November 2021 Goals and Financial Update

November FIRE update

Hey, everyone. Did you have a good month? November was a busy month for us. We spent time cleaning up all the leaves and getting the house ready for winter. One of our rain drains was completely clogged up. I cut a piece of pipe out and installed a leaf catcher. Autumn looks nice on the surface, but it’s a ton of extra work. Thanksgiving was also a busy time. RB40Jr had the week off so he needed more supervision than usual. This year, we spent Thanksgiving in town with friends. Mrs. RB40 was in charge of the dessert, but she wasn’t sure what to make. So she baked several things. They were great. Oh, there was one unfortunate event last month. Our 20-year- old cat passed away. It was really hard on all of us. But life goes on.

As for personal finance, November was a mixed bag. Our income was much higher than usual, thanks to Mrs. RB40. She had 3 paychecks and also a nice bonus. However, we spent much more than usual on healthcare. We took our cat to the vet to figure out what was wrong. We also spent over $1,500 at the dentist (Mrs. RB40 had a bunch of new cavities). Not fun. Our net worth decreased a bit due to the stock market volatility at the end of the month. The market dropped because of the Omicron variant and the Fed’s fast tapering plan. All in all, it was an okay month. Not great, but not too bad either. December might be volatile as well depending on what happens with Omicron. Hopefully, it won’t be too bad so we can close out 2021 on a good note.  

2021 Goals

This is my 2021 goal sheet. 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.

All right! 2021 is turning out to be a great year for my New Year goals. I made good progress on most of my goals.

Financial Goals

  • Real Estate Crowdfunding $150,000. I met this goal in July. However, some projects finished and returned the principal since then. Next year, we’ll add more to our RE crowdfunding investment. Recently, the projects on CrowdStreet complete funding very quickly. Investors are taking profit from the stock market and diversifying. It’s a great way to passively invest in real estate.
  • FI Ratio > 110%. This is my main goal for 2021. The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. Ouch, our FI ratio dropped to 106% because we spent more than usual in November. Let’s hope we can recover in December.
  • 1-year cash for Mrs. RB40 mini ER. Mrs. RB40 plans to take a mini-retirement in 2022. We need to have a nice cash cushion before then. Usually, we spend less than $50,000 per year so that’s my target. Currently, we have about $18,000 in the bank. *I changed the target to $30,000 because she will only take six months off.
  • Side hustle income > $3,000. Mission accomplished! This goal is just for fun. Side hustling is a good way for early retirees to keep busy and stay active. In November, I made $1,645 from charging scooters. Also, we got $375 from a separate source. It’s getting too cold to charge scooter so I’m wrapping it up for the year.


  • Refresh Retire by 40 – Done! I finally completed this goal. It has been on this list for over 2 years. This work required a big block of time and focus. I just couldn’t do it at home. I only finished because I was stuck in quarantine for 2 weeks and could focus on it.
  • 1,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel. Currently, we have 364 subscribers on our YouTube channel. I gave up on this goal. Unfortunately, I ran out of new recipes to make. Oh well, maybe we’ll get back to it later.  

Personal Goals

  • Visit Thailand. Done! I visited Thailand in January and spent 6 weeks there. I went to check on my mom and reconnect with families and friends. It was great. I would love to retire there 6 months/year.
  • Weight < 135 lbs. Done! In Thailand, the serving size was much smaller than what I’m used to. I lost weight there and was able to keep it off. Now, I weigh 130 pounds.
  • Estate planning. Done! We started the process with our lawyer last year. I thought it wouldn’t be done until March, but we completed it right before I went to Thailand.
  • V for vasectomy. Holy moly, this was painful! Don’t believe them when they say it won’t hurt.
  • Happiness level > 8. November was a tough month (7). We were sad for a few weeks because our cat passed away. Fortunately, we had a good Thanksgiving with friends and we’re looking forward to Christmas. Life goes on.

Net Worth (+9.0% 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. November was a tough month on the stock market. The Omicron variant and the Fed caused investors to pull back a bit. Our net worth is up 9% so far in 2021. My target is +10% per year so let’s see how it goes in December.

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.

2021 Passive Income ($42,231 YTD)

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

November was a very slow month for passive income. We made just $3,210. Unfortunately, we spent more than usual as well and pushed our FI ratio down to 106%. Stay tuned to see if we can bring it back up in December.  

*FI ratio = passive income/expense

November 2021 Cash Flow

Our cash flow was good in November. We spent more than usual, but Mrs. RB40 also made a lot more money than normal. Our passive income was low, but we still saved 57% of our income. Overall, it was a good month.

Here is the Sankey diagram. You can get a quick overview from the diagram and see the details below.

Gross Income: $23,087

Our gross income was much higher than usual in November. Let’s see what happened.

