September 2015 Goals and Financial Update

We’re back from our vacation in Costa Rica! Nothing makes you appreciate home more than traveling in a developing country. 🙂 It was a great trip, but we had some challenges too. I’ll write about our trip next time and share a few pictures. We are just glad to be home and we’re looking forward to resuming our regular routines. Also, it’s been 5 years since I started blogging and I got a fantastic giveaway scheduled. Make sure to check back on Friday so you don’t miss out.

On the personal finance side, September worked out pretty well for us. Costa Rica isn’t a cheap country to vacation in and we spent quite a bit more money than usual. However, we had more than usual income so it was fine. Anyway, let’s see how I did with my 2015 goals first and then I’ll share our cash flow.

2015 Goals

Invest $50,000 in our tax advantaged accounts (progress at 88%)

We added $4,447 to our tax advantaged accounts in September. Mrs. RB40 had 3 paychecks so she contributed 3 times last month for a total of $2,547. I added $1500 to my i401k and $400 to RB40Jr’s 529.

We contributed $44,079 to our tax advantaged accounts so far in 2015. We should be able to finish this goal by November.

Surpass $50,000 in RB40 Junior’s 529 account (about $7,000 to go)

RB40jr currently has $42,927 in his 529. We contribute $400 per month via auto deduction. The stock market is down last month so this account is down even with the new contribution. I’m not sure if we can meet the $50,000 goal in 2015. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough extra cash to make the extra contribution here unless we have a windfall in the next few months.

Generate $10,000 from our dividend portfolio (progress at 78%)

We received $1,327 in dividends last month. We are at $7,849 so far this year. It looks like we are on pace to complete this goal.

Exercise 120 times (Fail…)

Now that school is back in session, I will start going to the gym again. This fitness goal isn’t working out for me. I think I will try one of those fitness tracking devices soon. It will be easier to keep track of. Next year, I will set a better goal.

Try 6 new restaurants in Portland (Done!)

Visit a foreign country (Done!)

Costa Rica was great for the most part. Check back next time for the full write up.

Net Worth (+1% so far in 2015)

Alright, our net worth is in the positive territory once again. It looks like the stock market had a little dip while we were on vacation, but it recovered a bit. The S&P500 index is down 2% year to date so I’m quite happy to be up 1%. I was hoping to add about 8% to our net worth every year, but it looks like 2015 will have to be scratched off. The stock market is too volatile and I’m happy to just be positive this year.

September net worth

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Cash Flow

Take Home Income (target > $5,000)

Whew! Mrs. RB40 had 3 paychecks in September and that saved the month. Our take home income was great at $7,164. The rental income was good. Our dividend income was quite nice too. The online income was a bit lower than usual and I’ll have to work on that.

September 2015 cash flowMrs. RB40’s Paychecks: $7,542. We love the 3 paychecks month!

Rental income: $402. The rental did well in September and we didn’t have to do any extra repairs. One of our tenant is moving out at the end of October, though. This is good and bad. It’s good because we’ll have a chance to update the unit and increase the rent. On the other hand, our tenant was a very nice tenant. I’m not looking forward to screening new renters at all.

Online income: $2,362. Online income was a little low in September. I changed to a different advertising firm and the payment hasn’t come through yet. 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: $1,327. Our dividend income was great in September. The 3rd month of the quarter is usually better than the other months. You can see our dividend portfolio here.

Interest: $8. Interest rate is quite low so this will be small in the foreseeable future.

P2P lending: $61. Our ROI increased to 8%. That’s not bad, but the automated investing isn’t working that well for me. I have about $400 just sitting around in my Prosper account. I’m slowly reducing our investment.

Misc income: $0. No extra income this month. 🙁

Expense (target < $4,500)

The 2 weeks vacation did a number on our budget. We spent quite a bit more than usual at $5,722. I guess that’s not too bad considering we spent about $3,000 on the trip. Some of that was spread out over several months though.

Housing: $2,228. Mortgage, HOA, and property tax.

Cash Allowance: $300.

Groceries: $136. We only spent 2 weeks at home so our grocery bill was pretty low in September.

Child/Dependent: $45. We got some a rain jacket and a new pair of pants for RB40jr. The preschool auto deduction didn’t come through this month. I will have to check with the school. It should be about $450.

Healthcare/Medical: $275.

Entertainment: $46. Gym membership fee, ice cream, and pho noodles.

