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July 2018 Goals and Financial Update


July Goals and Financial UpdateHey, everyone! Summer break is almost over. Did you do everything you wanted? There are only a few weeks left before school starts. It’s already time for back to school shopping! Summer will be gone before you know it. We’ve had a great summer so far, but we’ll have to take it easy in August. My mom is back in Portland and we need to follow up on various medical issues. I planned to visit Boise in August, but we’re canceling that road trip. My mom needs to see quite a few doctors and we can’t travel anymore this year. That’s alright; there is plenty of stuff to do in Portland anyway.

On the financial front, July was awesome. Our income was higher than normal and our expense came in under budget. If we can hold it at this level for the rest of the year, 2018 will be a great success. Okay, I’ll go over my 2018 goals first and then share the details of our cash flow in July.

2018 Goals

This is my goal scheduling spreadsheet. Last year, I found that I needed to start these goals in the first half of the year. If I waited until summer, they just won’t get done. 2018 isn’t looking too good because the goals are more ambitious than previous years. You can get a quick status update from the chart and see the details below.

July Goal Sheet

Financial Goals

  1. Increase our real estate crowdfunding investmentto $100,000. In July, I invested $12,000 in a student housing project. University housing is supposed to be more resilient so I’m hopeful that this project will work out. You can read more about my investments at my real estate crowdfunding page. I’ll keep checking RealtyShares for more projects to invest in.
  2. FI ratio > 100%. The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. So far, our FI ratio is 70for 2018. This year is not looking good because our expense is higher than normal due to a major home repair and a pricey vacation. Some years are just harder than others. This year is going to be one of those and we need to learn from it. Actually, July helped a lot. If we can keep it up, we should look pretty good by the end of the year.
  3. Increase bond/cash allocation to 30%. Going to 30% bond/cash will beef up our opportunity fund. This is very slow going because I’m not in a big hurry. Currently, our bond/cash allocation is up to 23%. That’s not too bad and I’ll be happy if I can get it up to 25% by the end of the year.
  4. Travel hack 100,000 points. Finally, we finished a goal! We signed up for some new cards and use them to pay for the home repair and vacation. These points will come in handy for our vacation next year. It’ll be either Vietnam or Argentina.

Blog Goals

  1. Minor Redesign RB40. This one is really difficult to do because I can’t seem to budget time for it. It’s already tough to writeand keep the site running. In May, I switched the site to https. That’s a big part of what I wanted to do this year. Next, I’ll need to work on the banner, logo, and a new theme. It’ll have to be after the summer, though.
  2. Blog 12 times at Fit by 40. This one is way behind now. I’m not motivated to write about fitness this year. I’m also taking the summer off from going to the gym because hanging out with an active 7 year old boy is plenty of exercise. For now, I’ll keep FB40 as a test site for the redesign. You can see how I started the site here – How to Start a Blog and Why You Should.
  3. Blog revenue $100,000. This one is going to be very difficult so I’m grading it on the academic system. Also, I changed the goal from blog “income” to blog “revenue.”Income is after taxes and expenses. Revenue is just gross income. The blog generated $53,432 so far in 2018. That’s really good. You can see more detail on my Blog Income page.

Personal Goals

  1. Join Toastmasters. I visited a local club and it was a good experience. However, there are too many things going on right now. My mom needs help with her health. Also, school is out so I’m spending more time with RB40Jr. I just can’t squeeze Toastmasters into my schedule. This will have to be put off until RB40Jr is a lot more independent.
  2. Not paying for leaf removal. Showdown in November.
  3. Consolidate down to one property. We plan to move into our rental duplex and sell off the other 2 properties. This one will definitely take more than one year. I changed the due date to 2020.

Fun Goal

  1. Visit Iceland. Iceland was incredible. I got some nice pictures so check out my Iceland trip report

Net Worth (+2.6% YTD)

I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006 and it is very motivating to see the progress we’ve made. 2018 started off with a bang and we had a great month in January. However, the stock market turned volatile after that and it’s been mostly flat since then. July was good, though. The stock market did quite well and it gave us a nice little boost. Our net worth is up 2.6% since the beginning of 2018.

