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November 2015 Goals and Financial Update


I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving because now it’s time to get ready for Christmas! Mrs. RB40 put up the Christmas tree after Thanksgiving and RB40Jr is already counting down toward Christmas. 24 more days left! He’s been a handful this year, but he’s trying his best to be good this month. Oh, I have some good news for those of you following RB40Jr. I wrote in the last SAHD update that he had a lot of trouble controlling his emotion and frequently punched other kids. Recently, he has been having more successes with control. He hasn’t punched other kids for over 2 weeks! His teachers have been keeping a close eye on him and they were able to head off some altercations. We feel like he’s turning the corner and everyone is really happy about this.

On the personal finance side, November was pretty rough. We had some big expenses last month and our liquidity is drained. We paid $15,000 in property tax, one of our tenants left, and I rehabbed the unit. Google also updated their search algorithm and that had some negative effects on my online income. Anyway, we got a new tenant in and everything should get back on track by the New Year.

2015 is almost over and there is just a little time left to accomplish all our goals. I say it a lot, but time really flies now. Maybe time moves faster as you get older? I don’t know. Let’s check on our 2015 goals and then I’ll go over our cash flow for November.

2015 Goals

Invest $50,000 in our tax advantaged accounts (Done!!!)

We added $3,598 to our tax advantaged accounts in November. Mrs. RB40 contributed $1,698 to her employer sponsored 401k. I added $1500 to my i401k and $400 to RB40Jr’s 529.

We contributed $51,275 to our tax advantaged accounts so far in 2015. Woohoo! We did it! This is a huge accomplishment because we don’t make that much money anymore so it feels great to be able to put away over $50,000 this year. That’s one big goal out of the way.

Surpass $50,000 in RB40 Junior’s 529 account (progress at 91%)

RB40jr currently has $45,731 in his 529. We contribute $400 per month via auto deduction. The stock market was flat in November so we didn’t see much change here. We probably won’t meet the $50k goal this year. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough extra cash to make the extra contribution here unless we have a windfall in December. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, though.

Generate $10,000 from our dividend portfolio (progress at 93%)

We received $725 in dividends last month. We are at $9,264 so far this year. We should surpass $10,000 in December, the big dividend month. I think we should receive about $1,500 in dividend next month.

Exercise 120 times (Fail…)

I gave up on this goal a few months ago. I just couldn’t go consistently anymore. In November, I did manual labor at the rental for 2 weeks straight. That’s definitely more activity than going to the gym for one hour. I’m going to ask for a fitness band for Christmas and set a better goal for 2016.

Try 6 new restaurants in Portland (Done!)

Visit a foreign country (Done!)

Costa Rica was great for the most part. Next year I plan to take an extended trip to Thailand. We’ll see if I can make it work.

Net Worth (+5% so far in 2015)

The stock market didn’t do much in November. There was a small dip in the middle of the month, but the S&P 500 came back by the end of the month. We didn’t see much change in our net worth either. I will update our properties’ value when do a 2015 wrap up. We should see a better increase then. Real estate price has gone up significantly this year and I haven’t updated the value since last year.

For 2015, I was hoping to increase our net worth by about 8%. We are a little behind, but I think we’ll get there once I update our properties value.  Also, 8% might be difficult to hit at this point. I probably should make the goal more flexible like 2-3x long term interest rate. Generally, 2015 has been good. The stock market has been volatile, but we seem to be doing well.

November asset allocation

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Cash Flow


November 2015 cash flowTake Home Income (target > $5,000)

November wasn’t great on the income front. As I mentioned above, we had a vacancy at the rental and the rehab was an added expense. We were in the red with the rental income for November. Other than that, things looked okay.

Mrs. RB40’s Paychecks: $5,198.

Rental income: -$947. Not great, but the rental income will increase starting next month. That’s good for the long run.

Online income: $2,899. Online income was pretty good in November. I will break down the online income and expenses in our monthly newsletter so if you’re curious, sign up with our email list.

Dividend: $725. Our dividend income was a not bad in November. We should see higher dividend income in December, the best month of the year. You can see our dividend portfolio here.

Interest: $2. Interest rate is quite low so this will be small in the foreseeable future.

P2P lending: $59. Our ROI is holding stable at 8%. That’s not bad at all. I don’t have to do much for this account and it is making much more than our saving accounts. The fund here is not very liquid, though.

Misc income: $0. No side hustle in November. 🙁

Expense (target < $4,500)

I think we did pretty well with our expense in November. We spent a bit more on groceries because it was Thanksgiving and my mom was here. Other than that, things look okay.

Housing: $2,256. Mortgage, HOA, and property tax.

Cash Allowance: $0. We had cash left over from our Costa Rica trip so we didn’t need to make any cash withdrawals.

Groceries: $553. This is a bit higher than usual, but it’s not bad.

Child/Dependent: $681. That’s for 4 days of preschool per week. I’m really looking forward to full time kindergarten at our public school next year. This whole category will drop to basically nothing. We also purchased some new clothing for him in November. He outgrew most of his winter clothing from last year.

Healthcare/Medical: $101.

Entertainment: $50. Gym membership fee.

Misc: $93. We ate out a couple of times. I also needed new underclothes.

Transportation: $80. I filled up more than usual in November due to all the driving around for the rental rehab. It’s still pretty good, though.


Extra Saving ($13,714 so far in 2015)

We had just $90 extra saving in November. I’m very happy to squeak by with a positive month. The rental turnover was a painful bump in the road, but it is part of being a landlord.

