Financial Update – February 2020

Each month I will post an update on my finances to both give you, the reader, some insight into my situation and to give me markers of my progress on my financial journey. My updates consist of two parts:

  • Financial Progress Table – Tracks joint net worth progress.
  • Spending Table – Compares monthly spending to an average (for us) budget, keeping us accountable for additional expenses. I will also include my personal discretionary budget as well; I will not include my spouse’s discretionary spending, which I do not see.

Financial Progress

Each net worth goal in the Financial Progress table is broken down into undisclosed units of money. Our goal is to hit “Financial Equilibrium.” This means, more or less, FIRE at roughly 4% withdrawal rate.

feb2020.png

Spending

We’ve created a joint budget which represents the average amount we can expect to spend each month. This is average amount we need to comfortably live in case of a job loss, emergency, etc. I expect to frequently mostly keep in line with our budget when amortized over the year, even though amounts may vary from month to month.

For privacy reasons, there are two things I do not include in our joint spending updates: our monthly mortgage and charitable donations (pegged at 10% of our net income).

feb2020joint

Here is my own personal discretionary spending for the month. I try to spend $450 or less each month for my “fun money” since that’s the allowance that’s apportioned to me and my husband.

feb20

Monthly Summary

Tons of backlogged copays and political donations increased spending. Finished stocking up on food supply– mostly a bunch of tinned olive oil which we burn right through, enough for the year. Also ate out a lot due to stress and the feeling that this may be my last chance to live it up for a few months.

Coronavirus wiped out a good chunk of our investments. I ended up dropping around 60% of our equity allocation the Friday before the terrible week, but loss some waiting for Vanguard to submit transactions on Monday, so baked in that day’s losses. Also invested in some alternatives which ended up not being buffeted against the market fluctuations, so took a loss on those before pulling out.

Personally, I’m pretty honed in on work. It’s bringing out the competitive parts of me that I find kind of loathsome, but I’m not mired in idle anxiety, which is good I guess.

How were your finances in February? 

Financial Update – January 2020

Each month I will post an update on my finances to both give you, the reader, some insight into my situation and to give me markers of my progress on my financial journey. My updates consist of two parts:

  • Financial Progress Table – Tracks joint net worth progress.
  • Spending Table – Compares monthly spending to an average (for us) budget, keeping us accountable for additional expenses. I will also include my personal discretionary budget as well; I will not include my spouse’s discretionary spending, which I do not see.

Financial Progress

Each net worth goal in the Financial Progress table is broken down into undisclosed units of money. Our goal is to hit “Financial Equilibrium.” This means, more or less, FIRE at roughly 4% withdrawal rate.

jan2020

Spending

We’ve created a joint budget which represents the average amount we can expect to spend each month. This is average amount we need to comfortably live in case of a job loss, emergency, etc. I expect to frequently mostly keep in line with our budget when amortized over the year, even though amounts may vary from month to month.

For privacy reasons, there are two things I do not include in our joint spending updates: our monthly mortgage and charitable donations (pegged at 10% of our net income).

jan2020spend

Here is my own personal discretionary spending for the month. I try to spend $450 or less each month for my “fun money” since that’s the allowance that’s apportioned to me and my husband.

jan2020ind

Monthly Summary

I’ve added % of goal tracker to our net worth tracker. First goal for the year (after front-loading retirement contributions) is to hit 100% of cash allocation. My husband got his Irish citizenship a couple months ago, so I’m toying with opening a European bank account and keeping some cash abroad (though at something below the FATCA reporting limits), I’m also thinking about keeping some currency in gold on hand.

I feel a little paranoid because of the 2020 election and also the 2019-nCov outbreak. The latter I’m more worried about due to effect of potential quarantining efforts combined with xenophobic authoritarian tendencies of our administration than I am about being infected. We have some leftover P100’s from when I went to SF area during fire season and a bunch of dried goods that’ll last us for food if there’s severe supply chain disruption. I bought some water storage to round us out as well.

On the financial front, our auto bills should be much lower after this month (we switched insurance to something 60% cheaper, but double paid in January). Also our property taxes went down by another $50/month which is nice.

I’ll probably post an update soon about how work is going and updates on my 2019 goals (hint: didn’t go as planned). Hope y’all are doing well!

How were your finances in January? 

Financial Update – December 2019

Each month I will post an update on my finances to both give you, the reader, some insight into my situation and to give me markers of my progress on my financial journey. My updates consist of two parts:

  • Financial Progress Table – Tracks joint net worth progress.
  • Spending Table – Compares monthly spending to an average (for us) budget, keeping us accountable for additional expenses. I will also include my personal discretionary budget as well; I will not include my spouse’s discretionary spending, which I do not see.

