September 2021 Goals & Financial Update

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Hey, everyone. Did you have a good month? September wasn’t a great month for us financially. However, it was awesome on the family life side. Finally, RB40Jr went back to school full-time! Now, I have more time to work on the blog and do various errands. It felt great. Mrs. RB40 and I also went out to lunch several times. This is what SAHD is all about. 😀

On the personal finance side, we had an okay month. Our net worth dropped a bit due to the stock market. It is still close to our yearly target (+10%) so I’m still happy. Our cash flow was a bit tight in September as well. We paid for the rest of our deck cover. That put our rental income into the red. The rest of the year should be pretty good, though. Q4 is here. Let’s finish 2021 strong!

Here are the details.

2021 Goals

This is my 2021 goal sheet. It works really well. Try it out if you can’t keep up with your New Year goals. The key is to go over the spreadsheet at least once a month to track your progress. That way, you can see which goals need extra attention.

All right! 2021 is turning out to be a great year. I already accomplished many of my goals and I’m making good progress on the rest. (I made modest goals this year because last year was so crazy.) Here are the details.

Financial Goals

  • Real Estate Crowdfunding $150,000. Earlier this year, I invested in an apartment renovation project near Seattle. I have high hopes for this one. The housing market in that area is hot. Recently, the projects on CrowdStreet got funded very quickly. Investors are taking profit from the stock market and diversifying. That’s a great idea, but finding a solid alternative investment can be difficult. I really like real estate crowdfunding so far. It’s a great way to passively invest in real estate.
  • FI Ratio > 110%. This is my main goal for 2021. The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. We did pretty well until August and our FI ratio dropped to 103%. That’s not good. Fortunately, our passive income was very strong in September. Our FI ratio is 111% for now.  
  • 1-year cash for Mrs. RB40 mini ER. Mrs. RB40 plans to take a mini-retirement in 2022. We need to have a nice cash cushion before then. Usually, we spend less than $50,000 per year so that’s my target. Currently, we have about $24,324 in the bank. We are a bit behind on this goal.
  • Side hustle income > $3,000. Mission accomplished! This goal is just for fun. Side hustling is a good way for early retirees to keep busy and stay active. This year my main side hustle is charging scooter. In September, I made $1,912. Lime made some changes and I’m making a bit less money now. I’ll write an update soon. I’ll stick with scooter charging for now because it is good exercise for me. Also, we got $250 from the child tax credit.


  • Refresh Retire by 40 – Done! Whew! I finally completed this goal. It has been on this list for over 2 years. This work required a big block of time and focus. I just couldn’t do it at home. I only finished because I was stuck in quarantine for 2 weeks and could focus on it. I hope you like the new design.
  • 1,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel. Currently, we have 347 subscribers on our YouTube channel. I gave up on this goal. Unfortunately, I ran out of new recipes to make. Oh well, maybe we’ll get back to it later.  

Personal Goals

  • Visit Thailand. Done! I visited Thailand in January and spent 6 weeks there. I went to check on my mom and reconnect with families and friends. It was great. I would love to retire there 6 months/year.
  • Weight < 135 lbs. Done! In Thailand, the serving size was much smaller than what I’m used to. I lost weight there and was able to keep it off. Now, I weigh 131 pounds. The summer activities really helped.
  • Estate planning. Done! We started the process with our lawyer last year. I thought it wouldn’t be done until March, but we completed it right before I went to Thailand. That’s perfect timing.
  • V for vasectomy. I went in for an initial consultation and scheduled an operation. The wheel is in motion…
  • Happiness level > 8. September was a 9. Woohoo! School started. Now, I have more time to blog and more personal time. It’s great.

Net Worth (+9.8% YTD)

I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006 and it is very motivating to see our progress. Our net worth is up 9.8% since the beginning of 2021. It was higher, but September wasn’t a good month for the stock market. My target is +10% per year. We’ll be set for a very comfortable lifestyle if we can meet this target most years.

Here is a chart of our net worth from Personal Capital.

*Sign up for a free account at Personal Capital to help manage your net worth and investment accounts. I log in almost every day to check on our accounts. It’s a great site for DIY investors.

2021 Passive Income ($31,025 YTD)

Here is a quick summary of our passive income. You can see all the details on my Passive Income page.

In September, our investment generated $7,038 of passive income for us. This was our best month so far. It gave our FI ratio a boost and we’re back above 110%.

