In case you’re just joining us, here’s a little bit about me. I currently work as a consultant in a tele-health call center making around $40+/hr. I started my professional life in 2015 at the ripe ole age of 31 after a few false starts. I spent 2016 paying off about $10,000 worth of credit card debt. I spent 2017 paying off about $20,000 in private student loans; I still have about $300,000 in federal student loans for which I am currently on an income-based repayment plan for the next 25 years, give or take. I started really getting into savings and investing late 2018 when I stumbled upon the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) community. I initially thought about saving for a 10 year sabbatical and soon realized with compound interest, I could make the journey to early retirement. Along this journey, I give all sorts of updates, just like this one.
This is my March 2019 Financial Update. Calculations accurate as of 3/22/19. In case you missed it: here’s my last financial update.
Let’s quickly recall some working budget items:
2019 Savings target: $45,000/yr
2019 Spending target: $26,000/yr ($2167/mon)
INCOME AND EXPENSES
My income is from my day job. No side hustles this year, thus far. The slight increase in March was due to our annual bonus.
Total Take Home (YTD): $15,768
Reminder. Target Spending: $2,167/mon
Actual Expenses (YTD): $9,651 (avg. $3,217/mon)
Jan 2019: $2346
Feb 2019: $5076
Mar 2019 : $2229
It has been a spendy three quarters so far. Honestly, after seeing money I contributed to my investment account just vanish at the end of 2018, I got a little generous with my spending. That was coupled with wow, I really did a good job tracking my expenses and socking some real money away! I attribute the wow to just tracking my expenses in general. It was refreshing to see the actual numbers. I am grateful for honest work!
Then I happened to be turning 35 in March. So I decided to re-challenge myself with travel. It’s the only thing I could think of to buy that would at least be tangible (in the form of pictures). I’m not sure how much I enjoy travelling, but it’s what all the young kids are doing… So far, I’ve spent about $3,000 in travel expenses (listed as Extras in the chart). I tried to travel hack using credit-cards with mild success. I think it’s too much for me to keep track of at this particular juncture in my life especially if I’m not entirely convinced budget travel is for me. If I’m going on vacation (i.e. leaving my apartment), I want a private jet and concierge everything! I don’t have the budget for that even with some clever travel points.
The other hefty weight in my expenses this quarter was some physical therapy appointments at $40 copay each visit. I’m still not back to normal after my surgery a year ago.
Otherwise, everything else is more or less on target. This year, I streamlined my categories after getting a feel of what exactly my big categories were.
SAVINGS AND INVESTMENT
I generally try to keep six months to a year’s worth of expenses in a regular savings account using CDs. As of Jan 2019, I’ve been able to maintain that for at least one year thus far. So the majority of income not earmarked for expenses goes straight to my investment accounts.
For most of 2018, I was at 90/10 stock/bond allocation. After the losses experienced at the end of 2018, I got scared and moved toward a 68/32 stock/bond allocation. I’m still learning.
For 2019, I hope to contribute the maximum to my pre-tax 401k and reach my savings target with the rest in post-tax savings ($26,000) via a traditional savings account and a brokerage account.
Post-Tax Savings (YTD): $6,018
As I mentioned, my investment strategy is pretty simple. I aim to max out my 401k and have auto-deposits three times a month from my bank to my broker. So far this year, I will admit it has been a little tight. It’s the first time in three years I’ve had to move money from my savings into my checking to cover my monthly expenses. I think my savings goal might be a little too ambitious. I’ll give it another quarter and see. If things are still tight, I may ease up on my auto-deposits and allow more of my net pay to be funneled toward regular checking/savings.
Thank you for reading! Thank you for joining my journey. Add comments or questions in the box below. Remember to subscribe for more updates!