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We freaking hit CoastFIRE!!!

June 8th, 2024 at 05:37 pm

For many years, I've only checked our retirement accounts and net worth once a month, because the volatility is too much to handle. But we were SO close to CoastFIRE at the end of May and I saw the markets had had a good week. So I decided to check our retirement account values and recalculate our CoastFIRE numbers.

Obvious disclaimers and grains of salt about taking one online calculator too seriously, and the possibility we've underestimated our spending in retirement, etc., etc., etc. .... but YOU GUYS!

When I started this blog almost 17 years ago, we had very little set aside for retirement and massive, crushing debt due to a combination of bad luck and circumstances and stupidity and poor money management skills. Retirement was barely a consideration for me; I was just sick of always feeling on the brink of disaster and wanted us to stop hemorrhaging money. So to get to this moment, especially after the rollercoaster of layoffs and such that we've gone through since COVID started, even if this snapshot of our retirement is not the be all, end all solution to everything, is just ... OMG. I can't even describe how I feel right now.

May 2024 net worth update

June 1st, 2024 at 02:50 am

What a weird, weird month it's been financially. Mostly good though! Our home values and retirement account values both went up and we paid the minimum on our mortgages, which netted us over $50K in net worth! Yes, we are an asset-multimillionaire household once again.

We also heard back about our individual taxes (the business ones got done a while ago) and somehow, bizarrely, we are getting a cumulative $16K back in refunds from state and federal over our two sets of returns (NT and I file together as the legally married pair while AS files as single).

We had been running about a $4K deficit in our budget, so we'll be able to wipe that out and start June in balance again. It's been a really long time since I gave any of us spending-money bonuses, so I'm setting aside $7K of it to do that ($2K per adult, $500 per kid). I'm also setting aside $2500 for tax prep fees because I can't remember what we were quoted and I know our taxes are complex. (Our previous guy charged about $1200; I know it'll be more but I don't think it's double, but I want to play it safe. Our new accountants are GOOD though, so worth the extra expense.) I also want to put about $1K into the savings account where we keep our renters' security deposits, because it's been a bit under what it's supposed to be for a couple months and I want to bring it back into balance for peace of mind (even though all our renters just re-upped for the year or are about to).

That leaves a little under $2K, which we might just hang onto; I know there are some little home improvements and some spring yard work for our place and the rental property, so it's good to have a little wiggle room.

But I'm also tempted to put some of it in retirement beCAUSE! My CoastFIRE calculation is showing that we are only $4,224 away! We aren't putting much toward retirement these days (ever since I got laid off about a year ago), just $250/month into NT's 401(k), so it'd take about 16 months to put that much into retirement if we didn't put any extra in. So we'll see. Maybe I'll at least put a little bit in, like a grand or so, and get us a little closer to true Coasting!

Other than that, our financial life is bits of ups and downs. I'm tracking budget categories more carefully this year to get a more accurate snapshot of what our line items should be. Our medical spending is about $1000 over budget so far this year; as I mentioned our unbudgeted spending was about $4000, so at present we're running about $1K per month light, but I'm also interested to see if things even out, because our birthdays in March (including my lavish 50th bday party) and one bigger medical bill might've skewed things.

AS and I are doing pretty well with our business; not making as much as I'd initially hoped because a couple things fell through early on, but we're slowly building other clients, so maybe we'll eventually get close to what I hope we can make. I'll be interested to see where we end up at the end of this year; I'm pretty confident we can do better next year, because I was basically sidelined by viruses for 2 months this year and we're doing pretty well considering that.

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 25,760 pounds (new number 22,000) $32,200    
SW: 31,522 pounds $39,403    
AV2: 7,401 pounds $9,251    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $122,877    
NT's Roth IRA $82,062    
NT's SEP IRA $7,004    
NT's AAC acct $3,551    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $30,756    
AS's Roth IRA $114,918    
AS's SEP IRA $82,639    
AS's Nevada acct (approx amt) $380    
CJ's trad. rollover IRA $264,985    
CJ's Roth IRA $88,621    
CJ/NT/AS house ($643,000 value -6%) $604,420    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($599,000 value -6%) $563,060    
TOTAL ASSETS $2,046,127 retirement only: $878,647
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $337,697    
Rental property mortgage $381,320    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $728,017    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth May 2024 $1,318,110    
       
April 2024 estimate: $1,264,596    
       
Change in net worth $53,514    

April 2024 net worth update

May 1st, 2024 at 02:27 am

Well, being a multimillionaire household (assetwise at least) was fun while it lasted; this month we lost about $24K in net worth, even more than that in retirement account worth. It's been a good run and I'm sure it'll turn around again. With me and AS still getting our business up and running we haven't been contributing to retirement; NT puts some away through his work's 401k but that's it.

Still, we're kind of living Coast FIRE right now; none of us works a 9 to 5 anymore! We do need to put some more away for retirement at some point, but it doesn't feel as urgent since I'm not champing at the bit to get out of my full-time job.

Running a business is wild; I don't work 40 hours but I have a lot more responsibility so it's not something I just leave at the door when I get home. (Also I run it from home, so that probably adds to that sense of never quite leaving it.) But I really like not feeling beholden to bosses; I have clients to answer to, but there's no one client that controls my future, and I could look for other ones if my current ones don't work out for whatever reason.

Anyway, I wish I had more time to blog here like I used to, but I'm glad I'm still in the habit of doing the net worth update so I don't totally lose touch with y'all!

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 25,760 pounds (new number 22,000) $32,200    
SW: 31,522 pounds $39,403    
AV2: 7,401 pounds $9,251    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $118,258    
NT's Roth IRA $78,982    
NT's SEP IRA $6,729    
NT's AAC acct $3,044    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $29,619    
AS's Roth IRA $110,395    
AS's SEP IRA $79,537    
AS's Nevada acct (approx amt) $380    
CJ's trad. rollover IRA $256,126    
CJ's Roth IRA $85,295    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($588,000 value -6%) $552,720    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,994,139 retirement only: $849,219
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $338,597    
Rental property mortgage $381,946    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $729,543    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth March 2024 $1,264,596    
       
March 2024 estimate: $1,288,507    
       
Change in net worth -$23,911    

March 2024 net worth update

March 31st, 2024 at 07:06 pm

An exciting milestone: Our assets reached $2 million! I joked that we're multimillionaires but of course A) That's just assets, not net worth and B) There are 3 of us, so each of us has less than a million to our name. Still, it was a great one to reach!

A couple of interesting property things have happened that I'm not counting toward net worth: My dad transferred all his West Virginia properties to his kids. AS and I now each own 1/8th of the property that's my dad's main vacation destination, and I own 1/4th of three undeveloped properties in WV. They're not worth much and I wouldn't be able to sell them even if I wanted to, so I didn't count them. But the uninhabited ones especially may yield future deals with energy companies, so they're worth holding onto. (My dad also changed the title on his Virginia home to a "transfer on death" deed with me and my 3 sisters the eventual owners, but I'm hoping that doesn't change anything for many years!)

Another kinda cool thing: I checked our CoastFIRE calculations and realized I'd estimated our rental income to be $1500, but it's actually closer to $1700. When I lowered the monthly amount we'd need in retirement from $66,000 to $63,600, our right-now CoastFIRE number decreased from $916,186 to $882,871! We're at $874,651 in retirement savings right now, so in that light, CoastFIRE is much more within reach.

I mean, we're kind of Coasting now anyway; with AS and I still working to build our business up to income levels we're happy with, we've barely been able to put away any retirement income since June. NT has some amount going to retirement--$250 a month maybe?--with the 401(k) for his part-time job. Even just that little amount takes us to 3 years from CoastFIRE!

That's very good news, because even though running my own business is hard, I do not miss working for someone else, and I'd love to be able to keep doing this. The income isn't predictable, which is the main challenge. But knowing we don't need to be going full-tilt on retirement contributions makes it a lot more feasible, especially in these early days of it when we're still building a roster of ongoing clients.

