July has come and gone so fast. We spent the beginning of the month at the Oregon coast with my whole extended family. Then we came home to Alaska and went dipnetting the next week and filled our freezer full of a year’s worth of salmon. Alaska is seriously so amazing. We’ve also been enjoying bowls full of fresh raspberries from our garden.
This month on the blog, we covered how to save money* in both London and the UK in general. We also came clean about being early retirement frauds and I took Mr. T’s company’s retirement newsletter to task for being terrible. We had THREE people take the Roth IRA Challenge this month in awesome posts. First Ditching the Grind talked about being a U.S. military reservist. Then Amber Tree Leaves discussed property management. And finally, The Money Mine offered a great post about couple finances. Are YOU ready to take the challenge?
We’ve also completely changed our email newsletter. I now email once a week on Saturdays and while the email does include links to the posts on the blog from the week, it also includes information I don’t share on the blog and other interesting links of research and random tidbits of information I read that don’t “fit” in the blog format. If you want to give it a try. SIGN UP over on the sidebar! (I don’t plan to annoy you with sign-up pop-ups.)
We’ve been using Personal Capital to get a snapshot of our monthly finances. It really is a geeked-out dream for someone like me that loves to see graphs and make spreadsheets. If you don’t like doing that, it’s also really user-friendly and does all the work for you. Best part? It’s free! 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 $109,500! This is UNREAL, amiright? I mean, the market has got to be due for a plunge soon! And the mortgage is down to $68,200. I’m celebrating dropping below each $10,000 increment and getting it under $70,000 was very exciting! Now just 6 more of those increments to celebrate and we’re DONE!
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 May: 59.6% – With my income so low this month, our usual, automatic contributions and our extra mortgage payment tipped our savings percentage to almost 60%! That’s insane! Just proof that if you want to increase your savings percentage, keep your automatic savings the same and make less money! (Another reason why I really don’t love this metric, but it’s another number to calculate, so I do it anyway!)
2016 Financial Goal Update:
I’m still a bit nervous about these goals. I have five months to figure out how to get an extra $9,600 to hit our mortgage goal (over our usual mortgage payments) and $11,000 to max out our Roth IRAs. Unless we get another $10,000 overnight from the PFD (which isn’t looking likely – in fact, they’ve capped it at $1000 for everyone this year), these goals aren’t looking promising. But I haven’t given up hope yet! Time to figure out how to get an extra $26,000 in 5 months!
- $125,000 in investments by the end of the year ($109,500/$125,000) – With these insane market conditions, this may be the only goal we realize!
- 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 ($68,200 – $13,200 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:
$252.02 – All of our dipnetting costs this year
$66.66 – To be fair, this was actually Penny and Florin – they each bought a Kindle on Amazon Prime day (we signed up for free 30 days and used my mom’s account for the other one). They’ve worked hard and earned them (as well as the shatter-proof cases I bought on eBay with a gift card).
$6.00 – Ice cream from the Tillamook Cheese Factory.
$25.50 – Airplane food for our flight back with our kids. After so much traveling, we just went the lazy route and bought the food (plus, on Alaska Airlines, they come with Wikki Stix which entertains the kids for most of the flight!).
$0.95 from my Bookscouter Affiliate Link – Oh no! My “passive income” is going down! ?
These are things said by actual people that were either talking to me or near me enough that I could hear them:
“It’s amazing they can retire at all. Good for them.”
“That’s the second family I know that retired and ended up moving into a BIGGER house.”
“I’m sick of everything being about money. No one cares what’s right anymore. It’s all about money.”
“Working for myself is a different kind of stressful. Today I made $500, so I felt good. But last week, I only made $100 and that was stressful.”
“I plan to move in about a year to live closer to grandkids. People like me don’t get to retire. I’ll just have to find a job down there.”
“My husband was eligible for retirement two years ago, but he gets Fridays off and enjoys it, so he hasn’t left yet. A manager position came open and everyone wanted him to apply and he decided it was more responsibility for not that much pay, so now he has a younger boss that treats him really well because he’s been around a long time. She asks him to look over things for her or give her advice on things.”
*A clever rouse to force you to look at amazing pictures of our trip!