My bet with Warren Buffett – I’ll benchmark our net worth against VFINX for 10 years starting in 2018. VFINX is up 4.6% since the beginning of 2018. Our net worth is up just 2.6% so we’re a bit behind. Our net worth is diverse so it does better when the market drops. It’s early in the race yet. Also, I haven’t updated our property prices in over a year so that part of our net worth is probably a bit low.

Here is a graph of our net worth on Personal Capital. It’s looking pretty good so far.

July Net Worth

*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 my accounts and cash flow. It’s a great site for DIY investors.

2018 Passive Income ($29,102 YTD)

Here is a quick summary of our passive income. You can see all the details on my new Passive Income page. We had a slow start in 2018 because one of our rentals was vacant for the first 2 months. It’s occupied now so the passive income is looking better. Hopefully, it’ll be smooth sailing for the rest of 2018.

July passive income

The only trouble spot now is P2P lending. We’re seeing more defaults and the interest payments aren’t enough to overcome the hits. If we reinvest in P2P lending, it would look better. However, I like real estate crowdfunding much more so I’m investing new money there.

July 2018 Cash Flow

Our cash flow was excellent in July. Mrs. RB40 had one of those 3 paycheck months and that boosted our income significantly. Our spending was also very good. We went on a 2-week road trip to California, but we didn’t spend much money because we stayed with families. Other than that, we had a low key month.

Check out my Sankey diagram and see more details below.

July cash flow

Take Home Income (target > $10,000)

For 2018, our monthly take home income target is $10,000. July was a great month because our take home was $12,438 after tax and retirement savings. (I had to put retirement savings in the expense column in the Sankey diagram.) My blog income was solid and that helped too.

  • Mrs. RB40’s paychecks: $8,360. Woohoo! I live for these 3 paycheck months.
  • Blog Income: $6,744. You can read more details on my Blog Income pageRB40Jr 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: $1019. All our rentals are occupied and we didn’t have any big repairs last month. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
  • Dividend Income: $1,460. More details at my Dividend Passive Income page.
  • Real estate crowdfunding: $0. No payments this month. Read more at my Real Estate Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Prosper P2P lending: –$20. Ugh, I’m tired of these negative months from P2P lending. This is negative due to defaults.
  • Interest Income: $20.

Monthly Expenses (target > $4,800)

For 2018, our monthly spending budget is $4,800/month, an increase of $300 from 2017. This does not include contributions to 401k, Roth IRA, and college savings. This year has been really tough and we went over budget many times already. July was great, though. We spent $4,244 and came in under budget. We need to keep this up for the rest of 2018.

  • Housing: $2,365. Our housing expense is getting spendy. This category is over 50% of our expense most months. This includes mortgage, HOA fees, and property taxes.
  • Groceries: $379. As expected, our grocery bill was lower than usual because we were out of town for 2 weeks. We cooked quite a few nifty dishes when we were home, though. Check them out.

July food 1

Mrs. RB40 made avocado toast topped with freshly picked baby arugula. Mmmm… She also made these rustic blueberries empanadas. They weren’t too pretty, but they were delicious.

July food 2

Brinjal eggplant curry. Mmmmm… This vegetarian dish turned out awesome for the adults. Junior didn’t like it much, but he ate it. The next dish is a tuna poke plate, a taste fo Hawaii.

July food 3

Here is Mrs. RB40’s favorite Thai salad, the spicy roasted duck salad. I don’t see this dish in Thai restaurants anymore. I guess it’s not that popular, but we love it. The last dish here is a Filipino breakfast, the pork tocino with egg and rice. I cheated a bit here because the pork tocino was from the frozen section. Follow me on Instagram if you’d like to see more of my unglamorous early retirement lifestyle.

  • Cash: $0.
  • Transportation: $366. We share one car and we usually don’t drive much. In July, I got a new battery and an oil change to prepare for our road trip.
  • Kid: $38. I got a new school backpack for RB40Jr.
  • Pet: $0.
  • Bills: $212. Electricity, credit card annual fee, and insurance (auto, home, term life, and umbrella.)
  • Health: $86. Gym membership fee and the dentist bill.
  • Travel: $1,006. We stayed at 3 hotels on our CA road trip. We also ate out quite a bit. Overall, I think this is pretty good for a 2 week vacation.
  • Clothing: $0.
  • Misc: I requested a refund for the latex mattress we purchased in May. I really liked how it felt, but it gave me back pain. That’s too bad. We got a cheaper memory foam mattress and it is working out better. We came out in the green for this exchange, $228.
  • Pre-Tax Savings: $4,145. I contributed $2,000 to my 401k. Mrs. RB40 contributed $2,145 to hers.
  • Extra Savings: $8,194. This is pretty incredible. July was the best month of 2018 yet.