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 25,760 pounds (new number 22,000) $32,200    
SW: 31,522 pounds $39,403    
AV2: 7,401 pounds $9,251    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $122,319    
NT's Roth IRA $81,688    
NT's SEP IRA $6,965    
NT's AAC acct $2,654    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $30,627    
AS's Roth IRA $114,269    
AS's SEP IRA $82,262    
AS's Nevada acct (approx amt) $380    
CJ's trad. rollover IRA $264,417    
CJ's Roth IRA $88,216    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($588,000 value -6%) $552,720    
TOTAL ASSETS $2,019,571 retirement only: $874,651
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $339,495    
Rental property mortgage $382,569    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $731,064    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth March 2024 $1,288,507    
       
February 2024 estimate: $1,265,728    
       
Change in net worth $22,779    
       

February 2024 net worth update

March 1st, 2024 at 04:08 pm

It was an exciting month for net worth! NT got an inheritance from his grandma that enabled us to pay off our HELOC ($30K), I checked our rental property value and it's currently $30K higher than I had it valued at, we paid off another $2K or so of mortgage principal, and our retirement accounts went up about $25K. All told, we gained nearly $89K in net worth and our assets are $1700 away from hitting $2 million!

 

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 25,760 pounds (new number 22,000) $32,200    
SW: 31,522 pounds $39,403    
AV2: 7,401 pounds $9,251    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $119,016    
NT's Roth IRA $79,471    
NT's SEP IRA $6,768    
NT's AAC acct $2,136    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $29,809    
AS's Roth IRA $111,045    
AS's SEP IRA $80,030    
AS's Nevada acct (approx amt) $380    
CJ's trad. rollover IRA $258,057    
CJ's Roth IRA $85,823    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($588,000 value -6%) $552,720    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,998,309 retirement only: $853,389
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $340,390    
Rental property mortgage $383,191    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $732,581    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth February 2024 $1,265,728    
       
January 2024 estimate: $1,176,784    
       
Change in net worth $88,944    

January 2024 net worth update

February 1st, 2024 at 06:15 pm

Our retirement accounts basically stayed stagnant and we didn't manage to contribute much, but we eked out a $3K increase in net worth due solely to two things: our regular mortgage payments and my getting info on two small retirement accounts that NT and AS have. So we're roughly where we were last month, but that's not terrible.

Money is tight here at the beginning of the year as projects for my new business have been slow to get started, but I'm talking to a lot of clients and prospects, so it looks promising that it'll get busy (and profitable) pretty soon!

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 25,760 pounds (new number 22,000) $32,200    
SW: 31,522 pounds $39,403    
AV2: 7,401 pounds $9,251    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $114,924    
NT's Roth IRA $76,708    
NT's SEP IRA $6,515    
NT's AAC acct $1,628    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $28,809    
AS's Roth IRA $106,882    
AS's SEP IRA $77,248    
AS's Nevada acct (est amt) $300    
CJ's trad. rollover IRA $251,129    
CJ's Roth IRA $82,839    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($554,000 value -6%) $520,760    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,940,796 retirement only: $827,836
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $341,282    
Rental property mortgage $383,810    
HELOC $30,000    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $764,092    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth January 2024 $1,176,704    
       
December 2023 estimate: $1,173,612    
       
Change in net worth $3,092    

December 2023 & year-end net worth update

January 1st, 2024 at 01:37 am

What. A. Year. It was rough net-worth-wise until nearly the end, but the last two months of market gains and some debt paydown helped us end on a good note. Better place than we were at the end of 2022 but not as good as where our net worth was at the end of 2021 (our assets are higher but so is our debt compared with 2 years ago).

Snapshot of the past two years:

Dec 2021 assets: $1,579,801 ; Dec 2022 assets: $1,801,176 ; Dec 2023 assets: $1,939,211
Dec 2021 debt: $370,966; Dec 2022 debt: $791,694 ; Dec 2023 debt: $765,599
Dec 2021 net worth: $1,208,835; Dec 2022 net worth: $1,009,482 ; Dec 2023 net worth: $1,173,612

Since I haven't been blogging as regularly, I can't as easily sum up the whole year's financial activity. But the big things were: I got laid off in June, started my own business with AS, NT increased his hours at his job but we're still working to build to an income where we can comfortably afford the lifestyle we'd like and figure out how much we need to gross so it's enough after taxes.

One bright spot: I just did our CoastFIRE calculation and things are looking good. We don't have a regular cadence of retirement contributions anymore, but I ran a few different scenarios and $150 contribution per month would get us to where we need to be by 65 (16 years), and $2K per month would get us to CoastFIRE in one year! So whatever we manage to contribute this year as we build our business should help a lot, assuming the market doesn't crater again.

December net worth update:

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 25,760 pounds (new number 22,000) $32,200    
SW: 31,522 pounds $39,403    
AV2: 7,401 pounds $9,251    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $114,993    
NT's Roth IRA $76,737    
NT's SEP IRA $6,518    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $28,829    
AS's Roth IRA $106,930    
AS's SEP IRA $77,277    
CJ's trad. rollover IRA $251,243    
CJ's Roth IRA $82,870    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($554,000 value -6%) $520,760    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,939,211 retirement only: $826,251
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $342,172    
Rental property mortgage $384,427    
HELOC $30,000    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $765,599    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth December 2023 $1,173,612    
       
November 2023 estimate: $1,134,569    
       
Change in net worth $39,043    

November 2023 net worth update

November 30th, 2023 at 11:00 pm

Finally some gains! After our values sliding for many months, we finally clawed back some net worth. A bit was Roth contributions and debt paid off but most of it was market gains.

I'm scrambling with tons of catchup on my tasks and chores after finishing NaNoWriMo, but I'll post a longer life update when I do my end-of-year net worth update next month!

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 25,760 pounds (new number 22,000) $32,200    
SW: 31,522 pounds $39,403    
AV2: 7,401 pounds $9,251    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $109,378    
NT's Roth IRA $72,727    
NT's SEP IRA $6,191    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $27,428    
AS's Roth IRA $101,331    
AS's SEP IRA $73,489    
CJ's trad. rollover IRA $239,754    
CJ's Roth IRA $78,559    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($554,000 value -6%) $520,760    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,902,671 retirement only: $789,711
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $343,060    
Rental property mortgage $385,042    
HELOC $31,000    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $768,102    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth November 2023 $1,134,569    
       
October 2023 estimate: $1,078,398    
       
Change in net worth $56,171    

October 2023 net worth update

October 31st, 2023 at 08:34 pm

All our retirement accounts went down again, but due to a silly error last month, the pain is a little less on our balance sheet. Seems like last month I typed in one of NT's retirement account balances incorrectly--in fact $10K less than the actual balance. So last month it appeared we lost $25K in net worth but actually "only" lost $15K. This month we lost $15K but because I corrected that error from last month, it looks like we only lost $5K. The net result is, we've lost $55K of net worth over 3 months, or $30K over the past 4 months (because 4 months ago we got a $25K boost).

I know 3 months of losses isn't that big a window of time. Sure feels like a long time since we had a win though! At least our shared net worth is still over a million; hopefully we can cling on to that until the market turns upward again, but I don't take anything for granted.

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 25,760 pounds (new number 22,000) $32,200    
SW: 31,522 pounds $39,403    
AV2: 7,401 pounds $9,251    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $100,930    
NT's Roth IRA $68,617    
NT's SEP IRA $5,698    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $25,328    
AS's Roth IRA $93,013    
AS's SEP IRA $67,792    
CJ's trad. rollover IRA $222,575    
CJ's Roth IRA $72,230    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($554,000 value -6%) $520,760    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,849,997 retirement only: $737,037
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $343,944    
Rental property mortgage $385,655    
HELOC $33,000    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $771,599    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth October 2023 $1,078,398    
       
September 2023 estimate: $1,083,831    
       
Change in net worth -$5,433    

September 2023 net worth update

September 30th, 2023 at 05:00 pm

Dang. In July I was all excited over a $25K increase in our net worth. Well, between August and September we lost $50K in net worth (most of it this past month), so we're now DOWN $25K from where we were in July.

Oh well. I haven't been able to contribute to retirement with our recent shifting around of job situations and income streams, but I took advantage of this low market and threw $300 in each of our Roths and a couple thousand in each of our kids' 529s. And soon, hopefully, we'll get a chunk of income that will allow me to pay down $3K or so of the HELOC. So hopefully next month will look brighter!

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 25,760 pounds (new number 22,000) $32,200    
SW: 31,522 pounds $39,403    
AV2: 7,401 pounds $9,251    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $104,053    
NT's Roth IRA $58,617    
NT's SEP IRA $5,883    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $26,100    
AS's Roth IRA $95,733    
AS's SEP IRA $69,890    
CJ's trad. rollover IRA $228,671    
CJ's Roth IRA $74,163    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($554,000 value -6%) $520,760    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,856,924 retirement only: $743,964
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $344,827    
Rental property mortgage $386,266    
HELOC $33,000    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $773,093    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth September 2023 $1,083,831    
       
August 2023 estimate: $1,120,955    
       
Change in net worth -$37,124    

August 2023 net worth update

September 1st, 2023 at 12:19 am

Well, it was fun while it lasted! This month we lost roughly half of the giant net worth gain we had last month. I can't really complain too much since we haven't been putting away for retirement or paying down extra debt principal.

