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July Wrap Up

August 8, 2019

Net Worth and Money News

A small increase in net worth again.

We are at 70% FI, excluding the mortgage and childcare.  We’re at about 50% FI including the mortgage, but without realistic health care assumptions. To calculate that, I just added the mortgage balance to our FI number, rather than adding the mortgage payment (since the mortgage goes away eventually).  We currently have enough home equity to buy a place outright in much of the United States, but a long way to go here.

These are all on the optimistic side, as we are possibly at a market peak and I don’t have a good handle on how to estimate health care.

I don’t know what this all means. The main points are 1) We are in a position that I won’t have to make difficult career choices (e.g. mega commute) to bring in my income, and I can talk myself out of being too anxious when my job feels insecure. With the new project, I have a job guaranteed for about another year – then we’ll see. 2) We have a long way to go, unless we move somewhere else. The immediate action is to continue to make hay while the sun shines.

Spending Bullets (excluding childcare, mortgage, property taxes and car/home/etc. insurance – because I want to):

  • Monthly spend (excluding some major categories as noted above):  $3,923, the highest month of the year so far.
  • Highest single transaction that hasn’t been featured in a previous 2019 month: $1,186.46 for pallets of rock for T’s landscaping project
  • Smallest single transaction:  $1.38 for some printed photos
  • Most annoying expense:  $79.60 for Plated, which I forgot to cancel in time after my free trial. The meals are good, but I just don’t think it is worth it.
  • Expense that brought the most joy or utility: $22.40 for flights for the holidays, bought with a truck load of miles.
  • Donations (for accountability):  $0.  Will need to make up for it in August.  I’m thinking RAICES again, but also, how can I stop these mass shootings???

House Projects

We got another delivery of 4 pallets of rocks.  When I asked T to replace the horrible juniper hedges with something (ANYTHING!), I somehow infected him with a landscaping virus.  He can’t stop fixing our yard.  The rocks are making their way to various places in our yard.  Thank you T!


My exciting new project is off to a slow start as we wait for things to get ramped up / money to come in.  We did a day trip to southern California to meet with a partner – my second work trip since LO was born. It was only slightly awkward to request a space to pump at the partner office, and to leave the meeting periodically – but it was fine.  I also pumped at the airport before my flight (since I left the house around 5 am). While I missed the morning with LO, I managed to make it home for bedtime (although I immediately became ill). 

My old project is chugging along, and I’m trying to stay on top of it and figure out my place on it.  They’ve been exceptionally accommodating as I navigate new parenthood, but… I feel like I am simply not wow-ing them the way I used to be able to.  So, that needs to change…

T should find out about his tenure decision soon-ish, certainly before December.  We have reason to be optimistic, but we don’t know until we know.

Other life stuff

We went camping!  We only stayed one night for a variety of reasons, but had a really nice time. LO was only just getting mobile, so it was manageable, but a campsite is not really a crawler-friendly place.

My parents visited during the week when T traveled to Paris for work. That was half planned and half serendipitous.  It was SO nice to have extras sets of hands around to help with the baby and the dog and life in general!  Of course, it was nice to spend time with them too. We also hosted some extended family while my parents were here, and it was good to see an aunt, uncle, and cousin I hadn’t seen in years and years.

We selected a lawyer for our estate planning process, and it is in T’s court to contact him.  We are using legal insurance through his employer.  I understand the quality limitations, but it is extremely cost effective and we aren’t doing anything esoteric.  But, it has to be done this year or we’ll be stuck paying for legal insurance for ANOTHER year.

No progress on emergency preparedness here. 

Our household was hit with a stomach virus in series.  LO had it first, then T had it the day I left for my above mentioned work day trip, and then I got violently ill about 30 minutes after I walked in the door.  We’ve all recovered.  The adults were quite sick for about 24 hours, and the baby had a longer duration but more mild illness.