Misc: $2,406. This is mostly travel cost as mentioned above. We spent $1,764 on the Costa Rica trip in September. I also got a new pair of glasses for $563. Yes, that is expensive, but I’ll wear it for 3-4 years so I wanted a nice pair. Mrs. RB40 spent $79 on Toastmasters.

Transportation: $32. Gasoline and parking.


Extra Saving ($13,424 so far in 2015)

We had $1,442 extra saving in September. That’s great because I thought we’d be in the red due to the vacation. We’ll hunker down the rest of this year and save as much as we could.

Misc fund: $3,424

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

September 2015 Wrap Up

Overall, September was a fantastic month for us. Our income was great due to the extra paycheck from Mrs. RB40. Our expense was higher than usual, but that was expected. It was also great to get away for two weeks. Now that the vacation is over, we should be able to hunker down and reduce our monthly expenses. November might be a little challenging due to the rental vacancy, but I’ll try to get it turn around as quick as I can. It should be better for the long term because the rent will be higher.

Did you have a good September?

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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!

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25 thoughts on “September 2015 Goals and Financial Update”

  1. Even with your income down it sounds like the trip was worth it, and you got to knock off one of your goals for the year. You talking about the wife having 3 paychecks in September reminds me of me having 3 paychecks this month in October, I always love having an extra check in one month because of the ways my bills are automated as long as I keep myself in line I basically get half a month ahead and over the course of several years it puts me months and months ahead of where I am.

    September was a good month for me for two reasons. First, I also got to go on a trip to Alabama and had some of the best BBQ in the world at Dreamland (the original not the chain). I also started a second revenue stream through driving for a ride share company Lyft (uber thinks my car is too old) which added a weeks worth of pay to my income for September. All and all no complaints

  2. “new pair of glasses for $563” whaaaaaaaat!!!!!

    Have you looked at getting your prescription glasses elsewhere for WAY cheaper? I started going the alternative route a couple years ago when I was quoted over $300.

    I personally like and highly recommend Zenni Optical. As long as you have a “current” prescription (mine is 3 years old and it still works) you can order prescription glasses online. The only downside of Zenni is that you can’t try them on before buying, so I always look at the measurements and compare to frames I own. But really, for $12-$30 for glasses you can’t complain! I’ve bought at least 3 pairs of glasses and have been really happy with them. Worth checking out….

    • Yes, I tried a few of those online glasses. They didn’t work out well for me. I need extra adjustments and care. In fact, I’m going back to the optometrist tomorrow. My right eye is high maintenance… I will get the prescription and order a pair of sunglasses online, though. I don’t use sunglasses much so it’s not a big deal. Thanks for your comment.

  3. 120 times is a pretty big goal. Maybe go for something a little more toned down. Then build up to it.

    I have health problems, so I start small. And by starting small, I don’t just get to build up. I also get to avoid disappointing myself. That keeps my motivation up.

    Now that I’m back from FinCon, I’m getting back into the routine after a month of nothing. And I’m back down to really short videos, but I’m thrilled I’m doing anything. That keeps me going.

    • 10 times per month shouldn’t be that difficult. I used to go to the gym at lunch everyday when I was working! It’s a lot harder when you’re a stay at home dad. The schedule is all messed up. 🙁

  4. Joe,

    Glad to hear you guys had fun down in CR. Hope you have some pics to share!

    I can imagine it feels good to be back home. Especially after spending a little time in a developing country. I know you mentioned that you wouldn’t mind living over in Chiang Mai. Do you still feel that way?

    Had a really great September over here. Put a lot of capital to work and had a record-breaking month for dividend income. No complaints!


  5. Glad you made it back from Costa Rica safe and sound! We are looking forward to more details on the trip.

    Well based on your September report, life is moving on nicely for you. Congratulations on another good month. We will have to wait until January for a 3 pay period month. I really like those months. 🙂

  6. Can’t wait to hear more about Costa Rica. We went to Japan for 2 weeks in September and had a fantastic time. Still need to go through 600+ worth of pictures though.

    Looks like you had a great month when it comes to both income and expenses.

    Glasses/contacts are expensive. I usually wear contacts and it’s a bit of an annoyance having to buy them regularly. Thought about laser eye surgery but really don’t want someone to shoot laser into my eyes. Have you thought about laser eye surgery?

    • I love Japan too. It’s such an easy country to travel in and the food is fantastic. Pretty expensive, though.
      I thought about laser surgery, but I don’t want anyone shooting laser into my eyes either. I also have high astigmatism. I think that makes it tricky for laser surgery.

