FIRE May Update

Progress to Early Retirement: 51%
Progress to Financial Independence: 68%
Progress to Half Income: 100%
Percent Home Ownership: 60.4% Payoff Date 12/01/2029
Net Worth Breakdown: Home Equity 18% Non Retirement: 24% Retirement:58%

This Month’s Story:

The primary story this month is that I have been working like crazy on my W2 and it likely appears that I have given up on this blog. That is far from the case, but when a major deadline comes up, one must code away. I will take time away from this hobby, as it’s sacrificed before I take time from my son.

I did spend some time thinking about this site, and coding for it. I like that, and spent some time making some code to help me generate what you see below; new tables and new charts. What I wanted to know is visually how I am doing, and I like the idea of one python script to do it all. I have more ideas that I am going to implement, but I have a good start now. Some of the code is lazily tied to my own personal information. I will abstract that out into a settings file in the future, but for now, it’s just easier to develop it this way. I will not be posting the GitHub repository I keep it in until I clean it up. If anyone wants to see this simple code where I am experimenting with a charting library, by all means ask, and I will make time for that work.

The big change financially is the fluctuating value of my home due to the fact that I live on the border of another town with less valuable schools and thus sales there impact what the online sites say the value of my home is. I’m okay with that, and besides, I have no intention of moving any time soon. Since we made that big payment earlier this year, and we continue to make a significant extra principle payment, our payoff date is rather soon. Our total loan will end up being 17 years or so assuming we continue this payment going forward. That rocks, and will be before my son graduates from high school. I really hope we can do it. I will update the payoff date if we make a extra large payment or if we stop making our extra payments.

The new code I wrote was a bit of fun for me and a bit of a chance to practice with some aspects of Python that I don’t get to play with at my W2. This is a bit of skills development. Investing time in myself is also an important aspect of how best to spend my time. That being said, I am coming to the end of the critical phase of this part of my project, and I think I will have more time to post again in the weeks to come.

The New Charts and Tables

Years to Retire Table

This first table is my new favorite. It’s actually the reason for my coding project in the first place. I wanted to know when I could retire on some basic simple rules and scenarios. I am counting years from the current month, so the simply math here is to show that a year from now I will have the percent shown of my goal assuming I add 20% of our income to our various retirement and non-retirement accounts.

Obviously the true date will be far more complicated to determine, and who knows what will come in the future. Still, all models are good if they can give you a hint of what may come. I will be updating this every month as the market goes through it’s gyrations, and in the process it will tell me when I can expect to retire. I will be tweaking the look and feel of this table over time, but I like looking at it.

As you can see, if we are lucky, then we will be able to retire in as little as 6 years. As much as I hope that is the case, I seriously doubt that scenario. I think the 3% scenario of 13 to 14 years is much more likely. Of course, I think it’s also possible that it could be less than that for us to reach our magic number. I do have a version of that with actual numbers that I will not share as a promise to my wife as I have said before, but I just want you to know it’s out there. Do you think the green stands out enough? I may bold those numbers in the future.

This next chart is interesting. It starts with the value of our retirement accounts when I started recording data for this blog as my starting point; late August of 2018, and will continue to the present date. The labels for each line are not yet generalized as I have not yet thought of doing that, but I will reveal that in the future. Still as it is, it gives a good idea as to how well our various accounts are doing at the moment. The high one is my wife’s 401k at her current job. I should add that the value is compared to the starting value of each account, and this is the current value. Any additions, as we add cash to each account each paycheck counts. So those drops around the new year were in spite of us adding money each paycheck. That kind of makes it worse doesn’t it? I will be adding the equivalent chart for my home’s value and for my non-retirement accounts over time as well.

This chart shows the actual value over time of each account. This offers a bit of perspective on the other chart. The overall value did not change much in spite of the percent change being rather significant.

