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May 2018 Goals and Financial Update


May Financial Update

Hey everyone, did you have a good month? May was a rough month for us. We had two big expenses that blew up our cash flow spreadsheet. Well, it’s not that bad because we have a good cash reserve and our income was outstanding last month. It could have been worse. Other than that, May was an uneventful month. We all had a lingering cough and we mostly stayed home. We visited the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals at the end of the May so at least we got out once. The weather improved at ton recently and we’ll do more fun activities in June. Okay, I’ll tell you about our big expenses, go over the 2018 goals, and share the details of our cash flow in May.

New HVAC – $6,575

Our HVAC has been broken for quite a few years now. First, the AC stopped cooling about 7 years ago and then the heater stopped heating about 5 years ago. The fan worked, but the whole system was really old. I called a repair guy and he said a control board blew out. They don’t make this part anymore and he told me the only option was to install a whole new system. The quote was around $8,000 in 2013. Whoa, that’s expensive! The climate is generally mild in Portland so I didn’t want to get a new system installed. In the winter, the outdoor temperature drops to around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s cold, but the indoor temperature isn’t bad. We get a few 100 degree days per year, but the temperature hovers in the 80s in the summer for the most part. Do we really need the heater and AC?

Instead of getting a new HVAC, I opted to go with space heaters and a kotatsu table instead. We live in a concrete high rise that was built in the 60s. The building was converted to condos in 2007 and they put in very good windows. The result was a building with a great thermal mass. Our condo holds its temperature very well. All our neighbors crank up their heaters and our unit doesn’t get that cold. The space heater was enough to keep the condo at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s chilly, but we put on more clothes and the kotatsu table kept us toasty.

kotatsu table heater

The summers were generally tolerable as well. We opened all the windows at night to let the cooler air in. I also got a 20”high-velocity metal fan from Amazon. This fan helped a lot. It pushes a ton of air through our condo at night. Get one of these if you need a fan. It is so much better than those cheap plastic box fans. The 100 degrees days were tough, though. In the daytime, we usually just went to the pool or some place with AC like the library. This arrangement worked fine for many years.

However, last summer was bad. There was a big forest fire in the Columbia Gorge. A teenager threw a firework into the dry brush and started a huge fire in September. The whole city smelled like smoke for weeks and ashes were dropping everywhere. The air quality was horrible and we had to keep the windows closed because the ashes would blow in. It got really hot and we were miserable. Luckily, it was near the end of summer so the weather was starting to cool down. That’s when I gave in and planned to fix the HVAC. BTW, that teenager is on probation for 5 years and owes $36.6 million dollars. Kids, be safe with fireworks.

Anyway, I got a bunch of quotes for a new HVAC from various installers over the last 6 months which ranged from $6,500 to $10,000. I went with one of the cheaper quotes. The company has good reviews on Google so I feel okay about it. From what I understand, only a few companies make the smaller 1.5 ton heat pump. Most installers only offered the 2 ton heat pump. The smaller was cheaper and should be fine for our space. Anyway, we have heat and AC now, but we haven’t used it much yet. It hasn’t been hot enough. We’re pretty comfortable at 79 degrees indoors. Mrs. RB40 has to throw on another layer if it gets cooler than that. I’ll use the AC more this summer to stress test it.

New Mattress – $870

Our old memory foam mattress was about 10 years old. It was saggy and uncomfortable, but I was hoping to hold off until we moved into our duplex. That way, we can just toss the mattress and don’t have to move it. Alas, it was not to be. Recently, our tenant told me they are planning to stay a while. Mrs. RB40 also has been complaining that the bed was too hot and frequently has to go sleep on the couch.

This means memory foam isn’t going to work for us anymore. Memory foam mattresses are cheaper, but they’re hot because you sink into the foam. I also heard that memory foam mattresses don’t last very long. The foam compresses and becomes saggy in a few years. One option is to buy a relatively cheap memory foam mattress and replace it every 3-4 years. However, I don’t like doing that. I prefer to buy something that lasts longer.

After weeks of mattress research, I decided to go with the Pure Green natural latex mattress. Latex mattresses are supposed to be much more durable than memory foam and coil spring mattresses. I also like latex better because it is a natural material. I picked the 9” medium firmness and it arrived in a few days. The latex mattress felt great when I first laid down on it. You don’t sink into it like a memory foam bed so it’s cooler and more supportive. The price was a bit high at $795; however, it used to be $1,099 a few months ago. The price came down so I guess waiting paid off after all.

