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November 2016 Goals and Financial Updates


November 2016 Financial UpdateWow, it’s December already and 2016 is coming to a close very quickly. RB40Jr keeps telling us that it is almost Christmas. That’s true, but I’m just not into it at all this year. That’s okay, though. Christmas is Mrs. RB40’s favorite holiday and she doesn’t mind doing all the work to make it an awesome holiday for Junior. We just came back from our 3 week Thailand trip so it’s a bit disorienting to be back. We arrived in the US at 8 pm on Black Friday. It was very strange to see almost no travelers in the passport control area. Usually there is a huge line. Anyway, we’re glad to be back and we’re slowly settling back into our old routines.

November was a bit different for us because we were on the road most of the month. We already paid for most of the trip ahead of time and our expenses look relatively normal. Our grocery bill was down, but our cash withdrawal was up. We used cash to eat out and pay for various tourist activities. All in all, November looks almost like a regular month.

We left the US right before the presidential election and we missed most of the excitement during that period. (We’d sent in our ballots before we left.) The stock market did quite well in November so I can’t complain. I think it was good that we were busy with something else and didn’t worry about the stock market. It will probably be volatile for a while so we need to keep calm and avoid making any big moves in our portfolio.

Okay, let’s see how I’m doing with my 2016 goals and then check our cash flow for November.

2016 Goals

Non Financial Goals

Improve Fitness (November result = Pass)

I got a Garmin Vivofit 2 for Christmas last year and I’m using it to track my activity level. It’s been almost a year and I enjoyed using it to track my activity level. It’s not 100% accurate, but it gives me an idea of my activity level. If you’re still looking for a healthy Christmas gift, I’d highly recommend this fitness item. It cost around $80 from Amazon.

In November, I averaged 9,755 steps per day. That’s really awesome! My goal was to average 6,000 steps per day and I blew past that in November. Being on vacation, we didn’t have a car and we walked a lot more than usual. I didn’t go to the gym at all in November, though. I’ll pick it up next week.

Control my triglyceride level (WIP)

Here is another reason I need to exercise regularly – I’m struggling with my hypertriglyceridemia. My doctor increased the dosage of my medication earlier this year, but my triglyceride level is still elevated (around 250). We are making a big push to eat healthier now. I stopped buying beef and we are eating more fish, tofu, poultry, and vegetables. I’ll get a blood test in 2 weeks and see if it improves. We ate way too much in Thailand so my numbers probably aren’t very good at this point.

Try 6 great restaurants (Done!)

We completed this goal in October and we ate at a bunch of really great restaurants in Thailand. It’s been a fantastic gastronomic year for us.

Take an extended trip to Thailand (Done and $6,971 saved)

We had a great vacation and you can read about our 3 weeks Thailand trip here.

Saving for this trip was made easy by Digit. Digit deducted a small amount from my account every few days and I didn’t notice the “stealth” saving at all. Check out my Digit review if you don’t know about them. Our current balance is at $6,971 an increase of $674 in November. This is an awesome way to save for a trip. The balance was more than enough to pay for our trip and we’ll have a bit left over to send to our Roth IRAs. Nice!

Attend a conference – (Done!)

I went to FinCon in September! I had a great trip and met many awesome bloggers. Next time, I will make an effort to talk to the brands more. All in all, it was a great trip. If you are a personal finance blogger, you must go at least once. FinCon will be in Dallas in 2017.

Visit a national park – (Done!)

We went camping at Crater Lake in July. Crater Lake is a caldera lake which resulted from a volcanic eruption and subsequent collapse of the empty magma chamber. It is the deepest lake in the US and the deep blue color is breathtaking. We’ll keep this same goal next year and visit another national park. As a bonus, we stopped at Khao Laem Ya – Ko Samed National Park in Thailand and checked out one of the beach areas.

Start a non-finance website – (Fail)

This one is getting punted to 2017… but I did have some practice writing about travel during our Thailand trip!

Financial Goals  (92% of the year is gone..)

Invest $50,000 in our tax advantaged accounts (90% complete)

In November, we saved $3,632 in our tax advantaged accounts. That increased our investment total to $48,833 so far in 2016. We’re doing well with this goal and it should be completed by the end of the year.

Increase Dividends to $11,500 (82% complete)

We received $669 in dividends last month. That’s $9,525 so far in 2016. I don’t think we will complete this goal in 2016. I sold off a few stocks in October to offset some gains. The dividend portfolio has more cash now and I’m looking for some good dividend stocks to invest in. We’ll keep searching for good dividend growth stocks in 2017.