Our financial life feels like it's slowly getting on track; I have two steady clients for my freelance business, though I probably need one or two more to bring in the level of income I'm going to want once my severance runs out in the next few weeks. AS is starting a 3-month contract job next month that might turn into something longer term; if not, we're building an LLC together so she can go back to freelancing. She's been having fun doing consulting work for $125 an hour and is also making kits and ebooks of some of her presentations she's done over the years to try and sell those online as well. NT will up his hours at his part-time job next month, which won't be a huge bump because they're offering benefits so the hourly rate is going down a bit. But it's exciting to have a 401(k) again and we'll see if the health insurance is better than our Obamacare that I got after my layoff.

I had just started to build up our EF again but we had some discouraging bumps that will wipe it out again (and then some possibly): $500 car repair, $1300 ceiling repair, and we filed a claim with our insurance for hail damage on our rental property's roof, so we'll see what that costs us. Oh well, I'll try again next month with seeding our EF. At least we did have that money so these expenses won't be as much of a strain on our regular budget.

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 25,760 pounds (new number 22,000) $32,200    
SW: 31,522 pounds $39,403    
AV2: 7,401 pounds $9,251    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $108,264    
NT's Roth IRA $71,427    
NT's SEP IRA $6,128    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $27,155    
AS's Roth IRA $99,726    
AS's SEP IRA $74,509    
CJ's trad. rollover IRA $237,315    
CJ's Roth IRA $77,200    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($554,000 value -6%) $520,760    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,895,538 retirement only: $782,578
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $345,707    
Rental property mortgage $386,876    
HELOC $33,000    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $774,583    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth August 2023 $1,120,955    
       
July 2023 estimate: $1,133,060    
       
Change in net worth -$12,105    

July 2023 net worth update

July 31st, 2023 at 03:36 pm

It was a month of gains in the retirement accounts even though we didn't manage to contribute anything to them. Between stock market gains and mortgage paydown our net worth went up over $25K!

In terms of CoastFIRE, it's hard to do a calculation since most of our income is now freelance and I'm not sure when or how much I'll be able to contribute. My freelance business is slowly building at this point so I'm not at a point where I have anything left over after bills, but I hope to get to a good place in another month or two.

So I plugged in some random numbers. If we put in $500 per month we would not reach our retirement goal. If we contributed $1000 per month, we'd reach Coast FIRE in 9 years when I was 58. If we put in $2250 per month, which is what I hope to get to in a few months, we'd be at Coast FIRE in 4 years, or age 53.

It's hard to predict when my freelance will bring in enough for that, but it's good to see the different benchmarks, very motivating to get to that point! (Although on the flip side, if we can manage to keep our work scaled back from the 40-hour work week, we're basically achieving the lifestyle I hoped to get out of reaching Coast FIRE!)

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 25,760 pounds (new number 22,000) $32,200    
SW: 31,522 pounds $39,403    
AV2: 7,401 pounds $9,251    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $110,849    
NT's Roth IRA $73,152    
NT's SEP IRA $6,283    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $27,795    
AS's Roth IRA $102,247    
AS's SEP IRA $74,509    
CJ's trad. rollover IRA $242,191    
CJ's Roth IRA $79,065    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($554,000 value -6%) $520,760    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,909,905 retirement only: $796,945
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $346,584    
Rental property mortgage $387,483    
HELOC $33,000    
Appliances CC $778    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $776,845    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth July 2023 $1,133,060    
       
June 2023 estimate: $1,107,245    
       
Change in net worth $25,815    

June 2023 net worth & other updates!

June 30th, 2023 at 05:04 pm

Lots going on in the ceejay household! As reported last month, I was laid off from my longtime job and my last day was June 2. I was the last person in my household with a full-time job; AS left hers about 10 months ago and NT was laid off during lockdown.

AS has been doing freelance work and talking to someone about a possible job opportunity; that will start in September as a 3-month contract, and if it works out it could become a full-time gig. NT has a half-time job and manages our rental property; he might look at going up to 3/4 time at his job in the fall. I'm currently on severance through August, and I've been booking some freelance clients. I actually think I could beat my old full-time salary with part-time work if I play my cards right! I have two clients already and that's without much networking or hunting. Both say they have tons of work, so if they like what I do for them initially, they could both be pretty regular/substantial sources of income.

Our rental property was vacant in May but we managed to rent out one half of it in early June. We're finalizing details with some renters who should move into the other half in mid-July. So we lost some ground but it's looking promising that we'll be set for a year.

My dad randomly gifted us $10K without even knowing about my layoff and that was a HUGE help in covering expenses and not accruing additional debt while the rental property was vacant. I was even able to pay off some appliance debt from our kitchen reno where the deferred-interest promo period was about to end.

On top of all that, the market is up, so it's been a great month for net worth--we're up nearly $40K! I checked CoastFIRE and while we don't have any set retirement contributions right now, if I managed to put in $500 each per month in our Roths and 10% of our projected gross income, we would be 5 years away from CoastFIRE, a considerable improvement. I have to go through and work out our budget through the end of the year with severance, booked contract income and new healthcare premiums figured in, but I'm hoping things look stable enough to start putting some toward retirement. We do need to also be rebuilding our EF and paying down our HELOC after our giant tax bill last year, so I won't be able to ramp all the way up probably, but I'm encouraged we might be able to make progress after spinning our wheels on retirement for nearly a year. (I did have my 401k going during that time but most everything else was put on hold.)

Honestly, even if we don't get to Coast that fast, if we're able to scale back from full time work and still be contributing to retirement, it'll almost be like we're ALREADY Coasting!! I am now prepared for whatever curveballs; I feel like I've fully accepted that we're not in control of our destiny, but it feels hopeful to try and control what we can, barring unforeseeable circumstances.

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 25,760 pounds (new number 22,000) $32,200    
SW: 31,522 pounds $39,403    
AV2: 7,401 pounds $9,251    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $106,697    
NT's Roth IRA $70,370    
NT's SEP IRA $6,034    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $26,771    
AS's Roth IRA $98,185    
AS's SEP IRA $71,675    
CJ's 401(k) $235,958    
CJ's Roth IRA $76,057    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($554,000 value -6%) $520,760    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,885,561 retirement only: $772,601
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $347,450    
Rental property mortgage $388,088    
HELOC $33,000    
Appliances CC $778    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $778,316    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth May 2023 $1,107,245    
       
May 2023 estimate: $1,067,604    
       
Change in net worth $39,641    
       
       
COAST FIRE: https://walletburst.com/tools/coast-fire-calc/    
retirement goal $1.65 million by 2039 (CJ age 65)    
       
Current age: 49      
Retirement age: 65      
Annual spending in retirement: $66,000      
Monthly contribution: $2,250      
Investment growth rate: 7%      
Inflation rate: 3%      
Withdrawal rate: 4%      
Current invested assets: $772601      
Coast FIRE number at current age: $880,948      
Current status: 5 years from Coast FIRE number: $1.072 million    
       
       
       
Coast FIRE budget      
Housing $0 (rents covering prop expenses)      
Healthcare $1,500      
Groceries $1,000      
Fun $1,500      
Travel $1,000      
Utilities $500      
Giving $500      
Home improvement $500      
Gifts $250      
Transportation $250      
Monthly $7,000      
Minus rental income -$1,500      
Total monthly $5,500      
Annual $66,000      

 

May 2023 net worth update

June 1st, 2023 at 12:22 am

Well it's been another eventful month! I got laid off at the beginning of the month from the company where I've worked for 17 years. I guess they're shrinking the marketing arm even more because the profits aren't there.

The good news is I got a decent severance agreement. I got 3 more weeks of work (my last day will be this Friday), 12 weeks' severance pay after that, and health insurance through June. (After that it's COBRA or Obamacare for me, NT and the kids, so I know that expense will go up.) I should get a bit of money from accrued unused vacation PTO as well. Seems they'll also hook me up with a job-finding consultancy that can help with resume building etc., so that's nice.