Unfortunately, I developed back pain at the hip bone after a few nights of use. The medium firmness was too hard for me. I called and complained and they suggested an additional latex topper. The company gave me 50% off the “soft” latex topper. What the heck, why not? That added another $75 to the cost of the mattress. My back is starting to feel better and I hope the back pain disappears soon. We’ll try it out for a while and I’ll return it if it doesn’t work out. I really want to like this mattress, though. It feels great when I lie down on it. I just need to wake up without pain.

Okay, enough about the expensive purchases. Let’s see how I’m doing on my 2018 goals.

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. This is not looking good because it’s almost summer already. Everything will be put on hold until school starts again in the fall. I’m not doing very well so far this year. You can get a quick status update from the chart and see the details below.

2018 goals spreadsheet

Financial Goals

  1. Increase our real estate crowdfunding investment to $100,000. I want to invest more, but we had too many expenses this year. We sent $14,000 to the tax man in April. It’s just tough to invest more when money is going out for other stuff. I hope to add another project my portfolio soon.
  2. FI ratio > 100%. The FI ratio is passive income divide by expense. So far, our FI ratio is 53for 2018. This is dismal due to the HVAC. Some years are just harder than others. This year is going to be one of those.
  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. I can probably get 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 HVAC and mattress. These points will come in handy for our vacation next year.

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 write and 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 and logo. It’ll have to be after the summer is over, 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. At least, I’m still going to the gym regularly. For now, I’ll keep FB40 as 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. I changed the goal from blog “income” to blog “revenue.” Our revenue is quite a bit higher. The taxes take a big bite out of it. The blog generated $37,744 so far in 2018. That’s actually pretty darn good, but we’re behind the pace. You can see more detail on my Blog Income page.

Personal Goals

  1. Join Toastmasters. I visited a local club and it was a nice experience. However, there are too many things going on right now. My mom needs help with her various doctor appointments. Also, school is almost out. I’ll spend more time with RB40Jr this year and cut way back on blogging. 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. The trip is a go. I already booked our flight tickets, lodging, ferry, and rental car. We’re heading out next week! I’m excited.

Net Worth (+0.3% 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. I still think 2018 will be a good year for the stock market, but nobody knows how it is going to turn out.

My bet with Warren Buffett – I’ll benchmark our net worth against VFINX for 10 years starting in 2018. VFINX is up about 1% since the beginning of 2018. Our net worth is up just 0.3% so we’re a bit behind. Our net worth is diverse so it does better when the market drops.

Here is a graph of our net worth in May on Personal Capital. Our net worth was mostly flat in May.

May Networth

*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 ($16,430 YTD)

Here is a quick summary of our passive income. You can see all the details at 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. 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 there.

2018 passive income

May 2018 Cash Flow

Our cash flow was pretty tight in May. It was almost a negative month for us. Our income was higher than usual so we were able to deal with the high expense month without sweating too much.

Check out my Sankey diagram and see the details below.

May Cash flow

Take Home Income (target > $10,000)

For 2018, our monthly take home income target is $10,000. May was an outstanding month. Our take home was $12,829 after estimated tax and tax-advantaged savings. My blog income was higher than usual and it helped a ton. Blog income usually drops off in the summer when everyone is on vacation. We’ll see how it goes this year.

  • Mrs. RB40’s paychecks: $5,924
  • Blog Income: $8,654. You can read more details at 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: $983. All our rentals are occupied and we didn’t have any big repairs last month. I installed new blinds in one bedroom. It was pretty cheap at around $50. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
  • Dividend Income: $812. More details at my Dividend Passive Income page.
  • Real estate crowdfunding:$274. RealtyShares is starting to pick up now and it is looking good. Read more at my Real Estate Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Prosper P2P lending:$31. P2P lending was good last month.
  • Interest Income: $16.

Monthly Expenses (target > $4,800)

For 2018, our monthly expense budget is $4,800/month, an increase of $300 from 2017. This does not include contributions to 401k, Roth IRA, and college savings. We had a few big expenses in May so we went way over the budget at $11,528. That’s our most expensive month in years, but what can you do. Hopefully, the HVAC will last for a long time.

