Financial Update – May 2018

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 net worth progress.
  • Spending Table – Compares monthly spending to an average (for me) “bare bones” budget, keeping me accountable for additional expenses.

For now, monthly updates include only my personal net worth and spending. As my fiancé and I combine our finances, updates will shift to cover going values instead.

Financial Progress

Each net worth goal in the Financial Progress table is broken down into undisclosed units of money. My current goal is to reach “Financial Freedom.” By the time I reach this goal I will have:

  • A retirement account that can support us when my fiancé hits 65
  • Two college savings funds funded for four years of in-state public university tuition, room, and board
  • An emergency fund for six or more months of living expenses
  • Sufficient liquidity for my fiancé and/or I to make a career change with one to two years’ runway
  • A mortgage less than two times my gross salary without bonuses

Once “Financial Freedom” is achieved, the focus will then working be towards “Financial Equilibrium”, where the income from investments covers all our ongoing expenses.

May 2018


I’ve created a “bare bones” budget which represents the average minimum amount I can expect to spend each month. This is the minimum amount I need to comfortably live in case of a job loss, emergency, etc. I expect to frequently go over my “bare bones” budget in a number of categories (here’s looking at you, “Groceries & Dining”), but I want to remain accountable to myself when I do so.

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

May 2018 spending.png

Monthly Summary

I’m free!

I expect June to be pretty wan in comparison to the accelerated financial progress I’ve experienced the last few months. I don’t feel any different yet for being unemployed, in part because I did some thinking, planning, etc. for my likely new job over the weekend. However, I am now forcing myself to disengage. This is my funemployment and I’ll play Civ V as much as I want to!

Because I spent May trying to tie up all the loose ends, I was pretty engaged with work. I think this is part of the reason why my spending overall was pretty decent since I tend to overspend when I am stressed and anxious about work, but not when I’m focused and busy.

I spent a lot on taxis this month, first going to jury duty (which was inaccessible by public transit) and then frantically rushing to interviews so as not to be late. With the exception of that and food– always with the food— I was pretty low key.

Notable things that happened this month include:

  • Went to jury duty for first time
  • Last full month at old job; did the hustle for a new one
  • Attended fiancé’s cousin’s first communion
  • Finished my last full month of work at my old company
  • Got job offer I think I’m going to take (after some negotiation, of course)

How were your finances in May?


9 thoughts on “Financial Update – May 2018

  1. How was jury duty?

    Our May was pretty good overall though it was more pricey than I would have liked. I’m looking forward to having a few months where it was just as cheap as I would have liked but I suspect much more effort would need to go into engineering that.

    May your negotiations be successful and your new job environment be everything good you’re looking for in the new gig, and more.


  2. Congrats on being free from your old job and I hope you have a good funemployment period and negotiate successfully for possible new job!

    May was actually our highest spending month YTD which was a bit odd, considering that we paid property taxes in April. It was balanced out by a large influx of income though and a new net worth milestone, so it’s all good.


  3. Sounds like your jury duty went by smoothly! Manhattan jury duty for the state trial court is usually two days, as the courthouse reliably has quite a few trials they’re trying to put together a jury for on any given day. They’ll release people early, sometimes without a second day of service, if nothing’s in the pipeline, though, and I was lucky enough to have that happen when I served.

    Congratulations on what sounds like the possible end of your job search. Hopefully, you’ll be able to take a fair amount of time off. Fellow lawyers always advise taking a few weeks off between jobs if possible, particularly before and after clerkships, though most of them don’t seem to get to do that. Especially with clerkships and the transition before and after, there’s usually some flexibility about start and end dates and we tend to be the personality type that says yes to an earlier start date than we wanted, or to staying another week or two.


    1. I had a big work deadline a week from my jury duty day (and therefore was already in the midst of a major crunch) so I’m *really* glad I didn’t have to go up in front of a judge and beg to be let off the hook. I’d probably make a bad jury member anyway. Was really tempted to be like, “Jury nullification for all!”

      I was able to resist staying extra time at my old employer even though my boss was in denial about my end date for multiple months. So far I’ve been really bad about just relaxing during my time off. If I can get new employer to push my start until mid-July or maybe even August, I’d definitely go for it.


      1. They are, happily, very good about letting people be excused for even the most threadbare of scheduling-related excuses in NYC civil court. I had a whole list of things I could potentially run through that would make me a terrible juror, haha (first, a scheduling conflict with a 3-week trial, second, a long list of biases from having worked for a court, at least 3-4 kinds relevant to the case at issue, and finally, haha, just being a lawyer generally makes one an unpopular juror, I think). They let me go just on the scheduling issue, though.


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