FIRE August Update

This Month’s story

Progress to Early Retirement: 54.6%
Progress to Financial Independence (3/4): 72.8%
Progress to Half Annual Spending: 109.3%
Percent Home Ownership: 60.1%
Net Worth / Annual spending tax adjusted: 13.7x of that Home: 2.4x Retire: 8.3x Non-Retire: 3.0x

As we near the end of my W-2’s fiscal year, I am really sprinting hard to finish this project. We are converting code from one language to another and I am putting in some serious hours. I am also getting help from some of my company’s employees overseas, and the 6AM meetings that I need to have to talk to them over there are really killing me. It just saps all my energy to write a post. I have not given up on this, but priorities remain. Work and and my family win. In truth, even then, my son beats my wife in the short term. My wife used to travel quite a bit for work from when we met until my son was about to meet us , and we are used it. My son is not, so regardless of anything else, I make time for him every day for us to play together.

My Runkeeper Stats

The other thing I have not been skipping out on is my running. I sleep better, am more productive, and in all ways much happier when I am running. I am noticing the fat starting to slip off, and that’s nice too. I’m sustaining just over 20 miles a month, and that is a goal I hope to keep. My best time to run is early in the morning, but the 6AM meetings I have with my over seas co-workers throws a rather big wrench in that. Nonetheless, I am finding a way around it. Running is important to me for many reasons, but perhaps most of all, it helps control my asthma. Staying on my lower cost medicines to control it and not needing extra doctor’s visits is a big deal. I was hospitalized in January, and I do not want that to happen again. Running can help prevent it in my case. That’s not true for all asthmatics, but it is for me.

But there is more to discuss with regards to money and money related subjects. I continue to make time to mow the lawn to save money. Here’s a recent post on my thoughts about that. We also continue not to use the services of a house cleaner, which everyone in my area does do. I get why, but I don’t mind cleaning. Perhaps this is because my mother was one of those house cleaners when I was a kid, and I used to go with her when I was a young boy.

Last weekend, I finally got around to doing some trim painting. We had to replace 2 double windows in one room of our house due to dry-rot. It’s a bummer, and kind of feels like a waste of money, but it has to be done. One was literally likely to fall out of the wall if we unlocked the window. The bottom support for it had rotted away, and we hadn’t noticed because we never opened the window. Once we did, we replaced it, but what the installers did not do is paint the inside trim that they installed. Well, after about 18 months or so I finally got around to it. Why I did not do it last summer, I have no idea. When I mentioned this to co-workers, all software engineers like me, they asked who I hired to do it. I am trying to convert these young guys to the ways of FIRE, but it seems like an uphill battle.

On that last trip to Home Depot for the paint for the trim, I took my son. He loves hardware stores as much as daddy does. I always loved to play and build with wood, and I have encouraged him to do the same. My father in law is a retired carpenter, and if there is any genetic basis for this, he gets it from both sides. More likely, he hears grandpa talking about it and sees daddy doing it. He very much wants to be like daddy, and I am trying to encourage him to do things. To that end, I purchased about $20 worth of scrap and hobby wood from Home Depot along with some more sand paper just for him. He’s been into this with scrap wood from my projects, and I thought some of his own paper would be a good idea. This will keep him busy for a long time, and he’s already spent 5-6 hours on it. That’s quite a bit for a 5 year old. We’ve used some of my wood glue, old finishing nails, and more to help with this project of his. I think I’ll even spay paint it with some left over paint from other projects of mine.

Sunday mornings are often bagel morning in my house. My wife and I both independently grew up with that habit. When I get them, I often will get a small bottle of Nesquik for me and the boy. It’s a little treat. This time, though, the boy had the idea to have me use the drill to turn the bottles into homemade supersoakers. I was so happy that he had this great idea. I quickly got out my smallest drill bit, and drilled a hole into the top of the bottles. This would work with any squeezable plastic bottle, and they are quick and easy to fill. Of course, with out a air pressure tank the spray range is short, but it’s still a lot of fun.


