School has been out for almost two weeks, and we’re starting to enjoy the summer break. Independence Day is almost here. We just had a mini heat wave in NJ, so today it felt almost cold this morning at 65 degrees.

Overall, we’re doing well financially. Here’s how we did in June.

Monthly Spending and Income

June 2021 Spending

Primary Residence – Property Tax+Assoc. Fees $290
Rental – Property Tax+Assoc. Fees $215
Internet $40
Cell Phone $108
Gas + Electric $92
Water/Sewer $66
Food (Groceries/Household) $1,190
Food (Eating Out) $516
Transportation [Gas] $105
Car Insurance $0
Life/Home/Umbrella Insurance $90
Health/Dental Insurance $30
Misc/Buffer [Phone, NetflixHulu, Father’s Day, Music, Doctor Appt.] $466
Total Monthly Spending $3,207

Our internet prices will hopefully be around $40 for a while now. We probably overpaid for a fancy Verizon router last month, but it’s been consistent and reliable for us during the pandemic. That’s important. Sometime during the pandemic, I downgraded my cell phone plan from $40/month for 10 GB of data to $25/month for 5 GB (capped). Now that we’re leaving the house more, and our kids are using more devices, I switched back to the old plan. We’re going to use a mobile hotspot through my cell phone more often going forward.

I got a fancy new phone in June, a Motorola One 5G Ace. I think I’ve gone through 3 different phones over the past 5 years. One was $60 and the other two were free. My most recent phone was lagging a lot when running Google Maps and pretty much anything else at the same time. So, on Prime day, I pulled the trigger for a fancier one.

We didn’t pay health insurance premiums this month because we overpaid in May. However, we did have a $50 co-pay for one of our kids to visit a specialist.

And… food. Sigh. I think I was in denial before, but now I see that we spend more on food and household goods than I originally thought we would. I planned for us to spend close to $1000 on food/household and $600 eating out. In reality, I’m seeing $1060 on food/household and $380 on eating out when I calculate the average of our spending per month so far this year. This month is definitely on the high side. We ate out about 2-3 times each week.

We also paid for some fun stuff in June. I got Mr. FD a Star Wars themed mug for Father’s Day, which he has graciously been using over the past few weeks. We went to the zoo. We went more berry picking. We starting playing Pokémon Go as a family!

I originally intended for us to share a single account and just catch a few every once in a while for fun. Eventually, I created a second account because one kid was hogging the phone and not letting the other one play. Then, I got hooked myself and created a third account. I ended up installing it on two of my old phones that I tether to my new phone as a hotspot. Mr. FD put in a good attempt at self-restraint, but he eventually caved in after about 2 weeks. So, we’ll probably be getting out and playing this a lot this summer. So much screen time.

As a side note, Mr. FD and I used to play a lot of another game called Ingress before having kids. It’s made by Niantic, which is the same company that put out Pokémon Go. I never thought I’d be playing an augmented reality game with kids, but here we are.

June 2021 InCOME

Rent $1,400
Hobby Site $252
Mr. FD Salary $7,195
Total Monthly Income $8,847

Mr. FireDesired got paid for his freelance work as expected. Rent and hobby income are about what we expected for this month as well. 

We’re extremely thankful of our position right now. Before the pandemic, Mr. FD used to have a really long commute, easily 3+ hours round trip each day in good old Jersey traffic. He doesn’t have that anymore since going freelance. He only works part-time now. Still, he’s bringing in more income than we need. And, we get the benefit of being able to invest a large chunk into deferred, tax-sheltered retirement accounts. 

Mr. FD contributed in June about $4,240 combined as both an employee and employer to his solo 401K. This is more than last month, and we could have contributed more last month. I think we’re still new to this solo 401K, so we figured that if we under-contribute early on, we can still add more near the end of the year.

Solo 401k Contributions HSA Contributions
$4,240 $0

Overall, by subtracting our expenses from our income plus 401k contributions, we’ve definitely saved this month.