  • Real estate crowdfunding: I received $0 from our investment last month. No big deal. Next month should be good.
  • Rental income: It was also a rough month at the rentals. We had a negative month, -$786. This was due to the porch cover we’re adding to the duplex. Next month should be a lot better. Hopefully, we can turn it around and have a positive year.    
  • Dividend: We received $1,652 from our dividend portfolio. That’s quite good.

Q4 should be good for passive income. We don’t have any big expenses coming up so I think 2021 should end pretty well.

*FI ratio = passive income/expense

September 2021 Cash Flow

Our cash flow was good in September. We spent a bit more than usual, but we still saved 49% of our income. The big expense was the deck cover for our duplex. I also paid for a new pair of prescription sunglasses. Those aren’t cheap.

Here is the Sankey diagram. You can get a quick overview and see the details below.

Gross Income: $13,613

Our gross income was a bit light last month. My blog income was lower than usual due to slow summer traffic. We didn’t have any income from real estate crowdfunding and our rental was negative. Next month should be much better.

  • Mrs. RB40’s job: $8,718.
  • Blog income: $1,652. We had a slow month at RB40.
  • Real estate crowdfunding: $0. No payout this month for RE crowdfunding. You can read more at the RE Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Rental income: (-$898). Negative month at the rental due to repair. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
  • Dividend Income: $1,978. It was also a nice month for dividend income. See more details on my Dividend Passive Income page.
  • Interest Income: $0.
  • Side hustle & Misc: $2,162. I made $1,912 from charging scooters. Now that the weather is cooler, this income will keep decreasing in the coming months. We also got $250 from the child tax credit.   

Monthly Spending: $4,628

This year, I plan to spend about $50,000. Our monthly spending budget is $4,166/month. September was another high spend month. I think Q4 should be much better. We are still well under our annual budget so I’m not too worried.

  • Housing: $2,659. This category includes mortgage, home insurance, HOA fees, property taxes, utilities, home improvement, repair, and furnishing. We spent more than usual on housing due to the deck cover.
  • Parents: $500. My brothers and I each sent $500/month to my parents. They don’t have much retirement savings. Fortunately, they live in Thailand so $1,500 is enough. I also own the condo they live in so their housing expense is minimal.
  • Groceries: $457. Usually, we spend less than $500/month on groceries.  

Here are some of the dishes I made.

Japanese curry – This dish is delicious and super easy to cook.

Uzbek kavurma – This dish is like plov (rice pilaf), but with potatoes instead of rice. Mrs. RB40 cooked this dish for the first time. It was awesome. She was in Uzbekistan for Peace Corps.

Baked chicken tonkatsu – I love tonkatsu, but we don’t deep fry at home. I tried this baked tonkatsu recipe from Just One Cookbook and it worked out very well.

  • Bills: $23. (This is just life insurance. Water, gas, and electric bills are included in the housing category.)
  • Transportation: $212. This was for gasoline, insurance, public transportation, and maintenance.
  • Entertainment: $82. We went out to lunch several times.
  • Kid: $39. Soccer uniform and $4 on Fortnite.
  • Travel: $231. Mrs. RB40 went to visit her family in CA.  
  • Health: $290. I updated my RX sunglasses.
  • Misc: $135. We renewed 2 passports and purchased a few things from Walgreens.
We went to a casual Italian restaurant for lunch. The fresh pasta was excellent.


I don’t count these as personal spending.

  • Taxes and deductions: $2,380. 

2021 Savings ($79,033 YTD)

2021 is going pretty well financially. So far, we have saved 59% of our income. We should be able to keep this up for the rest of 2021.

  • Joe’s 401k: $21,000. I can contribute more than the yearly limit ($19,500) because I’m self-employed.
  • Mrs. RB40’s 401k: $14,250. She contributes $750 every paycheck.
  • Roth IRAs: $9,000
  • 529 College Savings: $4,000. Done for the year.
  • Extra savings: $30,783

YTD 2021 saving rate = 59%

September 2021 wrap up

September was one of our worse months in 2021. Our income was a bit lower than usual and spending was higher. Fortunately, we have some padding and we still saved almost 50% of our income. That isn’t too bad. The rest of 2021 should be better. Normally, Q4 is a strong passive income month. Also, we don’t spend as much in the winter. It’s cold and rainy outside so we tend to hunker down at home.

How was September for you?  The weather is still nice in Portland. Let’s enjoy the fall while we can. Then hunker down for the winter.

*Sign up for a free account at Personal Capital to help manage your net worth and investment accounts. I log in almost every day to check on our accounts. It’s a great site for DIY investors.

Disclosure: We may receive a referral fee if you purchase or signup for a service through the links on this page.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.

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