Surpass $50,000 in RB40 Junior’s 529 account (Done!)

RB40Jr’s 529 did okay in October. It’s worth $52,600 and it is holding above the $50,000 line. I’m planning to transfer this account to Vanguard in 2017 to take advantage of their low fees.

Increase Net worth by 3x risk free rate (YTD +12.9%)

The 10-year US government bond yields about 2% in 2016. So my target net worth increase for 2016 is 6%. The stock market did quite well in November and our net worth followed suit. The S&P 500 has gained about 7% so far in 2016. Our net worth increased by about 13% in 2016. That’s including new investments. I’m very happy with our net worth gain so far and I think we’ll easily beat my 6% gain goal in 2016 as long as nothing crazy happens in December.

Here is an interesting graph from Personal Capital. Our investments are dead even with the S&P 500 index. We were ahead earlier, but the market caught up very quickly this month. This tells me that most of our extra gain for 2016 came from the increase in value from our real estate. It’s great to own properties in one of the hottest real estate markets in the US.

If you need help keeping track of your finances, try using Personal Capital to manage your investment accounts. We have many accounts and Personal Capital helps us see the big picture quickly. Also check out their awesome retirement calculator. You can read my review here – The Best Free Retirement Calculator.

Cash Flow

Take Home Income (target > $5,000)

Our November income was a little better than average. Everything was firing on all cylinders and we didn’t have any unexpected business expenses. The rental income was good, our online income was better than usual, and our dividend income posted. I only wish it could be like this every month. Our October income was lower than normal so November helped made up for it.

Our take home income for November was $6,751. That’s higher than our target of $5,000 so I’m quite happy.

Mrs. RB40’s Paychecks: $5,254.

Rental income: $666. Hmmm. I guess that’s an unlucky number, but it’s better than being in the red.

Online income: $3,768. My online income in November was higher than usual. We switched advertising networks in October and the payments are starting to come in. 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: $669. Our dividend income was a bit lower than average. I sold some stocks and I’m waiting for the opportunity to reinvest. You can check our dividend portfolio if you want to see the investments.

Interest: $1

P2P lending: $35. I’m slowly taking money out of our P2P lending accounts. I’m planning to move the money to RealtyShares next year because I think real estate lending is more secure than uncollateralized lending.

Misc income: $0.

Expense (target < $4,500)

Our expense was $4,144 in November. That’s under budget and quite good considering we were on vacation most of the month. We spent very little money in Thailand because I have many older relatives there. They picked up a lot of the tabs. The only big expense we had in November was the $300 we spent at the Nike employee store. We got a pass from a friend and went a bit crazy there. I shouldn’t have to buy new shoes for 3-4 years, though.

Housing: $2,312. Mortgage, HOA, and property tax.

Cash Allowance: $697. We spent about $600 in Thailand and Cambodia. That’s $300 for 2 days in Cambodia and $300 in Thailand for the rest of the 3 weeks. Cambodia was more expensive because we went to see Angkor Wat.

Groceries: $220. We didn’t spend much on groceries because we were out of town for 3 weeks.

Pet: $200. We paid a friend $200 to help take care of our cat while we were away.

Child/Dependent: $19. We got some fun travel toys for our trip.

Healthcare/Medical: $130.

Bills: $230. Electricity and insurance (auto, home, term life, and umbrella).

Entertainment: $26. Gym membership fee.

Misc: $305. Most of this was spent at the Nike employee store.

Transportation: $5. Public transportation to the airport.


Extra Savings: $15,289 so far in 2016

We had $2,617 extra in November.  We saved $15,289 extra this year. All this will go to our tax advantaged retirement accounts.

  • $5,500 each to our Roth IRAs
  • Around $4,000 to my i401k as employer contribution.

Can Mrs. RB40 retire?

This is a new section I’m adding for 2017. I want to see what happens if Mrs. RB40 stops working. Basically, I will remove Mrs. RB40’s income from our spreadsheet and stop contributing to our retirement account.

For November 2016, Mrs. RB40 didn’t have to work!

Both our online and rental income was excellent and we’d have a surplus even if she didn’t work. Nice! I’ll keep track of this in 2017 and see how it looks from month to month.

November 2016 Wrap Up

November was a great month considering we were on vacation for most of the month. Our income was good and our expense was reasonable. If every month could be like this, we’d be set. As for December, I think we’ll do pretty well. We’re not going anywhere and we’re not planning to too much on gifts. I’m looking forward to wrapping up 2016 and taking it easy around Christmas.

