Hey everyone, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! We stayed home and Mrs. RB40 cooked a feast. We had turkey, dressing, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, baked beans, and an apple pie. We also had zoom calls with our families. It was great. Normally, we travel to see families on the holidays so we don’t mind staying home this time. Hopefully, things will get back to normal by next Thanksgiving. Zoom calls are good, but seeing families in real life is better.
On the personal finance side, November was great. Our net worth increased along with the stock market. It was unexpected. Now, we just need December to be flat so we can exit 2020 with a nice net worth gain. On the cash flow side, we did okay too. Our income stream was down a bit, but we didn’t spend much either. So it balanced out and we were able to save and invest as usual.
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 can’t keep up with your New Year goals. The key is to go over the spreadsheet at least once a month to track your progress. That way, you’ll see which goals need extra attention.
Many of my goals are not going well this year. I started out with reasonable goals, but I won’t accomplish many of them. My wife and son are home so I don’t have much time to work on these goals. That’s life, though. There will be setbacks and some years will be harder than others. We just need to survive 2020 and hope for better days ahead. It’s okay to have lower expectations this year.
- Real Estate Crowdfunding $150,000. In 2020, I added $40,000 to our RE crowdfunding investment with CrowdStreet. Several older projects completed this year and I want to reinvest.
- FI Ratio > 110%. This is my main goal for 2020. The FI ratio is passive income divide by expense. Once we reach 100% consistently, then we’ll be set to retire in style. We’re at 118% for 2020 so far. I think we’ll be okay with this one.
- Saving rate > 50%. This one is really tough because I use gross income. If you make a lot of money, your tax rate is higher. If you don’t, then your expenses overwhelm the income. Only a few households can save 50% consistently. This year is going really well and we saving 60%! Our spending is way lower than normal.
- Side hustle income > $5,000. We made $187 from charging scooters in November. This is pretty much done for the year. We’ll start up again in the summer. I also made $123 from reward point exchange. I got a new Chase Sapphire Preferred card and used the points to pay for groceries. The exchange is 100 points for $1.25. So not bad.
- Content creation > 156 blog posts and videos. This is a huge amount, but we’re ahead of the pace. My target was 52 videos, 26 recipes, and 78 blog posts. We made it with a month to spare! Whew. We’ll step it up even more next year.
- Refresh RB40. This one is on hold for now. I’ll get back to it when RB40Jr goes back to school.
- 1,000 subscribers on Eat by 40! Currently, we have 139 subscribers on our YouTube channel. This is a slow process that will take way more than one year. We’ll keep working on it.
- Visit Thailand. I’ll try to go see my parent early next year. Mrs. RB40 and Junior will stay home this time. The process is pretty difficult and they don’t need to come. My mom has dementia and it is worsening. I need to go check on her.
- Travel hack 200,000 points. I signed up for a new Chase Sapphire Reserve card and got about 85,000 points bonus! I’ll use the points to pay for my trip to Thailand and exchange them for groceries. It’s a great card. Check it out if you don’t have one already. Unfortunately, the bonus decreased to 60,000 points recently. Keep an eye on it in case they increase the bonus again.
- Update our Will. I purchased Quicken WillMaker & Trust and made a Will. We’ll talk to a lawyer when things are back to normal. This will have to do for now. I need to get this done before I go to Thailand.
- Happiness level > 8. My happiness level was good in November. We enjoyed Thanksgiving at home tremendously. It wasn’t the same, but zoom calls were good. However, I’ve been having a lot of strange dreams lately. This is a sign of stress. All in all, life is good, but not perfect. I’m worried about my mom.
Net Worth (+11.8% YTD)
I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006 and it is very motivating to see the progress we made. So November was damn nice for the stock market. It’s crazy, but I’ll take it. I never thought our net worth could increase by over 10% in a pandemic year. I guess anything is possible. We still have one month left, though. Should I sell some stocks and lock in the gains?
Here is a chart of our net worth from 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. That spike at the end of the month is due to Zillow overvaluing our home.
2020 Passive Income ($39,039 YTD)
Here is a quick summary of our passive income. You can see all the details on my Passive Income page.
Surprisingly, our passive income is holding up quite well.
- Real Estate Crowdfunding– RE crowdfunding is great this year. Several projects wrapped up and paid out. You can read more detail here on our RE crowdfunding income page.
- Rentals– We have two rental units and both our tenants have solid jobs. For now, they are both paying rent on time. One of our tenants is working from Europe. We’re giving him a 50% discount until he gets back.
- Dividend– This one looks good so far, but I’m sure more companies will cut dividends if this pandemic sticks around through 2021.
Our FI ratio looks great at 119%. 2020 is almost over so I think we’re good this year.