  • Housing: $2,365. Our housing expense is getting spendy. This category is over 50% of our expense most months. There’s not much we can do at this point except moving. We’re looking to do that in a year or two. This includes mortgage, HOA fees, and property taxes.
  • Groceries: $523. Our grocery bill was under control in May. I cooked many delicious meals and we ate well this month. Check out some pictures. Clockwise from top left – Mrs. RB40’s veggie tart. This dish looked too beautiful to eat! Shoyu Chicken – Hawaii comfort food. Uzbekistan’s national dish – Plov with lamb. Lastly, Burmese fish curry. Oh man, it’s like the UN of chefs here at the RB40 household. Follow me on Instagram if you’d like to see more of my unglamorous early retirement lifestyle.

May DIY cooking

  • Cash: $180.
  • Transportation: $37. We share one car and we don’t drive much. I drop RB40Jr off at school in the morning and go grocery shopping on the weekend. That’s about it. We drive more in the summer when we visit local attractions.
  • Kid: $16. RB40Jr ran some laps to raise funds for his school.
  • Pet: $0.
  • Bills: $308. Electricity, credit card annual fee, and insurance (auto, home, term life, and umbrella.)
  • Health: $534. Gym and the bill for RB40Jr’s genetic testing. The doctor ordered the test last year to see if his hearing loss was due to genetic. The insurance said they don’t cover this.
  • Travel: $0.
  • Clothing: $85. Mrs. RB40 got some shoes. RB40Jr got some new shorts and a pair of pants from Target. Kids are hard on their clothes!
  • Misc: $7,481. HVAC, mattress, an IKEA roasting pan, binoculars for the Iceland trip, and a shower curtain liner. Whew, I’m glad May is over. Hopefully, June will be cheaper.
  • Pre-Tax Savings: $3,065. I contributed $1,420 to my 401k. Mrs. RB40 contributed $1,430 to hers. RB40Jr added $215 to his Roth IRA.
  • Extra Savings: $1,300

Extra Savings 2018: $19,077

2018 is going very well and our extra saving totaled $19,077 so far. We sent a bunch of money to the IRS in April so most of this is gone. 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.
  • Pick up some dividend stock if I see a good deal. I purchased 50 shares of PM in April.

May 2018 Wrap Up

May was rough, but we got through it unscathed. Our income was higher than normal and our cash flow didn’t go into the red. Whew! I think the rest of 2018 will look much better. I’m pretty sure we won’t have any more expensive home repair bill this year.

June should be good. We are going to Iceland for 2 weeks so our travel expense will be higher than normal. However, I doubt our monthly expenses will be as high as May. Our income will start to drop soon, though. Summer is always very slow for Retire by 40. Also, I hope to add some money to our real estate crowdfunding portfolio in June. We’ll see how it goes.

Did you have a good May? Any big plans this summer?

*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.

May was a rough month for us. We had 2 big expenses and it almost blew up our budget. Fortunately, our income was excellent as well. See how we did.
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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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{ 59 comments… add one }
  • Mr. Tako June 4, 2018, 12:53 am

    Wow, despite the large expenses you guys still managed to save money! Impressive earning power — but most of it did not come from your investments. Does this worry you Joe?

    May was a pretty expensive month for us too. We prepared a ton of expenses to get some credit card rewards.

    About the HVAC system — instead of buying a new system you should have checked online for a replacement board. The company may not make the part anymore (it’s their business model!) but there are probably loads of used and new ones online. I’ve swapped these boards out before — it’s a piece of cake. Easier than a computer motherboard.

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 9:23 am

      It doesn’t worry me. These lumpy expenses happen from time to time. We’ll see how it turns out at the end of the year. I don’t think we’ll be off from our yearly budget that much. I probably need to increase our budget a bit to deal with these things. That’s pretty much it for this condo, though. Everything is in good shape now and we shouldn’t have a big bill for at least 5 years.

      DIY repair was my next option. This system is super old. It’s probably 40 years old. It’ll be a point of contention when we sell the place, for sure. So I opt to fix it.

