Hey everyone, August is over! You know what, I can’t wait until 2021. This year has been crazy. It’s been just one thing after another. At this point, I’ve completely given up and stopped caring. I’ll do my part and vote, but that’s about it. For now, I’ll ignore 99% of the news so I can keep my blood pressure down.
*Make sure to vote! Check your voter registration and vote early if you can.
Personally, August was a pretty good month for us. We took a couple of road trips in July so we didn’t do much in August. We just stayed home, played video games, read, watched movies, and relaxed. RB40Jr’s school is starting on Wednesday and we’re getting ready for that. It’ll be fully online which isn’t a problem for us. We prefer to hunker down at home until this whole COVID thing blows over anyway. We’re very lucky to be able to do that. Some of our friends are having a really hard time juggling school and work.
On the personal finance side, we did pretty well last month. Our income was down a bit, but our spending was very low as well. We were too lazy so we didn’t spend much. August was our cheapest month so far in 2020. Our net worth also hit a new high! I don’t think it will last, but I’m enjoying the feeling while I can. The stock market is unpredictable. Nobody knows what’s going to happen next. I really doubt it can stay at this elevated level.
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 attention.
Many of my goals are not going well this year. I started out with reasonable goals, but many are way behind. That’s life, though. Some years are harder than others. We just need to survive 2020 and hope 2021 will be better. It’s okay to have lower expectations this year.
- Real Estate Crowdfunding $150,000.Earlier this year, I added $25,000 to our RE crowdfunding investment with CrowdStreet. We have some extra cash after not spending much this year so I’m looking for a good project to invest in. Although, I’m afraid to commit a lot of money right now. The pandemic isn’t over yet and cash is king.
- FI Ratio > 110%. This is my main goal for 2020. The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. Once we reach 100% consistently, then we’ll be set to retire in style. This goal is good so far. We’re at 113% for 2020 so far. I think we’ll be okay with this one.
- Saving rate > 50%. This one is really tough because I use gross income. If you make a lot of money, your tax rate is higher. If you don’t, then your expenses overwhelm the income. Only a few households can reach 50% saving rate. We’re at 60% this year! That’s really good. Let’s hope it holds up for the rest of 2020.
- Side hustle income > $5,000. We resumed scooter charging in August and made about $500. At first, I thought other people needed more money than I do, but it seems like nobody was doing this side hustle. Gig workers can make more money with grocery/food delivery and pet/house sitting. Also, unemployed people don’t want to jeopardize their unemployment benefits so they’re not doing this. Scooter charging pays a lot less this year so it isn’t really worth it. We’re just retrieving and delivering the ones that are near our home. Also, I get a little exercise so that’s another good point.
- Content creation > 178 blog posts and videos. This is a huge amount, but we’re ahead of the pace. In August, I uploaded 10 blog posts and 3 videos! That’s quite good. We’ll try to post videos a bit more often.
- Refresh RB40. This one is on hold for now. I’ll get back to it when things are back to normal. I can’t focus when RB40Jr is home.
- 1,000 subscribers on Eat by 40! Currently, we have 106 subscribers. This is a slow process that will take more than one year. We’ll keep working on it. Oh, I changed the channel name to Retire by 40! Maybe it’ll get more traction…
- Visit Thailand. I wanted to visit my parents this summer, but that got canceled. We’ll try to go in December.
- Travel hack 200,000 points. 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 purchased Quicken WillMaker & Trust and made a Will. We’ll talk to a lawyer when things are back to normal. This will have to do for now.
- Happiness level > 8. My happiness level was very good in August – 8.5! We didn’t do much and just relaxed at home. Also, I ignored most news and stopped worrying about things I can’t control. I’ll worry more next year. Life is better when you avoid the news.
Net Worth (+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 strange year. The stock market crashed in March, but it came back to hit a new high in August! I don’t understand how the market is doing so well with millions of workers unemployed. But I’m very glad I’m an investor. For 2020, our net worth is up 5%! Wow, that’s not bad at all.
Personally, I think it will end badly. This feels like the dot com bubble to me. The stock market valuation is unrealistic. It will revert to mean at some point. So brace yourself. It will be a bumpy ride. The recession isn’t over yet.
