Hey everyone, did you have a good month in April? The weather is finally nicer here in the Pacific Northwest. RB40Jr is wearing shorts to school every day now. That’s the real benchmark. Unfortunately, this means we have to buy a new set of clothes for him. Kids grow so fast and their clothes don’t last very long. Actually, the size doesn’t matter that much. Junior is so hard on his clothes. All his pants have holes in them after one season. That’s okay. I’m happy that he is an active kid.
On the financial side, we did well in April. Our net worth increased a bit because the stock market did very well. Our cash flow looked good too, but it was mostly due to luck. We got a big boost from an insurance payment. As for expense, we did well, but we also had a big tax bill. The extra income helped tremendously with that. All in all, it was a good month.
Okay, I’ll go over my goals first and then share the details of our net worth, cash flow, and savings.
Here is my goal scheduling spreadsheet. It works really well. Try it out if you have a problem keeping up with your New Year goals. The key is to update the spreadsheet once a month to check progress. That will remind you which goals need attention.
- Passive Income> $60,000. This one might be too ambitious. In 2018, we had $56,628 in passive income. This year we probably will have less than that. We’re consolidating our properties so the rental income will drop. I’ll use the proceeds to invest in dividend stocks and real estate crowdfunding. I’m not sure if we can generate $60,000 this year, but we’ll try. After 4 months, we had $14,768 in passive income. That’s really behind the pace.
- FI Ratio > 100%.This is my main goal for 2019. The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. Once we reach 100% consistently, then we’ll be set to retire in style. Last month was great. Our FI ratio got a big boost and increased to 111%. The big improvement was due to a payment from our tenant for the damaged flooring. Our monthly spending is also pretty low now. That helps a lot.
- Save and invest > $100,000.Last year, we saved and invested about $102,000! That was awesome and I hope to repeat it this year. However, we probably won’t be able to do it. In 2018, my blog income was excellent, but it slowed down significantly this year. Consequently, it’s going to be very tough to save $100,000. So far, we saved and invested $28,777. That’s actually really good. Our saving rate is 51% so far. I’ll grade this one on an academic scale.
- Update Retire by 40. I need to clean up the menu, sign up with some new partners, and rework a few affiliate posts/pages. This isn’t that difficult, but I have to find the time to do it. Then I’ll hire someone to install a new theme. This kind of work is very tedious for me so I usually put it off. I’m having a really rough time with it this year. All my attention has been on selling our condos. Everything else comes second this year.
- Travel Hack 100,000 points.Yes! This one is done. Both of us signed up for the Capital One Savor card and received a $500 cash bonus each. This is a great card, don’t miss out. Click through on the banner below and see if you can find the right card for you.
- Consolidate down to 1 property. We are making solid progress here. We moved and both of our condos are for sale now. However, the real estate market in Portland slowed down tremendously. If these condos don’t sell soon, I might have to rent them out.
- Drop weight to 125 pounds. I rarely make a weight loss goal because it never worked before. However, I think I’ll be able to do it this year. I’m intermittent fasting* and plan to exercise 5 days per week. Currently, my weight is 130 pounds. It’s not changing much now so I might have to just be satisfied with that.
*Here is how I do intermittent fasting. I only eat from noon until 8 pm on the weekdays. This cuts down on the calories and I don’t miss breakfast much. I’m busy getting RB40Jr off to school on the weekdays anyway. Try intermittent fasting if you want to lose weight. It really works. If you can’t do it by yourself, I highly recommend Martin Dasko’s Fasting Course. It was very helpful when I first started.
- Keep my happiness level at 8 or above. This is totally subjective. I’ll give myself a score at the end of the month and try to average about 8 this year. For April, I rate my happiness level at 7. The condos haven’t sold yet and that adds stress. Carrying 3 mortgages is no fun.
- Visit Chiang Mai for 6-10 weeks. I haven’t even started here. We’ll deal with this after the condos are sold.
Net Worth (+7.5% YTD)
I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006 and it is very motivating to see the progress we’ve made. 2019 is turning out to be a very good year so far for the stock market. That’s unexpected. I’m being more conservative this year so our net worth lags behind the S&P 500 quite a bit. I’m still very happy with our net worth gains. 7.5% is really good in the grand scheme of things.
Here is a graph of our investment portfolio on Personal Capital.
*Sign up for a free account at Personal Capital to help manage your net worth and investment accounts. I log in almost every day to check on our accounts. It’s a great site for DIY investors.
2019 Passive Income ($14,768 YTD)
Here is a quick summary of our passive income. You can see all the details on my Passive Income page.
Generally, things look good. The rental income is slower than last year, but that’s expected. We’re consolidating down to one property. That will reduce our rental income, but our cost of living will be lower as well. It seems to be working out. Our FI ratio* is looking pretty at 111%. Hopefully, it will stay above 100% for the rest of 2019.
FI ratio = passive income/expense
Once we sold our condos, we will have some cash infusion. I’ll invest it in real estate crowdfunding and dividend stocks. Our passive income should increase with these additional investments. But it will take time to execute. You’ll have to follow along and see how it plays out.
2019 Cash Flow
Our cash flow was pretty good in April. It was mostly due to luck, though. We had to send in our tax payments so I wasn’t optimistic. However, we got a boost on the income side. I got a big payment from insurance and a $534 bonus from a credit card. These two helped us pull out a win in April.
Here is the Sankey diagram for April. You can get a quick overview here and see the details below. The big hit was the taxes and deductions.