  • Ernie Zelinski June 4, 2018, 1:05 am

    I guess that one of the benefits of living in Edmonton where I live is that there is no real need for air conditioning. My half-duplex is a bi-level and if the main floor gets too hot I can go to the lower level where it’s nice and cool. Regarding purchasing bedding, I had my last mattress and box spring for about 35 years. Around 3 years ago I purchased an “organic” mattress and box spring for around $2,500. Why organic? Just to show that I am prosperous enough to do so.

    My finances for May were okay. I visited Prague for 3 nights and London for 3 nights flying International Business Class with Air Canada (actually First Class). In Prague, I didn’t cheap out on accommodations, staying in a swank one bedroom apartment in Old Town Square. When I got home, I had a check for a little over $24,000 US from my American book distributor waiting for me. But I had to make a second instalment of my income tax to Revenue Canada in the amount of $30,000 Canadian. Also, my property tax bill of $2,962 Canadian was waiting for me. So needless to say, I didn’t save all that much money in May. I am not complaining, however. I am still doing better than 98 percent of Canadians my age.

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 10:05 am

      Wow, 35 years is a long time. Our mattresses don’t last that long. They become uncomfortable after 5 to 10 years.
      It sounds like you had a great trip. We’re heading off to Iceland in about a week. It should be a ton of fun.
      We’re still traveling cheaply, though. Someday, we’ll splurge more. You’re doing it right and enjoying life. Have a great summer!

    • David @ VapeHabitat July 21, 2018, 11:08 am

      Blog revenue – wow! My blog is more like a hobby, no profit at all. Maybe it’s too early..

  • Michael @ Financially Alert June 4, 2018, 1:28 am

    Hi Joe, my kids just finished up school this past week and my wife finishes up on Wed. We’ll be headed to the mountains again for some fishing and hiking. There will be 3 other families joining us from our neighborhood, so it should be a good time.

    May was decent for us. We had a small positive cash flow and NW continues to rise from real estate.

    Sucks to be that kid who started that fire! He shouldn’t have done it, but there are thousands of kids who play with fire who don’t have as bad of luck. The kid could have easily been me back in the day… I guess I was one of the lucky ones.

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 10:03 am

      Have a great time on the mountain.
      The teenager should know better to throw firework into a bush in the forest. I know kids like fireworks, but it should be off limit in the forest. Wildfire is a huge problem these days. Play with fireworks at home or in a controlled area.

      • Pennypincher June 4, 2018, 3:05 pm

        Right on Joe. Bottom line, the kid should have known better. Wonder what his parents are thinking/feeling.

  • Accidental FIRE June 4, 2018, 2:06 am

    Ha, I like how you casually dropped that your HVAC “stopped cooling 7 years ago…”. Based on your description it’s kinda clear you don’t really need one in most cases. In my second blog post I talked about how my dishwasher stopped working – in 2009. 🙂 It still sits there, not working. But it looks good. I don’t really need a dishwasher.

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 10:06 am

      Right, it’s not that bad here. Most older homes don’t have an AC. I’m not a big fan of the dishwasher either. I don’t even know how to use it. Mrs. RB40 has to run it once in a while to make sure it still works. 🙂

  • Half Life Theory June 4, 2018, 2:14 am

    Joe, you guys are killing it on so many metrics! The passive income really takes the cake, at this rate if everything continues to grow as expected, you probably won’t even need to touch your nest egg.

    I’m sure taking care of that HVAC once and for all wasn’t fun, but i can bet it will be well worth it LOL.

    Oh and Toastmasters changed my life honestly, help me get over my fear of public speaking. Which in turn has really helped me in my professional career. Highly recommend it!

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 12:52 pm

      I’m not sure about the blog income. It’s not really passive and it’s unstable. 2018 has been great, but I doubt it will be like this for long. I’ll just save while I can. 🙂
      Toastmasters is really neat. It just doesn’t work with my schedule right now.

  • Rohan June 4, 2018, 2:42 am

    Your monthly reports are always so detailed! Your passive income levels are impressive! So Jealous- make me motivated to work at mine a lot harder!

    What happened to the P2P investments being so negative this year to date?

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 12:53 pm

      Thanks! P2P lending isn’t good this year because I don’t reinvest. If I reinvest, the new loans will prop up the old loans. That’s just the way it is. There are defaults. Hopefully, we’ll get to even by the end of the year.

