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September 2017 Goals and Financial Update


September Financial UpdateFall has arrived. Are you getting chilly where you live? The transition to cooler weather felt abrupt for us. It was summer when we went to Hawaii for a week and it was fall when we got back. I’m a bit sad because I love the long hot summer days filled with fun activities. Mrs. RB40 enjoys autumn, though. I drag her out on the weekends too much during the summer so she’s ready to hunker down and break out the crock pot. The good news is that the rain and cooler temperature will help bring the wildfire under control. When we left, the Eagle Creek Fire was raging near Portland. This was the worse wildfire near Portland that I’ve seen in 20 years. The ashes were raining down and the air quality was terrible for days on end. It felt apocalyptic. This massive fire was started by a teenager playing with fireworks on the hiking trail. It’s ridiculous that the kid isn’t getting penalized (yet.) Anyway, the fire is currently 46% contained and that’s much better than before. I’m sure it’ll be over with soon because the rainy season is here.

On the financial front, September was a good month for us. Our income was good and our expenses were under budget. September is usually a very slow month for online income because a lot of people were on vacation in August. (The payment for August arrived in September.) Our other income streams were good, though. On the expense side, we spent a bit more than usual due to our trip to Hawaii, but it’s not too bad. We were still under budget so it’s all good.

Okay, let’s go over my 2017 goals first and then you can see the details of our cash flow.

Disclosure: We may receive a referral fee if you sign up with a service through the links on this page.

2017 Goals

At the end of September, the year is 3/4 over. We’re in the last quarter of the year. 2017 is practically over. Soon, Halloween will be here, then Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It’s going to be a busy few months. That’s why we really should get as many goals accomplished as possible in the first half of the year. It’s always really difficult to start something new with all the holidays coming up.

Personally, I’ve been doing pretty well with most of my goals. The yearlong goals are on track. There are 2 goals that I won’t be able to accomplish this year and I gave up on those – Pinterest and site redesign. For the rest of 2017, I’ll focus on fitness, Toastmasters, and our international trip. Fitness will be the toughest one out of these 3. It’s always difficult to regularly workout when there are interruptions such as vacation and holidays.

Check out my goal tracking spreadsheet.

Goal tracking spreadsheet

Financial Goals

  1. Save $50,000 in our tax advantaged account – We’re doing very well here and have saved $46,290 in our retirement accounts and the 529 college fund. We’re way ahead on this goal and should be done with it in October.
  2. Dividend Income $11,500– I’ll update our passive incomepost next week and you can see the details there. In the first 9 months of 2017, we received $8,522 in dividend. We’re right on pace at 74%, that’s great! This goal should be completed by the end of the year.
  3. FI ratio > 78% – The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. Currently, our FI ratio is 98%! That’s way ahead of our target and I’m quite happy with it. We’re doing much better than expected here.
  4. Net worth gain > VFORX– Our net worth gained 10.6% so far in 2017. That’s really good and I’m satisfied with 10% in 2017. However, it is 4% behind our benchmark. The VFORX (Vanguard’s 2040 fund) is up 14%. I’m not going to worry about it too much.
  5. Move RB40Jr’s 529 plan to Vanguard – Finished! You can read about our 529 plan transfer here.
  6. Move Mrs.RB40’s IRAs to Vanguard – Finished!

Blog Goals

  1. Online income > $36,000/year– My online income has been incredible this year and I made $54,042 so far. I was able to meet my online income goal at the end of June. I made more in 6 months than the whole 2016 blog income. Thank you all our readers. I’m really grateful for your support.
  2. Redesign Retire by 40 – I gave up on this one. It’s too much work. I’ll try to do a minor update in 2018 instead of a big redesign.
  3. Pinterest > 25,000 visits– I gave up on this one too. I haven’t been able to grow our Pinterest traffic. It’s just not my thing. Pinterest is not fun for me at all. Mrs. RB40 will be our media person when she retires from her full time work.

