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July Updates

August 29, 2017

[This post was sitting in drafts, but I’m posting it now since August is ending soon!]

July was less crazy than June, but still very busy!


We took a short weekend trip to Carmel, but for a variety of boring reasons, the weekend turned out not to be very good at all.  I spent a really nice weekend in Michigan lake country with T’s family, and he stayed for nearly a week.  That was beautiful, and I’m grateful that his parents organized the week.


As of July, our net worth is up over 20% for the year.  I find it hard to believe. It took so long to reach my first $100k in net worth, but the markets have cooperated nicely for the last many years.  The only real dip in the stock markets was before I had much invested. Rationally, I don’t expect this up-up-up to last, but it is hard not to get used to it.

I don’t take credit for the market value of our house in our net worth, but I do increase it with our yearly tax assessment. Due to Prop 13, our tax assessed value is pegged to the purchase price plus inflation, so this is conservative. Our net worth got a bit of a bump this month due to the updated assessment (and taxes will go up slightly..  Yay for non-liquid  wealth tied up in my primary residence!!!

I track our investible assets (excluding home equity) to compute predicted monthly cashflow, assuming a 4% yearly safe withdrawal rate. I exclude the mortgage from our average monthly spending, and compare the two numbers.  Financial independence will be achieved when our investible assets covers our non-mortgage spending, AND the house is paid off.  We’re about 50% there on the assets side, but we have not reached 50% on the house payoff.  This further backs up my decision to continue pre-payments.

I don’t put a lot of weight on making sure I calculate the number correctly, because early retirement is not the plan.  Freedom is.  If financial independence / early retirement was our primary goal, it would not be wise to plan to retire in this area and have so much tied up in a house.  Still, tracking these things helps me have a clear picture of our two goals: savings to live on in retirement and a place to live in retirement.

I have a small pension from my LA job that I don’t consider in our net worth, and T is contributing to a pension system right now.  He’s not vested yet, and I do count it in our net worth in a rough way (his contributions are considered because we get them back no matter what, the rest is ignored).  Similarly, I expect we’d get some social security, but I ignore it. I like to keep the picture conservative, but I also like to remind myself where the conservatism lives.


All of it is really fun and challenging stuff that I enjoy doing, with people I like.  The long term anxiety about security never really goes away, but it isn’t bothering me right now. I wonder if this is the nature of this job, or if I would have this worry anyway?

I have been a little burnt out on the travel and intentionally minimized it this summer.  The travel is fine when I don’t add personal/fun travel on top of it, but I don’t like being away from home too much.


Celebrating 3 years!  Nothing to report in July since I just did a big post on this.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 29, 2017 8:56 am

    Early retirement is not my goal but it is my partners…. LOL to him because now he wants to save a ton of money and not ever work again. I’m more pragmatic … as for the house being paid at least I have that, although sometimes with taxes it feels like it is about the same as renting … but we live in a way nicer place for as cheap as is possible so I don’t feel so bad about this

  2. August 30, 2017 5:11 pm

    I think I always felt like FIRE with property was still not entirely freedom and without property came with too much uncertainty. I hate having to move on little notice, and renting with pets is always a huge pain when it’s a LL’s market. Which, up here, I think it always is!

    I also ignore SS since I doubt there will be any money in there by the time we retire, and I assume that if it does still exist, it won’t be a significant amount.

    • September 6, 2017 7:24 am

      FIRE with property is more freedom than FIRE without, in my opinion.

      I am of the belief that SS will be there, and only slightly reduced… but maybe means-tested. But it is just guessing. The past year does not give me a lot of faith. I previously would have said that this country wouldn’t let SS whither. But I’m not so sure about this country anymore. Then again, so many people would be screwed without it. Have you seen the stats for mean retirement savings by age? Dismal.

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