Well we are now approaching a year since I started blogging. In that time, in spite of my home losing a bit of value on paper, about $15,000, we are still up almost 8% in our net-worth. In this time period specifically, the DOW and the S&P500 are only up 4% and 2.5% respectively. Subtracting our annual additions, our investments netted us 4.5% yield. That’s a bit lower than I would hope, but is balanced out by the fact that we made a huge deposit to our mortgage. We have a non trivial cash position for emergencies, and have a balanced but somewhat aggressive mix of investments. I started blogging on 8/21 of last year, so I’ll wait until next month to do a full status update. I have a new chart and I’ll be doing some more analysis for that. My boss also mentioned that he was thinking that a 529 is a bad idea, and that raw investing in a brokerage account would be a better idea. I’ll be doing the math on that and you can expect to see my thoughts on that idea hopefully this month.

With that real data on our actual return, though, it puts our retirement chart into a bit better picture. We are between 9 and 10 years away if we can continue to save at this rate.


I would say that our retirement accounts which hold the majority of our funds continue to show that performance that the indexes did as that is how they are mostly invested with some balance in bonds etc.

Most of the changes in our non retirement accounts are from moving money around for the various things we have done in the last year. The two bond accounts are steady once we stopped adding to them. They represent the bulk of our emergency funds. Much of that money in the last year went to the mortgage or the Dividends and Speculative account which I am now detailing in another post category.

There will be a new account now that my son is on his last month of daycare. I am both happy sad about that. I am very happy with the person he is becoming, but I am sad to see the baby disappear. I liked the baby he was as well. The new account will be used to store the money that we were spending on daycare to be spent later on camps and other childcare related expenses. Since we will need it in the next year, and who knows what the market will be, I will likely just store it in a high yield savings account. I’d love to hear other folks ideas for short term funds, as I’d prefer a better yielding option.

3 Comments

  1. Bagel morning sounds like a great tradition to have. We are NYC natives so bagels are practically a food category here, and we probably take them for granted. We’re empty-nesters as of this year so consider it our first year in FIRE mode — we’re way overweighted on retirement assets v. non-retirement that we can tap without penalty. So it’s good that you’re looking at both types of accounts. We came to FIRE late, when we had already been overweighting on retirement accounts and now have to figure out a workaround.

    Like

    1. There is nothing like good NY bagels. My father and I, 30 years ago, flew to Florida to visit my grandparents who retired there from Brooklyn. Many of their brothers and sisters did the same. Our local bagel shop did a special order for us and took the piping hot bagels from the oven to paper bags and our large carry-on which was lined with towels. The bagels were still warm when we got to Florida. The family gathered and all had fresh NY bagels for the first time in years, and the last time for many of them. On the plane, everyone smelled the bagels and kept asking the stewardesses for a bagel. They saw us with them, and knew what the story was.

      I’m not sure where the idea came from but it does seem like it will be a bit of a challenge unless we can get things up a bit in our non retirement accounts. I suspect contract work in retirement will be part of my equation, and something equivalent for my wife. I just want less stress.

      I have not been posting much lately as I am working 12 to 14 hour days for the last several and next few weeks. I’m just not skimping out on daddy time and my running. Everything else is sacrificed for the time being. This happens in my work, and its ultimately why I want to FIRE.

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      1. You sound just like my husband till our kids were grown — he had work, daddy duty and running, also the Mets but that was just a summer internship that sadly rarely converted to a fall gig:) The grind gets better as the kids get older, though I would definitely budget time when college applications roll around — it was even more time-consuming for our second kid b/c she had performing arts interests so that was double applications (academic and audition). But again, even that shall pass.
        Contract work is a great supplement to FIRE. We do it now,, and I did contract assignments alongside my consulting business when I wanted to goose up income (say to invest in real estate or bulk up savings in anticipation of a slower business cycle).
        I am imagining fresh from the oven bagels…

        Liked by 1 person

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