal to go from 223 to 200 pounds. I’m at 208 right now. I want t lose the 8 pounds before the dreaded holiday season. I’ve already been picking at Halloween candy :-(.

    Wifey is happy though. I stopped snoring at about 212 pounds, so that;s been a big win for me.

    • retirebyforty September 7, 2016, 9:02 pm

      You’re doing great so far. My weight isn’t too bad, but I really need to improve my diet to control the triglyceride.

  • Fiscally Free September 6, 2016, 8:06 am

    We also had an exciting August, which included buying a new car (which you can read about here: http://www.fiscallyfree.com/2016/08/why-we-bought-brand-new-car.html ) and starting a kitchen renovation. There was also one other big development, but we’re keeping that under wraps for now.

    I obviously don’t know all the details, but $1200 for a new water heater seems pretty high. I’m sure the installer had a good story, but I suspect he was just padding his wallet.

    One of the reasons I always try to fix things myself is because I don’t trust anyone to do a good job and charge a fair price. When we have work around our house that I can’t do, I try to get at least three quotes. The prices are usually all over the map. We needed some electrical work done and got quotes from $800 to $2400+. I obviously went with the lowest bid and he did a great job. Now whenever I need electrical work done, I know where to go.

    It’s unfortunate that some people will take advantage of people’s desperation and ignorance, but that’s the world we live in.

    • retirebyforty September 6, 2016, 10:50 am

      I like brand new cars too. Mainly for the updated safety features. Our car didn’t cost much more new than used because they were updating the car the following year. Yes, $1,200 is higher than I expected too. He said he can do the downstairs one for about $800. I just wanted to get it done ASAP. If it leaks more, there will be a ton of damage because it’s on the 2nd floor. I usually call around more.

  • Pia @ Mama Hustle September 6, 2016, 6:23 am

    I’m amazed your grocery budget stays so low! That’s an area we could reign in more. We’ve cut way back on red meat, but I still feel like we spend a fortune.

    On the upside, I’ll be speaking at FinCon, so let’s meet up for a chat while we’re there! Maybe you can share your grocery budget secrets…

    • retirebyforty September 6, 2016, 10:47 am

      My kid barely eat anything. I’m sure our grocery budget will shoot up when he’s a bit older. I’m going to cut out red meat completely. Fish is even more expensive, though. See you at FinCon.

  • Joe September 5, 2016, 10:14 pm

    Wow, your insurance (auto, home, life, umbrella) is so low compared to SF. I pay $700 just for insurance and another $200 for utilities, more than 4x your cost!

    • retirebyforty September 6, 2016, 10:46 am

      Your home is probably worth a lot more. Our home insurance is actually just for the interior of our unit. The HOA fee covers the exterior maintenance. That’s probably the main reason. Our auto insurance is probably cheaper too. Utility is just our electric bill. The HOA fee covers the rest.

  • Dividend Diplomats September 5, 2016, 6:48 pm

    Very good month! I haven’t read too many of these in the past, but I love how balanced your goals are. You aren’t solely focused on the tree, but rather the forest. There is a lot of good news in here. I know the diet is WIP, but it is a very hard thing to suddenly change over night. Changing your diet and adjusting your typical meal plan is no easy task. It sounds like you are taking the necessary steps though that you need to take to improve there.

    I agree completely with your decision not to use points because that was too expensive. You don’t want to de-value your points and use them when you could get a much better value for them on a different trip. It sucks paying cash instead of points, but in the long run it is the smarter move.

    Looks like you are progressing along very nicely with your investing goals. RB40Jr.’s college fund is looking pretty darn sharp and should cover the always increasing cost of college.

    Bert, One of the Dividend Diplomats

    • retirebyforty September 5, 2016, 9:59 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement. Changing my diet is really tough because Mrs. RB40 isn’t quite on board yet. She just baked a cake and a pie this week… 🙂 I’ll control what I can control. Since I cook on the weekdays, I will focus on making healthy meals.

  • Mr. All Things Money September 5, 2016, 2:54 pm

    Regarding Triglycerides, I have the same struggle as you. Doctor told me to take fish oil three times a day but it didn’t help much with Triglycerides. However, it regular exercise and losing weight along with eating healthy (I stopped eating red meat and only eat fish now) seems to do the trick as triglycerides are essentially fat cells, so reducing the amount of fat and burning fat through exercise should help. I will get my blood test in a few months, so will know for sure but I can already feel the triglycerides melting away 🙂

    • retirebyforty September 5, 2016, 9:57 pm

      That’s great progress. I’m having a difficult time with my food. Mrs. RB40 likes carb and red meat… Well, I do too, but I need to change. Good idea cutting red meat. We don’t eat a lot of beef, but I’ll stop buying it now. I think regular exercise will help too. Hopefully, I can make some progress by the end of the year.

      • Mr. All Things Money September 5, 2016, 10:27 pm

        You can do it Joe but do it gradually like a step function or you will get a rebound. Check out my latest post on my love for hamburgers and what I am eating nowadays.

  • mary w September 5, 2016, 11:45 am

    Joe, get the new Chase Sapphire Reserve card and buy your plane tickets with it. That should make the 4k minimum spend easy to meet. But you’ll get 100k Ultimate Rewards points, $300 travel credits (twice!) and lots of other benefits.