Personal Goals

  1. Fitness – September was not a bad month for fitness. School started and I was able to get back to regular exercise again. We had a one week vacation and I didn’t work out on those days, but we walked a ton. I also missed a few days when I had to do some errands. Overall it was okay and I give myself a B for September. I walked about 8,720 steps per day which is more than my goal of 7,000 steps per day, nice!
  2. Start a new site – I started a new site with a focus on fitness: Fit by 40. There isn’t much traffic, but that’s okay. I’m using it mostly for self motivation. It’s working really well and I’m much more active this year than in 2016. I don’t know why blogging helps so much, but it works for me. The site was on hiatus until school started. However, I’m finding it hard to get back to blogging about fitness. I’ll just blog every 2 weeks or so.
  3. Join Toastmasters – I plan to join Toastmasters in November after we come back from our Cancun vacation. I found a club near where we live so it should be easy.
  4. RB40Jr’s after school programs –This fall, RB40Jr is in a soccer team. We really need to get him out of the house because he’d get too much screen time if he stays at home. Soccer is a great activity, but he doesn’t follow direction very well. Hopefully, he’ll get better soon.

Fun Goals

  1. See the total solar eclipse – We saw the eclipse from Newport Beach, OR. It was totally awesome.
  2. National Park – We visited Fort Vancouver National Monument over spring break. That’ll be it this year…
  3. International Trip – We are heading to Cancun in November. I booked our tickets with point and also booked our hotels last week. We’re set for this trip to Mexico.

Net Worth (+10.6% YTD)

I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006 and it is very motivating to see the progress we’ve made. For 2017, I’ll benchmark our progress with the Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 Fund, VFORX. Their current allocation is about 52% US equity, 35% international equity, and 13% bonds. I thought this was a good measuring stick and we should be able beat it. Now that we’re 3/4 of the way through 2017, we are way behind, about 4%. VFORX is really killing it this year.

Our net worth is up 10.6% so far in 2017. That’s really good at this stage of our lives and I’m happy for 10% gain in 2017. Recently, I’m nervous about the market and I shifted some of our stock allocation to bond. I want to be a little more conservative and I don’t mind a little less gain over the next couple of years. We are a bit behind VFORX, but it isn’t a big deal to me. Next year, we’ll probably just avoid benchmarking altogether. It doesn’t seem to add anything useful.

Here is the picture of our net worth (investment) on Personal Capital. Our investment did pretty well in September, but Zillow decreased the estimate on our properties. I haven’t changed my personal spreadsheet yet. Valuing real estate is always tough.

Net worth investment

If you need help keeping track of your finances, try using Personal Capital to help manage your investment accounts. We have many accounts and Personal Capital shows me the big picture in just a few minutes. Also, I’m a huge fan of their retirement calculator. You can read my review here – The Best Free Retirement Calculator.

September 2017 Cash Flow

We had a good month with our cash flow in September. Our income was solid and our expense was under budget. There were some issues, but we worked through them. Let’s go over the details.

Take Home Income (target > $5,000)

September Cash flowOur take home income target is $5,000 and we came in above that at $8,581. This is a bit below average for 2017 due to slow online income. Everything else is in line with the average.

Mrs. RB40’s paycheck: $5,142. Mrs. RB40 is doing very well at her day job. She got a raise earlier this year and she is bringing home great income and benefits. That’s one reason why she isn’t ready to quit working full time yet. She also doesn’t want to deal with health insurance uncertainties at this point. Her employer sponsored health plan is working very well for us.

Rental income: $931.

Online Income: $4,295. My online income was below average in September, but it’s still very good. This year I’m focusing on increasing our income so Mrs. RB40 can retire sooner. I’m placing more affiliate links and focusing on writing relevant articles that will be helpful to investors. Here is how we generated online income last month.

  • Banner ads: $1,606. These are the banner ads you see on Retire by 40. I hope to make about $1,500/month from these ads.
  • Affiliates: $2,905. These are referral fees from affiliate links. If a reader signs up for a service through our affiliate link, then we sometimes earn a referral fee. One example is the Personal Capital link at the net worth section above.
  • Brand promotion: $0. I’m cutting way back and probably won’t make much money in this category going forward.
  • Expenses: -$216. Internet, email service, CDN, cell phone, meals, etc…

Starting a blog is a great way to build your brand and generate some extra income. You can see my tutorial here – How to Start A Blog and Why You Should. Check it out if you’re thinking about blogging. 

