March FIRE Update

March 2022 FIRE Update Twitter

Hey, everyone. Q1 is over! Boy, what an exciting year 2022 has been, so far. Well, exciting isn’t quite the right word. The world seems to be spinning out of control, but we have to figure out what we can and can’t control. I can’t do anything about inflation, the war in Ukraine, or Covid. But I could minimize spending and get a booster vaccine shot, for example. It’s no use to worry too much about the things we can’t control. That’s how I stayed happy in March while the TV is full of bad news. (Hint: The TV is always full of bad news.) Oh, I didn’t watch much TV either.

Anyway, I’m in Thailand for just a few more days. Then, I’ll be back in Portland, just in time for spring! There are all kinds of activities waiting for me back home.

  • Take RB40Jr to his soccer games. (The coach asked if I can fill in last weekend. Sorry! I’m in Thailand. Heh heh.)
  • Take RB40Jr to school, meet up with his friends, and various other activities.
  • Fix up the heater’s water pump and various other problems around the house.
  • Cook! I haven’t cooked for 3 months. Hopefully, I can still do it.
  • Exercise every morning.
  • File the tax return. Actually, I’ll file an extension because I haven’t started yet.
  • Etc…

I’m looking forward to getting back to the regular routine.

On the personal finance side, March was a very good month. Our income was solid and our expenses were low. I traveled to the beach in Thailand and spent some money, but not a huge amount. It was a nice getaway. Our passive income exceeded our expenses again. We continued to save the extras. It was a good month.

I’ll share how I’m doing on my New Year goals (badly) and update our monthly cash flow. Here are the details.

2022 Goals

Here is my 2022 goal 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 can see which goals need extra attention.

I’m not doing so well on my goals this year. I already failed 3 of them. See the reason below.

Financial Goals

  • Real Estate Crowdfunding $200,000. This goal was a bit too ambitious. I need to extend the timeline to 2023. Also, we have an unexpected expense. We are building a beach cabin in Thailand. So, I’m not sure how much we can increase our investment in RE crowdfunding this year. Anyway, the projects on CrowdStreet finish their funding phase quickly. Investors are taking profit from the stock market to diversify. It’s a great way to passively invest in real estate.
  • FI Ratio > 110%. This is my main goal for 2022. The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. So far, our FI ratio is 153%. That’s excellent. This year, I’m less focused on our passive income because Mrs. RB40 plans to work longer. However, I’ll try to keep our passive income above 110%.
  • Sell rental condo. Our tenant decided to stay for another year. He’s a great tenant so I’m okay with it. The price isn’t great in that area anyway. Portland is still struggling with a lot of issues. Hopefully, the city will improve soon. Anyway, I failed this goal.
  • Speculate crypto $10,000. This isn’t going too well. Crypto seems to track the stock market closely. I need to do more research and see why. Cryptocurrency will be very volatile in the short term so hang on if you have a lot of money invested. Currently, I have about $2,500 in crypto currencies.

Health Goals

  • Unfortunately, I lost my fitness tracker in Bangkok. I have no idea how it happened. It probably just popped off my wrist. Oh well, I’ll see if I can pick up another tracker when I get home. But I lost all motivation for now. I’m eating like crazy in Thailand because the food is so affordable and delicious. I’ll lose weight later. At least, I’m walking a lot so I’m burning calories.

Fun Goals

  • Travel 180 days – I was away from home for 79 days since the beginning of 2022. It would be more fun if my family was here, but Mrs. RB40 is busy with work and RB40Jr with the school. She could retire if she wants, but she chooses to work this year. I’ll just travel solo when I can. We’ll travel together in the summer.
  • 1,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel. Currently, we have 575 subscribers on our YouTube channel. I was publishing several clips per week, but I got too busy this month. Hopefully, I’ll get back on track next month.
  • Hot air balloon ride, zipline, and Disneyland. I’ll work on this when I get back to Portland. Hot air balloon ride near Portland. Zipline in Thailand in the summer. Disneyland in the fall.
  • Happiness level > 8. I’m having a great time in Thailand and I’m not even spending much money. In March, I give it a 9.5. I got to see my parents and relatives. I ate a ton of delicious food. Life is good. The only problem is my mom. Her dementia is deteriorating. She’ll have to go to a nursing home soon. It’s sad, but that’s the price of getting old. I’m just happy to be able to spend time with her. Like I said, let’s focus on what we can control and let go of what we can’t.