Financial Progress

Each net worth goal in the Financial Progress table is broken down into undisclosed units of money. Our goal is to hit “Financial Equilibrium.” This means, more or less, FIRE at roughly 4% withdrawal rate.

dec19net

Spending

We’ve created a joint budget which represents the average amount we can expect to spend each month. This is average amount we need to comfortably live in case of a job loss, emergency, etc. I expect to frequently mostly keep in line with our budget when amortized over the year, even though amounts may vary from month to month.

For privacy reasons, there are two things I do not include in our joint spending updates: our monthly mortgage and charitable donations (pegged at 10% of our net income).

dec19spend.png

Here is my own personal discretionary spending for the month. I try to spend $450 or less each month for my “fun money” since that’s the allowance that’s apportioned to me and my husband.

dec19ind

Monthly Summary

Really good month for us money-wise. Former company’s stock jumped up in their latest 409a, so I’m going to continue using their latest FMV numbers in tracking my net worth, but at a 15% discount to account for LTCG when inevitably I liquidate. We also donated almost five figures in December, so that was a moderate drag on our growth (but I’m certainly not complaining).

On spending, went wayyyyy overboard on the food delivery (I get really lazy during the winter). Will be doing a no-eating out January to try and reset things. I also totally spaced that I didn’t have automatic payments on my personal card so I got hit with a late fee and interest. Womp, womp. I’ve set those up so that shouldn’t be an issue again, but I’m annoyed at myself that it happened at all.

In 2020, we’ll be front-loading our pre-tax retirement contributions plus doing some post-tax contributions since my employer allows for a mega backdoor roth. I think we can cut our spending by 10%-ish with a few simple changes (renegotiating insurance, taking advantage of employer benefits for reimbursements, less international travel, etc.), so we’ll probably be doing that. Also babies. 2020 is the year of the baby. I can feel it in my bones.

How were your finances in December? 

All The Clothes I Bought In The Second Half of 2019

Only one new item in the back half of the new year, but still a lot spent. You can check out my first six months of 2019 here. Now it’s time for the round up!

Everything I Bought

Mizuno Paradox 3 Running Shoes – $63 (Full Retail: $140)

71VTRkGsIvL._UX395_.jpg

Pretty much getting the same replacement running shoes on a six month cycle at this point. I still think these wear faster than the original Mizuno Paradox shoes, but I’m scared to change lest the next iterations are even worse. Womp, womp. 😦

Watch Repair – $275

w5200002

Finally got my schmancy watch cleaned, tuned, and battery replaced. I kind of regret spending so much on this, since I barely wear it much. Oh well. Maybe I can sell it or something.

Leather Jacket Repair – $60

coach jacket

Got the shoulder of my leather jacket patched. Haven’t been able to wear it much since it’s been drippy and cold instead of sunny and cold, but I’m sure I’ll get good mileage out of this one.

Total – $398

Summary

Trying to be eco-conscious so instead of going out and buying replacements for worn items, I spent a lot on clothing repair. I’ll try to do the same with a pair of jeans I just tore through the knee by falling on the ground (ouch!).

In lieu of espadrilles this past summer, I just cycled in my old running shoes as daily walking fare, which helped with the heat issue. I’m less interested in jewelry now, mostly because it’d stand out weirdly at my workplace and I haven’t been as interested in dressing up lately.

In terms of 2020, I think I’ll continue cycling running shoes 2-3x/year. If it weren’t for the prospect of pregnancy, I would say my wardrobe feels pretty much “complete.” Not really sure how I’m supposed to dress when suddenly all my clothes don’t fit me, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

What clothes have you bought this year? Do you have a budget? What pieces do you have your eye on?

‘Tis The Season For Charitable Tax Deductions 2019

I’ve donated 10% of my net income each year since 2016. It’s my “secular tithe.” Here are links to my 2017 and 2018 posts.

In 2019 we donated 10% of our joint net income (whereas in previous years, it was just 10% of mine). Because we’ll be subject to the AMT this tax cycle– exercised my ISO’s from previous employer– I considered doubling up our donations and get a head start on 2020 contributions to reduce our tax bill. Also, “prepaying” my balance would be optimal for tax optimization purposes due to the Republican’s new law. However, that’d leave us with little cash on hand, especially after my bout of unemployment, so I decided against it.

In addition to our direct contributions, my new employer has charitable matching up to $2,000, so I got that for one of my environmental picks.

Unlike previous years when I’ve used donation season to cash in on credit card bonuses, my churning days are more or less over: banks pretty much won’t approve me for new cards anymore. Husband is not interested in it either, le sigh. This means we’ll be feeling the effects of donations on our wallets more directly than in the past, but that’s okay too.

Here are the areas we donated to in 2018 and 2019:

charity1819.png

We don’t plan at the beginning of the year how much we’ll donate to each area, but we think this is more or less a decent reflection of my values.