  7. I hope you guys really enjoyed your vacation in Costa Rica. We are headed there next June, so I may have to circle back from some recommendations.

    Looks like a great month. Got to love a 3 paycheck month.

    We had a great September. We were able to grow our Net Worth by $7K to $249K, which puts us up 37.1% for the year.

    Our focus has been growing income, and it has been working far better and faster than we expected. Income was up 37.8% at $28K for the month.

    Still not producing anything close to you from the blog. But I did pass the 1 year mark in September with total earnings of $807 for the first year and 82K page views.

    Love these updates.



    • Yes, check back on Wednesday and feel free to send me an email. Great job with your net worth. +37.1% is ridiculous! That’s really fantastic. Great job on the income as well. That’s on of the keys. Good luck!

  8. I’m looking forward to your Costa Rica update!

    Our September was pretty bad in terms of net worth (lost $36k in the market) but that’s just noise over the long term. Spending wise, we had another month under $1,000 so there’s that. We’re running $7,000 under our already meager budget so we have very very low costs going for us right now!

    • Great job with your expenses. That’s fantastic. Hopefully we’ll get there someday. We are spending a bit too much money recently and will try to hunker down the rest of 2015.

    • Thanks! We got lucky in September due to the 3 paychecks, but I think the rest of 2015 should be smooth sailing. No big expenses coming up.

  9. Sept was a great month in that our book on financial independence is basically finished and will be shipped off to our editor Oct 15th. Currently working on cartoons for the book and have created a few that should be good for a few laughs. One is about a businessman talking a lie detector test with the caption” Joe was happy to learn that his financial advisor passed the new mandatory annual BS detector test.” I feel like I have been living in a cave for the past year and a half and my workout goals have all been missed. This will be a priority going forward as well as the need to get in balance.

    • Congratulation! I’m thinking about writing a book, but I don’t know if I have time for it this year. Next year would be a lot better because Jr will head off to kindergarten. Good luck on your book. Let me know if I can do anything to help once it’s published.

    • Thanks for the offer to help with the book Joe! When you get minute send me a note. I want to bounce an idea off you that you might find interesting. Call it my big dream!

  10. I think just being positive this year with your investments is great. Depending which day I look I’m slightly negative or positive. I’m trying to make the most of this volatility and invest as much as we can this month. Glad to hear the Costa Rica trip went well, I agree though there’s nothing like being home.

    • We invested extra last month, but we’re low on cash now. I need to hoard cash to renovate the rental. Once that’s done, then we’ll be able to invest more. Being home is one of the best part about going on a long trip. 🙂

  11. I can’t wait to hear about Costa Rica.

    I’ve been in a bit of an income slump since my big five figure month in July. So I just paid the taxes on my huge quarter while sitting in my less than huge income quarter which isn’t fun. But I have high hopes for the rest of the year and 2016!

  12. “Did you have a good September?”

    Yes, I did. The last week of September I flew to Toronto on Air Canada’s Business Class using my Aeroplan miles. What’s better than flying Business Class (with the big seats and extra leg room and the meal and the wine) is having the seat beside you empty too. Well, the seat beside me was empty on the way to Toronto and on the way back too. I priced out the return Business Class fare two days before I left and it was a little over $3,800.

    One of the things I did in Toronto was meet with my friend Jim from ScotiaMcLeod who also looks after my dividend portfolio. He and I are writing a book together about handling money. But I also decided to put more funds into my dividend portfolio because I had too much cash in my Scotiabank checking account. Over dinner at the Keg Steakhouse, I wrote a check in the amount of $100,000 for Jim to add to my account. Feeling like a high roller I asked Jim what was the biggest check he ever got from a client. He replied that in the last few weeks a woman gave him a check in the amount of $4 million. Needless to say, I didn’t feel much like a high roller anymore. Nonetheless, we had a great time at the Keg eating delicious salads and fine steaks while going through two bottles of the Mollydooker Boxer Shiraz priced at about $75 a bottle. I think the bill with tip for the two of us was around $300.

    In short, no need to be frugal when one is retired and making a great income from intellectual property. As Oscar Wilde said, “I have the simplest of tastes. I settle for nothing but the best.”

    • That’s great! Thanks for sharing. It’s fantastic to see a role model who is enjoying retirement the right way. Intellectual property really is the ultimate way to go. Wow, $4 million check. That’s rich. 🙂


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