July 2016 Plan update

July 2016 Plan Update

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.)

The Numbers:

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! ?


Financial Phrases:

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!


Roth IRA Challenge: The Money Mine


Does Comfort Stunt Growth?


  1. kalieb

    Congrats on meeting your investing goal and a killer savings rate! And good luck on the mortgage goal. Wow, I love the money quotes! It’s so interesting to hear people’s viewpoints about money. You don’t want to retire because you get every other Friday off? What?!!

  2. You’re doing so well this year – even if you don’t hit your goals. Although, I think you’ll at least come pretty close. As you inch forward, there are so many more options. I can’t wait to get where you are with our finances. Keep up the good work!

    I’m considering Kindles for Christmas (with Swagbucks credits). They are really pretty affordable in comparison to iPads.

    • MaggieBanks

      The girls have been loving the Kindles so far. And I love that I can keep them stocked with library books that rotate through!

  3. thejollyledger

    You guys are still kicking ass! I bet you will get pretty close to your goals by the end of the year. You still have five months left. Plenty of time!

    • MaggieBanks

      It is plenty of time… it’s just that I can’t currently come up with a realistic plan on how to make it happen. But I’m not done trying!

  4. What an excellent month! I’m so excited for you with your investment milestone and your mortgage milestone. When our mortgage gets below six figures, I’m sending out party invitations 😉

  5. What a great month. Good luck on your mortgage goal.



  6. I love your new newsletter! Keep it coming. 🙂 And your numbers are SO AWESOME! I have the same feeling that the market has to correct — the Nasdaq up 7% in one month?! Come on. But I am loving pretending like we really have what our numbers say we have right now. 😉 Either way, even with a 10% correction, you’ll still be over 100K, which is so fantastic! And great progress on the mortgage, too! We’re still in the 90s, but we pay off a big chunk every month, which feels fantastic. I’m sending you lots of good thoughts to hit all your goals this year — I believe it will happen, because I believe in YOU! 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      You’re the first feedback I’ve gotten on the newsletter. I’m glad SOMEONE is liking it. No one has unsubscribed yet… but I Just don’t know if people like all the crazy random things I find interesting. As to how we’ll hit our goals… no idea! But I’m pretty determined to figure out a way!

      • I think people just aren’t used to replying to email newsletters, so I wouldn’t take the lack of feedback as anything negative!

        • MaggieBanks

          I often think I may be the only person on the planet with such a wide range of reading interests. But maybe I’m not. 🙂

          • No way! I think people pursuing FI in particular are doing it because they have many interests they want to pursue!

  7. My Roth is almost 50% funded. I would have deposited into Vanguard but we are still in roof limbo and Murphy’s Law says as soon as I did we would find out we’d have to 100% pay for the $7K new roof. Hopefully I can send it over to investment land in a couple months.

    • MaggieBanks

      Nice work! And yes. I fear Murphy’s law as well since we decided NOT to replace our furnace with the energy audit we completed last year. That means it will break soon! (Knock on wood.)

  8. Des

    Signed up for the newsletter – thank you for the prompt! I need to read more newsletters and I can’t wait to see what yours is like!

    • MaggieBanks

      I want you to tell me what you think. I am all over the map with what I share in the newsletter. But I read SO MUCH STUFF out of interest and for work that it’s fun sharing stuff!

  9. Kim from Philadelphia

    Kudos on another great month, Maggie!

    It is so tempting to even put a one month hold on your investment contributions, and throw that money instead at Mr. T’s Roth.

    • MaggieBanks

      Oooo… that’s tempting to just switch around some money to fund the Roths… but would that defeat the goal? (We technically have until April to fund both of the Roths, but I’d like to see them funded by December.)

  10. J @ Hey, It's Just Money!

    What a fantastic month for you, for finances and adventures! Congratulations! There are still five months to go before the year ends, I’m keeping my faith on you guys. Ha! I can’t believe I missed the dipnetting post, I only waited one year for that. :/

    • MaggieBanks

      Well you can catch up on all my salmon adventures now! No harm, no foul. 🙂 We’ll see what we’re capable of in five months!

  11. Awesome job Maggie!

    You are killing it with so many of your numbers. No worries on the IRA front, you’ll get to that at some point I’m sure 🙂

    I know you have your reservations about the savings rate, but you still did awesome as far as I’m concerned. I love that you listed the ice cream as a notable expense.


    • MaggieBanks

      Everything out of the ordinary is a “notable expense.” 🙂 And I’m still not sure how we’re going to pull off the Roth IRAs this year, but we’ll see. No harm in trying.

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