  • Mrs. RB40’s job: $17,629. Mrs. RB40 had 3 paychecks last month and she also got a bonus. This was almost twice as much as normal.
  • Blog income: $2,326. Blog income was okay last month.
  • Real estate crowdfunding: $0. No payout in November. You can read more at the RE Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Rental income: 525. A nice month at the rental. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
  • Dividend Income: $581. It was also a nice month for dividend income. See more details on my Dividend Passive Income page.
  • Interest Income: $6.
  • Side hustle & Misc: $2,020. I made $1,645 from charging scooters. December will be much slower, though. It’s too cold and it’s harder to hustle. I’m planning to relax more in the winter. We also received $375 from the child tax credit.

Monthly Spending: $5,488

This year, I plan to spend about $50,000. Our monthly spending budget is $4,166/month. We spent much more than that in November. We spent over $2,000 on healthcare for the household. I think that was the highest we ever spent in one month on healthcare. Here are the details.

  • Housing: $1,250. 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: $739. Usually, we spend about $500/month on groceries.

Last month was higher than usual due to Thanksgiving and delayed spending. Here are some of the dishes we made.

Japanese beef curry. This is a super easy dish to make, but it takes a lot of time if you want the beef to be tender.

Pizza! Brrr, it was cold last month. Time to crank up the oven and make pizza. This one was a combo – pepperoni, sausage, onion, and kalamata olives. Yum.

  • Bills: $23. (This is just life insurance. Water, gas, and electric bills are included in the housing category.)
  • Transportation: $168. This was for gasoline, insurance, public transportation, and maintenance.
  • Entertainment: $124. Mrs. RB40 and I took advantage of school and went out to lunch many times last month. It was a lot of fun.

Lamb shank at Gastromania – Great value at $16, delicious too.

Burgers at the Shake Shack – We went to try the burgers at the Shake Shack. The food was okay. We all like In-N-Out better, though. The truffle burger was a nice experience. It’s a bit different than the usual burger.

Pasta at Grassa – Overrated Italian restaurant. The fresh pasta was great, but the dishes were too complicated. Too many things going on.

  • Kid: $19. Gift for Jr’s friend.
  • Travel: No travel last month.  
  • Health: $1,595. Mrs. RB40 had some cavities. I went to see our dentist a couple times too.
  • Cat: $521. Our cat passed away. We spent some money at the vet to figure out what was wrong. It was a sad week for us.
  • Clothing: $246. We got some new jackets and shoes. My shoes were so old they smelled really bad when they got wet. It was time to replace them. I got 3 pairs…
  • Misc: $553. I got a new phone for my dad. RB40Jr’s chromebook broke and we got a new one for him. We also purchased a few Christmas gifts.


I don’t count these as personal spending.

  • Taxes and deductions: $4,380. 

2021 Savings ($102,043 YTD)

2021 is going pretty well financially. So far, we have saved 59% of our income. We should be able to keep this up for the rest of 2021.

  • Joe’s 401k: $24,500. I can contribute more than the yearly limit ($19,500) because I’m self-employed.
  • Mrs. RB40’s 401k: $18,000. She contributes $750 every paycheck.
  • Roth IRAs: $11,000
  • 529 College Savings: $4,000. Done for the year.
  • Extra savings: $44,543

YTD 2021 saving rate = 59%

November 2021 wrap up

November was a rough month for us. Our cat passed away, we spent more than usual, and our net worth decreased. On the other hand, our income was great and we are generally happy. That’s life. There are ups and downs. I’m ready to wrap up 2021, though. We’ll spend Christmas with families and enjoy the time off. 2022 will be even better, right?

How was November for you?  Are you ready for 2022?

*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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23 thoughts on “November 2021 Goals and Financial Update”

  1. Joe i normally dont see the net worth figure it your PC snapshot. This update, did u post it by mistake ? Anyway thanks for your updates. Sorry to hear about your cat.

  2. Sorry to hear about your cat. Our cat has been having mobility issues lately so that prompted us to take her to the vet to get it checked out. She’s getting older but should still have many years ahead of her. It’s always tough to see pets not doing well.

  3. I am amazed how much money you earn in the States compared to here in Sweden. Me, as a .NET software developer (20 years experience) working for a large consultant firm earn about 4300 USD/month before taxes (35%). Granted, we have cheap dental care, free health care, free school, college and child care, but if you are single and no kids, the States would be a better place for you, if you want to maximize your income.

    Bonus, what is that?! I have worked as a consultant for about 14 yers, never seen any bonuses. Never get anything except some usless cheap christmas present. It is like that for almost all (large) consultant companies.

    Your wife earns more than the Swedish Prime Minister (she has around 14000 USD/month), congrats!

    • I think you’re right. If you can keep your cost of living modest, you can save a lot in the US. Work for 15 years, then go live where life is more comfortable. Normally, Mrs. RB40 doesn’t make as much, around $8,500/month. It was an extraordinary month for her. She is a great employee too so she excels at work.

  4. I’m still loving the updates on the scooter-charging side hustle. We’re in Ohio visiting before we head back to Panama next week but while we were here, I started digging into something similar here. Unfortunately, they have the scooters here but you need to be an employee to do the scooter gathering. That’s not the case for your gig, correct?