Our non retirement accounts see much more of a jump around in value. Some of this is a reflection of moving money around for different investment opportunities, and some of it is for other reasons including vacations, holiday spending, and other such normal expenditures. What you are seeing here is the actual value of the various accounts with the names mildly obfuscated. You will notice the duplication of the accounts. My wife and I keep separate finances even though all financial decisions are shared. Why, because this is our solution to make sure money does not cause fights in our family. This is what works for us, but your mileage will no doubt vary.

The percent change chart is really a fun one. You see that big spike in one cash account when we moved money into some T-Bills, and then you see another drop when we made that big mortgage payment. We had too much cash on hand for our agreed model and we were discussing our options: invest or pay down the mortgage. Later the conversation became how much to pay down the mortgage. The charts below show the impact of that choice. My last point here is the emergency fund. That fund is spread out into multiple accounts. Some of it is raw cash. Some of it is I-bonds. I am a huge fan of I-bonds, and their rates are always quite good compared to high yield savings accounts. See for yourself in this link. What we decided to do was to put the long term version of that saving half in I-bonds, and half in high yield savings accounts with the assumption that we were more likely to use up to half of it. We’ll see what happens.

This chart just makes me so happy. I love seeing that big jump in net worth versus what we owe. If we can keep paying that down with the extra principle payment we are making now, we will be done with our mortgage on 12/01/2029. That just rocks. If you want to see what we were thinking, I have a few other posts talking about it: Do I pay off my Mortgage, To Pay off my mortgage early or not, I just converted my mortgage to a 15 year. Admittedly, it’s really a 17 year, but hey what’s 2 years among friends? I saved over 15% of the value of the home in interest payments by doing that. That’s not small potatoes!

The big variable that will remain here is the value of the house. With the change to the SALT laws that hit the Northeast home values hard, I suspect the house will fluctuate in value around the number that it’s at for a long time. I am just glad the actual loan remaining will continue to go down!

Thoughts about my new Charts and Python Code

I think the addition of these charts adds something valuable to the view of my site. I will be adding versions of these two charts for the other two areas of my family’s savings; home value and non retirement savings. I want to clean up the code a bit before I expand it to make the code cleaner. I am using aspects of Python I have not used before, and the module that I am using is one that I have not used before. Now that I have the basics of it working, I think I can clean it up a bit and benefit from it

Why am I using a Code Repository

Aside from the normal reasons that one might use a code repository, I have a laptop and my primary computer that I work on. Having the code saved there after each coding session enables me to jump in and work on this whenever I have time, which admittedly has not been a lot lately.

Dungeon Master Time

Another hobby of mine also took time from my posting. My friends and I finished a recent adventure in Dungeons and Dragons that we had been playing for a few years. We play one night every 2 weeks or so, and so these things drag on. Pun intended. Well, I am taking the next turn as Dungeon Master, as I have in the past. That effort took a lot of time to familiarize myself with the new adventure, and to build my tools to play

I will say that playing DnD with some of the online tools is vastly superior to the old pencil and paper days. I will never lose my love for the old books, but I decided to use DnDBeyond to test it out. By the way, that’s not an affiliate link. Anyway, this will probably be a post in and of itself, my review of it that is, but I just want to take a few words to describe what I mean. For $55 a year, which works out to $8 player a year in our case, we can use the site’s enhanced features. I still had to buy the basic books in digital that I already had in physical form, but the advantage is that game-play is faster and easier for all. For me as DM, I can look things up with the click of a button in seconds, rather than in minutes or so. I’ll have more to say in all of this, but the point is that it’s faster, easier, and improves the quality of the gameplay. We also use use the free aspects of Roll20.com for some players who often can not play locally. It’s a lot of fun, but it has taken a lot of my time.

Final Thoughts

We still plan on buying a new deck this year as our current one is no longer pleasurable to walk in due to the degradation of the decking.  It’s safe to walk on, but I am not sure that will be true in another 5 years.  It’s time to replace it, and we want a screened in porch due to the number of mosquitoes.  Still, I have been too busy to call around for an estimate, so perhaps that will also not be this year.  

I do plan on working on my code and charts, more so until I get all of it written, and that will cause some changes each month here on this page.  

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