Gross Income (target > $12,000/month)
For 2019, our gross income target is $12,000/month. I think we should be able to meet this goal almost every month. In previous years, I tracked take-home income and it was all over the place due to the deductions. This year, I’ll track gross income. In April, we grossed $17,427. That’s much higher than normal. See the side hustle bullet below for the detail.
- Mrs. RB40’s paychecks: $8,444.
- Blog Income: $2,304. April was actually a really good month, but we had to pay taxes too. So the blog income was just so so. You can read more details on my Blog Income page. RB40Jr is on the payroll now as model and photographer. The income will go straight into his Roth IRA. I’m excited to see how this experiment will turn out.
- Rental Income: $226. Our rental income should stabilize around $250 per month. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
- Dividend Income: $891. The dividend income was great in April. See more details at my Dividend Passive Income page.
- Real estate crowdfunding: $224. My real estate crowdfunding investment is starting to pay off. Read more at my Real Estate Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
- Interest Income: $17.
- Side hustle: $5321. I got a big check from insurance in April. A bicycle ran into the back of our car and made a huge hole and several dents. Their insurance sent me $4,787. That’s more than our car is worth at this point so I’m keeping it and fixing the hole myself. It looks like crap, but I can live with it. We also got $534 bonus from the Capital One Savor card. Mrs. RB40 signed up for the card and we used it to pay taxes. We spent $3,400 and received the $500 sign up bonus + $34 extra. It was awesome. If you’re looking for a new credit card, I highly recommend it. Cash is king, way better than points.
Monthly Expenses (target < $4,000/month)
For the rest of 2019, our monthly spending budget is $4,000/month. I decreased it from $5,000 per month. Our housing expense is significantly lower since we moved into out duplex. This makes a huge difference. In April, we spent $2,712. That’s really good. We had a couple of big expenses in the health and parent category. You can see the detail below.
Overall, it was a good month.
- Housing: $1079. Our housing expense looks good. Let’s hope we can keep it low for at least 5 years. This category includes mortgage, HOA fees, property taxes, utilities, and maintenance.
- Groceries: $433. We had a good month with groceries. I’m happy if it’s under $500. Check out what I cooked.
On the left is Okonomiyaki. This is a really easy dish to make at home. It’s basically lettuce pancake with bacon on top. You can make the topping sauces at home, too. It’s a great dish. Next is Tteokbokki, an interesting Korean dish. It seems like you can toss whatever you have in it. The essential ingredients are the rice cake and Korean hot pepper paste.
On the left is spicy Thai cashew nut chicken. This dish is really easy, too. Here is a good cashew nut chicken recipe if you’d like to try. On the right is the Bhindi Masala, okra curry . This is my favorite vegetarian dish so far, it’s really good. I got a big bag of frozen okra and it works just fine. The only problem is our son doesn’t like it. Oh well, he can have the Murgh Makhani (butter chicken) from Trader Joe’s. Here is a good recipe for Bhindi Masala.
Here is RB40Jr’s 2nd favorite dish – hamburger and fries. First place is pizza. I made this on our carbon pan, it worked out very well. Lastly, I made BBQ pork sliders. This one was an easy weekday meal. I cheated and used Trader Joe’s BBQ pork. The Hawaiian rolls and coleslaw rounded out the meal.
- Transportation: $105. I got some epoxy, Bondo, and touch up paint to fix the hole at the back of our car. It looks like crap, but that’s okay. I don’t really care how it looks anymore as long as water doesn’t get in. At this point, I rather keep the cash than get it repaired by a professional. $4,787! I also filled up a couple of times.
- Parent: $500. My parents are going to visit Japan. I’m helping them with this trip.
- Kid: $0.
- Pet: $22.
- Bills: $124. Insurance (auto, home, term life, and umbrella).
- Health: $58. RB40Jr visited his doctor and the gym membership fee.
- Travel: $51. Mrs. RB40 went on a short business trip. Travel hacking is a great way to reduce your travel expense.
- Clothing: $186. Mrs. RB40 replaced a pair of shoes. We also got some bigger clothes for Jr. Kids grow so fast.
- Entertainment: $114. We ate out 3 times in April.
- Misc: $41.
I don’t count these as personal expenses. We paid a big tax bill in April. If we didn’t have the extra cash infusion, we would have had a negative month. Whew! This year, I’ll try to send in enough estimated tax.
- Taxes and deductions: $6,282. We underpaid our taxes last year so we had to send in some money to the IRS and Oregon Department of Revenue.
- 401k and Roth: $6,980. I contributed $1,500 to my 401k. Mrs. RB40 contributed $1,480 to hers. We also contributed $500 each to our Roth IRAs. Lastly, I contributed $3,000 as an employer to my 401k plan for 2018.
- Extra Savings: $1,453. This went into our checking account for now. I’ll invest it when I can.
We saved $29,331 so far in 2019. Our current saving rate is 52%. That’s really good. I’ll try to maintain it around 50% this year.
- Joe’s 401k: $10,000.
- RB40’s401k: $5,870
- Roth IRAs: $4,000
- 529 College Savings: $0
- Extra savings: $9,461
YTD 2019 saving rate = 52%.
April 2019 Wrap Up
All in all, we had a great month. Our net worth increased nicely and our cash flow was solid. The expense was higher than usual due to taxes, but we got some cash infusion to soften the blow. Everything worked out quite well.
How about you? Did you have a good April? Are you making some progress on your New Year goals?
*Sign up for a free account at Personal Capital to help manage your investments. I log in almost every day to check on my accounts and cash flow. It’s a great site for DIY investors.
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Source: Retire By 40
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