  • Lily | The Frugal Gene June 4, 2018, 3:53 am

    What’s after your 100k crowdfunding goal Joe? Are you surveying for more returns before then? We’re so close to qualifying (maybe by next month) and we’re now more seriously considering RE crowdfunding.

    Kotatsu is such a clever idea still. I should implement that although the weather has been stunning lately!! Your HVAC quotes are pretty similar to the ones we got in Seattle. We went with the more expensive guys because but got lucky they found a creative solution. We came out with a lighter -1000 hit. No shiny new system but it will do.

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 12:54 pm

      It’s going to take a couple of years so we’ll see. If it works well, then I’ll probably just increase the goal to 200k. 🙂
      What’s the creative solution? I’d like to hear about it.

      • Lily | The Frugal Gene June 5, 2018, 4:10 pm

        They replaced a small part of the unit (heat pump?) instead and saved cost by flipping the set up sideways so they didn’t have to move the ductwork which was the pricey part 🙂

  • John C June 4, 2018, 4:12 am

    Replacing furnaces is a costly endeavor, we had to replace ours barely a year after buying our home. Goodbye $6,300! We are taking a big trip this summer to Disney World, I just paid the $2,300 for tickets, should be a really fun experience for all of the kids. Neither my wife or I went as kids so this is a first trip for us as well.

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 12:56 pm

      That’s one reason I’m getting a new HVAC. It’ll be a point of contention when we sell. This way, it’ll be easy and eliminate one issue.
      Have fun at Disney World. We haven’t been there either. We’ll make it there someday.

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance June 4, 2018, 5:21 am

    Oh my if I did cook like you, which I’m trying to, I would never want to eat out. Whenever I see your good photos, I keep thinking about a Retire by 40 cookbook. Your dishes are very diverse and look absolutely amazing!

    Replacing big ticket items like the HVAC and the roof can be painfully expensive. We have a fund just for that. I just hope we won’t have to replace both at the same time @[email protected]

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 12:57 pm

      Thanks! I enjoy cooking and eating good food. 🙂
      Do you add a certain amount for repair every month? We don’t but might benefit from something more structured. For now, we just have a beefy emergency fund.

  • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early June 4, 2018, 5:49 am

    That’s awesome you were able to go so long before needing to replace your HVAC system. 68 degrees is the warmest we ever keep our home in the cool season, but we’re in a single family home so no neighbors to keep us warm. Oh, and I feel that kid deserves every bit of punishment they’ve laid on him.

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 12:58 pm

      Yeah, it’s not bad at all in the PNW. Our temperature is mild. I agree with you about the teenager. That was very dumb. There have to be some consequences to your action.

  • Doc G June 4, 2018, 6:15 am

    Bummer about the HVAC. A bit ago our CO monitor went off and the fire department came to our house. Our expensive, high efficiency heater crapped out not only almost killing us, but also cost 12K to replace in the end. At least we survived!

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 12:59 pm

      Yikes! Thank goodness you had a CO detector. We don’t have gas so we don’t have to worry about that. Whew!

  • Olivia June 4, 2018, 6:38 am

    Looking good, Joe! Have you considered Fiverr? They do pretty good logos and designs of things. Labor arbitrage is kinda awesome at times, given that a logo in NYC would cost hundreds of bucks, but might cost less than $2o in another country. Maybe you can migrate to a more modern theme or something to make it easier and not have to do an entire redesign?

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 1:00 pm

      Yes, I’ll look on Fiverr. I don’t need a complicated logo. 🙂
      Moving to a better theme would be nice. It’ll be a ton of work, though. These things always take a lot more work than you think. I’ll look around for a new theme.

  • Pennypincher June 4, 2018, 6:53 am

    You could do a whole post just on mattress buying! I always wondered if those foam models were hot, they look like they would be. I’m still turning and flipping my coil spring one-no complaints yet.
    Yes, 68 degrees winter w/a few extra layers of clothes, 79 summer, max. It is amazing how a simple fan can keep things cooler by moving the air around.
    That is mindblowing about the forest fire. His parents must be reeling from that nightmare.
    Your homemade cuisine looks high-end restaurant, professionally awesome. Impressive!!
    Great post!