Even though I'll essentially get paid through the summer, I'm starting to look around at employment options now. I've got a call tomorrow with a former boss who may be able to give me some freelance writing work. Even if not, it'll be good to connect with her for networking's sake. A few other people have expressed interest in hiring me for freelance writing; I'll follow up with them once I finish out this final week of work. I figure this summer will be a good time to test the waters of freelancing/self-employment and see if I've got the temperament (and enough connections to make it a going concern).

We've been having trouble finding tenants for our rental property, but it seems we've got renters starting in early June for one side of it, and applicants who seem serious for the other half, maybe able to move in July 1. Fingers crossed on that as it's over $5K of income, over $3K of which goes to cover the mortgage and utilities, so having it empty in May really dragged down the already struggling budget!

AS's potential job thing continues to look very interesting and we should know more in a couple weeks, but she's essentially being asked to create a proposed job description and salary, and they'll see if they can make it happen for her. Meanwhile she continues to pull in freelance work, so while income is slow to come, she's definitely racking up future payments that'll help. And if this create-your-dream-job thing really comes to fruition, that'd be a massive weight off. She might even be able to put the kids on her health insurance! (Not NT because they're not legally married, but she IS legally the parent of both our kids. So then I'd just have to worry about NT on my insurance.)

My dad out of the blue decided to gift each of his kids $10K! This was a massive help to our budget deficit for May and June due to the empty rental property. We don't have the money yet but my sister is working on getting it to us. We've had to take money out of the HELOC but thanks to my dad will be able to pay it back in soon. And it'll cover the cost of a new computer, which I had to get because I've been using my company computer and need to turn that in at the end of my employment.

But for now, our HELOC debt is $7K more, we haven't been able to put away much for retirement, and the markets are slightly down from last month, so our net worth went down by about $8500. I didn't bother to do the Coast FIRE calculations since I know it'll be the same or worse compared with last month.

But, if I were able to make this freelance thing work, I could potentially be working a less than 40-hour week and pulling in the same money as before! My Coast FIRE goal was to work fewer hours but I'd have to wait until I could draw less income. This way, I could almost reach my Coast FIRE goal of less than full time before I've even reached my retirement savings goal! So we shall see.

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 25,760 pounds $32,200    
SW: 31,522 pounds $39,403    
AV2: 7,401 pounds $9,251    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $102,733    
NT's Roth IRA $67,698    
NT's SEP IRA $5,793    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $25,793    
AS's Roth IRA $94,262    
AS's SEP IRA $68,954    
CJ's 401(k) $224,297    
CJ's Roth IRA $73,170    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($554,000 value -6%) $520,760    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,856,514 retirement only: $743,554
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $348,332    
Rental property mortgage $388,691    
HELOC $40,000    
Appliances CC $2,887    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $788,910    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth May 2023 $1,067,604    
       
April 2023 estimate: $1,076,060    
       
Change in net worth -$8,456    

April 2023 net worth update

April 30th, 2023 at 07:30 pm

Pretty good gain in retirement, about $10K this month. Coast FIRE now showing as 10 years away vs. 11 last month!

It's a very interesting and weird time for us financially. I wish I had time to blog here more frequently about it, but I've got so many things going on that I never get around to it! Let's see if I can sum up...

- Both units of our separate rental property are going vacant May 1. We think we have a renter lined up for June or July for one side; the other side's had some interest but none of it has come to anything. This means about a $5500 per month budget deficit.

- We're netting around $3500 on tax refunds and have $2K in the EF, so we can just cover the one month without borrowing. If both units aren't filled June 1, we may have to dip into our LOC.

- AS has freelance work lined up over the next several months, about $25K through September. Most of it won't start paying until June, but we know it's coming so may be able to help the budget shortfall (or at least help us pay down what we take from the LOC).

- I got a 3% raise, which honestly feels like a joke even as a cost-of-living raise since our expenses have gone up more like 20%-40% over the past year (utilities and groceries especially), but it's better than nothing. Netting about $150 per month more.

- AS is having some verrrry interesting talks with a guy she met through her publishing job; it's still too early to say anything definitive but she may have an exciting and lucrative job in a few months. It'll take a while for it to take shape and we're not sure when it'll materialize or what it'll mean financially, but it's super promising.

Long story short, our finances are feeling shaky and sketchy right now, but we're feeling pretty good about them turning around a bit (or maybe a lot) by the end of the year. Which is good since we still owe quite a bit on the tax bill and kitchen reno because of inflation and these income headwinds!

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 25,760 pounds $32,200    
SW: 31,522 pounds $39,403    
AV2: 7,401 pounds $9,251    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $103,807    
NT's Roth IRA $68,171    
NT's SEP IRA $3,625    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $26,068    
AS's Roth IRA $95,015    
AS's SEP IRA $69,691    
CJ's 401(k) $224,407    
CJ's Roth IRA $73,702    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($554,000 value -6%) $520,760    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,858,300 retirement only: $745,340
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $349,202    
Rental property mortgage $389,292    
HELOC $33,000    
Appliances CC $2,992    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $783,486    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth March 2023 $1,074,814    
       
March 2023 estimate: $1,063,843    
       
Change in net worth $10,971    
       
       
COAST FIRE: https://walletburst.com/tools/coast-fire-calc/    
retirement goal $1.65 million by 2039 (CJ age 65)    
       
Current age: 49      
Retirement age: 65      
Annual spending in retirement: $66,000      
Monthly contribution: $1,451      
Investment growth rate: 7%      
Inflation rate: 3%      
Withdrawal rate: 4%      
Current invested assets: $745,340      
Coast FIRE number at current age: $880,948      
Current status: 10 years from Coast FIRE number: $1.304 million    
       
       
       
Coast FIRE budget      
Housing $0 (rents covering prop expenses)      
Healthcare $1,500      
Groceries $1,000      
Fun $1,500      
Travel $1,000      
Utilities $500      
Giving $500      
Home improvement $500      
Gifts $250      
Transportation $250      
Monthly $7,000      
Minus rental income -$1,500      
Total monthly $5,500      
Annual $66,000      

 

March 2023 net worth update

April 1st, 2023 at 08:20 pm

Slightly better retirement gains this month, though our CoastFIRE date moved from 8 years to 11 away...probably because I turned 49. Oh well.

It's been a pretty meh year financially so far... we still have $33K of debt for the tax bill and $3K owed on our kitchen and only $1500 in EF savings. The renters on our new place are leaving at the end of this month, so if we don't have both units rented by May 1, we may have to clean out our little EF and some other pockets of money. Hopefully it doesn't go vacant or if it does, only for a month or two.

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 22,397 pounds $27,996    
SW: 30,864 pounds $38,580    
AV2: 7,567 pounds $9,459    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $102,614    
NT's Roth IRA $67,367    
NT's SEP IRA $3,581    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $25,767    
AS's Roth IRA $93,874    
AS's SEP IRA $68,869    
CJ's 401(k) $224,407    
CJ's Roth IRA $72,832    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($554,000 value -6%) $520,760    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,848,306 retirement only: $735,346
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $350,070    
Rental property mortgage $389,292    
HELOC $33,000    
Appliances CC $3,101    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $784,463    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth March 2023 $1,063,843    
       
February 2023 estimate: $1,056,650    
       
Change in net worth $7,193    

February 2023 net worth update

March 1st, 2023 at 03:24 am

Not a very interesting net worth update... our net worth went up by about $1300, mainly due to debt paydown, which means no Coast FIRE progress. Not much ground gained on paying down our tax bill but other than that things are fairly stable. Hopefully we'll make some progress worth writing about sometime soon!

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 22,397 pounds $27,996    
SW: 30,864 pounds $38,580    
AV2: 7,567 pounds $9,459    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $101,983    
NT's Roth IRA $66,203    
NT's SEP IRA $3,559    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $25,103    
AS's Roth IRA $90,936    
AS's SEP IRA $67,084    
CJ's 401(k) $229,223    
CJ's Roth IRA $70,451    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($554,000 value -6%) $520,760    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,843,537 retirement only: $730,577
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $350,935    
Rental property mortgage $390,488    
HELOC $33,250    
Appliances CC $3,214    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $786,887    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth February 2023 $1,056,650    
       
January 2023 estimate: $1,055,281    
       
Change in net worth $1,369    

 

January 2023 net worth update

January 31st, 2023 at 09:13 pm

Finally a more positive net worth outlook than we've had for a while! Our retirement accounts went up in value about $40K, we paid off a bit of our tax bill, and our COAST Fire timeline got 4 years shaved off: It now says we could reach it in 8 years vs. 12!