Extra Savings 2018: $31,306

2018 is going very well and our extra savings totaled $31,306 so far. We sent a bunch of money to the IRS in April so we don’t have much left. I didn’t send in estimated tax payments last year so we owed the tax man. I’ll do a better job this year and try not to owe as much.

Here is what I plan to do with our opportunity fund in 2018.

  • Invest more in real estate crowdfunding. I just invested $12,000 in a student housing project.
  • Pick up some dividend stock if I see a good deal. I purchased 50 shares of PM in April.

July 2018 Wrap Up

July was our best month in 2018 yet. Our income was high and our expense was under budget. It was great. August should be pretty good too. We’ll stay in Portland and I don’t have any big plans. We’ll go swimming at the pool and find some free/cheap activities around town. School is starting at the end of August so we need to do back to school shopping and get haircuts. I’m looking forward to having more time to myself again. Spending summer with RB40Jr is a lot of fun, but I’m ready to blog more frequently. It’s tough to get in the groove with this summer schedule (1 post per week).

Did you have a good July? Any big plan for August?

*Sign up for a free account at Personal Capital to help manage your investments. I log in almost every day to check on my accounts and cash flow. It’s a great site for DIY investors.

Disclosure: We may receive a referral fee if you sign up with 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. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

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 every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.

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{ 47 comments… add one }
  • Mr. Tako August 6, 2018, 12:26 am

    Woohoo! Great month Joe! Your blog income just blows me away! Amazing!

    Like you, I don’t get a whole lot done during the summer. It’s either too hot outside to be productive, or we’re traveling somewhere — We just got back from a camping trip for example.

    I think I get more done in the winter months when it rains all the time.

    Nice dividend income this month too. Nearly the same as my dividend income this month!

    • retirebyforty August 6, 2018, 8:23 am

      Thanks! Our blog income is very good this year. The economy is good and I think the online income reflects that. I’m pretty sure it will crater when we get a recession.

  • Gentleman's Family Finances August 6, 2018, 12:55 am

    Thanks for sharing the update – I’m really impressed with not just the amount of income you have (and a little jealous) but also the great level of detail and analysis.
    The food pics were good too – looks like you two love cooking and good food! It puts a human face on all of the FIRE info.


    • retirebyforty August 6, 2018, 8:25 am

      Recently, someone asked what are my hobbies these days. I was a flummox because I don’t have much of a hobby anymore. But now I realize that cooking is a hobby too. That will be my answer next time. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Ernie Zelinski August 6, 2018, 12:57 am

    Great month for you. Congratulations.

    I had a pretty good month in July. My ebooks sales made me about $4,700 Can, one of my better months lately for ebooks. The print sales should have earned me about $13,500 Can. in pretax income.

    As for August, I will spend quite a bit of money. First, I have to do another print run of 16,500 copies of “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free” which will cost me around $31,000 Can. I am also giving the University of Alberta Engineering Department $15,000 to fund the “Ernie J Zelinski Distinguished Award for Individual Creativity”, an annual award of $3,000 to be given to a Undergraduate Engineering Student for their “quirkly brilliance” for the next 5 years. Then toward the end of August, I have to send the Canada Revenue Agency my third income tax installment, this time $20,000 Can. Of course, I will spend at least $5,000 to $7,500 for my general living expenses.

    Does anyone feel sorry for me and want to help me out? (Okay, I am kidding. I will do just fine. My creativity is my biggest resource and will help me generate a lot more prosperity in the future.)

    • retirebyforty August 6, 2018, 8:26 am

      Thank you! Your book sale is going strong. That’s amazing. Great job with your charitable giving too.
      Ouch on the taxes.

  • Michael @ Financially Alert August 6, 2018, 1:32 am

    Nice job with July, Joe! Camping is always a fun summertime activity.

    We had a decent July also. The kids and wife are back to school, so that will give me a little bit more structured time to myself.

    Will you be headed to FinCon this year?

