January 2019 is over! Did you do make any progress with your New Year goals? I know it’s early in the year, but we really need to get going. It is much more difficult to make progress once summer begins. I blame my son for that. Once school is out, he’ll be around all the time. It will be impossible for me to achieve any goals then. That’s why I try to get started early and then stay on the right track the rest of the year.
Also, it looks 2019 is going to be a tough year for us. We’re moving from our condo to a house. That’s always a debacle. It seems to be more difficult every time we move. My back isn’t getting any younger either. On the financial side, the stock market probably will be very volatile this year. January was a very good month, but I’m not optimistic about 2019. There are way too many problems going on the world. I’m just hoping our net worth stays even with inflation this year. Anything above that is gravy. Is that too much to ask?
I’ll go over my 2018 goals first and then share the details of our net worth, cash flow, and savings.
Here is my goal scheduling spreadsheet. I have used this system for 2 years now and it worked really well. Try it out if you have problem keeping up with your New Year goals. The key is to update the spreadsheet once a month to check progress. That will remind you which goals need attention.
- Passive Income > $60,000. This one might be too ambitious. In 2018, we had $56,628 in passive income. This year we probably will have less than that. We’re consolidating our properties so the rental income will drop. I’ll use the proceeds to invest in dividend stocks and real estate crowdfunding. I’m not sure if we can generate $60,000 this year, but I’ll try.
- FI Ratio > 100%. This is my main goal for 2019. The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. Once we reach 100% consistently, then we’re set. So far, our FI Ratio is 72%. That’s pretty bad. It should improve over the next few months, though.
- Save and invest > $100,000. Last year, we saved and invested over $102,000! That was awesome and I hope to repeat it this year. However, we probably won’t be able to do it. In 2018, my blog income was excellent. That income slowed down tremendously this year so it’s going to be tough to reach $100,000. We’ll see how it goes.
- Update Retire by 40. I need to clean up the menu, talk to some partners, and rework a few affiliate posts/pages. This isn’t that difficult, but I have to find the time to do it. Then, I’ll hire someone to install a new theme. This kind of work isn’t fun for me so I usually put it off. I hope to get it done before summer.
- Travel Hack 100,000 points. This is the same goal I had last year, but this year will be much more difficult. Last year, I signed up for a new credit card whenever I needed to pay estimated tax. It was easy to meet the spending requirement. This year, I’m not making as much and my estimated tax will be very small. Luckily, I just received $530 signup bonus for the Capital One Savor card. This goal got a huge boost from that deal. I’ll count $1 as 100 points.
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- Consolidate down to 1 property. We are making solid progress here. Our tenants moved out on February 3rd. We’ll pack and move over the next two weeks. I’m going to talk to our realtor this week to discuss listing our condo. Our tenant at the other condo is moving out at the end of March and we’ll put that one on the market, too. I hope the condos sell quickly so we can mark this one done.
- Drop weight to 125 pounds. I rarely make a weight loss goal because it never worked before. However, I think I’ll be able to do it this year. I’m intermittent fasting* and exercising 5 days per week. It’s working well so far. I lost 3 pounds in January and my weight is now 130 pounds. I’m optimistic I’ll accomplish this goal by summer.
*Here is how I do intermittent fasting. I eat only from noon until 8 pm on the weekdays. This cuts down on the calories and I don’t miss breakfast much. I’m busy getting RB40Jr off to school on the weekdays anyway. Try intermittent fasting if you want to lose weight. It really works. If you can’t do it by yourself, I highly recommend Martin Dasko’s Fasting Course. It was very helpful when I first started.
- Keep my happiness level at 8 or above. This is totally subjective. I’ll give myself a score at the end of the month and try to average about 8 this year. For January, I rate my happiness level at 7. I’ve been a bit melancholy lately. The move is stressing us out. I’m also having a tough time with RB40Jr. He’s been yelling and arguing with me a lot lately. It’s been hard to keep my temper with him. Just do what I say! Jeez! I’ll try to be calmer in February.
- Visit Chiang Mai for 6-10 weeks. I haven’t even started here. We’ll deal with this after we finish moving.
Net Worth (+3.9% YTD)
I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006 and it is very motivating to see the progress we’ve made. However, I’m not optimistic about 2019 at all. There are too many bad news lately. This year, I just hope we beat inflation, 2%. January was a great month for stock investors. Our net worth increased 3.9%. That’s already better than the whole 2018. It’s a long year, though. We’ll see how it goes.
Here is a graph of our investment portfolio on 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.
2019 Passive Income ($3,894 YTD)
Here is a quick summary of our passive income. You can see all the details on my Passive Income page.