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 1:02 pm

      Coil spring mattresses are supposed to be best for cooling. The memory foam mattresses are hot.
      Thanks for the compliment! I enjoy cooking and eating them. 🙂

  • Young FIRE Knight June 4, 2018, 7:52 am

    Ouch that’s a tough month will all those expenses. On the positive side at least they will (hopefully) give you a better quality of life and you scored some great credit card signup bonuses! Plus you were about to stay cash flow positive which is an accomplishment in itself!

    Enjoy the trip coming up! Can’t wait to hear about it 🙂

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 1:04 pm

      The new mattress is much nicer. I sleep better now so it’s worth it. The HVAC, I don’t know. I feel like the QoL improvement is minimal for us. The PNW weather is mostly mild. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks!

  • Chris Urbaniak @ deliberatechange.ca June 4, 2018, 9:19 am

    Congrats on another good month, Joe, even with the heavy expenses.

    That’s pretty impressive that you were able to avoid any HVAC costs for all these years.

    Up here in Southern Ontario, we’ll have hot spells like last week pushing 38 deg C with humidity (I guess that’s around 100F), but it just won’t cool down at night. And then in the winter, it can dip the opposite way, to -20C (around 0F). Sure, it’s never more than a week or so in a row at those extremes, but we certainly could not go as long without HVAC as you could! (I’m jealous….)

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 1:04 pm

      Humidity makes a big difference. It doesn’t get that humid here so it’s usually not that bad.

  • GYM June 4, 2018, 10:34 am

    Sucks that there were so many expenses but good that you had high income to cover the expenses! Your blog income is amazing and surpassed Mrs. RB40’s income! It must be pretty good feeling to be making more per hour than at a desk job!

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 1:06 pm

      I’m amazed at the blog income too. It won’t last, though. I can already see it slowing down for the summer. Thanks! 🙂

      • John June 30, 2018, 6:17 pm

        Or the blog income will keep growing. The amazing thing about websites is that traffic can continue to come in even after you’ve done the work. You’re in a great spot with the blog.

  • Helen June 4, 2018, 11:13 am

    Joe, you got big things done in May. AC, heater, and mattress, all matter a lot, and are used daily. The food pictures look so good, especially the veggie tart is like a piece of art. Have a great time in Iceland!

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 1:06 pm

      Thanks! I really didn’t want to spend money on the HVAC, but at least that’s done. Hope you’re having a great summer too.

  • Luis June 4, 2018, 11:30 am

    I was thinking of getting a foam mattress like the Kasper Wavve because my girlfriend is complaining that the can feel the springs in our current mattress. But those are pricey! And to have to replace them every few years doesn’t sound ideal. So I opted to spend on a nice bamboo mattress pad I saw had good reviews. Hopefully this temporary fix will let me put off getting a new mattress for another year or two.

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 1:09 pm

      A new pad will help if the mattress isn’t too saggy. I hope you sleep better now. 🙂
      Wow, the Kasper Wave is expensive.

  • Tom @ Dividends Diversify June 4, 2018, 11:35 am

    Sorry about the big expenses. Even when you have the cash, it’s no fun. It being the 2nd year in the house we moved to, we have a few improvement projects on the agenda putting a dent in our cash flow. Mostly discretionary, but I still hate spending the money. Tom

    • retirebyforty June 4, 2018, 1:09 pm

      I hate spending on these things too. That’s why I put it off for so long. It’s no fun.

  • [email protected] June 4, 2018, 2:27 pm

    I’m surprised in your condo you have individual HVAC units. I had assumed in a large building like that there would be a central system serving all units.

    Another good month on income though!

    • retirebyforty June 5, 2018, 8:24 am

      Most of the older big building has some kind of radiator heating and no AC. I’m not sure about the newer buildings. If there is no balcony, then it has to be some kind of central AC.

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life June 4, 2018, 2:31 pm

    Yay for the lower price on the HVAC, I hope that works out in the long run! I keep thinking on what we should do with our HVAC and water heater – wait or just carve out the cost of a replacement in the budget and do it now. Back in the day, we never ran the air at all but the hot days here are getting worse and worse. I don’t think an elderly dog and young child will do so well, nor will I, if it hits the 100 mark for a prolonged period again.