Dividend income: $1043. You can see our dividend portfolio here.

Interest: $16.

Crowdfunding: $44.

  • P2P lending: $44. I’m slowing getting out of P2P lending. I just don’t think they will do well when the economy turns south.
  • Realty Shares: $0. I started investing with Realty Sharesearlier this year. So far, I’ve invested in a 2 commercial properties and an apartment complex. I like RealtyShares and I’m planning to invest much more next year. See how I’m doing with real estate crowdfunding here.
  • KickFurther: $0. Kickfurther is similar to P2P lending, but investors lend to small businesses instead of individual borrowers. The big difference here is the money will be used to fund inventory. I’m also getting out of this one. Small businesses have way too many problems. You can read more about them next week when I go over our passive income.

Misc: $0

Pre-tax savings: -$2,890. I sent $1,500 to my solo 401k. Mrs. RB40 saved $1,390 in her retirement account.

Expense (target < $4,500)

Our monthly expense target is $4,500 per month and we barely came in under that limit at $4,478. Whew! This was actually really good considering we went to Hawaii. Our trip didn’t cost much because Mrs. RB40 was there on a business trip. We just tagged along and I paid for our flight with points.

Other expenses that were higher than average – medical and clothes. Mrs. RB40 and Junior visited the hospital a few times in September. She has good coverage so it wasn’t a big deal financially. It could have cost a lot more if we didn’t have good insurance. As for clothing, Mrs. RB40 is updating her work wardrobe and our clothing bill will be a bit high in future months.

Housing: $2,289. This includes the mortgage, HOA, and property tax. Housing is a huge part of our monthly expense. We may have to move to a cheaper location to reduce this expense.

Cash Allowance: $0

Groceries: $454. Our grocery bill was average last month.

Transportation: $35. This is for gasoline and parking. We share one car and usually don’t drive much.

Pet: $20.

Kid: $46. We got some back to school stuff for RB40Jr.

Bills: $190. Electricity and insurance (auto, home, term life, and umbrella).

Healthcare/Medical: $141. Mrs. RB40 has a minor surgery and also went to ER when the incision bled later that evening. RB40Jr had a few doctor appointments for his hearing impairment, an MRI, and picked up his hearing aid. I’m really grateful that we have good medical insurance coverage. These visits probably would have cost over $10,000 if we didn’t have insurance.

Entertainment: $126. This was for eating out, gym membership, whey protein, and a used XBOX game.

Travel: $713. Last month, we went to Hawaii. The cost of the trip was around $600. I also purchased a few other things to bring along on this trip – rash guards, inflatable life jacket, and snorkeling mask for Junior.

Clothing: $335. Mrs. RB40 is updating her work wardrobe. It’s not cheap, but she needs newer and better clothes for her job. Her income is much higher than her clothing expense so it’s worth it.

Misc: $130. Groan… We forgot to pay Portland’s art tax in April so we had to pay a little penalty. Oh well, I don’t mind supporting the art. I also got a new electric kettle from Amazon.

YTD Extra Savings: $54,592

September was a good month and we saved $4,103 in addition to our tax advantaged savings. Our income is doing really well this year. So far in 2017, we saved $54,592 extra. This is much better than 2016. What I did with the extra money.

  • I stashed $30,000 in VNQI. This fund will be cashed out when Mrs. RB40 retires.
  • I invested $18,000 with Realty Shares. This is working well so far and I’m planning to ramp it up much more next year.
  • The rest is in our savings account for now. My online income is much higher than last year and we’ll have to pay more taxes next April, at least $5,000.

Can Mrs. RB40 retire?

This is a new section I added for 2017. I want to see what happens if Mrs. RB40 stops working full-time. Basically, I will remove Mrs. RB40’s income from our spreadsheet and stop contributing to our tax-advantaged accounts.

Drum roll please … for September 2017, Mrs. RB40 could retire early! We had another good month and it looks like we should be able to keep this up for the rest of 2017.

