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October 2020 Goals and Financial Update


Oct Financial Update 350Hey everyone, it’s time to vote if you haven’t already done so. I voted two weeks ago so I’m done! Hopefully, we’ll see the results soon. October was a good month for us. It was steady without any big high or low. That’s alright with me. Life is easier this way and I had a happy month.

On the personal finance side, October was meh. Our income streams took a little hit due to our rental duplex. We got the chimney repaired and temporarily cut rent 50% for one unit. Next month should be better. Our spending was a bit higher than usual, but still under budget so cash flow turned out okay. Also, our net worth took a small hit due to the recent stock market action. I’m not too worried. There are a lot of uncertainties due to the election and COVID. Once the result is settled, the market should stabilize a bit, I hope.

Okay, I’ll go over my goals first and then share the details of our net worth, cash flow, and savings.

2020 Goals

Here is my goal scheduling spreadsheet. It works really well. Try it out if you can’t keep up with your New Year goals. The key is to go over the spreadsheet at least once a month to track your progress. That way, you’ll see which goals need extra attention.

October NY Goals

Many of my goals are not going well this year. I started out with reasonable goals and I won’t be able to accomplish many of them. My wife and son are home so I don’t have much time to work on these goals. That’s life, though. There will be setbacks and some years will be harder than others. We just need to survive 2020 and hope for better days ahead. It’s okay to have lower expectations this year.

Financial Goals

  • Real Estate Crowdfunding $150,000. In 2020, I added $28,000 to our RE crowdfunding investment with CrowdStreet. Several projects completed this year and I want to reinvest.
  • FI Ratio > 110%. This is my main goal for 2020. The FI ratio is passive income divide by expense. Once we reach 100% consistently, then we’ll be set to retire in style. This goal is good so far. We’re at 125% for 2020 so far. I think we’ll be okay with this one.
  • Saving rate > 50%. This one is really tough because I use gross income. If you make a lot of money, your tax rate is higher. If you don’t, then your expenses overwhelm the income. Only a few households can reach 50% saving rate. This year is going really well and we saving 61%! Our spending is way lower than normal.
  • Side hustle income > $5,000. We made $488 from charging scooters in October. The weather is getting colder and rainier so this side hustle won’t last much longer.


  • Content creation > 178 blog posts and videos. This is a huge amount, but we’re ahead of the pace. In October, I posted 9 blog posts and 7 videos! That’s pretty good.
  • Refresh RB40. This one is on hold for now. I’ll get back to it when I can focus better.
  • 1,000 subscribers on Eat by 40! Currently, we have 123 subscribers. This is a slow process that will take way more than one year. We’ll keep working on it.

Personal Goals

  • Visit Thailand. I wanted to visit my parent in the summer, but that got canceled. I still want to go, but the rules are stringent. We probably can’t go until 2021.
  • Travel hack 200,000 points. I don’t think we’ll accomplish this goal in 2020. There are too many other problems to deal with.
  • Update our Will. I purchased Quicken WillMaker & Trust and made a Will. We’ll talk to a lawyer when things are back to normal. This will have to do for now.
  • Happiness level > 8. My happiness level increased to 8.5 in October. Things went smoothly and we didn’t have any problem. We also voted early and got it out of the way so that helped.
Oct 2020 happy

Net Worth (+3.2% YTD)

I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006 and it is very motivating to see the progress we made. 2020 is crazy. I have no idea what the market is going to do next. Luckily, I learned from experience to keep investing. This year, our net worth is up 3.2% so far. That’s not great, but I’ll take it.

Here is a chart of our investment 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. They have a great retirement calculator that’ll help you figure it all out.

Oct net worth

2020 Passive Income ($37,511 YTD)

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

October Passive Income

Surprisingly, our passive income is holding up quite well.

  • Real Estate Crowdfunding– RE crowdfunding is great this year. Several projects wrapped up and paid out. You can read more detail here on our RE crowdfunding income page.
  • Rentals– We have two rental units and both our tenants have solid jobs. For now, they are both paying rent on time.
  • Dividend– This one looks good so far, but I’m sure companies will cut dividends if this pandemic sticks around through 2021.

