July 2020 Goals & Financial Update

July Financial Update 350Hey everyone, July is done! That’s another month out of the way. 2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. At this point, I just want to survive with minimum damage. Many of my New Year goals are way behind. That’s all right. Some years, you just have to get through the best you can.

July was actually a very good month for us. We took a vacation and got out of town on two road trips. It was great. I was getting antsy with staying home all the time. Now, I’m a lot more relaxed and I can hunker down for the rest of 2020. I also went on a DIY spree and fixed up several things around the duplex. I replaced our bathroom sink, got new shades, and refinished the balcony. It felt fantastic to accomplish some things. These projects cost about $1,000 total. However, I get to split that between the rental and housing expenses. That’s the nice thing about having a duplex. You can charge some of the expenses to the rental business. I’ll write more about this later.

On the personal finance side, we did okay last month. My online income decreased again. That’s not good and I hope it bottoms out soon. Fortunately, our spending was low. Our vacation and home improvement projects weren’t that expensive. Oh, good news. Our net worth is up for the year. The stock market did pretty well in July and our portfolio put us in the green. All in all, it was a very good month.

Okay, I’ll go over my goals first and then share the details of our net worth, cash flow, and savings.

2020 Goals

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.

July NY goals

Many of my goals are not going well this year. I started out with reasonable goals and I won’t be able to accomplish many of them. That’s life, though. There will be setbacks and some years will be harder than others. We need to survive 2020 and hope for better days ahead. It’s okay to have lower expectations for 2020. At this point, I just want to get to 2021 with my sanity intact.

Financial Goals

  • 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.
  • 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. Our expenses were low so it isn’t too hard. We’re at 118% 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. Side hustling income is way down this year. Scooter sharing companies are shuttered and I don’t want to do it anyway. A lot of people need extra income more than we do. We’ll put off all side hustles until the COVID-19 pandemic is done. Last month, I got $1,512 tax refund! That counts, right?

Branding (by 40)

  • Content creation > 178 blog posts and videos. This is a huge amount, but we’re ahead of the pace. In July, I posted 9 blog posts and 0 videos. We’re slowing down because it’s hard to create content in the summer.
  • Refresh RB40. This one is on hold for now. I’ll get back to it when things are better.
  • 1,000 subscribers on Eat by 40! Currently, we have 94 subscribers. This is a slow process that will take way more than one year. We’ll keep working on it.

Personal Goals

  • 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. My Alaska Airlines points came in. I’ll probably apply for a new card in a few months. 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 > 9. My happiness level was excellent in July. We took a couple of short vacations and unplugged from everything. Also, the school will be online in September. That removed a lot of uncertainties. So I’m very relaxed right now. Life is great.

July Happiness

Net Worth (+1.4% 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’s back to pre-COVID level. I don’t understand how it can come back so quickly with millions of workers unemployed. But I’m very glad I’m an investor. For 2020, our net worth is up 1.4%! Woohoo! It’s positive.

Personally, I think it will end badly. This feels like 2000. The stock market valuation is unrealistic. It will revert to mean at some point. So brace yourself. It will be a bumpy ride. 2020 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 investment accounts and track your net worth. I log in almost every day to check on our accounts. It’s a great site for DIY investors.

July net worth 2

2020 Passive Income ($20,867 YTD)

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

July Passive Income

Surprisingly, our passive income is holding up quite well. The payout lags the economy a bit so we will have to wait and see.

  • Real Estate Crowdfunding– RE crowdfunding is great this year. You can read more detail 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 much longer.

Our FI ratio looks great so far at 118%. We didn’t spend much and our passive income was good.

*FI ratio = passive income/expense

July 2020 Cash Flow

Our cash flow was good in July. Income was pretty good and our spending was low. This was unexpected because we took a summer vacation. All the other categories were much lower than normal so it worked out.

This is the Sankey diagram for July. You can get a quick overview here and see the details below.

July Sankey

Gross Income (target > $13,000/month)

This year, our gross income target increased 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. Our gross income was $12,721 in July. My blog income has been dropping and it hasn’t bottomed out yet. Fortunately, Mrs. RB40 is still working so we are doing okay. Also, our spending is way lower than usual. Here is a chart of my online income. I hope it picks up soon.

July Blog income

  • Blog Income: $947. You can read more at my blog income page.
  • Real estate crowdfunding: $1,072. RE crowdfunding was great last month. We got a big payout and that gave it a big boost. Most projects are performing well. You can see how we’re doing at the RE Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Rental Income: $7. I fixed a few things at the duplex so the income was much lower than usual. At least, we’re in the green this month. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
  • Dividend Income: $712. Our dividend income was slow in July. See more details at my Dividend Passive Income page.
  • Interest Income: $13.
  • Side hustle: $1512. No side hustling for a while due to COVID-19. However, I got a big tax refund check. I think this is a mistake, but I deposited it anyway. The OR Department of Revenue will figure it out…

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. Actually, we took a vacation and fixed a few things around the duplex.

In July, we spent $3,064. That’s not bad at all.

  • Housing: $1,766. This category includes mortgage, home insurance, HOA fees, property taxes, utilities, home improvement, and furnishing. I got new shades, replaced the bathroom sink, and resurfaced the balcony. Next month should be better.
  • Parents: $10. My parents didn’t need extra money in July. I changed the auto-transfer amount to $10 so I don’t have to set it up again.
  • Groceries: $91. Wow! That’s way lower than usual. We went on vacation, but that doesn’t explain it. I guess we stocked up too much over the last few months. It’ll probably go back to around $500 soon.
  • Travel: $1,011. We took 2 road trips around Oregon. It was great to unplug and get out of town for a few days.
  • Entertainment: $0. Nothing other than our vacation.
  • Health: $0.
  • Bills: $23. My term life insurance payment.
  • Transportation: $86. Car insurance and gas. This doesn’t include our road trip.
  • Kid: $54. I got 2 better badminton rackets. The cheap ones from Walmart fell apart.
  • Pet: $0.
  • Clothing: $0.
  • Misc: $26. Mrs. RB40 got a gift for her dad.