Our FI ratio isn’t so good so far. Our expense was higher than usual in January. You can see the detail in the next section. The passive income looks okay for now, but there will be many changes in 2019. Next month, we’ll see a decrease in rental income because we’re moving into our rental duplex. Our housing expense will drop so it should even out, more or less. After that, we should get some cash infusion from the home sale. I’ll invest it in real estate crowdfunding and dividend stocks. These passive income streams should increase at some point. It will take time to execute. So our passive income probably will take a hit for a few months. You’ll have to follow along and see how it plays out.
2019 Cash Flow
Our cash flow was pretty good in January. Our income was in good shape. The only big issue is the blog income is lower than average. I think this is going to be the new normal so we’ll just have to get used to it.
As for the expenses, RB40Jr and I were in Thailand for half of January so that skewed a few things. We spent a bit more than usual, but that’s okay since we were traveling.
Here is the Sankey diagram for January. You can get a quick overview here and see the details below.
Gross Income (target > $12,000/month)
For 2019, our monthly gross income target is $12,000/month. I think we should be able to meet this goal almost every month. In previous years, I tracked take-home income and it was all over the place. The 401k contributions threw off the average quite often. This year, I’ll track gross income. This will be more stable. We grossed $13,094 in January, that’s quite good.
- Mrs. RB40’s paychecks: $7,578.
- Blog Income: $2,499. You can read more details on my Blog Income page. RB40Jr is on the payroll now as model and photographer. The income will go straight into his Roth IRA. I’m excited to see how this experiment will turn out.
- Rental Income: $995. No issue at the rental in January. Next month, this income will be much lower. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
- Dividend Income: $1,294. The dividend income was great in January. See more details at my Dividend Passive Income page.
- Real estate crowdfunding: $40. We should see more income next month. Most of my investments payout then. Read more at my Real Estate Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
- Interest Income: $27.
- Misc:$661. I got $531 signup bonus from Capital One. That’s awesome. In addition, Mrs. RB40 sold a few used items and made $130.
Monthly Expenses (target < $5,000/month)
For 2018, our monthly spending budget is $5,000/month, an increase of $200 from 2018. We’re moving so I anticipate more spending this year. We’ll probably have to buy some new furniture and fix a few things around the house. I plan to put off remodeling for at least a year. We’ll figure out what needs to be done and make a priority list.
In January, we spent $5,371*. That’s a little higher than budgeted. We were traveling so that accounts for part of the problem. Another issue was the health expense. Mrs. RB40 and I both got some cavities filled at the dentist. I also got a new pair of glasses. These things pushed our health expense way higher than normal, but we should get some money back through a flexible spending account. Lastly, I added a new category – parents. I’ll send some money to my parents to help them throughout the year. I think $400/month sounds about reasonable. My brothers will help out, too.
*I don’t count savings, taxes, and deduction as part of our monthly expenses.
- Housing: $2,386. Our housing expense is too high. This category is over 50% of our spending most months. This includes mortgage, HOA fees, and property taxes. This should improve after we move.
- Groceries: $169. We spent way less than average on groceries this month because RB40Jr and I were out of town.
- Transportation: $30. We share one car and usually don’t drive much.
- Parent: $423. I gave my parents some money when we were in Thailand. They’ll withdraw from the ATM as needed.
- Kid: $0.
- Pet: $0.
- Bills: $229. Electricity and insurance (auto, home, term life, and umbrella).
- Health: $1260. Gym membership fee, dentists, and new glasses.
- Travel: $817. This was for the last segment of our 5 week Thailand trip. We stayed at a few hostels and ate out quite a bit. I used lots of reward points to help pay for this trip so we didn’t spend as much. Travel hacking is a great way to reduce your travel expense.
- Clothing: $0.
- Entertainment: $37. Eating out in Portland.
- Misc.: $20. Mrs. RB40 made a small donation to a nonprofit organization.
- Taxes and deductions: $2,164.
- 401k and Roth: $3,930. I contributed $1,500 to my 401k. Mrs. RB40 contributed $1,430 to hers. We also contributed $500 each to our Roth IRAs.
- Extra Savings: $1,628. This went into our checking account for now. I’ll invest it when I can.
We saved $5,558 so far in 2019. Our current saving rate is lower than I’d like, 42%. I hope to increase it to 50% by the end of the year. It might be tough with our move this year.
- Joe’s 401k: $1,500.
- Mrs. RB40’s 401k: $1,430
- Roth IRAs: $1,000
- 529 College Savings: $0
- Extra savings: $1,628
2019 saving Rate = 42%.
January 2019 Wrap Up
All in all, we had a good January. I made good progress on most of my goals. Our cash flow could be better, but that’s mostly due to travel and healthcare. These should go down to a normal level in February. Our net worth increased quite a bit in January due to the surge in the stock market. That’s great, but I’m still a bit nervous. Let’s see how the stock market performs in February.
How about you? Did you have a good January? Have you started working on your New Year goals yet?
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Joe left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle. See how he generates Passive Income here.
Joe 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.