If we remove Mrs. RB40’s income from the spreadsheet, we’d still be ahead $1,851 in September! My online income is strong this year so this challenge has been a bit too easy. Online income could be fickle, though. Last year’s online income was much lower than 2017.

September 2017 wrap up

September 2017 was another solid month at the RB40 household. My online income was lower than average, but still really good compare to 2016. Our expense was lower than budgeted so we could save some extra money. Everything is just going really great this year. We haven’t had a nice streak like this in a long time so we feel good. Usually, our finance has more ups and downs.

I think October should be better than September. School is back in session and most people are done with vacation. Our blog traffic is up about 14% in September and the income should follows suit. Also, our expense should be low because we don’t have any big plan in October. We probably won’t do too much for Halloween this year. RB40Jr just isn’t into it and I’m fine with that.

Did you have a good September? What’s your plan for October? We’re starting to hunker down and don’t plan to do much.

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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, 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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{ 53 comments… add one }
  • J. Boman October 23, 2017, 3:08 am

    Impressive stats!
    I’m behind on my targets… which of course irritates me.
    However, I have spent more time with my newborn daughter than expected so I’m doing great on the intangible and soft targets!

  • John @ PVF October 4, 2017, 7:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing, especially the behind the scenes on the blog’s income and expenses. It’s hard enough writing compelling content but you really have to stay on top of the ad side to keep monetizing your work. It’s never truly passive I guess.

    I am curious about your take on affiliate income. From what I’ve been able to glean this has started to become the main source of revenue for a lot of PF/FIRE blogs, but how sustainable is that? Are regular readers generating any revenue for you or is it people competely new to personal finance topics (and less likely to already have Personal Capital, etc)? Can you even tell? If its the latter, then I’d think SEO to bring in new people would be pretty high on the priority list. Any thoughts appreciated.

    • retirebyforty October 5, 2017, 6:01 am

      I don’t think affiliate income is sustainable. The revenue has to come from new readers who hasn’t signed up for Personal Capital yet. I have to find new affiliates that is a good fit for regular readers to expand our affiliate income. There are new products every year, but it’s really hard to find a good one that is the right fit. Affiliate income is tough.

  • Mr. Tako October 4, 2017, 5:35 am

    Wow, great month Joe! Everything was going in the right direction – dividend income was good, expenses were low, and even the market rewarded you!

    Nice Job!

    We’re in Japan right now, so I haven’t been able to get out our monthly report yet. I can already tell our expenses are going to be high because of the trip, but dividends should be good too!

  • Dividend Dozer October 4, 2017, 4:17 am

    I’m personally looking forward to your Fit by 40 project. It helps to enjoy FI if we are actually healthy enough to be there for it!

    I’d also like to thank you for your “How to start a blog and why you should.” I followed it pretty much step by step and am really happy with it. This will be my third venture into blogging, but the first one where I will have total control over the topic and appearance. So, thanks for putting that article together!

    • retirebyforty October 5, 2017, 5:58 am

      Good luck with your blog. Fitness is very important. You have to keep it up because exercising just get more difficult when you get older. Not sure if I can keep Fit by 40 high quality, though. It’s a lot of work.

  • Adam @ Minafi October 3, 2017, 8:18 pm

    I really like your quarterly spreadsheet for goals. I think I might steal that and try something similar out! It seems like a much more centralized place to see everything at once than in Evernote or a text format.

  • GYM October 3, 2017, 1:04 pm

    Great work, Joe! Your online income is going to surpass Mrs. RB40’s soon (or has it already?). I also really like your goal tracking sheet, it’s very objective and lays it all out there on one page. Congratulations on Mrs. RB40 retiring soon! That will be exciting for RB40Jr, I’m sure 🙂

  • Steve @ familyonfire.org October 3, 2017, 11:18 am

    Another great month. I’m always impressed by the amount of online income you generate, it’s a good incentive for the rest of us mere mortals.

  • Dividend Diplomats October 2, 2017, 7:47 pm

    RB40 –

    Great work, as always, just blazing a nice path! Love that you are making use of your savings from the year, as well, and it’s not all sidelined. Still hoping for a market correction to unlock some dividend beauties for us to invest in, that’s for sure! Congrats on a VERY solid month, very inspiring.


