February 2021 Goals & Financial Update

Hey everyone, how are you? I’m back in Portland after 6 weeks in Thailand. It’s lovely to see my wife and kid, but I think I’m ready to be a digital nomad. It was so liberating to live out of a backpack and have almost no responsibilities. Now, I’m back to normal life and it feels constrictive. I’ll have to work on taxes, fix up the house, cook, go shopping, blog, and do all sort of errands. All the comfort of home now feels suffocating. Who needs all this stuff? I was perfectly happy with a backpack. 😕 Have you ever felt that way? Well, it’s always tough to come back from a good vacation. Hopefully, I’ll get back into the groove soon.

Incheon airport – my favorite.

On the personal finance side, we had a very nice month. Our net worth increased quite a bit. I guess the stock market did well. I didn’t pay much attention when I was overseas. Also, our cash flow was very good. We didn’t spend much and our income was strong. February was a nice month for us.

Also, I accomplished another one of my New Year goals! I lost about 8 pounds while I was in Thailand. In quarantine, they gave me Thai serving portions. I think that shrank my stomach and I didn’t eat as much as usual on the rest of the trip. Hopefully, I can keep up with the Thai serving portion now that I’m back in the US. The US serving size is way too big for me.

This is the way to do it. Get them done early in the year so you don’t have to worry about them later. I find that if a goal not completed by summer, it will rarely get done.

2021 Goals

Here is my 2021 goal sheet. 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 can see which goals need extra attention.

All right! 2021 is turning out to be a great year for me. I already accomplished 4 of my goals. I just have to make sure I don’t backslide on these accomplishments. Here are the details.

Financial Goals

  • Real Estate Crowdfunding $150,000. I’m in Thailand so this is on hold until I get back. It’s too difficult to transfer a large amount of money while I’m out of town. I’ll keep a close eye on new projects and try to invest soon. This year I will invest more with CrowdStreet. They’re the best RE crowdfunding company. You can read more in the passive income section below.
  • FI Ratio > 110%. As usual, this is my main goal for 2021. The FI ratio is passive income divide by expense. I think we’ll do well this year. Our FI ratio was a bit low so far (88%), but that’s okay. It’ll improve soon.
  • 1-year cash for Mrs. RB40 mini ER. Mrs. RB40 plans to take a mini-retirement in 2022. I want to have a nice cash cushion before then. Usually, we spend less than $50,000 per year so that’s my target.
  • Side hustle income > $3,000. This goal is just for fun. Side hustling is a good way for early retirees to keep busy and stay active. This year I plan to charge scooters, take surveys, and sign up for cash bonuses. I made $440 from sign-up bonuses in February! Not bad, eh?

RB40

  • Refresh Retire by 40 – Done! Whew! I finally completed this goal. It has been on this list for over 2 years. This work required a big block of time and focus. I just couldn’t do it at home. I only finished because I was stuck in quarantine for 2 weeks and could focus on it. I hope you like the new design.
  • 1,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel. Currently, we have 242 subscribers on our YouTube channel. Unfortunately, I didn’t make any new video in February. I couldn’t get into it when I’m by myself. I need my team (Mrs. RB40 and RB40Jr.)

Personal Goals

  • Visit Thailand. Done! I just got back from Thailand. I spent 6 weeks there to check on my mom and reconnect with families and friends. It was great. I would love to retire there 6 months/year. I had to spend 2 weeks in quarantine.
  • Weight < 135 lbs. Done! In quarantine, the serving size was much smaller than what I’m used to. I think my stomach shrunk over those 2 weeks. Now, I don’t have to eat very much to feel full. This was very helpful and now I weigh 130 pounds! Mission accomplished! Now, I just have to avoid eating US size meals.
  • Estate planning. Done! We started the process with our lawyer last year. I thought it won’t be done until March, but we completed it right before I left. That’s perfect timing.
  • V for vasectomy. I saw my doctor for an annual physical before I flew to Thailand. She said she can refer me to someone when I get back. We don’t want any more kids. This one is WIP.
  • Happiness level > 8. February was a 10. I had a great time in Thailand. My mom isn’t doing that well, but I’m very glad to spend time with her before dementia worsens. I also saw many other relatives. It was a very good trip and I’ve glad I went.

