FIRE December Update

This Month’s Story

Progress to Early Retirement: 57.0%
Progress to Financial Independence (3/4): 76.0%
Progress to Half Annual Spending: 114.0%
Percent Home Ownership: 58.6%
Net Worth / Annual Spending Tax Adj.: 14.3x of that Home: 2.2x Retire: 8.8x Non-Retire: 3.2x

Well now I get to say that for the forth month in a row that I am working hard towards that deadline. The fact is that I am nearly there. I have been converting 97 programs from COBOL to C#, as of this writing I have 5 left to debug. It’s been quite a journey, but the end is near. For the first time, I am 8 days late in posting this, but I am thinking better late than never.

It has not been all work and no play though, as I continue to make time for my son. In the past month, I did add Cat6 network cable to one room in my home. Yes, this is fun for me. There will be a post describing it, but the short story is this. Putting my cable modem next to where the cable enters my home got me about 10-15% faster internet on our 200Mb/s connection, but then I had to put my router in my basement. The Cat6 Ethernet cable sends the signal without loss to my router which is now in my master bedroom. That means I can hardwire that TV/Roku. That puts the wifi router in the best location in my home. I also tested out a powerline networking adapter from there to my main pc which is upstairs. I got better ping times and was able to get 150Mb/s through it so that’s plenty good for me. I also have a Helium Hotspot in that room, and that works better with a hard line connection, so I added a tiny 4 port wired router. Again, this will be a full post. I think the Helium network is a great idea.

My next fun adventure was taking apart my Celestron Power Tank. It’s a old lead acid power supply for my telescope. It was my first one and the battery is no good. I’ll be taking it to Walmart for recycling one of these days, but for now that dead battery is collecting dust in my garage. It’s a 7AH battery, and the fact is that swapping it out for a Lithium Iron Phospahte battery is easy and cost effective. I can get a brand new power tank, with a larger battery for less than the price of one of Celestron’s lithium power tanks. I also one of of those, but I need more power. One of the batteries will power the fans and lights (red LED) on my telescope, and the other will be for the electronics itself. I did not realize how far the Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries have come, or I would have done this sooner. Again, another post will be forthcoming. At the moment, I am waiting for the new battery to be delivered.

So now to the money. Well, my bitcoin and precious metal fund have dropped in value, but my home has at least stabilized. I think what Zillow quotes it at is low, as it’s comparing my house to ones near it. The problem is that I live on the edge of my town, and my town has the better schools. Both are safe towns, but one has the better schools which in my area means more expensive homes. Taxes are higher, but I am getting what I am paying for. Still, at least the home’s value has stabilized down about 8.4% since I started blogging, and about 10% BELOW our purchase price now nearly 7 years ago. Bummer there, but what can you do. At least we own more than 58% of it. I should point out that up until April of last year the house was worth more than what we paid for it. That was when the area lost some big employers, and well I hope we get some more jobs.

Starting with my favorite chart, we are now officially between 6 and 10 years from retirement depending on how well the market goes. That is important to me. After this year, I am really getting burned out by work. It’s just not as much fun as it used to be. I really like the fact that we hit the 10 year mark even if the market only nets us 4% on average for those 10 years.

Since the start of my blogging over a year ago now, we are up officially 10% in spite of losing roughly that much in our home’s value over the same time period. The market has been very good to us for the last 2 months with each one netting us just over 2% growth overall. I am very happy that the President and the Congress has enabled the good times to continue. I hope they can continue that progress.

Our retirement accounts are doing well, as the market has been kind. I have no complaints there. In total value, the numbers are inching up, but the percentages are what really tell the story.

This next chart is the actual value of our non retirement accounts minus of course the actual dollar amounts. Sorry, a promise is a promise. We are within a percent or two from where we were before we paid that huge sum against the principle of our home. This was a big deal for me. I want our emergency fund and our non-retirement investments to grow. We are back up to having 12-14 months expenses in cash or I-bonds. I do include the bitcoin/precious metal fund in that category. I don’t consider either a real investment, and would sell both if I needed it.

It only took us 8 months to restore our cash position in spite of putting a large sum into that bitcoin and precious metals fund lumped together in the “other Cash” label. It’s purely speculative, but I’ve read a few places that having a little of that is worth a risk. I think this means we are actually saving quite a bit more than I give us credit for. This is a good thing. Of course, we did not get the new deck this year, and that is a must. As I said before, it’s falling apart.

That’s about all for today. I hope to find some more time for those other updates soon.


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