Our FI ratio looks good so far at 125%. 2020 is almost over so I think we’re set this year.

*FI ratio = passive income/expense

October 2020 Cash Flow

Our cash flow was okay last month. Our income was lower than usual and we spent more than usual. We ate out more than usual due to lockdown boredom and I spent $800 to repair our chimney. I’m afraid to spend a lot of time on our metal roof because I don’t want to fall.

This is the Sankey diagram for October. You can get a quick overview here and see the details below.

October Sankey

Gross Income (target > $13,000/month)

This year, I increased our income target increased to $13,000/month. If we make this much every month, we should be able to save around 50%. Unfortunately, our income streams stumbled during the pandemic. My blog income decreased and stayed down. IMO, people are not as interested in early retirement when the economy stumbles. There are more important problems to worry about, right? Anyway, October was a slow month and we did59.n’t make our income target. This is mostly due to rental income. I paid $800 to repair the chimney. This is split 50/50 between housing expenses and rental maintenance. Also, one of our tenants is in Europe for a while. We gave him 50% discount until he comes back. Meanwhile, we can use his living room as an office space. It’s a win-win because we need extra space for work and school. Our income was $11,759.

  • Mrs. RB40’s job: $8,493. Mrs. RB40’s job continues to be the pillar of our household income. We will survive without her income, but this whole pandemic would be a lot more stressful.
  • Blog Income: $2,004. Online income was okay last month.
  • Real estate crowdfunding: $530. RE crowdfunding was good last month. A project completed and we got a nice little payout. You can see how we’re doing at the RE Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Rental loss: –$429. I spent $800 to repair our chimney and rent was reduced 50% for one tenant. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
  • Dividend Income: $661. Our dividend income was slow in October. See more details at my Dividend Passive Income page.
  • Interest Income: $11.
  • Side hustle: $488. We made about $488 by charging scooters around our home. RB40Jr get only 20% this month because he was too lazy and didn’t help much.

Monthly Spending (target < $4,166/month)

This year, I plan to spend about $50,000 so our monthly spending budget is $4,166/month. For now, we are way under budget due to the pandemic. Like many families, we cut back and didn’t spend much so we can conserve some cash. However, we spent more money than usual on housing (maintenance), clothing (new glasses), and entertainment (takeouts) last month. Our total was higher than usual, $3,661. It was still under budget so I’ll take it.

  • Housing: $1,688. This category includes mortgage, home insurance, HOA fees, property taxes, utilities, home improvement, repair, and furnishing. $400 for chimney repair (50% of the bill.)
  • Parents: $500. I send $500/month to my parent.
  • Groceries: $427. This is right around the average. Here are a few dishes we cooked. Check them out and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Nam Prik Ong (recipe here) – This is a dish from northern Thailand. You won’t find it in a restaurant so you’ll have to CIY.

Khoa Tom Pla (recipe here) – You won’t find this in a restaurant either. It’s comfort food and probably too simple for the restaurant.

  • Travel: $0. I’m ready for another road trip…
  • Entertainment: $206. We supported the local businesses and ordered some takeouts.
  • Health: $9. I ordered melatonin to help me sleep.
  • Bills: $23. My term life insurance payment.
  • Transportation: $61. Car insurance and public transportation. I didn’t even get gas.
  • Kid: $50. Our son went to try some VR games with his friend. It was the kid’s birthday so I paid for it as a birthday gift.
  • Pet: $30.
  • Clothing: $582. I got a new pair of glasses. This is one thing I don’t go cheap on. I use it every day for 3-5 years so I want the nicest pair possible. Usually, I need a lot of adjustments so a generic pair from the internet doesn’t work. Our optometrist is awesome and I want to support her shop.
  • Misc: $0. Mrs. RB40 picked up some heating pads for our aching old bodies. Also, a few other small items.