  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life October 2, 2017, 1:12 pm

    “It’s always really difficult to start something new with all the holidays coming up.”

    I often forget about this when I plan for the year – it’s about time that I factored this into our budgeting and such for next year. Of course, this was just a bad year overall so I’m starting to think about 2018 and how we can do *so much better*.

    September was a huge month (as you can tell from my monthly update) so I’m hoping that October will mostly be working and blogging. And maybe FinCon.

  • SMM October 2, 2017, 11:25 am

    Great month and progress! You’re almost at 100% FIl; can taste it. My fitness goal is to sign up and run a 5k next spring. I’m working on increasing my treadmill workout little by little so I’m able to achieve that….so far it’s looking good 🙂

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 12:13 pm

      We’ve done so well this year. The rental is the key. We haven’t had any big repairs so it has been profitable. We’ll see how it goes next year.
      Keep up with your fitness. It will pay off!

  • Veneta @ Becoming Life Smart October 2, 2017, 10:29 am

    I love reading through your goal and financial updates. I really need to write down my goals and do a regular update like you do because I think it’s a great way to hold yourself accountable. It’s impressive that you stayed on budget even with a trip to Hawaii!

    I’m jealous of your nice weather. It’s pretty hot here and I can’t wait for the temperatures to drop to the 70s (I’ll even take 80s).

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 12:11 pm

      Definitely. The goal tracking sheet really helped me this year. Good luck!

  • [email protected] October 2, 2017, 8:15 am

    Congratulations Joe on hitting most milestones! Your ad revenue is pretty impressive, especially when there is slow cutting down in revenue per ad. I always like your meticulous explanations for each part. By the way, which club you are joining for Toastmasters? I heard one in downtown is mover 100 years old!

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher October 2, 2017, 8:03 am

    Oooh I’m jealous of your good weather! It’s slowly creeping into the 80s here, which is essentially fall weather for Texas. September was much better than the August that we had and we were able to save 40% of our income. I’d love to see that number closer to 50%, but it’s still better than our previous months.

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 12:07 pm

      It’s a bit cool for me, but still pretty nice here I enjoy the 80 degree days. 🙁
      Great job with your savings. 40% is still really good. I believe in the top 1% of US saving rates!

  • Mrs. Groovy October 2, 2017, 6:48 am

    Great month, Joe. Glad to hear the Mrs. may retire!
    We just returned from Glacier Nat’l where fires totally impacted the park. Lightening started those. Mother Nature cares about no one’s plans, unfortunately.
    I’ve been meaning to read “The Dip” which Ernie mentioned. It’s heart-warming to hear that smart guys like you and Seth know when to walk away from goals that make no sense (or no sense at that moment).

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 12:06 pm

      Thanks! I’m hoping she can retire earlier than her 2020 goal. Maybe early 2019 would work for us.
      I’d love to visit Glacier National Park someday. Maybe when I convince Mrs. RB40 to go on a long RV trip. 🙂
      Right on. Sometime, you just have to channel your energy where it makes more sense.

  • Mr. Freaky Frugal October 2, 2017, 6:33 am

    Congratulation Joe! You’ve become one of my favorite blog. Keep up the great work.

    Your increase in blog income growth is really impressive. Do you attribute the growth to anything specific? Is it just a general increase in traffic? Better and more affiliate links?

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 12:02 pm

      Thank you! I really appreciate that.
      The increase in blog income is due to more work. I neglected that aspect of blogging in 2016 and the income dropped.
      More affiliate links is the key for us. Find a good affiliate that fits and try to work it in as often as possible. Good luck!

  • Lazy Man and Money October 2, 2017, 6:25 am

    I always find whey protein entertaining too :-P. Sorry, just having a little fun.

    We had the same weather change here in New England, except that it happened in a span of 12 hours. It went from around 85 to 45.

    Looks like a pretty standard month on the finances, which is always good to see (with the way things have been going).