*FI ratio = passive income/expense
November 2020 Cash Flow
Our cash flow wasn’t great last month. Our income was lower than usual and we splurged a bit. I purchased some clothes and shoes for myself. Also, I spent a bit on home improvement – awnings, door weather-stripping, and some small tools. We spent some money for Christmas shopping as well. December should be a light month for us because we’re done with shopping.
This is the Sankey diagram for November. You can get a quick overview here and see the details below.
Gross Income (target > $13,000/month)
This year, I increased our income target increased to $13,000/month. If we make this much every month, we should be able to save around 50%. Unfortunately, our income streams stumbled during the pandemic. My blog income, dividend, and rental income decreased. One of our tenants is working from Europe for a while. We’re giving him 50% off rent until he comes back. Meanwhile, we can use his living room as office space. It’s a win-win because we need extra space for work and school. Our monthly income dropped below $13,000/month for several months now. Fortunately, our spending is way down as well. All in all, our finance is still running relatively smoothly.
- Mrs. RB40’s job: $9,080. Mrs. RB40’s job continues to be the pillar of our household income. We will survive without her income, but this whole pandemic would be a lot more stressful.
- Blog Income: $1,482. Online income was low last month.
- Real estate crowdfunding: $229. RE crowdfunding was good last month. You can see how we’re doing at the RE Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
- Rental loss: –$200. We had a leak at a door so I spent some money to fix it. Also, rent was reduced 50% for one tenant. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
- Dividend Income: $557. Our dividend income was slow in November. See more details at my Dividend Passive Income page.
- Interest Income: $11.
- Side hustle: $310. We made $187 from charging scooters and $123 from reward point exchange.
Monthly Spending (target < $4,166/month)
This year, I plan to spend about $50,000. So our monthly spending budget is $4,166/month. For now, we are way under budget due to the pandemic. Like many families, we cut back and didn’t spend much so we can conserve some cash. However, we spent more money than usual on housing (maintenance), clothing, and holidays last month. Our total was a little higher than usual, $3,130. It was still way under budget so I’ll take it.
- Housing: $1,366. This category includes mortgage, home insurance, HOA fees, property taxes, utilities, home improvement, repair, and furnishing.
- Parents: $500. I send $500/month to my parent.
- Groceries: $578. This is a bit higher than usual. We restocked our freezer and splurged for Thanksgiving. Here are a few dishes we cooked. Check them out and subscribe to our YouTube channel!
Hoi Tod – This is Thai style mussels pancake. It’s awesome. We love it.
Stir Fry Veggies and Tofu – A healthy dish that tastes pretty good.
- Travel: $0. I’m ready for another trip…
- Entertainment: $150. We supported the local businesses and ordered some takeouts. Mrs. RB40 also ordered The Hip Hop Nutcracker for us to enjoy.
- Health: $9. I ordered melatonin to help me sleep.
- Bills: $24. Optometrist.
- Transportation: $61. Car insurance and public transportation. I didn’t even get gas.
- Kid: $0.
- Pet: $0.
- Clothing: $284. My clothes are so worn out. So I basically ordered a whole wardrobe. I got 5 shirts, 3 pants, and 2 pairs of tennis shoes. I think I’m set for a long time. Mrs. RB40 also ordered a pair of shoes for herself.
- Misc: $144. Mrs. RB40 spent some money on the school’s holiday sales. We also purchased Christmas gifts.
I don’t count these as personal spending.
- Taxes and deductions: $2,366.
- 401k savings: $1,500. Mrs. RB40 contributed $1,500 to her 401k. I contributed $1,000 to my i401k.
- Roth IRAs: $1,000. We contributed $500 each to our Roth IRAs every month.
- 529 College Savings plan: $0. We contributed $4,000 earlier this year. We’re done for now.
- Extra Savings: $3,473.
2020 Savings ($94,577 YTD)
Wow, that’s a lot of savings. We are very fortunate to be able to do this. 2020 is a crazy year, but our expenses are much lower than usual. Our income is also holding up relatively well so we can save and invest.
- Joe’s 401k: $24,375. I can contribute to my i401k as an employee and the employer. So my total contribution is usually higher than the max.
- Mrs. RB40’s 401k: $17,240
- Roth IRAs: $11,000
- 529 College Savings: $4,000
- Extra savings: $37,962
YTD 2020 saving rate = 61%
November 2020 Wrap Up
Overall, November was a good month for us. Our net worth increased tremendously thanks to the stock market. I just hope December will be flat so we’ll end 2020 on a good note. Our cash flow was okay too. We saved and invested a good portion of our income. Overall, 2020 is a good year for us financially.
On the personal side, things are pretty good too. We don’t mind staying home. The only problem is traveling. I really want to go check on my mom and I can’t right now. I’ll try to go by myself in January or February. Anyway, I hope you had a good month too. I’m so ready for 2021. Hopefully, this pandemic will be gone by next summer.
How about you? Did you have a good month? Are you ready for Christmas?
Source: Retire By 40