Aurora Borealis

August 2016 Plan Update

August was fascinating around here. It rained for the entire month except this last week which has been absolutely gorgeous and perfect with record-breaking temperatures. Hilariously, my college roommate came to visit just when it got perfect and she had the PERFECT Alaskan trip. I mean, I really couldn’t have planned for it to be better. Denali came out for her to see, the belugas were migrating through, we hiked a glacier, we went on a boat ride and saw a humpback whale flap its tail for us (many, many times!), and then the northern lights came out as I was loading her suitcase in the car to head to the airport. It was fabulous. It’s weeks like this one where I think: “There is no better place on this planet!” Sorry, folks. But it would be hard to beat all that! Alaska is the greatest. 

Glacier Pond

Humpback Tail

School started this week for the girls and we’re starting to get into the groove of things a bit more. So far, I’ve only had to drive across town for a forgotten lunchbox once!

Mr. T’s grandmother passed away this month, so he and Lui headed to Seattle last weekend for the funeral. It was sad to see her go as she was a truly wonderful woman, but it was good they got to gather with family to celebrate her life.

The Numbers:

You guys… if you haven’t signed up for Personal Capital, I think you’re nuts! It’s free! I look forward each month to logging in and seeing all of my accounts in one place. It shows all of my credit card accounts, my mortgage, my investment accounts, analyzes my fees, and is very visually compelling. I mean, it’s a geeked-out way to see it all in one glance without spending too much time. Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! It has cut down my end-of-the month reckoning significantly since I can see all my accounts together (with graphs!).

Our investments sit at $114,380! With continued market climbs, I’ve really started getting all confident in ACTUALLY retiring early by the end of 2022 (maybe even hitting $1M+…am I talking crazy?! If we’re using 8%+ returns, everything becomes way more possible!). If things remain on this climb, I’m bound to recalculate everything again in January! I do anticipate a market drop in the near future, but I’m loving the confidence this current market is giving me for future plans! Meanwhile, the mortgage balance is now $65,900. The exciting news here is that I’ve gotten the interest payments down to under $200 for next month! That will be THRILLING to see us spending less than $200 to the bank for letting us live in our house.

For our savings percentage, we track the percentage of our pre-tax (or gross) income and the extra payments put toward the mortgage are included in the amount saved. Savings percentage for August – 42%. It was a pretty big spend month with car insurance and medical bills, but I also made more this month than I have all year (working hard getting paid hourly to catch up for the month I didn’t work at all!).

2016 Financial Goal Update:

With just $21,900, we could realize all of our goals for the year! I’m not thinking that’s going to happen, but still haven’t given up. I’ve set out a plan for the mortgage goal because I really want to see that one happen this year. The Roth IRA deadlines aren’t until April, so if I could get one funded by the end of the year, we could get the other one funded at the beginning of 2017. That’s a possibility. I really want to max them out for 2016, obviously, so we’ll see if we’re capable of doing so.

  • $125,000 in investments by the end of the year ($114,380/$125,000) – We’re only $10,620 away from realizing this crazy goal thanks to crazy market conditions!
  • Max out my Roth IRA for 2015 by April ($5500/$5500) – Done!
  • Max out Mr. T’s Roth IRA for 2016 by December ($0/$5500) – Haven’t started…
  • Max out my Roth IRA for 2016 by December ($0/$5500) – Oi! Haven’t started this one either…
  • Mortgage balance below $55,000 by the end of December ($65,900 – $10,900 left to go!)

Notable Expenses This Month: The Story Our Money Tells:

These are expenses that tell an interesting story. A peek into our lives through our pocketbook:

  • $35 – The cost to hike the glacier with my girls.
  • $80 – Pizza and root beer for our family and company.
  • $6 – Food on the flight to the funeral Mr. T bought to entertain Lui. It worked.
  • $687.41 – The cost for 4/8 iron infusions for my anemia. Turns out becoming Iron Woman is an expensive endeavor!
  • $23.68 – Ingredients for our Rio-inspired Brazilian dinner for the Olympics opening ceremonies.
  • $633.49 – 6 month car insurance premiums for our two cars.