    My fingers are crossed that the topper helps resolve your back pain.

    Take lots of pictures in Iceland, please! 🙂

    That veggie tart is gorgeous! Was it a lot of work?

    • retirebyforty June 5, 2018, 8:26 am

      I hope so too. It needs to work very well for a few years until we sell the place. 🙂
      We replaced the hot water heater last year so that’s it for the major appliances.
      Good luck!
      The veggie tart was a ton of work. She spent a lot of time on that one. 🙂

  • David @iretiredyoung June 5, 2018, 6:27 am

    The big expenditure months are tough. We have them on our rental properties sometimes, but I have to remember to look at the whole year rather than just the month. And that you guys still came out of the month with a plus is seriously good going.

    Your Iceland trip seems to have come around quickly. I’m looking forward to hearing about that.

    • retirebyforty June 5, 2018, 8:30 am

      Right, I think we’ll be okay when we look over the whole year as long as there is no other big expense.
      I’m surprised we didn’t have a negative month. Our income was much better than expected.

  • Wade June 5, 2018, 8:54 am

    With a new mattress, it is time to evaluate your pillow.

    If you were used to a flat pillow, with the new firmer mattress, you may need a pillow change.

    Change one variable, you might need to change another variable.

    Your new mattress will also soften up as you sleep on it.

  • onepointfivemillion June 5, 2018, 1:30 pm

    Nice work with the positives despite the large expenses. These will come up in retirement also so it’s a good learning lesson to budget for these events!

  • John June 5, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Do you feel left out of the current Tech boom. The way salaries and stocks are going crazy you could have made a few million dollars with your experience

  • FIRECracker June 5, 2018, 3:11 pm

    I had never heard of a “kotatsu table” until now! I’m always so impressed with Japanese ingenuity. So much better than my friend’s solution of living inside a tent in his own house to conserve heat.

    Congrats on getting through May unscathed. Now you can celebrate in Iceland–we’ll be going there late in the summer. Will need to pick your brain on tips.

    • retirebyforty June 6, 2018, 1:19 pm

      The kotatsu table is awesome. Setting up a tent in the living room sounds terrible. 🙂
      Yeap, stay tuned for some pictures!

  • Lazy Man and Money June 5, 2018, 8:12 pm

    These are great numbers. I know the HVAC system seems tough, but one can think of it as something that’s amortized over the next 20 years. Or it could be seen as improving the value of your home if you include that in your net worth.

    I’m starting to do our numbers for this month and it is looking like our net worth is going up again. We’re working with smaller numbers, but it looks like it might be 6.5% for the year. It seems like the market has mostly gone sideways this year, so I’m very happy to have (so far) made a few good picks and seen our real estate go up while we continue to pay down the mortgages.

    • retirebyforty June 6, 2018, 1:20 pm

      Nice job increasing your net worth. 2018 has been tough for us. It’s tough to invest because we had several high expenses. Taxes take a big bite too.

  • Cooper The Millennial June 7, 2018, 6:14 am

    Great work!

    I’m just getting into your blog, but this is some quality stuff. I appreciate what you are doing!

  • Steve June 7, 2018, 9:18 pm

    Aahhh Iceland!!! Are you going around the whole country? It’s gorgeous! We couldn’t make it around the whole island late last year due to a bridge being out… go figure! The lagoons are super fun, night-life is a blast, and hopefully you get to see the northern lights! They’re amazing!

  • Jonathan June 27, 2018, 5:15 am

    Hi Joe,

    You have a very inspiring blog and I will be coming back to read more. I’m curious if you’ve ever considered investing in cryptocurrencies. I haven’t seen this in your portfolio and I think it’s a good way to make some passive income if done right. I am investing about 15% of my total income into cryptos every month. I invest for the long term (3-5 years) and buy coins monthly. I invest in the more known 10 cryptos and also in about 20 of the more unknown ones because you never know what can go up. It’s a calculated risk and even if it doesn’t pay off (which it should given enough time) I am still ok if I lose all the money invested. What are your thoughts, Joe?

    • retirebyforty June 28, 2018, 7:55 am

      I don’t know enough about cryptocurrency to invest. I think it’s okay to take some chances when you’re young, though. At this point, I’m a lot more conservative and it’s too risky for me.
      Good luck!

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