I don’t count these as personal spending.

  • Taxes and deductions: $2,380.
  • 401k savings: $2,520. Mrs. RB40 contributed $1,520 to her 401k. I contributed $1,000 to my i401k.
  • Roth IRAs: $1,000. We contributed $500 each to our Roth IRAs every month.
  • 529 College Savings plan: $0. We contributed $4,000 earlier this year. We’re done for now.
  • Extra Savings: $2,281.

2020 Savings ($88,804 YTD)

Wow, that’s a lot of savings. We are very fortunate to be able to do this. 2020 is a crazy year, but our expenses are lower than usual. Our income is also holding up relatively well so we are getting through this pandemic pretty well.

  • Joe’s 401k: $24,375. I can contribute to my i401k as an employee and the employer. So my total contribution is usually higher than the max.
  • Mrs. RB40’s 401k: $15,940
  • Roth IRAs: $10,000
  • 529 College Savings: $4,000
  • Extra savings: $34,489

YTD 2020 saving rate = 61%

October 2020 Wrap Up

Overall, October was a good month for us. Our net worth dropped a bit, but it’s no big deal. Cash flow is much more important on a monthly basis. Income was a bit lower than usual due to the rental, but it should be better for the rest of 2020. Overall, 2020 is an okay year for us financially. We didn’t make much progress, but at least we didn’t go backward.

How about you? Did you have a good month? Don’t forget to vote if you haven’t yet. 

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, the job became too stressful and Joe retired from his engineering career to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.

Joe also 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 DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.

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{ 22 comments… add one }
  • GYM November 10, 2020, 10:49 pm

    We did a one night road trip recently, it was great to ‘travel’ again. However, things are getting worse up here.

    I agree about the online glasses, just not the same. I ordered a pair of nonprescription sunglasses and it doesn’t look very good, but oh well, it was only $30.

  • David @iretiredyoung November 5, 2020, 1:49 am

    Hi Joe,
    We don’t have scooters to charge in our town, but I’m interested in how it works – around $500 income seems pretty good. I guess you have some extra electricity costs and maybe some car gas and running costs to go against that if you are using a car to pick them up. And do you have to put them back to where you got them from? Maybe if they ever came to our town (unlikely), I’d give this a go.

    • retirebyforty November 5, 2020, 8:16 am

      The electricity cost is very low. Maybe a few dollars a month at the most. I only pick them up around where we live so I get some exercise and no car/gas expenses. There are hubs where you’re supposed to drop them off.
      I try to drop one off and retrieve another on the same trip. It used to pay pretty well, but they cut the rate quite a bit this year. I still enjoy it because I get to go out for a bit.

  • Katie Camel November 4, 2020, 6:21 pm

    “It’s okay to have lower expectations this year.” You hit the nail on the head with that one. I was just thinking today that I don’t even want to look at my post detailing this year’s goals because I know this year is a wash. But, like you, my happiness is high. I think that matters far more than how many goals we reached this year. Hopefully next year is better for us all! We deserve it after this year. 😉

    • retirebyforty November 5, 2020, 8:11 am

      Right, it’s not very motivating to be running in place. I’m hopeful 2021 will be better as well.

  • Ellen November 3, 2020, 9:27 am

    Excellent accomplishments this month, as I’ve come to expect, Joe!

  • Caroline at Costa Rica FIRE November 3, 2020, 5:28 am

    I’m curious how RE crowdfunding will hold up in year 2-3 of the pandemic. I think there’s lots of money chasing fewer deals. That said, I do think the right RE deal might be one of the few places you can make money in such a low interest rate environment. We are sticking with private loans to developers/ business owners we know, though that’s hard to scale. We also have rentals and so far they’re doing OK, knock on wood.

  • Jonathan L. November 2, 2020, 8:03 am

    Like many families, we cut back and didn’t spend much so we can conserve some cash.

    Our spending is about the same during the pandemic. I don’t understand how others have been able to spend less.