$0.80 from my Bookscouter Affiliate Link

Financial Phrases:

These are things said by actual people that were either talking to me or near me enough that I could hear them:

“I feel like we don’t spend enough time figuring out what we actually want to do for work. We focus on what we’re interested in at college instead of focusing on what we want our career to be. Now I want to figure out what I actually want to do.”

“Both of our cars are ready to die. We really should replace them, but we’d rather travel to see grandkids.”

The neighbor kid said: “You should buy your own Power Wheels.” Florin responded: “We can’t buy that because it costs a lot of money because it’s huge and we like to save our money so we can spend it on other things.” *so proud*


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  1. Looks like you had a very solid August. Hiking on glacier is super cool, I have done that a few times (mountaineering style with ropes and stuff). It’s always amazing to step on a glacier and being reminded how small we are compared to nature.

    • MaggieBanks

      And hearing the roar beneath you as things shift make you a bit nervous and aware how completely out of control we are in nature! 🙂

  2. Oh my gosh, those photos are amazing. Can’t wait until we can come visit you! I’m still holding out hope that you guys will hit all your goals this year, but either way, by raising the bar you’ve achieved some awesome stuff. You rock!

  3. I can’t believe you managed to get a photo of that whale tail-flapping! amazing!

    I’m sorry to hear of your families loss – isn’t it comforting that you guys are secure in your finances to afford an unplanned trip to Seattle for the funeral? Those are the moments where money is so important.


    • MaggieBanks

      That whale flapped its tail for a full five minutes! The park ranger said it was rare behavior we got to witness! It was so awesome!

  4. a woman

    I am sorry for your loss… this moments are hard, really hard. you didn’t mention the spend for the trip for funerals…

    For your anemia, I am just shocked how expensive it is… Have you though to take some discussion with some nutritionists/dieticians? But 2-3 from different schools (one vegetarian, one from paleo school, etc ) – in order to prevent such expensive spendings and situations …

    And you have 10.000 points from my part for experience with whale and the hiking.

    Keep the financial road, Jack 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks! I didn’t mention cost of flights because Mr. T’s parents paid for them since they were actually on sale for the “end of season,” so they were not a line-item on our finances. As for the iron infusions… I will make dietary changes going forward, but my iron levels were originally so low they needed to infuse them to get them back up quickly.

  5. August sounds awesome, and especially getting to hit all the Alsaka highlights the week your friend was there – double awesome! It’s amazing when you prioritize things NOT based on money or appearances how much other things come up – like the “would rather visit the grandkids” comment. Mindful spending is a powerful thing. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Amen. I loved overhearing that one. I love hearing people that have financial priorities based on actual priorities! (I also happen to know they are big Dave Ramsey people, so it wasn’t a surprising comment from them.)

  6. We spent 10 days in Alaska in August about 5 years ago. It was fantastic, with great weather every day. The markets are certainly shaping up nicely now. I had my doubts in Jan/Feb – when I gave my formal notice. The S&P 500 is up more than 15% since that low spot in the year. Glad to see things continuing to come together for you.

    • MaggieBanks

      August is rarely nice and sunny! So I’m glad you lucked out when you came. I am expecting a big nose dive soon. The market can’t just keep going up forever, right?

  7. Thanks for the update, Maggie. It’s great watching your investments go up and your mortgage go down. And I love the pizza and root beer night. I haven’t had root beer in years. I think it’s time to reacquaint myself with that wonderful beverage.

    • MaggieBanks

      Mmmm. And it was locally brewed root beer. If you come to Alaska, go to Moose’s Tooth for the pizza and the root beer. I recommend the spicy thai pizza.

  8. Your numbers are very inspiring! Its blogs like this that encouraged me to start tracking my own net worth last month. Great job, Ill be back for more!

    • MaggieBanks

      Awesome! Updates like this one are ones that got me thinking I could actually make awesome progress myself, so I’m glad they’re inspiring others like I was inspired!

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