I don’t count these as personal spending.

  • Taxes and deductions: $2,480.
  • 401k savings: $1,520. Mrs. RB40 contributed $1,520 to her 401k. I didn’t make a contribution.
  • 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: $4,657.

2020 Savings ($63,021 YTD)

So far, we saved $63,021. 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%

July 2020 Wrap Up

Overall, July was a great month for us. Our net worth turned positive and our cash flow was good as well. More importantly, I feel good about life today. I’m not stressed out about everything in the news. Eventually, it’ll get better so there is no use getting aggravated about all this stuff. We’ll just focus on our family for now.

How about you? Did you have a good month? I hope you enjoy the last few weeks of summer. And good luck school if you have kids.

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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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30 thoughts on “July 2020 Goals & Financial Update”

  1. I’m amazed that you are able to get your grocery bill to $500! We cook a lot at home, and I would say $500 can still be pretty tight depending on the protein choices. Though I will say it is amazing how quick your overall food bill (restaurant + Groceries) reduces when you start to cook. For us it went down easily 50% going to cooking dinner 5x a week.

  2. I’ve found that a place to staycation for even 2-3 days can do wonders for my happiness level. We had a couple of weeks of bad news, so we’ve decided to go back to our nature escape for a second time this summer.

    It’s a great sign that your FI ratio is staying around the 120% mark with the falling blog (and no side hustle) income during this time. That’s a sign that the plan is doing what it is supposed to do.

  3. I have seen my expenses rise significantly in the past month. Everything is open and I have some FOMO after so much time being in lockdown. Frankly I barely remember there’s a pandemic still going on. Tourists are flocking to the Maltese islands and the beaches are packed.

    I just hope there won’t be a second wave. For now, it doesn’t look like it.

    With regards to the stock market, I really have a hard time seeing another major crash this year. Maybe retractions of 10%-15% but I would be extremely surprised to see a 30%-50% decline again. With that being said, it’s all speculation and I’ll be ready either way.


    • That’s great! Malta sounds amazing. I’d love to visit someday. I’m surprised they are not more conservative about the pandemic.
      You’re probably right about the stock market. The stocks that are overvalued probably will correct 10-20% at some point. You can’t ignore valuation forever.

  4. Wow, you had a great month Joe! Better than mine I bet! I imagine it’s worrisome to see that blog income continually declining though. The economy should start to get better soon (I hope).

    I’m almost positive our July was over budget. We had far too many things break this month, and it seems like I was constantly spending money to get things fixed. 🙁

  5. Very cool you did so much handy work! It is so gratifying. Congrats on being up for the year as well.

    Maybe I can help you with your July blog income? I decided to focus more on biz dev in July and it worked well. I can suggest my new business partnerships to you if you’d like?

    I’m just happy my daughter finally said dada! YAY! 🙂


  6. Great to see that overall you had a great month and that you are pretty happy right now. The pandemic has been impacting so many people, that it’s great to see that you are doing the best out of it and keep moving things forward! I dont know when and where we are going to be able to finally connect but I’m hopeful that 2021 will get better than 2020. As for us, we are trying to see if we can stay in Taiwan as long as we can, since life has been really good here.

    • We’ll try to visit Thailand in December. Hopefully, my son’s passport come by then.
      The flight might be tough to arrange if they don’t open up soon.
      Enjoy Taiwan. That’s the best country to ride out 2020.

  7. Love the picture of the beach without any plastic! Our networth is up this month despite all the COVID19 stuff. It was interesting that our savings rate really plummeted for March-May which makes sense since all Mr. Plastic Picker’s overtime was gone, and we were clinical hours all oveA bunch of colleagues told me they had to zero out their retirement contributions to get through the last few months. It still amazes me how so many people haven’t even done the basics of having an emergency fund or liquidity to weather a few months of financial uncertainty. Have been enjoying your blog posts! Thank you for writing!

    • Really? High-income workers shouldn’t have to adjust their retirement contributions.
      Hopefully, they’ll learn from this experience and prepare better for the next crisis.
      Thanks for the encouragement!

  8. Given the current circumstances, your happiness level of 9 is most impressive! I’m generally pretty happy, but this lack of vacation is getting to me. Fortunately, my friend and I are planning one for the fall, depending upon all this nonsense. Great job overall with your goals!

    • Getting out of town for a few days really helped. July seems like a turning point for me. I’m not stressed out anymore.
      Also, the school will be online for the first quarter. That removed a lot of uncertainties.
      Have fun fixing stuff. We have to do it while the weather is nice.

    • A rental is probably better than a duplex. You don’t have to worry about sharing the space.
      Good thing we’re not dependant on the blog income. Hopefully, it’ll come back at some point.

  9. Glad to see you’re back in the black for the year! 🙂

    Also happy to see you’re giving WillMaker a shot. I hope that works out as an interim solution. It was enough for us.

    And of course, another thanks for that breakdown of hour road trip as it encouraged us to breakdown our staycation out here in Virginia. It’s not quite the foreign travel (Thailand!) either of us were hoping for, but it’s something.

    Cheers to another passable-good month in August.


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