June Savings: $8,847$3,207 + $4,240 + $0 = $9,880

Also…

In other news, Mr. FD’s freelance work might continue until the end of the year. Mr. FD seems happy with this. It definitely pads our savings a little more. For me, it’s a bit unexpected. I had hoped to get more free time in August, but I’ll be the primary caretaker for our kids a little longer.

I guess we’re not really transitioning towards FIRE quite yet anymore. Instead, we’re exhibiting symptoms of “one more year” syndrome. Continuing with the freelance work would mean that we have to update our expected annual income with GetCovered NJ (groan). With that, we should expect to pay a lot more for health insurance each month. We might even have to pay a penalty come tax time next year. On the flip side, it makes sense that Mr. FD would want to continue. Other than the commute, he was happy with his job. Now that the commute is gone, it’s even better. We did lose some of the stability of full-time employment, but we don’t need it now that we’re financially independent. 

Also, I ended up dropping my summer class for my grad program. I think that there are a lot of people that handle taking care of kids and taking one class, but I’m not one of them. It was a lot of reading and writing, which is a weak point for me. I have a tough time focusing my attention when my kids are around all the time. As a former software engineer, I’m much more comfortable when coding is a bigger part of the course. I’ll try again with another class in the Fall. We’ll see how it goes.

Spending and Savings Summary for the year

Here’s our spending and savings for this year.

  Spending Saving
January 2021 -$4,977 $6,259
February 2021 -$4,288 $3,632
March 2021 -$2,567 $11,802
April 2021 -$5,632 $1,591
May 2021 -$3,271 $9,888
June 2021 -$3,207 $9,880
TOTAL -$23,943 $43,052

We’re basically at the mid-point for the year. I can double our total spending so far to get a projection of what we’ll spend for the entire year, which is about $48k. That’s more than I originally expected, but not by too much.

Net Worth for the year

For net worth, here’s how we’ve been doing. I calculate net worth near the end of the month, but not always on the final day of the month. Most of our net worth increases or decreases are heavily dependent on the stock market. I’m also including our total FIRE assets, which are arguably more important.

Our net worth went up about $40k this month, and our FIRE assets went up about the same. Year to date, our net worth is up more than $200k. I feel pretty good about that. The market continues to go up, bringing our assets up with it. I’ve been keeping real estate values pretty much constant in these calculations, even though comparable homes in our area are definitely trending upward. It seems a bit unreal. I think I just don’t believe it yet.

  Net Worth FIRE Assets
January 2021 $2.15 M $1.55 M
February 2021 $2.18 M $1.59 M
March 2021 $2.23 M $1.63 M
April 2021 $2.29 M $1.69 M
May 2021 $2.32 M $1.72 M
June 2021 $2.36 M $1.76 M

FIRE Failure Indicators

We’re not failing at FIRE yet. We’re not actually FIRE’d yet. Still, here’s our quick sanity check.

  1. This month, we spent $3,207 and saved $9,880. We’re spending more than expected, but we’re saving almost twice that. We’re still good here.
  2. If Mr. FD were to stop working today, we’d have a withdrawal rate close to 2.75%. So, we’re not failing here either, even if our initial spending estimates are lower than our actual spending. I created a simple table of withdrawal rates and how much that would amount to given our current FIRE assets. We want to keep our spending at or below 3%, so we’re good.
    Withdrawal Rate Withdrawal Amount
    4.00% $70,500
    3.75% $66,000
    3.50% $61,700
    3.25% $57,300
    3.00% $52,900
    2.75% $48,500

Happiness Indicators

On a scale of 1-10, how would we rate our happiness?

Mr. FireDesired is pretty much always an 8. He does feel good that his contract work got extended. I’m not sure what would push him up or down. He’s pretty constant.

For myself, I’m down to a 7. While I’m feeling grateful that we’re financially stable, I wish I didn’t have to drop my class. I want to do better. I’m continuing with exercising. I’ve mainly been doing two short runs per week (~2 miles each), and I’m finally getting my long runs past 4 miles. My pace is abysmal (14 minute miles at best), but it’s better than where I was two months ago.

As always, thanks for reading. I hope everyone is doing well!

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