    • Right, I’m self-employed on the scooter charger gig. It’s too cold and wet to do that now. I have to lug the scooters into the basement so it can charge. They don’t charge when it’s below 50 degrees. My back can’t handle it. I’ll start up again in the spring. 🙂

  5. I do enjoy some aspects of this blog and appreciate your putting so much time into it.

    But one beef I have is that this is not exactly a FIRE blog in the sense that you are not retired — you just switched careers (and you also have considerable income from a working spouse.)

    I’m more interested in reading blogs by true FIRE devotees — those who are living strictly by the 3% or 4% rule, veritably retired, and have no income from side hustles or blogs.

    • From what I know, there are no true FIRE blogs. Most people make some kind of income after they “retired.” I only know one blogger who didn’t earn any income after FIRE and he went back to full-time employment after about 5 years.

      For us, we’ll get there at some point, but it’ll be a while. Maybe in 10 years.
      Think of it as gradual FIRE. We’re slowly working less and we’ll switch to full retirement in about 10 years.
      We could go full-FIRE right now, but it doesn’t make sense to stop working on things we like. Why turn down income if you enjoy the work? Full retirement can wait a bit.

      If you know some good true FIRE blogs, let us know. Most people earn a bit of income one way or another.

      • Plus, according to the retirement police if you have a successful blog by definition you’re not retired. If you’re *completely* retired then you don’t have a blog where you post regularly.

  6. Always good to follow your updates – what about your YTD CrowdStreet growth rate? I’ve been thinking about CrowdStreet/Fundrise lately — and I keep reading about how difficult it is/might be to get your money out in difficult times. Would VNQ be an equivalent alternative?

    • I’ll work on it. It’s hard to calculate yield because the projects all had different lifetimes.
      VNQ is a good alternative. It returns about 9% and it’s a good alternative to stocks.
      My completed RE crowdfunding projects generated about 10-20%, but they are riskier because you’re investing in individual properties. Actually, we had one loss due to bankruptcy and only recovered about 40% of the investment. So 60% loss on $5,000 investment. I’ll write more about this one later.

  7. I’m optimistic about your FI ratio if December dividends count. Seems like you aren’t too far off from last year with just a little one-off things like rental income not quite being what you would hope. I’m sure you make up for it in a different way with the property appreciation.

    That’s some amazing savings for the year. I’m jealous, but I recently started keeping track of our liquid cash and things are going well there. So I’m not too jealous.

    Good luck in December. I can’t wait to see what the final results are and the new goals for 2022.

    • Thanks! We actually had over $40,000 in cash, but I invested a good amount last week during the dip.
      I’m hopeful for December as well. Dividend should be better. Although, it will still be lower than usual because Disney still isn’t paying dividends.

  8. Great looking month Joe! You continue to impress me! Nice job putting away almost all of Mrs. Retireby40’s salary!

    One question though: Why is your real estate crowd funding income down so much this year? I thought you were adding significant amounts of money.

    • Real estate crowdfunding pays more at the end of the project. Last year, 3 projects were completed and they all paid out pretty well. The added investment will pay off in a few years. That’s why I want to add 1-2 new projects every year to build a ladder.

  9. Joe,

    First, sorry to hear about your cat.

    Second, your YTD Savings of $102,043 is really impressive. It’s definitely much better than mine. In fact, it’s about $102,043 more than mine. My savings from my general income is about NIL this year.

    Weirdly, I was looking at my operating account at my main bank and was wondering how I could have blown practically all the money I had come in during 2021. I have never had a budget and I am not one to track my expenses even though l lived under the poverty level for about 10 years.

    But I had to satisfy my curiosity because I had a bit over $170,000 CAN. go through my operating accounts until the end of November and I had only around $2,000 left.

    So I did a spreadsheet. I copied these figures from there.

    Business Revenues until End of November $130,500
    CPP (Canada Pension Plan) $7,040
    Income Tax Refund $16,630
    Transfer from Tangerine Bank $16,000
    TOTAL REVENUES FOR 2021 $170,170

    Transfer to Achieva Financial Bank $30,000
    Income Tax Installments $36,000
    Print Run of “How to Retire Happy, Wild & Free” $38,157


    I actually felt a little better after learning that I am only spending about $6,000 a month on general living. I thought it had to be $7,000 or $8,000 a month. Also, I looked at what my financial advisor with RBC Wealth Management has done so far this year in my retirement portfolio dividend account. My net worth went up well over $200,000 CAN.

    In short, it feels good to be 72 years old and still have enough money coming in so I don’t have to touch my retirement portfolio or my prosperity accounts, and have my net worth go up nicely.

    • $6,000/month is very reasonable. Most of your expenses were business expenses.
      Thank you for sharing. That’s very interesting.
      At some point, we’ll loosen up a lot more. Right now, we spend modestly because we still have some big expenses coming up – college, housing, my parents, etc… When we’re older, we won’t have these responsibilities.
      Have a great holiday!


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