Did you have a good November? There is only a few weeks left until 2016 is over. Let’s try to finish up our goals and wrap up the year on a good note!

The following two tabs change content below.
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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{ 48 comments… add one }
  • Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes December 5, 2016, 1:04 am

    Great November Joe. That new advertiser seems to be really paying off.

    You mentioned you sold some stock in November. I’m curious…which companies did you sell?

    For me, I just held everything through the election and all the volatility.

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 9:08 am

      I sold Ford, Umpqua, and Chevron. I didn’t like Ford anymore because it is cyclic. Umpqua hasn’t been doing well. I was going to pick up Chevron again after a month, but my timing was bad. Probably should have stuck with that last one. I sold in October.

  • Ernie Zelinski December 5, 2016, 1:39 am

    Congratulations on your great November. Yes, I had a decent November too. I had quite a bit of money liberated from my operating bank account. As my way of giving back to the community, I donated $25,000 to the University of Alberta for “The Ernie Zelinski Distinguished Award for Individual Creativity” to be funded for 5 years.

    A bigger deal is that I just recently realized that I will have to make a larger income tax installment payment to Revenue Canada for the fourth quarter. I have already paid them $65,000 for 2016. Because my income will drop by about a third from 2015, I figured that I could get by with another $15,000 or so for the last installment. But because I didn’t place money in an RRSP in 2016, and because the highest income tax rates in Alberta went up
    from 39 percent in 2015 to 48 percent in 2016, I now figure I will still have to pay a total of $100,000 in income tax for 2016 (almost as much as in 2015 when I paid $107,000). So I sent another $35,000 to Revenue Canada.

    Then there was another major expense (investment) that I had to handle. I had to order another print run of “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free” because my American distributor had only around 2,400 copies in stock for the Christmas season. The 16,500 copies in this new print run cost me $27,277 with shipping.

    Also in November, I paid a bill for my home and car insurance for $2,605 (quite a big increase over last year but no big deal) even though it didn’t need to be paid by December 13. I also rented a suite at the Tropicana Hotel in Vancouver for a month which cost me $1,600. Then there were other incidental living expenses that showed up on my Visa credit cards. In total I went through around $100,000 in November. Nevertheless, I will wind up the year on a good note with my net worth having gone up by at least $100,000 for the year. Not too bad for a lazy guy who works an hour or two a day and who doesn’t have a budget and who doesn’t track his general living expenses, wouldn’t you say?

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 9:10 am

      That’s a big change in the tax rate. You have to pay almost the same in tax as when you made less. That’s not good.
      I like your investment. Good luck with the Holidays season.
      Wow, that’s a lot of expenses in just one month. I think you are doing fantastic. 🙂

  • Justin December 5, 2016, 3:25 am

    Looks great, Joe!

    I’m wrapping up my November financial numbers today and it looks pretty decent so far. We went a little crazy with Black Friday shopping but knocked out some planned expenditures at really good prices so I can’t complain much. We’re still under budget for the year and that includes buying a new car. 🙂

    I’ve enjoyed your travel updates and I’m sure you’re happy to be back home so you can “relax”.

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 9:13 am

      We missed the whole Black Friday event this year. Mrs. RB40 needs to replace our chairs so we’ll keep shopping around. Looking forward to your November update.

  • The Green Swan December 5, 2016, 4:04 am

    Solid month, Joe. You are right, by the numbers you wouldn’t be able to tell you were on vacation for most the month. Good job saving in advance.

    And hopefully all the extra steps you took on vacation will help balance out the extra food intake!

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 9:14 am

      I’m heading to the gym this morning, but I’m not looking forward to it…

  • Matt @ Optimize Your Life December 5, 2016, 4:18 am

    Nice work with all of the goals! Really cool to see how many you’ve hit or are very close to hitting for the year.

    Also awesome that you went on such an epic vacation and managed to do so on a normal-looking budget.

    Thanks for the update!

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 9:15 am

      November looks good because we prepaid most of our trip. October was rough, but I think it evens out. 🙂

  • Ellie @ The Chedda December 5, 2016, 4:21 am

    Looks like a great month! And it’s exciting that Mrs RB40 could retire and you’d still have a surplus!

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 12:08 pm

      She could retire just for one month. 🙁 We are a bit short when we look at it on an annual level. Maybe next year!

  • Apathy Ends December 5, 2016, 4:38 am

    Looks like a solid month and year to date Joe. We are anticipating a pretty good year as well as long as nothing crazy happens.