Here are the organizations represented in each bucket:

  • Food Security. This is for the small, local food rescue organization that donates fruits and vegetables to seniors, people with disabilities, and other food programs in our area. This is money I feel “proudest” to donate to each year (see: my deep emotional connection with food).
  • Immigration. Lots of money to RAICES because we as a country continue to jail and torture migrants in droves. Honestly, I don’t understand why the press continues to fuck around about the internal politics of impeachment when people are literally dying under ICE custody. I am deeply ashamed for how impotent I feel on this issue. Money doesn’t feel like enough.
  • Environment. This is split between National Resource Defense Council, Rainforest Alliance, Sierra Club, and Green Wave. My interest is turning away from litigation and lobbying initiatives to direct action and climate change mitigation and resiliency. I imagine this to turn more sharply that way in 2020.
  • Criminal Justice. Local (state) bail fund and two local charities focusing on justice for incarcerated LGTBQ+ folks, women, and families.
  • Civil Rights. This is all going to the ACLU.

What we didn’t donate to this year:

  • Political organizations. ActBlue will probably see a lot of donations from us in 2020, though.

What is your charitable giving philosophy? How much did you donate in 2019 and to what organizations? 

Financial Update – November 2019

Each month I will post an update on my finances to both give you, the reader, some insight into my situation and to give me markers of my progress on my financial journey. My updates consist of two parts:

  • Financial Progress Table – Tracks joint net worth progress.
  • Spending Table – Compares monthly spending to an average (for us) budget, keeping us accountable for additional expenses. I will also include my personal discretionary budget as well; I will not include my spouse’s discretionary spending, which I do not see.

Financial Progress

Each net worth goal in the Financial Progress table is broken down into undisclosed units of money. Our goal is to hit “Financial Equilibrium.” This means, more or less, FIRE at roughly 4% withdrawal rate.

nov19.png

 

Spending

We’ve created a joint budget which represents the average amount we can expect to spend each month. This is average amount we need to comfortably live in case of a job loss, emergency, etc. I expect to frequently mostly keep in line with our budget when amortized over the year, even though amounts may vary from month to month.

For privacy reasons, there are two things I do not include in our joint spending updates: our monthly mortgage and charitable donations (pegged at 10% of our net income).

nov19joint.png

Here is my own personal discretionary spending for the month. I try to spend $450 (revised down from $600) or less each month for my “fun money” since that’s the allowance that’s apportioned to me and my husband.

nov19ind

Monthly Summary

It’s nice to be making money again. My attention is still drifting away from this blog, and I don’t see myself writing much more than monthly updates anytime soon.

How were your finances in November? 

Financial Update – October 2019

Each month I will post an update on my finances to both give you, the reader, some insight into my situation and to give me markers of my progress on my financial journey. My updates consist of two parts:

  • Financial Progress Table – Tracks joint net worth progress.
  • Spending Table – Compares monthly spending to an average (for us) budget, keeping us accountable for additional expenses. I will also include my personal discretionary budget as well; I will not include my spouse’s discretionary spending, which I do not see.

Financial Progress

Each net worth goal in the Financial Progress table is broken down into undisclosed units of money. Our goal is to hit “Financial Equilibrium.” This means, more or less, FIRE at roughly 4% withdrawal rate.

joint oct 19 net

Spending

We’ve created a joint budget which represents the average amount we can expect to spend each month. This is average amount we need to comfortably live in case of a job loss, emergency, etc. I expect to frequently mostly keep in line with our budget when amortized over the year, even though amounts may vary from month to month.

For privacy reasons, there are two things I do not include in our joint spending updates: our monthly mortgage and charitable donations (pegged at 10% of our net income).

oct19joint.png

Here is my own personal discretionary spending for the month. I try to spend $450 (revised down from $600) or less each month for my “fun money” since that’s the allowance that’s apportioned to me and my husband.

october.png

Monthly Summary

So, clearly I went overboard this month on my personal discretionary spending. This is mostly due to clothing repair. I wanted to get an old fancy watch I’d received as a wedding gift tuned up (oiled, cleaned, battery replacement, etc.) and have the small tear in my leather jacket fixed. Altogether this cost $335, all but $25 of which I put on my personal spending. Note I could easily have bought another used jacket and watch for that amount, but they wouldn’t be of the same quality. I greatly prefer maintaining the pieces that I have rather than buying new.

For net worth calculations, I’ve taken out my husband’s pension from the table. I’d been logging his contributions but since he can’t cash out his pension, and he wouldn’t qualify for payments until he was 55 and worked at least 10 years anyway, I’ve decided to just nix it from the board. We’ll treat it like social security: great if it happens, but won’t count on it.

In other news, I got a job. Yippee! I start mid-November. Training will be in SF and I’ll have a per diem, so if you have any food recommendations or recommendations on what to bring if the rolling blackout/regional fire situation continues, I’m all ears.

How were your finances in October?