Assets      
NT's UK pensions:      
AV1: 22,397 pounds $27,996    
SW: 30,864 pounds $38,580    
AV2: 7,567 pounds $9,459    
NT's trad. rollover IRA $101,983    
NT's Roth IRA $66,203    
NT's SEP IRA $3,559    
AS's trad. rollover IRA $25,614    
AS's Roth IRA $92,544    
AS's SEP IRA $68,444    
CJ's 401(k) $224,767    
CJ's Roth IRA $71,634    
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200    
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($554,000 value -6%) $520,760    
TOTAL ASSETS $1,843,743 retirement only: $730,783
       
Debt      
Main mortgage $351,798    
Rental property mortgage $391,083    
HELOC $33,250    
Appliances CC $3,331    
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000    
TOTAL DEBT $788,462    
       
Current Estimated Net Worth January 2023 $1,055,281    
       
December 2022 estimate: $1,009,482    
       
Change in net worth $45,799    
       
       
COAST FIRE: https://walletburst.com/tools/coast-fire-calc/    
retirement goal $1.65 million by 2039 (CJ age 65)    
       
Current age: 48      
Retirement age: 65      
Annual spending in retirement: $66,000      
Monthly contribution: $1,451      
Investment growth rate: 7%      
Inflation rate: 3%      
Withdrawal rate: 4%      
Current invested assets: $730,783      
Coast FIRE number at current age: $847,066      
Current status: 8 years from Coast FIRE number: $1.159 million    
       
       
       
Coast FIRE budget      
Housing $0 (rents covering prop expenses)      
Healthcare $1,500      
Groceries $1,000      
Fun $1,500      
Travel $1,000      
Utilities $500      
Giving $500      
Home improvement $500      
Gifts $250      
Transportation $250      
Monthly $7,000      
Minus rental income -$1,500      
Total monthly $5,500      
Annual $66,000      

2023 targets: good better best

January 1st, 2023 at 08:41 pm

I'm going in to 2023 with far fewer expectations about how life will go. It's just too unpredictable. However, that doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying! On the financial side, since we have 1.5 steady incomes (plus rental property income), there's only so much I can say we'll be able to do with any amount of certainty. So I've set up a snap shot of "good," "better" and "best" scenarios and laid out how much extra income gross would need to be made (mainly on AS and her freelance business but also anything NT and I might pick up outside our regular jobs).

I don't know if this chart will make sense to anyone else, but it really helps me and AS when we're thinking through what we might be able to get done this year! Basically, I think we can save $5K to our EF, $9K to our Roths, and have small amounts for travel, home improvement and giving on my and NT's regular income, and if AS grosses $41,667, we should also be able to pay down $30K of tax/kitchen debt. If she made double that, we could get quite a bit more money for each of those categories. And in the best case scenario, if the three of us could pull in $139,769 gross between us in addition to our regular income, we could achieve everything on my financial wish list. That's a highly unlikely scenario but I wanted to put a price tag on our ideal state, so to speak. We're not shooting for it per se but it would be exceedingly cool if we could get there!

GOOD     BETTER     BEST  
Min Coven $150     Min Coven $150     Full Coven $1,650
HELOC/CC payoff $30,000   HELOC/CC payoff $39,000   HELOC/CC payoff $39,000
EF savings (min $5K)     More EF savings ($15K total $10,000   More EF savings ($20K total) $15,000
Roths (min $9K)     More Roths ($15K total) $6,000   More Roths ($18K total) $9,000
Renos (Min $1200)     More Renos ($2K total) $800   More Renos ($12K total) $10,800
Vacays (min $5K)     More Vacays ($6K total) $1,000   More Vacays ($12K total) $7,000
Giving (min $1200)     Giving (min $1200)     More Giving ($3600 total) $2,400
Family fun $0   Family fun $0   Family fun $6,000
               
Net $30,000   Net $56,800   Net $90,850
5% retirement     10% retirement     12% retirement  
Gross $41,667   Gross $84,776   Gross $139,769

End of year net worth and other updates

January 1st, 2023 at 08:24 pm

Hi everyone! It's been about four months since my last update. Financially not much has changed; we paid down some debt and lost some more value in our retirement accounts, so we gained $1,900 in net worth over 4 months.

Lifewise, AS is doing a LOT better mentally after quitting her high-stress job and has restarted her freelance business. It takes a bit to build future work so income has been slow to come this year, but she's got tons of work booked for the first part of 2023 so things will be looking up soon. NT got a part-time office job and likes it, so that's some steady income in addition to the rental property he's managing and the bits of money from other side hustles. The kiddos are getting great grades and doing well.

I've had a lot of ups and downs myself. My job and creative pursuits are going well. But my mom went into the hospital in late November and died on Dec. 1. I was able to travel to Virginia a couple days before; she was barely aware of her surroundings but I'm glad I could help my dad and my sisters. It was really really awful and hard. We buried her the next week in West Virginia on our family property and had a beautiful ceremony. I wish she could've been there for that part instead of the days of suffering in the hospital! I feel like I'm doing okay most of the time, but it's only been a month so the grief is still fresh when it hits me at unexpected times.

Anyway, it's been a real mixed bag of a year. Financially, we didn't get much farther on paying down the tax bill or the remainder of what we borrowed for the kitchen, and we haven't built up the EF yet. Coast FIRE is way, way off track since we haven't been able to put much to retirement for the past 6 months or so. But, in good news, I'm restarting our monthly Roth contributions, 50% of the max so $750 per month. If AS's freelance income is good I'll fill in with more contributions, but I also have to think about paying down the tax/kitchen debt, which is currently at about $39K, and rebuilding our EF, ideally to $20K. We also have to fix an electrical issue at the rental property that will be a few thousand. So we shall see.

I'll put our detailed current net worth and Coast FIRE calcluations below, but here's a snapshot of how things changed in 12 months:

December 2021 assets: $1,579,801 ; December 2022 assets: $1,801,176

December 2021 debt: $370,966; December 2022 debt: $791,694

December 2021 net worth: $1,208,835; December 2022 net worth: $1,009,482

 

CURRENT HOUSEHOLD NET WORTH

Assets  
NT's UK pensions:  
AV1: 22,397 pounds $27,996
SW: 27,225 pounds $34,031
AV2: 7,567 pounds $9,459
NT's trad. rollover IRA $96,417
NT's Roth IRA $62,307
NT's SEP IRA $3,358
AS's trad. rollover IRA $24,231
AS's Roth IRA $87,073
AS's SEP IRA $64,675
CJ's 401(k) $211,230
CJ's Roth IRA $67,439
CJ/NT/AS house ($630,000 value -6%) $592,200
CJ/NT/AS rental property ($554,000 value -6%) $520,760
TOTAL ASSETS $1,801,176
   
Debt  
Main mortgage $352,659
Rental property mortgage $391,083
HELOC $35,500
Appliances CC $3,452
Loan from friends (main house) $9,000
TOTAL DEBT $791,694
   
Current Estimated Net Worth December 2022 $1,009,482
   
August 2022 estimate: $1,007,582
   
Change in net worth +$1,900

 

COAST FIRE STATUS

I use this Coast FIRE calculator (https://walletburst.com/tools/coast-fire-calc/) and according to it,  our retirement goal is $1.65 million by the time I'm 65 (17 years). It says we're currently 12 years (I'd be age 60) from our Coast FIRE number of $1.356 million. (That's with our 50% Roth contributions and my 401(k), which are the only two savings baked into our budget at this point.)

Here are the Coast FIRE parameters I use:

Ideal budget      Monthly

Housing            $0        (rents covering prop expenses)

Healthcare        $1,500

Groceries         $1,000

Fun      $1,500

Travel  $1,000

Utilities $500   

Giving  $500   

Home improvement       $500   

Gifts     $250   

Transportation  $250   

Monthly $7,000

Minus rental income      -$1,500

Total monthly    $5,500

Annual  $66,000          

 

I'm in between my spouses' age, so I used my age but our combined retirement investments.

Current age: 48

Retirement age: 65

Annual spending in retirement: $66,000

Monthly contribution: $1,451

Investment growth rate: 7%

Inflation rate: 3%

Withdrawal rate: 4%

Current invested assets: $688,216

Coast FIRE number at current age: $847,066

 

 

 

Aug 2022 net worth update (and so many more updates)

August 31st, 2022 at 05:16 am

Last time I checked in (April), I was eyeing the possibility that we were only a couple years away from Coast FIRE. We had about $26K we'd taken out from HELOC and a zero-interest card for the kitchen reno, but I felt confident about paying it off.