Net Worth (-3.2% YTD)

I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006. It is very motivating to see our progress. The power of compounding is unbelievable. Our net worth increases more than we earn almost every year. However, 2022 might not work out so well. The stock market dropped quite a bit since the beginning of the year. Our net worth followed the market down and dropped about 3%. I think that’s all right, though. The stock market increased so much last year. It needs to calm down a little. I’m surprised it came back so quickly with the ongoing geopolitical crisis.

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.

2022 Passive Income ($13,783 YTD)

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

passive income

March was a good month for passive income. Also, we didn’t spend much so our FI ratio looks really good.  

*FI ratio = passive income/expense

March 2022 Cash Flow

Our cash flow was good in March. Our income was solid on all fronts except for side hustles. I’ll take a break from side hustling this year because we plan to travel a lot more. Last month, we didn’t spend much. Overall, it was a good month financially.

Here is the Sankey diagram of our March cash flow. You can get a quick overview from the diagram and see the details below.

Gross Income: $14,176

Our gross income will be lower than usual this year. We plan to work less and travel more.

  • Mrs. RB40’s job: $8,417. Mrs. RB40’s income was normal.   
  • Blog income: $3,355. My blog income was higher than usual. Q1 is usually the best quarter for me. It’ll be down next month.
  • Real estate crowdfunding: $10. It was a slow month for Real estate crowdfunding. You can read more on the RE Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Rental income: $884. We had a nice month at the rental. I think we’ll have a good year with rental income. Things are smoother than the previous year.
  • Dividend Income: $1,723. See more details on my Dividend Passive Income page.
  • Interest Income: $7
  • Side hustle & Misc: $0

Monthly Spending: $3,244

This year, I plan to spend about $50,000. So our monthly spending budget is $4,166/month. In March, we were under that budget. We didn’t have any big expenses. My travel didn’t cost that much so that was good. Here are the details.

  • Housing: $1,381. This category includes mortgage, home insurance, HOA fees, property taxes, utilities, home improvement, repair, and furnishing.
  • Parents: $250. My brothers and I each sent $250/month to my parents. They don’t have much retirement savings. Fortunately, they live in Thailand so it is enough. I also own the condo they live in so their housing expense is minimal.
  • Groceries: $409. Usually, we spend about $500/month on groceries.
  • Bills: $23. (This is just life insurance. Water, gas, and electric bills are included in the housing category.)
  • Transportation: $139. This category includes gasoline, insurance, public transportation, and car maintenance.
  • Entertainment: $98. Mrs. RB40 and Junior got takeout a few times.  
  • Kid: $44. Some game bucks and school pics.
  • Travel: $541.  Hotel rooms, condo, food, and transportation. Not too bad. I traveled to the beach and ate some delicious seafood.
Shrimp and bitter beans stir-fried with chili paste.
Grilled shrimps
Fried mantis shrimps
  • Health: $12.   
  • Clothing: $147. Mrs. RB40 purchased some stuff.
  • Misc: $200. Donation.

Others

I don’t count these as personal spending.

  • Taxes and deductions: $2,630. 

2022 Savings ($27,006 YTD)

I don’t think we’ll save as much as usual this year. We plan to travel more and relax a bit. We’ve been saving for so long. I think we deserve a break.