    Groceries, mortgage, house maintenance, utility bills, property taxes, homeowner insurance, HOA fee, car insurance, etc. — all the biggest bills are about the same regardless whether there is a pandemic or not. No?

    • retirebyforty November 2, 2020, 8:41 am

      Travel is a relatively big category for us so that’s one thing. Clothing also is a big expense for my wife.
      She’s WFH for now so she hasn’t spent as much on business clothes.
      Also, most public event places are still closed here. We haven’t visited any museums, zoo, arcades, or anything since March.
      Oh, I took my son and his friend to a VR cafe. I guess a few places are open.

  • Jim @ Route to Retire November 2, 2020, 7:59 am

    Nice job on the month, Joe – your YTD savings is really impressive!

    On another note, make sure that you do follow-up with an estate planning attorney later. A will is a great start, but with your assets, I would imagine that a living trust would be a much better tool to have in place. I sleep so much better since we did that a number of years ago. It’s kind of a pain to get everything titled into the name of the trust, but once it’s done, it’s done.

    • retirebyforty November 2, 2020, 8:42 am

      Estate planning is so expensive in Portland. I still need to find an affordable estate lawyer.
      I think it cost at least $2,500 at local law firms.

      • well wisher November 2, 2020, 5:29 pm

        Doing a living trust is about 1000-2000 here in Illinois. But it is still cheaper than going throught probate to distribute your assets. Probate costs could be up to 2% of your estate. So on a 1,000,000 estate you figure 20,000 going to pay probate costs. The 2000 one time fee for lawyer is relatively cheap

  • Sam @ Financial Samurai November 2, 2020, 7:25 am

    “Also, one of our tenants is in Europe for a while. We gave him 50% discount until he comes back. Meanwhile, we can use his living room as an office space.”

    I think this is a home run! More space during a pandemic is huge and so worth it. I keep trying to tell as many of my readers as possible to spend more money on a nicer placer.

    October for us was back to normal life! It’s kind of bewildering to have almost everything open up again. It feels like the first month of early retirement where there is so much to do it feels a little overwhelming and surreal!

    • retirebyforty November 2, 2020, 8:44 am

      More space helped a lot, especially for my wife. She can attend meetings and classes with much less distraction.
      I think most places are still closed here. We didn’t go trick or treat either. Unfortunately, normal is still a long way off.

  • Don November 2, 2020, 5:47 am

    Cool to hear that you are very happy these days. I just read an article in a UK newspaper about a family that left Portland to the UK and they said they used to love life in the city but could not stand the crazy violence situation there any more

    • retirebyforty November 4, 2020, 8:14 am

      It really isn’t bad. The protests are in a small area downtown. We live about 20 blocks away from the epicenter and haven’t had any problem.

  • Lazy Man and Money November 2, 2020, 5:45 am

    I didn’t see the gross income totaled up this month to compare to the $13,000 goal (not to be the weird proofreader blogger).

    That’s tough on the rent with the loss, but I do like how you were able to use the flexibility of more space.

    Just this morning I put a visit to the optometrist on my to do list. It’s been 3 years or so and my current pair seems to have tiny scratches.

    • retirebyforty November 2, 2020, 8:45 am

      Thanks for the catch. I updated the post. It was $11,759, our lowest income month yet.

  • Mr. Tako November 2, 2020, 1:55 am

    Looks like a nice, relaxed month Joe! You make it look easy! 🙂 I still need to tally up my monthly numbers for this week’s post, but I’m being a bit lazy on Sunday night!

    Like you, I’ll be glad when the election is over. And , I’ll be double-glad when the pandemic finally starts to get behind us.

    Best of luck!

  • Dave @ Accidental FIRE November 2, 2020, 1:41 am

    I see you’re back to the scooter charging – $488 is no joke, congrats!

    • retirebyforty November 2, 2020, 8:47 am

      It’s the perfect side hustle for me. I get a little exercise and breaks throughout the day. No human contact is huge.
      Unfortunately, they’re closing down for the winter soon. I think November is the last month in operation this year.

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