    • retirebyforty August 6, 2018, 8:27 am

      We went on a road trip, but didn’t camp this time. We stayed with friends and families.
      Back to school already? That’s super early. Is it year-round school?
      No, I’m not going to make it to FinCon this year. That week has a conflict.

  • Accidental FIRE August 6, 2018, 1:58 am

    Great job Joe, your blog keeps killing it. And you magically keep those expenses low!

    • retirebyforty August 6, 2018, 8:28 am

      Thanks! July was a good month on the expense side. We didn’t do so well earlier this year so we need to catch up.

  • Shaun Cawley August 6, 2018, 2:46 am

    Keep up the good work! I am just embarking on my financial journey and started a blog. Your advice has really inspired me

    • retirebyforty August 6, 2018, 8:29 am

      Good luck! I hope the blog is as helpful to you as it was to me. Blogging helped set me on the path to financial independence.

  • John H August 6, 2018, 3:26 am

    I missed the details about your Travel Hack 258,502 points vs 100,00 points—could you highlight that?
    Great TYD numbers, Joe!

    • retirebyforty August 6, 2018, 8:30 am

      I’ll work on a post for that. My goal was 100,000 points, but we exceeded it.

  • Lily | The Frugal Gene August 6, 2018, 3:32 am

    Oh my God I laughed out loud that your travel hacking goal is at +259% hahaha. That’s excellent.

    • retirebyforty August 6, 2018, 8:30 am

      Thanks. I needed a win. I’m not doing too well on my other goals. 🙂

  • TJ @Half Life Theory August 6, 2018, 3:49 am

    Even in retirement, you are doing so amazing on the income front. Net worth keeps creeping up… Life is good Joe! ?

    And you guys definitely seem to be so well diversified from income to investments… looks like it should be smooth sailing the rest of 2018.


    • retirebyforty August 6, 2018, 8:31 am

      Life is awesome! I love it.
      We just need to go through a recession to see how we handle it. Then Mrs. RB40 can retire. Heh heh..

  • Tom @ Dividends Diversify August 6, 2018, 4:17 am

    Hi Joe, It seems just like yesterday you were writing about your summer vacation and now it’s almost over. Time zips by quickly, but you did some fun stuff.
    I’m a little surprised about P2P lending defaults. With the economy rolling and jobs plentiful, I would have figured that defaults would be low? Thoughts?

    • retirebyforty August 6, 2018, 8:34 am

      P2P lending has always been like that. You need to keep reinvesting. The new loans lift up these older defaults. Once you stop reinvesting, then the defaults really hurt. We’re still getting the principle back so it’s not too bad.

  • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early August 6, 2018, 5:26 am

    My vote is for Argentina. Bucket list country for me 🙂 And we don’t do a ton of travel during the summer either – the PNW is pretty great this time of year and there’s really no need to go anywhere else.

    • retirebyforty August 6, 2018, 8:35 am

      Argentina sounds great. We’ll need to wait until next year to travel again. This year has been kind of rough with my mom.
      We’ll just have fun locally the rest of August. The PNW is the best spot in the US to spend the summer. 🙂

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance August 6, 2018, 5:30 am

    Congrats on a great month of high income and low expenses! The savings in July sound terrific!

    My 3-paycheck month is in August. I already got the 1st one on the 3rd (woot woot!). I can’t wait for the other two to hit my bank account hehe. Mr. FAF gets paid every month, so I don’t think he knows what it feels like to have 3 paychecks in a month. He can only live that experience vicariously through me and our joint account 😀

    • retirebyforty August 6, 2018, 8:36 am

      Nice. August will be great for you guys then. I got paid twice/month when I was working so I didn’t experience the 3 paycheck months then. Now, it’s great because I do our spreadsheet and the extra paycheck helps a lot.

  • Pennypincher August 6, 2018, 5:50 am

    The food looks… amazing!!! Very creative.

  • Lazy Man and Money August 6, 2018, 7:55 am

    Holy mileage reward points! That’s a big haul. I did some of this last year with expenses. Now I need to figure out how to duplicate it despite having a bunch of cards already. We’ll probably have some big expenses to batch next year.

    I think you got a solid chance to hit that FI of 100%. Maybe it depends on when you book the next travel, but even then with miles, it might not be so bad.