Fast forward to early June. We expected we'd owe some taxes on the sale of the UK flat, but we'd already paid about $5K to the UK for capital gains, so we didn't think it'd be much in the US once they factored that in. We were wrong. We owed over $45K to the IRS and state.

We were able to pay it with our EF plus $30K on the LOC. I made the painful decision to make some cuts to our budget to pay pay down that amount on the LOC and save up $20K to rebuild our EF. We cut all retirement except my 401k, home improvement savings/repayments and charitable giving, freeing up about $4500 per month, so we figured we could have it paid off by March 2023 and restart retirement. The loss of 10 months toward Coast FIRE would be painful but not ruinous.

(Meanwhile of course our retirement funds continued to tank; we've lost 13% value in the past year.)

We managed to make better than expected progress on paying down the HELOC; $11,500 in about two months! But AS has been crumbling under the weight of her high-paying job for a few months, and things came to a head this month, necessitating her resignation.

Now the $4500 we'd cut from the budget is not quite enough to break even. So not only are we not putting much toward retirement, we're not putting anything toward paying back the tax bill either. So we're kind of stagnating.

But, the good news is I redid Coast FIRE and if we restarted retirement today, we'd only be 6 years from coasting. That's a loss of several years of coasting, but it's not as bad as I thought considering we've lost over $100K in retirement fund values.

Of course we can't restart retirement until we make more progress on the tax bill, but it's somewhat comforting.

Our current budget (which doesn't have retirement, home improvement or charitable giving) has us coming up about $1K short starting in October, but we've got two adults working on finding income to bring in, so covering living expenses won't be a challenge. The real challenge will be bringing in enough to quickly knock out the tax bill and restart our retirement contributions.

There have been so many financial hits I'm past reeling; the pandemic has had this kind of numbing effect where I'm always in a state of low grade stress that I don't notice, so other stressors sometimes don't seem to shock the system. (Other times relatively small stressors can completely overload my system, so it's all unpredictable.) We're just trying to be proactive. AS is restarting her self-employed writing/editing business and already has her first job lined up (writing a children's book for $700). NT has applied to a part-time job and is looking for more; meanwhile he's started doing DoorDash to bring in a bit. He also does a bit of work for our downstairs neighbors and manages our rental property, which is a vital part of our income. So we're fighting back, trying to regain momentum.

My plan is preliminary; maybe we'll end up restarting some retirement before we pay back the hole left by the tax bill. There may be other flaws in my calculations as well; we'll have to see how quickly our income comes back up and what other factors change. Because as many surprises as we've had, I'm not going to assume there are no more waiting around the corner! Hopefully there will be some good along with the bad surprises...

Meanwhile, I decided I should do a net worth and Coast FIRE status update. Fingers crossed this is a low point and we'll go up from here!!

 

Assets:

NT's UK pensions:

AV1: 22,397 pounds ($27,996)

SW: 27,225 pounds ($34,031)

AV2: 7,567 pounds ($9,459)

NT's trad. rollover IRA: $97,645

NT's Roth IRA: $63,092

NT's SEP/SIMPLE: $3,397

AS's trad. rollover IRA: $24,556

AS's Roth IRA: 88,082

AS's SEP IRA: $65,490

CJ's 401(k): $214,173

CJ's Roth IRA: $68,289

CJ/NT/AS house: $592,200 ($630,000 value -6%)

CJ/NT/AS rental property: $520,760 ($554,000 value -6%)

---

TOTAL ASSETS: $1,809,170

Debt:

Main mortgage $356,076

Rental property mortgage: $394,029

HELOC $38,500

Appliances CC $3,983

Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000

---

TOTAL DEBT $801,588

Current Estimated Net Worth: $1,007,582

April 2022 estimate: $1,110,372

Change in net worth: -$102,790

 

COAST FIRE:

We are currently only contributing $620 per month to retirement, so Coast FIRE is just a theoretical construct at this point. But if I assumed that NT and AS together can come up with $84K annual income, and if we can restart $1500 per month ROTHs plus put away 10% of their income, and if our rental property provides $1500 per month in passive income in retirement (which I'm reflecting in reduced expenses in retirement), we could potentially hit Coast FIRE in six years. Those are a lot of IFs in our current situation; if we only put $620 per month away, we wouldn't hit our retirement goal number by the time I turn 65. So clearly restarting contributions is a big priority, and hopefully we can do that earlyl next year.

I use this Coast FIRE calculator (https://walletburst.com/tools/coast-fire-calc/) and according to it,  our retirement goal is $1.65 million by the time I'm 65 (17 years). It says we're currently 6 years (I'd be age 54) from our Coast FIRE number of $1.072 million.

Here are the Coast FIRE parameters I use:

Ideal budget      Monthly

Housing            $0        (rents covering prop expenses)

Healthcare        $1,500

Groceries         $1,000

Fun      $1,500

Travel  $1,000

Utilities $500   

Giving  $500   

Home improvement       $500   

Gifts     $250   

Transportation  $250   

Monthly $7,000

Minus rental income      -$1,500

Total monthly    $5,500

Annual  $66,000          

 

I'm in between my spouses' age, so I used my age but our combined retirement investments.

Current age: 48

Retirement age: 65

Annual spending in retirement: $66,000

Monthly contribution: $2,561

Investment growth rate: 7%

Inflation rate: 3%

Withdrawal rate: 4%

Current invested assets: $696,210

Coast FIRE number at current age: $847,066

It's crazy that just under a year ago we had nearly $800K in retirement. We would be so close to Coast FIRE! But most of that loss was due to the stock market, so there's nothing I can do about that now.

Question about passive income in Coast FIRE calculations

April 14th, 2022 at 05:24 pm

This is something I just started thinking about yesterday, and I thought who better to ask than my SA buddies!

I use this calculator when tracking our progress toward potential Coast FIRE status:

https://walletburst.com/tools/coast-fire-calc/

As some of you may have read, we recently bought a rental property. While it's not fully rented yet, when it is, we think we can count on about $1500 monthly income after expenses.

Since we intend to hold onto this property and keep renting it, I was looking at the Coast FIRE calculator trying to figure out how to factor that in. The only solution I could come up with was to reduce the projected spending in retirement (since some of the spending would theoretically be covered by rental income vs. drawing down retirement funds).

Does that sound like the right way to think about this?

April 8 net worth update (reflecting the new rental property)

April 8th, 2022 at 10:31 pm

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
AV1: 22,397 pounds ($27,996)
SW: 27,225 pounds ($34,031)
AV2: 7,567 pounds ($9,459)
NT's trad. rollover IRA: $108,777
NT's Roth IRA: $69,327
NT's SEP/SIMPLE: $3,796
AS's trad. rollover IRA: $27,320
AS's Roth IRA: $97,469
AS's SEP IRA: $73,073

AS uninvested cash: $6,013
CJ's 401(k): $229,833
CJ's Roth IRA: $75,125
CJ/NT/AS house: $592,200 ($630,000 value -6%)

CJ/NT/AS rental property: $520,760 ($554,000 value -6%)
---
TOTAL ASSETS: $1,875,179

Debt:
Main mortgage $359,456

Rental property mortgage: $396,351

Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
---
TOTAL DEBT $764,807

Current Estimated Net Worth: $1,110,372

December 2021 estimate: $1,208,835

Change in net worth: -$98,463

Summary: I didn't update net worth for a few months, hoping the markets would recover and we'd have a positive update, but I don't know when that's gonna happen and I wanted to refresh the net worth sheet to reflect the rental property we bought.

We're down nearly $100K from December's net worth. About half of that is losses in our retirement portfolio value, and the other half is from buying the house. We had $188K of proceeds from selling NT's UK flat in the previous net worth update. From that, we made a $133K down payment, and about $30K went to closing costs, repairs, and covering the mortgage and utilities until it's fully rented. The other $25K is sitting in savings, but I'm not counting it toward our net worth since it's there to cover further repairs or expenses. (One unit will be occupied come May 1, but the other one is still not rented, so the mortgage is not quite covered and we're paying utilities on both units for now.)

So, it's not great news on the net worth, but hopefully it'll be smooth sailing soon in both the stock market and on the rental property front!

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are usually approximate. UK pension values updated about once a year. UK asset values are calculated figuring $1.25 for every British pound (just to have a system, even though the exchange rate varies).