Misc fund: $3,714. This will go toward the new flooring in the rental.

Extra retirement fund: $0. So far we sent $10k from our extra saving to fund our Roth IRA and my i401k.

Overall, November was okay. Our income was a bit low, but we still came through with another positive month. We’ll definitely be in the red in December. The new flooring in the rental will cause us to go into the red. We’ll have to dip into our savings to pay for that. I’m looking forward to 2016, though. We will be in a good shape for more stability next year.

Did you have a good November? There is only one month left to wrap up all your 2015 goals. Good luck!

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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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{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Ernie Zelinski December 2, 2015, 12:41 am

    I am curious. You said that “We paid $15,000 in property tax.” What is this for? If I recall, you have a condo that you live in and a rental duplex. If this is the case, do you own both sides of the duplex? Even with three units, $15,000 sounds pretty high for property tax. I own a half-duplex and my property tax for 2015 was $2,476.

    Insofar as my situation, November was great to me but not as good as a year ago. For some reason my ebook sales have dropped around 8 percent compared to November 2014. So have print sales of my “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free.” Having said that, I must always keep these words of wisdom in mind:

    “Just think how happy you would be if you lost everything you have
    right now, and then got it back.”
    — Unknown Wise Person

    “I look at what I have not and think myself unhappy;
    Others look at what I have and think me happy.”
    — Joseph Roux

    “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented
    with what he would like to have.”
    — Socrates

    • retirebyforty December 2, 2015, 7:29 am

      Here is the detail.
      condo – $5,500
      duplex, 2 units – $6,000
      condo I co-own with my brother – $3,500. I run this one. It’s cash flow neutral so I don’t add it to our cash flow.
      We saved up for the property tax all year so we had enough money to pay all at once.
      I hope your book sale increase next year. Thanks for the quote
      Best wishes,

  • Mr Zombie December 2, 2015, 3:50 am

    Great work Joe,

    That sucks about Google updating their search algorithm impacting the site. Still, $10k in dividend income is going to be sweeeeeet!

    My nephew is doing a similar thing, charging about hitting people and things! Hopefully just a phase, learning his boundaries and all that.


    • retirebyforty December 2, 2015, 7:30 am

      Thanks! I need to increase that dividend to $15k in 2020. There are still a lot of work to do.
      Little boys are crazy… I hope your nephew gets over his hitting phase soon.

  • Justin December 2, 2015, 6:02 am

    We had a good November in terms of expenses and income. We actually spent slightly more than our $2700 per month budget because we dropped $1800 on a cruise to the Caribbean for the five of us plus my mom. Taking that cruise to somewhere warm and sunny when we’re in the dead of winter here in January in North Carolina will be wonderful! And we have the money in the budget, so why not, right? 🙂

    Net worth was down about $1000 to $1.525 million. I guess the stock market dropped very slightly. Didn’t really pay much attention last month but I feel like I need to pay attention a little to see if we’re out of balance in our asset allocation.

    A question on your expenses. I didn’t see the whole $15,000 property tax hit your expenses during this month. Do you amortize it over 12 months? Our property tax bill is small enough ($1600) that I just pay it in a lump sum and treat it as an expense in that month. Just curious how you do it.

    • retirebyforty December 2, 2015, 7:33 am

      It sounds like you had a lot of fun on your cruise. Great! We don’t like cruises so that’s not an option for us. I’d rather just play on a nice beach. 🙂
      The stock market had just a little dip. It wasn’t worth noticing.
      Yes, I amortize it over 12 months in our cash flow calculation. Otherwise, it throws a big wrench into our monthly cash flow spreadsheet. $15k is pretty crazy…

  • MrRicket December 2, 2015, 6:27 am

    Thanks for your article. Right now, I expect my Net Worth to increase next year by 15%. But than again, I’m just a beginner and still have room to grow 😛

    Thought you’d be interested in how a newbie is doing http://www.myricketyroad.com/2015/12/01/net-worth-update-november-2015-e1076/


  • Stockbeard December 2, 2015, 11:10 am

    Thanks for the monthly update Joe. $2’800 on a “bad” month online is nothing to be sad about, sure, lots of people make more on their online businesses, but I can tell you firsthand that lots of people make much less than that, on good months 😉

    • retirebyforty December 2, 2015, 11:24 pm

      I’m pretty happy with the online income this month. The effect of the decreased traffic won’t be felt for another month.

  • Jason Fieber December 2, 2015, 12:17 pm


    Another strong month. You guys continue to knock it out of the park! 🙂

    The dividend income was fantastic. I hit just under $675 for November. Like you, I’m very much looking forward to December. Should finish 2015 strong.

    Like Stockbeard said, your online income is really impressive in the grand scheme of things. That’s pretty much just a dream for a lot of people out there aiming to work online full time. Hopefully, the changes don’t impact that too much for you guys going forward.

    Keep it up!

    Best regards.

    • retirebyforty December 2, 2015, 11:27 pm

      Thanks Jason. I hope you’re doing well. Great job with your dividend. You’re so focused and I’m sure you’ll surpass us soon.
      Best wishes

  • TowardFi December 3, 2015, 6:40 pm

    Joe, I am constantly inspired by your blog. I recently decided to get on the journey toward FI (Financial Independence) myself. Your posts depict a really true picture of life post “retirement”. I just wanted to thank you for helping and inspiring people like me to take up the sensible path of savings and frugality. Keep up the great work!

    • retirebyforty December 4, 2015, 9:47 am

      Thanks for the compliment. Good luck on your FI journey. Keep working on it!

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