    It looked like you had a blast on your trip – impressive that you stayed under budget

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 12:16 pm

      Thanks! It was a great trip. I just need to figure out how to do this for a year instead of just 3 weeks. 🙂

  • Go Finance Yourself! December 5, 2016, 5:02 am

    Nice work! That’s a great list of goals. I’m curious what your average yield is on your dividend stocks and how much of your total portfolio you allocate to it. I like the idea of holding dividend stocks in retirement to provide income without cashing in principal, but will probably wait until I get closer to retirement before I start investing more into them.

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 12:17 pm

      I’ll need to check my numbers, but it looks like about 6-7% YTD.

  • Kate @ Cashville Skyline December 5, 2016, 6:07 am

    You’re killing it with your savings goals, Joe! It must feel amazing to keep it going even with a three week Thailand trip. November was strong for me. I’ve surpassed my previous day job’s gross income and I’m working far fewer hours — feels great! I’m getting really pumped to max out my Roth IRA and HSA in January. Plus, I’m getting back into travel hacking. Just opened a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Looking forward to reading your new blog!

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 12:19 pm

      Thanks! It’s great to keep our cash flow steady while we were in Thailand. I just need to figure out how to do this for a year. When we take our RTW trip, we’ll see if we can do it. If we could, then we’ll just keep traveling. 🙂
      Great job with self employment! Congratulations!

  • Physician on FIRE December 5, 2016, 6:27 am

    My “You Index” at Personal Capital looks a lot like yours. EM and REITs were outperforming, but have taken a hit relative to US stocks since early November. I’ve still got a 1.5% lead on the S&P 500, largely on the back of a small value tilt.

    I loved the Thailand posts. Didn’t comment on them individually, but I will say that collectively, it looked like an amazing trip — and a fantastic reason to retire early!


    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 12:21 pm

      I think we’re a bit behind because we have bonds too. They also pulled back in Nov., but it’s not a big deal. 2017 will be interesting, for sure.
      Thanks for the complement about the Thailand posts. They were fun to write, but our traffic stepped back a bit. I think people just expects PF posts here.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher December 5, 2016, 6:30 am

    I hope to see you at FinCon! It’ll be my first year attending so I’m a little nervous.

    Also, Junior’s 529 account looks amazing! He is very fortunate that you guys are putting that money away to help in his future. 🙂

    It sounds like your November was amazing! Kudos for doing so well, especially while traveling internationally.

    Our November was quite spendy. We had a lot of little expenses pop up as well as some poorly-planned luxury purchases (adopt a kitten, buy a food processor, etc.). We’re starting our $65,000 student loan payoff this month, so November was our last spendy hurrah. I think we’ll be more mindful going forward, because in all honesty we can’t meet our target payoff date if we keep buying crap!

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 12:22 pm

      FinCon will be amazing. I’m not planning to go in 2017, but you never know. 🙂
      Good luck with your student loan. Keep a it and they will be gone sooner than you think. No more kitties, though. 🙂

  • Brian - Rental Mindset December 5, 2016, 8:35 am

    Wow, things are going well. Glad to see the rental income is positive!

    I went to Crater Lake recently for the first time and loved it. Absolutely stunning, can’t believe it isn’t talked about more!

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 12:23 pm

      Crater Lake was great. It’s pretty amazing and it isn’t that far from California. That’s a great camping trip.

  • Financial Panther December 5, 2016, 8:37 am

    Looking pretty good! Keeping these goals in mind is pretty smart, and something I might do next year. I’ve always kept vague goals in mind, but never really wrote them down. I do know I need to that my Solo 401k open now so I can get some money into there! Don’t want to miss out on that!

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 12:25 pm

      You really should try putting a few goals down. They are great blogging materials. Don’t forget about your solo 401k!

  • Ms. Montana December 5, 2016, 8:59 am

    It will be interesting for me to see how long Mrs. keeps working if the numbers keep looking really good. It was tough for us to stick to the 9-5 grind once we realised it wasn’t 100% necessary. We lasted about 6 months before we took a year off. Now we are easing back into “work” but more on our own terms this time.

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 12:26 pm

      She is very conservative so I think she will work for a bit longer. At least 2017. We’ll see how it goes. 😉

  • Roadrunner December 5, 2016, 9:51 am

    3 weeks holiday at such a beautiful place and still on track with financial targets! I guess this is a monthly overview everyone would be happy about 🙂 The online income is really awesome; the good content pays off…

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 12:27 pm

      Thanks! Actually, November was a bit slow, but the payment will come in next month. That’s okay. I’ll just need to work smarter in 2017.