That was July for us!  It really just flew by!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2019 3:49 pm

    I don’t don’t know how I’ll ever get the confidence to retire early with healthcare the way it is. It’s such a huge unknown, I feel like I’d want a separate $1M just for that (and I’m already shooting for a 3% withdrawal rate!)

    I’m actually impressed how quickly you bounced back to work- it took me a year before I felt like I was ready, and even today I feel like I’m constantly compromising on what I wish I could be working on.

    • August 9, 2019 1:09 pm

      I’m not convinced that T will have the drive to retire early, assuming he gets tenure, which would greatly simplify things (but seems unfair to him also, so we’ll see).

      Do you mean you stayed home for a year? I don’t feel like I’m doing a great job, honestly, but I’m back and I feel moderately happy about it.

      • August 10, 2019 10:02 am

        I was happy to go back, too, after 3 months (not a year). But it took me longer to worry about whether or not I was performing. And then I was like a Career Avenging Angel, because I’d definitely gotten passed over for promotions the previous cycles when I was pregnant & on maternity leave. When I got passed over the third time as a new Mom, that pushed me out of my fog and I was pissed.

        Chad claims he doesn’t want to retire early, but my guess is he’d feel differently if I quit my job.

  2. August 9, 2019 11:52 am

    “I feel like I am simply not wow-ing them the way I used to be able to”
    Honestly, I hope it’s not the same for you but I didn’t even feel motivated to fix that for 3 years after JB was born. I hated that fog but I didn’t even know it was there until it lifted.

    Ditto Sarah, I don’t know how to feel like we can afford to retire with healthcare being so unknowable! My hope is that we’ll know more in 5-7 years.

    • August 13, 2019 4:16 pm

      I don’t feel SUPER motivated to fix it, but I don’t know if I have built up enough work capital to coast for 2 years. Maybe “wow-ing” is high bar, but I do need to do better at keeping my head above water.

  3. August 13, 2019 1:45 pm

    I calculate our FI number by taking annual expenses (other than the mortgage) times 25 and then add the fair market value of our primary residence. We passed 70% of that number in July, but it’ll drop once we move (next month!).

    I’m not really sure my husband wants to retire, so we will see how life unfolds when we reach our number!

    • August 13, 2019 4:12 pm

      Congratulations on the upcoming move! Yeah, i think once the FI number is close, you can start to think about what you really want. Until then, we may as well give ourselves options.

      I’m confused at your FI number. I understand the 25X non-mortgage expenses part. But then you add only the value of your residence… and that’s it? Let’s say your house is worth $100k, you owe $50k, and your non-mortgage expenses are $20k. Your FI number is $600k (20*25+100), meaning you’d need $600k in investments, excluding home equity?

      • August 13, 2019 4:58 pm

        Thanks! It’s exciting that our place is finally almost done – it’s been fun watching its progress but it certainly brought far more anxiety along the process than we had anticipated.

        Exactly this: “Let’s say your house is worth $100k, you owe $50k, and your non-mortgage expenses are $20k. Your FI number is $600k (20*25+100), meaning you’d need $600k in investments, excluding home equity?”

        At that point, you could technically pay off the mortgage with any investments beyond what you need for your FI number, so that’s the net worth number I’m targeting. I also separately track the amount we would need to coast to our target FI age and what % we are at with that, which solely looks at our investments figure.

        • August 13, 2019 7:49 pm

          Don’t you only need $550 in investments, since you only have $50k left on the mortgage? $50k for that, $500k for the 25x. Assuming you don’t include home equity in “investments”. That’s how I track it. I also track net worth, but don’t really use it for anything except to say “woo hoo!” when we hit a milestone.

          • August 14, 2019 11:39 am

            Hmm let me rephrase. So for example, if house is worth $500,000 (hah!) and non-mortgage expenses are $20,000 per year, then I would target $20,000×25 = $500,000 in investments for a “FI number” of $1,000,000 because I use the “FI number” as a “net worth target” so it’s 25x expenses + full house value.

          • August 15, 2019 7:20 am

            Got it!

            It seems equivalent in math to what I’m doing.

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