 

 

December 2021 net worth update

January 5th, 2022 at 06:18 am

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
AV1: 22,397 pounds ($27,996)
SW: 27,225 pounds ($34,031)
AV2: 7,567 pounds ($9,459)
NT's trad. rollover IRA: $116,857
NT's Roth IRA: $72,911
NT's SEP/SIMPLE: $3,709
AS's trad. rollover IRA: $29,355
AS's Roth IRA: $103,147
AS's SEP IRA: $78,516
CJ's 401(k): $244,478
CJ's Roth IRA: $79,142
Proceeds of NT's flat: $188,000
CJ/NT/AS house: $592,200 ($630,000 value -6%)
---
TOTAL ASSETS: $1,579,801

Debt:
US Mortgage $361,966
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
---
TOTAL DEBT $370,966

Current Estimated Net Worth: $1,208,835

September 2021 estimate: $1,151,336

Change in net worth: +$57,499

Summary: I didn't update net worth for a few months, so we made up what we lost in September plus some! We'll have some big shifts in assets and debt next month when we close on a rental property, but it won't change our net worth much.

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are usually approximate. UK pension values updated about once a year. UK asset values are calculated figuring $1.25 for every British pound (just to have a system, even though the exchange rate varies).

Midstream on a lot of big changes

November 10th, 2021 at 04:30 pm

I keep putting off posting here. We've got several big money-related and other things that are in process right now, and I keep thinking when they're more settled I'll post, but honestly some of them are going to be months or more before they're settled, so I should just post now, and then post updates as things move along!

Let's see...I'll start with something that's pretty settled.

1. AS applied for a top job at a local nonprofit this summer, and she got it! She's been involved with them off and on for about 20 years, most recently on the board, but this was a huge step up for her, both moneywise and careerwise. (It's the kind of job that warrants an interview/article in the city newspaper!) Moneywise, well, she was freelance before, and her annual income would fluctuate but was in the $70Ks these past few years--$77K was her highest one. Her new job pays $110K, so pretty much a 50% raise, and steady versus unpredictable!

I'm going to put money in her SEP for the rest of the year because I'm not sure what the retirement plan picture is at her job--she doesn't think there is one, but she's the boss now, so she can get that started up if there isn't!

So that takes the pressure off...once NT's unemployment ran out, and AS was slowing her freelance business to work on applying for this job, we went in the hole quite a bit, but now AS and my paychecks will cover the budget, so whatever NT brings in can hopefully make up the difference. And with next year's budget I'm hoping to expand some of the line items that we tend to go over on...mainly groceries, healthcare and personal spending.

2. We sold the UK flat! If you recall, we've waWented to sell it for years and years, but the English real estate market was soft, and then Brexit threw a huge curveball, but just as all that was looking better and we listed the flat, COVID hit and we had to take it back off the market and take on a renter. Once their lease was up earlier this year, we signed a 6-month lease and listed the flat with tenant in situ, and an investment property owner snapped it up for the asking price we were hoping for, 200K pounds! We closed at the end of September.

I'd made some very rough estimates and reckoned we'd only clear half of that, after we paid the management company, mortgage, estate agent, lawyer, tax pro and taxes. But we actually ended up with about 160K, so my calculations were way off! We still need to have our accountant do our regular annual UK taxes, which he can't do until April, so we left a couple grand in the UK account. And we still need to do our US taxes and see if Uncle Sam wants a piece of the action, but I'd been figuring only 100K before US taxes, so we're already way ahead in my mind.

We're in the process of transferring the funds from the UK to US, which is a whole complicated kind of nervewracking process for people not used to doing it, but it should be in our US savings account by the end of this week or beginning of next. I haven't done a detailed calculation but think we could end up with nearly $200K!

Most of it, we'll save for now, and once US taxes are settled, start looking for an investment property here. But I am going to give us all a big spending money bonus, because we all went in the hole this past summer, being pretty self-indulgent. So $3K each for the adults to wipe out our deficit and give us a tiny bit extra, and maybe $500 each for the kids (which I won't let them spend willy nilly but they can use for clothes, makeup and stuff that's kinda reasonable).

3. The kitchen reno is supposedly going to start within the next few days! The last piece is that our contractor needs a plumber to remove and seal off the radiator in that room, and he's been trying to chase one down for a month or more. But he got one to commit to Thursday, Friday OR Monday. Not much of a commitment in my mind, but the contractor seems to think it's gonna happen! I took pics of our crappy current kitchen just in case it's getting ripped out tomorrow. We'll be moving the fridge to the dining room, doing dishes in the bathtub, and doing a lot of our cooking on hot plates/microwave/toaster oven for god knows how long.

We have the new appliances purchased and waiting for us, and we've specified some finishes, but there are still things that will need to be worked out on the fly. I'm a little worried with all the supply chain disruptions of late, but we'll just have to roll with whatever happens!

We also don't know what the final price tag will be--I mean you never do, because things always happen in a reno, but this one is especially fuzzy. We were roughly quoted $60-$80K like two years ago, pre-pandemic, but I know materials and labor and everything else has gone up, so I have no idea! We have $45K saved up, plus a $10K emergency fund, and we have a $50K HELOC. So hopefully that'll be enough to cover it without dipping into the proceeds from selling the flat, but who knows. We have $500 per month in the monthly budget that'll mainly go to paying off the HELOC I suppose--I'll figure out a more detailed plan once the dust (literally) settles.

So, fingers crossed. We absolutely hate our kitchen and have always wanted to completely tear it down and make it different--the doorways, window and placement of the appliances are all changing drastically--so this'll be really exciting even if super expensive and stressful. This is by far the most expensive renovation we have our eyes on--everything else we've been holding off on will be much smaller chunks of money.

- - -

So those are the big three financial-related updates. Other random stuff:

- My job continues to go pretty well considering. Through layoffs and attrition we're down to about 12 Minneapolis employees--we've had as many as 75 at various times in the past. We're still part of a bigger organization and now we work more closely with them, handling our couple of legacy clients we haven't lost but also supporting work for our D.C. headquarters. So it seems like there's more than enough work and that they want to hang onto me, but I'm ready to roll with whatever punches after the past few bumpy years. But ideally, I'd stay at my company until my family reaches Coast FIRE...then I might look at something more part-time. But that's going to be several years so I'd love to just hang on here and not have to look for another full time job.

- NT's been in talks to do bookkeeping for our downstairs neighbors' businesses...he took a Quickbooks training course but that plan appears to have stalled for whatever reasons. But he still does admin work for them, and his hat business is slowly but surely growing, turning a bit of a profit now, and he plans to handle property management once we get an investment property here.

- NT and I are both getting pretty embedded in two different music scenes here--hip hop for him, country music/Americana for me. We did vaguely toss around the idea of looking into investing in a venue type place instead of a rental home--but the rental home seems like a MUCH more stable income prospect so we're most likely going with that.

- I've been getting more and more into a creative groove, so much so that I can't even work on all my projects as much as I want to. I have my music website adventuresinamericana.com, which has gotten lots of positive attention by the local scene (and I even get non-local musicians asking us to review their work--one as far away as Sweden!). We're even working on doing a podcast for it! So there's lots of writing, planning, and of course going to as many shows as I can squeeze in. I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year so another novel in the works, and I have at least four in various stages of completion for self-publishing. (I'm a terrible self-promoter so that's in no way a revenue generator--nor is the Americana website which we don't even do ads on [yet].) There's my guitar practice and songwriting--I have weekly lessons which at least keeps me practicing guitar, but songwriting has fallen by the wayside with all the other things I have going on. Anyway, as DisneySteve wrote about on his blog earlier, I'm getting a bit impatient with having a full-time job when I've got all these other way more interesting projects! Definitely going to be open to opportunities to not have a full-time job as soon as that's realistic with our retirement goals.

- The kids got their first vaccine shot today!!! I'm so excited. Even though this won't protect our family 100%, we'll be so much safer once they get their full course. I'm still going to mask up everywhere I go for a while because cases are AWFUL here in MN, but hopefully when things look a bit better, I'll feel more able to take some chances because damn, I don't want to mask up in public for the rest of my life! But right now it seems unnecessarily risky not to, with our kids unvaxxed and cases sooo high here.