    • retirebyforty August 6, 2018, 8:38 am

      I’m pretty sure we won’t hit 100% FI ratio this year. I’d be happy with 85% or something like that. That is still very acceptable.

  • Helen August 6, 2018, 8:54 am

    Hi Joe, another good month. Enjoy the rest of the summer! Cool pictures. It looks your son was having fun with the fountain. The dishes look delicious, and very healthy, with lots of vegetables.

    • retirebyforty August 7, 2018, 11:47 am

      Thanks! That picture was perfect. Too bad my phone camera is not that great. 🙁

  • Mrs. 50 @ By50Journey August 6, 2018, 2:42 pm

    What an inspiring! Your blog is killing it. Now I’m addicted to your blog. I took all of my courage to start my blog and my own financial journey. Your blog has really inspired me on my financial journey. May be some day I can say ‘blogging allowed me to quit my job’.

    BTW, your food pictures look amazing!

  • William Medina August 6, 2018, 2:54 pm

    Now that was a great month, but what I find interesting is that you have your son modeling. Awesome idea, hope it motivates him to learn more about blogging, and more.

    • retirebyforty August 7, 2018, 11:48 am

      And I can put some money away for him in a Roth IRA. The compound interest will be incredible. 🙂

  • Jane Has Debt August 6, 2018, 9:19 pm

    that food looks so tasty! so funny, after reading about your Iceland post, I tell my friends, “eat Pizza to keep the costs down if you go to Iceland”. I look forward to your November showdown with the leaves. Ha.

  • Doc G August 7, 2018, 1:17 pm

    Wow. You’re doing great as usual. Blog income looks great. The food picks get my attention every time!

  • Simon | Vistafolio.com August 7, 2018, 3:45 pm

    Nice work and inspiring as to what can be done with some decent planning. Passive income and portfolio income sure gives you more choices in life.

  • GYM August 7, 2018, 11:42 pm

    Great job Joe and Mrs. RB40! Yeah, your blog income is amazzzzing.

    Have you thought of hiring someone to help with the redesign of your blog? I know for my old blog I hired someone to redesign it and it helped decrease the stress of trying to figure out how to do it. I’m sure someone who is interested in gaining some exposure would help to redesign your site for a lower cost 🙂

    • retirebyforty August 8, 2018, 9:19 pm

      I think I will need to hire someone to help with the redesign. I don’t have time to do it this year.

  • Steve August 8, 2018, 8:31 am

    $8k in savings? Incredible. I enjoy reading your updates, and this month seemed awesome. And on top of all of that, your wife cooked some delicious food. I’ll have to try my hand at blueberry empanadas.

  • FIRECracker August 8, 2018, 6:41 pm

    Congrats on an awesome July! The iceland spending was high but based on your post, looks like it was totally worth it. And all that cooking and cheaper activities through the rest of year will make up for it. I’ll be following in your footsteps and flying off to Iceland soon! Can’t wait!

    • retirebyforty August 8, 2018, 9:21 pm

      Thanks! Iceland was a lot of fun. I’m sure you’ll have a great time for less. We spent a lot because we went with another family.

  • Financially Free August 9, 2018, 4:17 am

    Hi Joe,

    If you want a better experience with P2P lending income, you should take a look at my blog. I specialize in P2P lending and share my experiences and earnings month after month.

    I only invest in European platforms as they are miles apart from their American counterparts. Most of them have buyback guarantee so you never have to worry about defaults or having your money locked up in recovery processes. Interest rates are also higher, typically from 10-13%.

  • Caroline August 10, 2018, 9:10 am

    Great month Joe!
    Your blog income is amazing and that is still while reducing your postings for the summer.
    On another note, you may want to consider starting “FoodpornRB40.com”?, it would make Lily really happy, your pics are really good:)

  • Hank August 11, 2018, 8:49 am

    Great post and really enjoy your blog! Curious if you prefer VFINX over VTSAX, and your reason why? Thanks for sharing!

  • BigLaw Burnout August 11, 2018, 7:56 pm

    Really incredible blog income! It’s inspiring to see the numbers go up each year, especially with more and more blogs coming out. I’m hoping to get some traction with mine.

    I’ve never liked P2P lending. The incentives are messed up and you have an info disadvantage. Plus those sites are notoriously lax on collecting the defaults.

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