    • retirebyforty September 5, 2016, 9:55 pm

      I just got approved a few days ago. I’m waiting for the card and then I’ll get the tickets to Thailand. 🙂

  • Ian September 5, 2016, 11:02 am

    Hello RB40 I am so intrigued by your blog I want to know how to get myself in order financially so that my family and I can lead a better life I need to know how to do it I live in the east coast and obviously the way I’ve been doing things is all wrong fill me in please any tips or advice you have I welcome !!!

    • retirebyforty September 5, 2016, 9:54 pm

      The best advice I can give is to spend less you make and invest what ever is left. If you can do that consistently, then your finance will keep improving over time. I would first focus on bringing your expense down to a nice level. Then work on making more money next. Good luck!

  • Alberto September 5, 2016, 10:13 am

    Congratulations Joe! Very structured and measured. We had a great month and year too but no where as good as yours. We are in a different time table but with similar objectives.

  • Doug arnold September 5, 2016, 9:53 am

    Good job keep it up.

  • Sam @ Financial Samurai September 5, 2016, 8:59 am

    See you at Fincon Joe! Should be great weather and a good time. I’ll be there Thursday and leaving Sunday. Short flight thank goodness from SF!

    I’m looking forward to the kids back in school. Less crowds. Less noise!


  • Apathy Ends September 5, 2016, 8:49 am

    Solid month RB40, sad to hear about the beer cuts!

    Since our net worth isn’t big enough to swing hard with the markets yet our contributions keep us chugging in the right direction.

    Jealous you are heading to Thailand, enjoy it!

    • retirebyforty September 5, 2016, 9:25 am

      I love a nice local IPA. It’s too bad, but I guess I’m saving money. 🙁

  • Matt @ Optimize Your Life September 5, 2016, 8:28 am

    Congrats on a solid month with no help from the markets!

    The trip to Thailand sounds amazing! Sounds like you will have a very busy (but exciting) last third of the year.

    • retirebyforty September 5, 2016, 9:24 am

      I’m really looking forward to the Thailand trip. It will be a lot of fun and it shouldn’t be that expensive.

  • Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes September 5, 2016, 7:26 am

    Hi Joe! Like you, I’m sad summer is over. In he PNW our summers are so short. The rain and gloom are going to be here soon.

    But on the bright side, that’s a solid month of savings! You seem to be doing great!

    • retirebyforty September 5, 2016, 9:23 am

      Right, I love summer here in the PNW. Maybe we should live somewhere else for 9 months. 🙂

  • Mr. PIE September 5, 2016, 6:19 am

    I can relate to the school thing. Our two boys went back to school last week. I think their brains will benefit from the brain vacation they took over the last 9 weeks……

    Our net worth increased 1.6% in August. This year could be a big year but let’s see what sleepy September brings and the remainder of the year.

    • retirebyforty September 5, 2016, 9:22 am

      I like vacation brain. 🙂 2016 is turning out to be a very good year for our net worth. That’s unexpected. I’m still hoping for a big correction so I could pick up some more shares, though.

  • [email protected] Smarter Decisions September 5, 2016, 6:01 am

    I hope Kindergarten is going well! Our students show up to school this Wednesday and my son starts the first day of his senior year then too. We are at opposite ends of that spectrum! Our rental income took a hit last month too – a major remodel and this month is $10,000+ of school taxes. But we were prepared for that! Still looking forward to what your plans are for the new blog – keeping us in the dark!

    • retirebyforty September 5, 2016, 9:21 am

      Oh wow, your son is almost done with school. Congrats!
      Our son is having a hard time adjusting to the new environment. That’s not unexpected, though. The school is a lot more crowded than he’s used to and he had some altercations with other kids. Hopefully, he’ll be more comfortable soon.

  • Jon @ Be Net Worthy September 5, 2016, 5:15 am

    Well done Joe! Our August was fairly uneventful as well and our net worth keeps creeping up, up 11% or so for the year so far. I’ll be curious to see the breakdown of your online income.

    Thanks for sharing so much detail!

    • retirebyforty September 5, 2016, 9:19 am

      11% is great! I’m nervous with the stock market so high. I know it would be better for the long term if the stock market comes down a bit. It would be great to see some buying opportunities.

  • Dividends Down Under September 5, 2016, 3:28 am

    Awesome job Joe, that’s a really good update. Lots of dones and great progress with lots of things. I bet you’ll enjoy lots of time to yourself again.

    Our August was fairly uneventful not much change in our finances or net worth.


    • retirebyforty September 5, 2016, 9:17 am

      Thanks! The year is winding down and everyone should be well on their way to accomplishing their goals. Some of my goals probably won’t be done, though. 🙁

  • Michael @ Financially Alert September 5, 2016, 2:05 am

    Hey Joe, August was a good month for us too.

    NW is back up again, although cash flow was a touch negative with a transition at one of our rental properties.

    Fantastic job with the investment savings this year!

    See you soon at Fincon. 🙂

    • retirebyforty September 5, 2016, 9:17 am

      Did you get new tenants? That’s a pain, but it’s also good for the long term. I could raise the rent much more when a unit turn over. See you soon.

      • Michael @ Financially Alert September 5, 2016, 9:34 pm

        Yeah, luckily I got new tenants within a month. But, there was additional turnover costs this time and the water heater broke just a few months earlier. Fingers crossed I’ll get a breather with this property for awhile now. 🙂

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