 

September 2021 net worth update

October 7th, 2021 at 03:24 am

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
AV1: 22,397 pounds ($27,996)
SW: 27,225 pounds ($34,031)
AV2: 7,567 pounds ($9,459)
NT's trad. rollover IRA: $110,944
NT's Roth IRA: $68,620
NT's SEP/SIMPLE: $1,237
AS's trad. rollover IRA: $27,899
AS's Roth IRA: $96,160
AS's SEP IRA: $73,417
CJ's 401(k): $230,274
CJ's Roth IRA: $73,553
Proceeds of NT's flat: $179,000 (approx)
CJ/NT/AS house: $592,200 ($630,000 value -6%)
---
TOTAL ASSETS: $1,524,790

Debt:
US Mortgage $364,454
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
---
TOTAL DEBT $373,454

Current Estimated Net Worth: $1,151,336

August 2021 estimate: $1,173,382

Change in net worth: -$22,046

Summary: Our first big dip in a while due to the market's effect on our retirement accounts. You may notice our debt section is a lot shorter--it's because we sold the UK flat and paid off the UK mortgages! We about broke even net worth-wise on that. I keep meaning to do a big news update but still waiting for some things to be sorted out on the flat taxes as well as the net pay for AS's new job.

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are usually approximate. UK pension values updated about once a year. UK asset values are calculated figuring $1.25 for every British pound (just to have a system, even though the exchange rate varies).

August 2021 retirement goal update

September 3rd, 2021 at 07:47 pm

Well, our goal just went way up because of a rise in income! Which means we're way behind, but for a good reason. (I also decided to round off salaries while I was at it so our goal could be a nice round number too!)

New goal: $922,000 by March 2024

Current retirement balance: $779,114

May 2021 balance: $732,687

Progress since last update: $46,427

Still needed: $142,886

This interim goal is based on getting my and NT's retirement to 4x my current and his last full-time salary (approximately $84,000 and $64,000) by the time we turn 50, and AS's retirement values to 3x her current salary ($110,000) by the time she turns 45.
$84,000 x 4 = $336,000
$64,000 x 4 = $256,000
$110,000 x 3 = $330,000

It will shift anytime our salary/annual income changes. (The only exception is I won't lower if there's a lower-income year.)

There are 31 months to go before March 2024, so that means we need to gain $4609 per month on average to meet our goal.

The ultimate goal we're working toward is 8x our annual income by the time we retire at 65.

***

Coast FIRE Goal

I've also started using this Coast FIRE calculator (https://walletburst.com/tools/coast-fire-calc/) and according to it,  our retirement goal is $2.1 million by the time I'm 65 (18 years). It says we're currently 10 years from our Coast FIRE number of $1.5 million!

Here are the Coast FIRE parameters I use:

Ideal budget Monthly
Housing $0
Healthcare $1,500
Groceries $1,000
Fun $1,500
Travel $1,000
Utilities $500
Giving $500
Home improvement $500
Gifts $250
Transportation $250
Total monthly $7,000
   
Annual $84,000

 

I'm in between my spouses' age, so I used my age but our combined retirement investments.

Current age: 47

Retirement age: 65

Annual spending in retirement: $84,000

Monthly contribution: $2,700

Investment growth rate: 7%

Inflation rate: 3%

Withdrawal rate: 4%

August 2021 net worth update

September 3rd, 2021 at 07:30 pm

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
AV1: 22,397 pounds ($27,996)
SW: 27,225 pounds ($34,031)
AV2: 7,567 pounds ($9,459)
NT's trad. rollover IRA: $115,452
NT's Roth IRA: $71,485
NT's SEP/SIMPLE: $1,291
AS's trad. rollover IRA: $29,021
AS's Roth IRA: $99,716
AS's SEP IRA: $76,485
CJ's 401(k): $238,074
CJ's Roth IRA: $76,104
NT's flat: $212,500 (200,000 pounds value x1.25 -15%)
CJ/NT/AS house: $592,200 ($630,000 value -6%)
---
TOTAL ASSETS: $1,583,814

Debt:
US Mortgage $365,279
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $25,233
UK Mortgage 2 $5,319
UK Mortgage 3 $5,601
---
TOTAL DEBT $410,432

Current Estimated Net Worth: $1,173,382

June 2021 estimate: $1,138,177

Change in net worth: +$35,205

Summary: Good healthy rise in value over two months, mainly due to retirement contributions & gains!

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are usually approximate. UK pension values updated about once a year. UK asset values and debt amounts are calculated figuring $1.25 for every British pound (just to have a system, even though I checked the exchange rate and it's more like 1 to $1.38).

Lots of promising financial & other movement

July 1st, 2021 at 05:28 am

The thing about promising is, it's not a sure thing, but all of a sudden there seem to be a bunch of good prospects on our horizon financially!

- This is more a giant expense but would be soo great if it happened: our long long long planned kitchen reno seems to be kicking into gear. The contractor has city approval for the changes and has a new window due to be delivered end of August! We've resumed picking appliances, finishes, etc., which had kind of stalled because there was always one thing or another holding us up. Financially I feel in good shape for it; we've got $50K in savings, a $50K HELOC, and $500 per month in the budget. So fingers crossed!

- We seem to be about to sell the UK flat! We've wanted to do this for years but finally listed it in early 2020 when the market in England looked good. Of course you know what happened next; it couldn't even be shown in person so we got another renter with a year-long lease. Now we've got one we can give 6-month notice to, so we decided to try listing the flat as an investment property, and switch it to a residential listing if it didn't sell. Well, a week into being listed we got a bite! We were asking 210K pounds and they came in with a 190K hard offer, so we turned it down without countering. Guess it wasn't as hard as they made it seem because they came back with 200K and we accepted it! The investor buyer keeps talking about moving quickly in his emails, so I guess we'll find out what that means in UK investment property buying terms!

- Between paying off the mortgage (30K), paying the management co (15% of sale), paying the estate agent, solicitor and tax pro, and paying the actual capital gains tax on the property (which NT originally bought for 40K), I'll be happy if we pocket 100K of the sale. Still, that'd be enough for a good down payment on a property closer to home! We're hoping to get a duplex and rent both unites out. Our CoastFIRE number assumes we'll have a modest rental income, so it seems preferable to anything else we could do with the money. Of course we'll need to let everything take its course in England and then check with our US tax guy to see any tax implications here, but I can't help but start to glance around at real estate listings in our neighborhood...

So yeah! Once again, we could have two big home-related things going on simultaneously; that seems to be kind of our thing. Those are the big money things, but we also have some other promising bits of things:

- NT's unemployment has nearly run out. He's stretched it this long by working part time doing admin for our downstairs neighbors. We only need him to make a bit more to make ends meet, so he asked our neighbors if they knew any other entrepreneurs in need of virtual part time admin support. Instead, our neighbor asked if he'd learn Quickbooks and take on their bookkeeping as well as the other things he's doing! So he's signed up for a course and it seems like that could be all sorted out!

- AS's freelance business is doing as well as ever but she's started to look around at other options. She applied for a pretty high-ranking position at a nonprofit she used to work at and has been involved with for years, and she just got notified that she's being called in for an initial interview! It's only the first round, but it's pretty promising. If she got this job, it would likely be a step up from her highest annual self-employed year of income. Not a huge jump, but noticeable. So we're just at the beginning of this process, but it's interesting to contemplate!

I guess that's it for the big stuff! Everything else is about as normal as it can be in the new normal.

June 2021 net worth update

June 30th, 2021 at 02:43 am

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
AV: 22,397 pounds ($27,996)
SW: 27,225 pounds ($34,031)
FL: 6,462 pounds ($8,078)
NT's trad. rollover IRA: $111,934
NT's Roth IRA: $66,268
NT's SEP/SIMPLE: $2,500
AS's trad. rollover IRA: $28,143
AS's Roth IRA: $95,092
AS's SEP IRA: $72,046
CJ's 401(k): $228,862
CJ's Roth IRA: $72,251
NT's flat: $212,500 (200,000 pounds value x1.25 -15%)
CJ/NT/AS house: $592,200 ($630,000 value -6%)
---
TOTAL ASSETS: $1,551,901

Debt:
US Mortgage $367,740
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $25,813
UK Mortgage 2 $5,441
UK Mortgage 3 $5,730
---
TOTAL DEBT $413,724

Current Estimated Net Worth: $1,138,177

May 2021 estimate: $1,122,570

Change in net worth: +$15,607

Summary: I actually remembered to do net worth two months in a row, and it was a pretty good month!

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are usually approximate. UK pension values updated about once a year. UK asset values and debt amounts are calculated figuring $1.25 for every British pound (just to have a system, even though I checked the exchange rate and it's more like 1 to $1.38).


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