Net Worth (+3.1% YTD)

I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006 and it is very motivating to see our progress. Our net increased by 3.1% since the beginning of 2021. That’s very good. My current target is 10% increase per year. It’d be amazing to see that level of gain this year.

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.

2021 Passive Income ($4,077 YTD)

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

February was a slow month on the passive income side.

  • Real estate crowdfunding was good. I received some residual income from a completed project and several regular payments for other projects.
  • Rental income was not great. One of our tenants is still working from Europe and pays 50%. We’re running a little negative every month until he comes back. It’s not a huge deal because we use his area as working space. It’s helpful while everyone is working/schooling from home.
  • Dividend was slow in February.   

Our FI ratio was a little low at 88.5%, but it should improve soon.  

*FI ratio = passive income/expense

February 2021 Cash Flow

Our cash flow was good in February. We didn’t spend much and saved 67% of our income.

Here is the Sankey diagram. You can get a quick overview and see the details below.

Gross Income

Our gross income was great last month. The only problem was the rental property. It’ll be like this until our tenant comes back from Europe and pays full rent.

  • Mrs. RB40’s job: $8,701.
  • Blog income: $4,330. We had a good month at RB40. I also deposited a check from January. That made the numbers look quite nice.
  • Real estate crowdfunding: $258. Another good month for RE crowdfunding. You can read more at the RE Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Rental income: -45. The rent was reduced 50% for one tenant while he works from Europe. It’s not profitable at this rate. I think he’ll be back in 6 months or so. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
  • Dividend Income: $738. Slow month for dividend income. See more details on my Dividend Passive Income page.
  • Interest Income: $1.
  • Side hustle & Misc: $440. Woohoo! I got the signup bonus for my new checking accounts.

Monthly Spending

This year, I plan to spend about $50,000. So our monthly spending budget is $4,166/month. February was another low spend month. I was in Thailand and spend a lot of time with my parent. I ate out, but it was pretty cheap. Also, I paid for food out of my mom’s Thai account so that expense didn’t show up here. At home, Mrs. RB40 and Junior didn’t spend much.

  • Housing: $1,252. This category includes mortgage, home insurance, HOA fees, property taxes, utilities, home improvement, repair, and furnishing.
  • Parents: $500. My brothers and I each sent $500/month to my parent. They don’t have much retirement savings. Fortunately, they live in Thailand so $1,500 is enough. I also own the condo they live in so their housing expense is very small.
  • Groceries: $302. This is way lower than our average. Mrs. RB40 cooked a lot more often because I’m not home. She’s been trying to clean out the pantry so she didn’t spend much on groceries.
  • Bills: $23.
  • Transportation: $87. This was for gasoline, insurance, public transportation, and maintenance.
  • Entertainment: $73. Mrs. RB40 spent some money on takeout. She couldn’t wait for me to get back so she can cook less often.  
  • Kid: $35. RB40Jr got a new pair of shoes.
  • Pet: $20.
  • Travel: $63. I spent some money on a new sim card, a flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, and some food to fuel my travel back home.
Korean Spicy Beef soup $11 + Soju $4

Others

I don’t count these as personal spending.

  • Taxes and deductions: $2,380.

2021 Savings ($16,987 YTD)

Alright! 2021 is starting off very well here.

  • Joe’s 401k: $3,000. I caught up on my i401k contributions.  
  • Mrs. RB40’s 401k: $1,500. She contributes $750 every paycheck.
  • Roth IRAs: $1,000
  • 529 College Savings: $0.
  • Extra savings: $4,188

YTD 2021 saving rate = 64%

February 2021 wrap up

February was a great month for us. Our income streams were strong and we didn’t spend much money. I also had a very nice time in Thailand and that helped my happiness level stay at 10! I don’t think I’ll be as happy in March, though. Life in the US is a lot more complicated. There are all sources of stress at home. All in all, I had a very nice month. I hope you had a good month as well.