Here is a chart of our investment 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 ($26,606 YTD)
Here is a quick summary of our passive income. You can see all the details on my Passive Income page.
Surprisingly, our passive income is holding up quite well.
- Real Estate Crowdfunding– RE crowdfunding is great this year. You can read more details here on our RE crowdfunding income page.
- Rentals– We have two rental units and both our tenants have solid jobs. For now, they are both paying rent on time.
- Dividend– This one looks good so far, but I’m sure companies will cut dividends if this pandemic sticks around through 2021.
Our FI ratio looks good so far at 113%. We didn’t spend much and our passive income is still holding up.
*FI ratio = passive income/expense
August 2020 Cash Flow
Our cash flow was good in August. Income was low, but our spending was lower too. We didn’t do much so we didn’t spend much.
This is the Sankey diagram for August. You can get a quick overview here and see the details below.
Gross Income (target > $13,000/month)
This year, I increased our income target to $13,000/month. If we make this much every month, we’ll be able to save around 50%. Unfortunately, our income dipped below $13,000 since May. The pandemic decreased my blog income substantially. I think it finally bottomed out. Next month should be better. For August, our gross income was $11,396. That’s a bit low, but good enough for 2020.
- Mrs. RB40’s job: $8,528. Mrs. RB40’s job continues to be the pillar of our household income. We could survive without her income, but this whole pandemic would be a lot more stressful.
- Blog Income: $1,242.
- Real estate crowdfunding: $42. RE crowdfunding was slow last month. You can see how we’re doing at the RE Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
- Rental Income: $598. Good rental income this month, no repair. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
- Dividend Income: $555. Our dividend income was slow in August. See more details at my Dividend Passive Income page.
- Interest Income: $1.
- Side hustle: $500. We made about $500 by charging scooters around our home. RB40Jr gets 33% of this because he helped me collect the scooters.
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 many families, we’re only spending money on housing and essential goods. In August, we spent $2,322. That’s our lowest month yet.
- Housing: $1,168. This category includes mortgage, home insurance, HOA fees, property taxes, utilities, home improvement, and furnishing.
- Parents: $10. My parents didn’t need extra money last month. I changed the auto-transfer amount to $10 so I don’t have to set it up again.
- Groceries: $491. This is right around the average, good.
Here are some of the food we cooked last month. Check it out and subscribe to our food channel if you enjoy them.
- Travel: $0.
- Entertainment: $164. We supported the local businesses and ordered some takeout meals.
- Health: $0.
- Bills: $23. My term life insurance payment.
- Transportation: $504. Car insurance and gas. Also, I renewed the registration and paid for the annual parking pass. $195/year to park in the street. It’s getting more expensive.
- Kid: $0.
- Pet: $0.
- Clothing: $115. Mrs. RB40 ordered online.
- Misc: $0.
I don’t count these as personal spending.
- Taxes and deductions: $2,380.
- 401k savings: $1,520. Mrs. RB40 contributed $1,520 to her 401k. I didn’t make a contribution last month.
- Roth IRAs: $1,000. We contributed $500 each to our Roth IRAs.
- 529 College Savings plan: $0. We contributed $4,000 earlier this year. We’re done for 2020.
- Extra Savings: $4,021.
2020 Savings ($69,563 YTD)
So far, we saved $69,563. This part is going very well for us. Our expenses are much lower than normal and we were able to save a huge percentage of our income, 60%. That’s really good.
- Joe’s 401k: $20,125.
- Mrs. RB40’s 401k: $11,380
- Roth IRAs: $7,000
- 529 College Savings: $4,000
- Extra savings: $20,516
YTD 2020 saving rate = 60%
August 2020 Wrap Up
Overall, August was a good month for us. Our net worth hit a new positive high and our cash flow was pretty good. More importantly, I feel good about life. We enjoyed the last month of summer and had a good time without spending much. Only a few months left until 2020 is over. I’m pretty sure 2021 will be better.
How about you? Did you have a good month? If you have kids, is school going okay?
Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!
Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.