Progress to Early Retirement: 58.0%
Progress to Financial Independence (3/4): 77.3%
Progress to Half Annual Spending: 116.0%
Percent Home Ownership: 58.3%
Net Worth / Annual spending tax adjusted: 14.5x of that Home: 2.2x Retire: 9.1x Non-Retire: 3.2x
This month’s update will be a rather short one. With the holidays and my project, I haven’t had much time. I literally have worked all but 2 days in the last month, and likely 10 in the last 6 months. So that’s why there has been less time for me to work on this. I hope the next year will free me up for more time. I still need to write up an article on my wiring.
One thing I promised myself in the new year is to start experimenting with an Arduino. I have always been a tinkerer, and I have high hopes to make a product that might turn into a side job. Arduinos are cheap, and I have the knowledge from college.
My first project will be completely useless. 20 years ago, I had the idea to turn 3 ammeters into a clock. I want to finish that first, and then I will hopefully have some ideas for some more useful products.
My year in review seems like a good next idea to discuss. Well, I spent way too much money on eating out. Sure my reason was that I have been working like crazy, but still, it was a waste of money. That’s a big deal for me to change this year. We never fixed the deck, and that needs to be done this year. I need to spend much more time writing here, as it’s important to me to keep track of my progress.
Our home continues to lose value. We’re down 12% since I started blogging in August 2018. That rather sucks. That being said, our network gained just over 19% in the last year. About 3-4% of our increase was from what we saved, so the vast majority was gains from the market. Our gains would have been 5% greater if our home had not lost about 13.5% of it’s value. So, that sucked, but that means the market was VERY good to us this year. If only we could sustain this for more years, and we’d never have to work again. Since the market did about 29%, and had we not lost value in our home, we would have had been just about that number, I’d day we did just fine. After all, we have some of our funds in bonds, cash, and government debt.
So my favorite chart is the one tracking when we can retire. After this year, with the hours I have worked, I really want to retire. I’m done. The fact is that we are getting closer to the target. In an ideal world, it could be as quick as 6 years. Realistically, I am hoping that we can get there in 8 to 10 years. That would be the 5% average annual gain. Boy, I really hope this can happen. If it does, I will still work, but the stress will drop, and right now, I need that.
The majority of our savings is in our 401ks, and we are going to add to them as there is another $500 Americans can add to them this year. The limit is now $19,500, and another $6,500 for catchup according to the IRS. 401k3 is my wife’s at her job that she started a few years ago, so that’s the smallest 401k account. 401k2 is her old one which is about the same absolute value as mine. My wife made more than me for most of our working careers, but since the baby, I have started pulling ahead. She traveled a lot for her old job, and that paid very well. She traded, because she did not want to be away from our kiddo 20 days a month most months of the year.
One thing that needs to change is that the value of our Non-Retirement accounts needs to go up. The vast majority of our savings is in our 401ks. We max them out, and while we do save outside of that, even then a chunk is extra principle payments. Our overall plan is to pay off the house in 10 years or so. We are on track to do that. It does bother me that we keep losing value, but hopefully that trend will change eventually. Sadly, the Zillow.com forecast is for more losses in the year to come. Bummer there, but it is what it is. We still have to pay the mortgage. That prediction does make me consider those extra principle payments. For now, they will continue. We could pay off the mortgage 100% with our non-retirement investments. I am choosing not to do that for the reason I just discussed.
Above is the chart of our home value so you can see what I see. The big change in February of 2019 was from our big principle payment. I do not regret that.
So, overall it’s been a good year. I hope to have more posts. I may blog my Arduino – Ammeter Clock progress and more information about the project here or in a new blog. I would love to hear your thoughts. To me, it’s a bit off topic, but that’s just a bit of my world.