How was February for you?  I hope you had a good month as well.

*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.

Disclosure: We may receive a referral fee if you purchase or signup for 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. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

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.

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22 thoughts on “February 2021 Goals & Financial Update”

  1. Very interesting perspective about how you prefer a much simpler life. The feeling of lightness must be really nice. Good job on losing 8 pounds so quickly!

    Your six weeks in Thailand seem to have gone pretty quickly. It makes me feel like I should go to Hawaii soon after my vaccine, given it’s only a five hour flight away. I would like to see my parents too.

    Sam

    Reply
    • I enjoyed having very little responsibility for a while. It was nice. I wonder if it’ll get old, though.
      6 weeks fairly flew by. You should go see your parents. 10 days of self-quarantine isn’t that bad. Maybe you can arrange something at a nice property.

      Reply
  2. looks like a great trip, joe. i agree with you and dave on the weight loss. we cook real food 99% of the time in our house but eat too much of it! if you have a good tenant and are not desperate for the money i would give him the same deal. i think good tenants are hard to find.

    Reply
    • Our tenant is great. It’s helpful to have more space during the pandemic too. Everyone is home.
      I found that I don’t need a big serving size. A small serving size keeps me going just as long.

      Reply
  3. Welcome back – it was cool to follow along with your time in Thailand on social media. With the exception of the long period in quarantine, it looked like you had a good trip.

    It’s funny that you talk about how everything at home seems unexpectedly suffocating. When we sold everything and moved to Panama a couple of years ago, I was also surprised at how liberating the feeling was of not having a lot of “stuff” anymore. When we move back next year, I wonder if we’ll have a hard time adjusting.

    Nice job on the productive month and I’m glad you got to spend time with your mom as well.

    Reply
    • Thanks! Even quarantine wasn’t too bad. I had a productive time and lost some weight. Just the last few days of quarantine were tough.
      Coming back from 6 weeks away, I feel so confined at home. It feels like the more things you have the more maintenance you have to do. Endless…

      Reply
  4. Hi Joe, welcome back! I’m so glad to hear your mom is doing all right, and you had a great time in Thailand. Nice to see your happiness level spiking to 10.

    2021 will be better than 2020. It had been snowing most of the February in Ohio. I used the indoor time, and published my 2nd memoir on Valentine’s Day: “LIVING OR DYING?: A Chinese American’s Life, Dreams, and Journey with Cancer”. You take care.
    – Helen Wang

    Reply
  5. It sounds hard to improve on that month. Happiness at 10, productivity at 10, great savings rate, I’m jealous. I can’t even match the cleaned-out pantry and we’ve been working on that for a full year now. (I keep buying food.)

    It looks almost like you could complete all your goals by April or May at this rate. Any thought of adding a couple more if that happens?

    Reply
  6. Congrats on a solid month Joe! It sounds like you had a great time in Thailand on vacation! All those food pictures looked delicious!

    Living out of a backpack must have been fun, but I bet it starts to get old after awhile. (Maybe a year or two?) I know some people manage to do it for years, but they eventually quit the nomad life. The reasons for it vary, but they usually center around responsibilities and family, just like you said.

    Glad to have you back Joe!

    Reply
    • Thanks! I agree with you about living out of a backpack. I don’t think it’ll last, but 1-2 years would be great.
      Longer than that and I’d feel rootless and probably lonely.

      Reply
  7. I thought your first paragraph was really interesting, how you’re noticing that many of the things that we supposed to want for a good life can actually cause the opposite. I think I’m on the same path with my thinking, that simpler is often better. Not sure my wife is buying into this concept though!

    Reply
  8. Very solid month Joe. Looks like you have gotten a lot of goals accomplished already. The refresh of the site took a while but the new look is great.

    How do you plan to keep your weight below 135?

    Reply

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