  • Vanessa @ Achieving Freedom December 5, 2016, 10:12 am

    Looks like you did a great job at meeting your goals! Lowering triglyceride levels will take some time but you should try adding more fiber to your diet. This will help speed it up for sure. Also more garlic, garlic is an excellent way to lower triglycerides and will help boost your immune system for the colder months as well. Just make sure you chop it up 10min before you intend to cook with it to get the same benefits as you would from raw garlic.

    Do you think you saved money by traveling home on Black Friday? I’m curious about the cost difference.

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 12:28 pm

      Good idea with the garlic. I’ll try adding more in our diet. Fiber… I’ll see what food are a good source of fiber. Banana?
      It was a little cheaper to come home on Black Friday, but not a huge difference. I think less than $100 per ticket. I just wanted to come back on Friday to have the weekend to recover from jet lag.

  • Tawcan December 5, 2016, 10:46 am

    I already signed up for FinCon 17, hopefully you’ll decide to come so I can meet you in person. 🙂

    Looks like you guys had a great November. I quite enjoyed your Thailand travel articles.

    • retirebyforty December 5, 2016, 12:29 pm

      That’s great! I’m sure you will have a great time in Texas. FinCon is a great convention. I’m glad you enjoyed the Thailand posts. They were fun to write, but the site traffic went down a bit. I guess they are off topic.

  • [email protected] Smarter Decisions December 5, 2016, 12:56 pm

    Hi Joe! Great month for you – with your vacation included! We are looking to give Realty Shares a try to next year. I haven’t had time to do much with it – but I want to diversify that way instead of buying more rentals. I loved your travel posts but I guess there are folks who just want to read financial posts. I would think you might get new readers who are travelers – but I hope you keep writing them somewhere (maybe on your new site?)

    • retirebyforty December 6, 2016, 9:49 am

      I think I’ll have to start a new site for travel articles. The problem is we don’t travel that much. We only travel 3-4 weeks per year and that’s not enough material. This will probably have to wait until we can travel more.

  • Iyer to retire December 5, 2016, 5:07 pm

    Good one Joe. Can you comment on why some months your online income is high while sometime it is low? What is your average expectation/month from that income bucket?

    • retirebyforty December 6, 2016, 9:51 am

      Online income is up and down. There was a lot of volatility recently because I changed to new advertising networks. Hopefully, the income will stabilize in the coming months. Also, commission is up and down due to the number of sign ups.

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life December 5, 2016, 5:29 pm

    Our November was mediocre – a lot more spending than normal (though mostly expected), and somewhat larger bills than normal as well. I did see a nice bump in our dividend income though I haven’t seen the reason why, and it’s really not much in the grand scheme of things, but I’ll take it! We saw a little increase from last month but it was mainly making up the losses of the last two months.

    I don’t understand why traffic was down with the Thailand posts – they were awesome!

    • retirebyforty December 6, 2016, 9:58 am

      Hopefully, the next few months will be less eventful for you guys. The slowdown could be due to the holidays too…

  • Your First Million December 5, 2016, 9:09 pm

    Great update! Finishing off the year strong even while taking an extended vacation! That’s what I like to see… 🙂

  • Jay @ ITF December 6, 2016, 3:44 am

    Thanks for the update – and congratulations on all your progress for November. You look to be in great shape (pun intended!) and have covered a lot of ground in 2016. Well done!

  • Fiscally Free December 7, 2016, 1:56 pm

    I like the new section. It will be fun to track if you can get by without Mrs. RB40’s income.

    Congrats on the good month!

  • Predictable Snowball December 12, 2016, 6:34 pm

    Congrats on a great month of passive income and goal attainments. Even if you fall a little short of your goal, $10K of passive income in 2016 is still awesome! I will be including your monthly income reports in my monthly round up moving forward.


    • retirebyforty December 13, 2016, 9:33 am

      Thank you! It’s pretty cool to see how we measure up. Next year, I’ll focus on passive income each month and update all the numbers so it will be easier for you.

  • Kyle B December 14, 2016, 3:08 pm

    Good evening,
    Can you explain why you’re exiting/ exited the P2P market? Was it due to the low rate of returns? high rates of defaults? I’m a young person trying to learn about passive income, definitely still in the very beginning stage.
    Thanks and was nice to read about your trip.

    • retirebyforty December 15, 2016, 8:19 am

      The ROI hasn’t been as good as I’d like. There are a lot of defaults and they will only increase as the economy turns south. The economy seems good for now, though. P2P lending should still be okay in 2017. It was also difficult to get new loans. I want to try real estate P2P funding. At least, that has collateral.
      Good luck!

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