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 12:00 pm

      Heh heh, good catch. I guess I should put it in the grocery category, but it’s lumped with the gym bill. It’s just easier to stick it under entertainment. Maybe I should move it to misc next year.
      Wow, 85 to 45. That’d be a shock to the system.

  • [email protected] October 2, 2017, 6:18 am

    I love the progress reports Joe. One of my first posts called “how do you define winning?” talks about the importance of goals. I believe that without the focus of goals your efforts won’t be directed properly. I also agree with what Ernie said above that there is a right time to quit a goal. You don’t want to throw good money or time after bad.

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 11:58 am

      I enjoy tracking the goals too. There are things here that I’ve been putting off for years. Once it’s on my goal tracking sheet, then I have the incentive to get it done!

  • [email protected] October 2, 2017, 6:05 am

    Great month again, congratulations. On the rental income, is it just your net cash flow or does it include the repayment of principal too? I noticed your on line income keeps growing, is there one particular affiliate program that account for most of the income? Thanks

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 11:57 am

      The rental is just net cash flow.
      As for the online income. AdThrive has been great for us this year. On the affiliate side, our best partners are Personal Capital and RealtyShares. Affiliate is tough because you never know what’s going to work for the site. You’ll have to keep trying. What works this year may not work next year.

      • [email protected] October 3, 2017, 6:35 am

        Thanks Joe. Is there a particular post you can refer me to where I can get more info on your rental? For the online income, it is interesting to see where bloggers get their income from.

  • Apathy Ends October 2, 2017, 4:56 am

    Congrats on the great year and happy to see your blog Income continues to dominate! Your passive income is kicking butt.

    Pinterest is a weird beast – I I’ve had really awesome streaks followed by very frustrating
    streaks without changing anything on my side.

    We had the best quarter gains since I started tracking our metrics in depth. The ball is starting to roll a bit!

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 11:56 am

      Thanks and congratulations to you as well with the best quarterly gains. You should continue to get new highs as you keep investing. Great job.

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance October 2, 2017, 4:54 am

    Congratulations on a successful month! It’s amazing to see how your blog income as of Sep is close to double your blog income for 2016.

    I think your current layout looks great! It’s very clean and clear. I’m still trying to grow my Pinterest too. I have about 200 followers, and I’m already over the moon hehe. Definitely not easy. @[email protected]

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 11:55 am

      You’re doing amazingly well at your blog. Keep it up!

  • Darren @ Learn to Be Great October 2, 2017, 4:23 am

    I don’t remember if you were planning on paying off your mortgage when Mrs. RB40 retires. Looks like housing is your only crux which is understandable for living in the Portland area. Welcome back!

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 11:54 am

      We are not paying down our mortgage. We might move to our rental and reduce our housing expense, though. Thanks!

  • Matt @ Optimize Your Life October 2, 2017, 4:13 am

    Crazy that the year is 75% over already! I like the idea of setting a goal for the year and then trying to accomplish it in the first six months. I will have to try that for next years goals. It is definitely difficult to make progress at the end of the year.

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 11:53 am

      It’s really tough to accomplish anything with the holidays. Good luck next year.

  • Tom @ Dividends Diversify October 2, 2017, 4:12 am

    Good luck with Toastmasters. I am a teacher and find speaking very self rewarding and hope you will as well. I will check out your fitness site. You have a natural way of motivating others, so maybe you can rub some fitness motivation off on me.

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 11:52 am

      I’m not looking forward to Toastmasters at all. I’m an introvert and it’s tough for me to meet new people. Well, that’s why I’m joining Toastmasters. It will help me in the long run.

  • Jeff @ Maximum Cents October 2, 2017, 3:40 am

    Great job! Very impressive how you’ve been able to grow your blog. Have you started on your goals for next year?

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 11:51 am

      The growth is just recovering from the summer. I need to figure out how to grow more next year. It’s been very flat over the last 2 years.
      Yes, I’m starting with next year goals. There will be less goals, but more ambitious goals. We’ll see how it goes.

  • Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle October 2, 2017, 3:25 am

    I love that you added the section for Mrs. RB40’s early retirement too. And even better, that y’all are kicking butt this year and she could retire! It’s awesome to see!