  • Joe’s 401k: $2,300.
  • Mrs. RB40’s 401k: $4,500. She contributes $750 every paycheck. She’ll need to increase it this year, though. I’ll send her a message.
  • Roth IRAs: $3,000.
  • 529 College Savings: $0.
  • Extra savings: $17,206

YTD 2021 saving rate = 65%

March 2022 wrap up

March was a crazy month for the world, but I had a very nice month. I spent a lot of time with my parents. Financial independence enabled me to do this. My brothers also visited, but only for about 10 days. They don’t have time to relax and help with my mom. This is probably the last time I’ll have good quality time with my mom. The next time I see her, she’ll probably be in a nursing home and who knows how much time I’ll be able to see her then. They still don’t want visitors because of Covid.

I’m just glad for this time with her. Also, it didn’t cost that much money to stay in Thailand for 3 months. It’s a trial run for my future retirement. I’ll spend 6 months in Thailand and 6 months in the US. Life is good in Thailand when you have US money. Housing, food, transportation, and entertainment cost way less than in the US. Fortunately, I have some families here so I’m not too lonely.

How was March for you? Did you have a good month?

*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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13 thoughts on “March FIRE Update”

  1. Great article, Joe. Always enjoy reading these, but this is the first time commenting. I noticed you invest in many of the Crowdstreet individual offerings, which is great. What do you think about the new Crowdstreet C-REIT fund, which has a minimum of $25K and gives a 1099 at the end of the year instead of a K-1? Since this fund is diversified with a combination of their current deals/offerings, I’m thinking this could be a good bet as well. Appreciate your thoughts!

    Reply
    • I haven’t looked into the C-REIT fund too much. I prefer to invest in apartments so that’s what I’m doing.
      A 1099 form would be a lot more convenient than K1, though. Those K1 forms are so complicated.
      I’ll look into the REIT option later this year. Thanks.

      Reply
  2. I don’t remember you hitting 9.5 on the happiness scale before — that’s great to hear! I like your half-year plans for Thailand and the US. We have similar plans; spring and autumn are absolutely beautiful in the DC area (I’m still riding the high from cherry blossom peak bloom a week and a half ago), but winters in Mexico and summers in Europe are more appealing. And we don’t want to part ways with our outstanding neighborhood, even if the equity would move FIRE up by four or five years. It’s a good problem to have.

    Reply
  3. Wow, very low spending this month Joe, and tons of fabulous looking food. Looks like a great month Joe!

    While you’ve been having a great time in Thailand, I’ve been working my butt off trying to get our house ready to sell. We’re moving soon!

    Safe travels on your way back to Portland!

    Reply
  4. I am always impressed with your blog income. You certaintly did something right with your blog that resonated with people when you started it years ago. It is very difficult to do something like that today. There are so many blogs saturating the market nowadays. Of course, that is true in the self-publishing business. It is much harder to be a success in this business than it was when I first started. And it is not easy to continue making money unless one has a blockbuster book.

    You ask: “How was March for you? Did you have a good month?”

    Actually, the greatest success for me in March was that I flew to Honolulu for the third time this year after having gone for a week in January and for a week in February. Indeed, I completed that “Honolulu hat trick”. Again, I flew with Air Canada in International Business Class (really First Class). The rack rate for each of these trips was $3,850 CAN for a total of $11,550 CAN. But by using Aeroplan points I was able to get the first one for $135, the second one for $134, and the this last one for $762 for a total of $1,031. Yeah, for travel hacking!

    So far 2022 has been pretty good for me in book sales. In the first 12 weeks, my books in all editions have sold a little over 4,000 copies. I earn at average of around $7 CAN per book. Thus, I have earned around $28,000 CAN in the first 12 weeks. If this rate of sales continues, I will be able to spend all this money with Swagger and not have to touch my Retirement Portfolio or my Prosperity Account. Incidentally, my Retirement Portfolio in Dividend stocks has gone up around $40,000 this year after having gone up around $300,000 in 2021. The reason seems to be that lately Canadian dividend stocks have been doing much better than US dividend stocks.

    Reply
    • Thank you. The blog’s readership is in decline. I think there are just too many blogs/podcasts/YouTube channels out there now. I’ll have to think about the next thing.
      Congratulations on your book sales. I’m always extremely impressed by your result.

      Reply

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