    I’m with you. Pinterest is tough! We aren’t giving up, as we’re new and don’t have the traffic you do, but it is definitely a tough game to figure out. You have a huge, great community though that won’t develop, at least not easily, from Pinterest.

    Fall is not a time to hunker down! It’s a time to go for long, cool walks, and eat s’mores! Camping and football! Oh, I do love Fall!!!

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 11:50 am

      This year has been great for us. I’m hoping Mrs. RB40 can retire earlier than her goal date (2020.) It’d be great to have her voice here more often.
      We’re hunkering down early until Groundhog day… 🙂

  • beth October 2, 2017, 3:19 am

    I have hit my savings target for the year but my debt has actually gone up this year. With only 7 pay cheques left in the year extreme measures will be required to get close to my debt reduction target. I can adjust to living on less but skipping saving to pay down extra debt will be an emotional struggle.

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 11:48 am

      Sorry to hear that. Hopefully, you’ll do better next year. Pay down the high interest rate debts first. The mortgage and other low interest loans aren’t as bad. Good luck!

  • Lily @ The Frugal Gene October 2, 2017, 2:46 am

    Living the dream Joe! You’re the first blogger that has a monthly grocery similar to ours! I think anything around $400 for a 3 person household is amazing, not to toot our frugal horns :).

    I’ve been tackling Pinterest for a few months now and I notice the pins of other bloggers that do catch on/go viral has what I consider…very good aesthetics. Nice font, bright clean colors and a half click baity title. The content is a hit or miss (personally more misses..) but Pinterest is a board for looks. That’s just my noob perception of Pinterest. Having a feminine touch helps.

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 11:45 am

      Great job with your grocery bills. Our grocery budget will probably rise as our kid eats more. Now he doesn’t eat much at all. 🙂
      It seems the feminine touch is great for Pinterest. Hopefully, Mrs. RB40 can come on-board soon.

  • Mr. FWP October 2, 2017, 1:43 am

    Congrats, Joe! Another solid month. I’m especially impressed with what you’re doing with the blog. And with only a few sources of revenue.

    It’s encouraging to follow you.

  • Harald @NonlinearThings October 2, 2017, 1:14 am

    Hey Mr. RB40,
    your overview on your goals looks quite good. Seems like you almost accomplished all of them. I wonder how you set them up? For example a goal like “save $ 50k”. Did you already know that (theoretically) you could achieve this goal? I just imagine that setting a bold goal and not even knowing “how” to achieve it makes no sense!?

    In addition, a personal point that I am quite interested in since I read your goal with Pinterest: I would be highly interested to hear/read more about your “blogging techniques” (what resources do you regularly use, what works best etc.).

    Kind regards

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 11:42 am

      Most of the goals are achievable. The save $50k one is there because it’s been there for many years. You can read more about how I set the goals here.
      Next year, I’ll set more ambitious goals. My goals have been too easy over the last few years. Maybe I need to write about my blogging strategy at some point. Mostly, I stick with what makes blogging enjoyable – writing, responding to comment, and reading other fun blog. It wouldn’t be fun if it was a chore.

  • Ernie Zelinski October 2, 2017, 12:46 am

    Congratulations on quitting:

    * Redesign Retire by 40
    * Pinterest > 25,000 visits

    One of my favorite books is “The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin:”

    Here are a few gems from the book:

    ” ‘Never quit.’ What a spectacularly bad piece of advice.”

    “Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.”

    “Believe it or not, quitting is often a great strategy, a smart way to manage your time and your career.”

    “Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny majority with the guts to quit early and refocus their efforts on something new.”

    • Tom @ Dividends Diversify October 2, 2017, 4:09 am

      Earnie, This concept is interesting and insightful. We are taught at such a young age not to be a quitter. I like the way this book puts it into a productive light. Tom

    • retirebyforty October 2, 2017, 11:39 am

      Sometime you just have to channel your energy to something else. I think not quitting is a good lesson when you’re young, though. You have to tough through a few things first. I’m making my kid go to soccer.,.. 🙂

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