March 2023 FIRE Update

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Hey everyone! How was March? Did you have a good month? We went to southern California for spring break and had a great time. We visited Disneyland for 2 days then drove to see families near Palm Springs. It was an expensive trip, but we enjoyed it tremendously. Disneyland changed so much from 20 years ago. The newest rides are fantastic. We rode the classic rides first and they pale in comparison to the newer ones. RB40Jr enjoyed most of the rides too. He’s at the perfect age to visit Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. The only ride he was scared of was the big roller coaster. We skipped that one. I don’t mind because I’m not a huge fan of those scary roller coasters either. The weather was pretty nice too. It rained a bit one day, but it was sunny for the rest of our visit. The sun felt so nice. Portlanders are ready for warmer weather after a long winter.

On the financial side, it wasn’t pretty. The CA trip was expensive. We also spent some money on home maintenance. As a result, we had another negative cash flow month. I’m not too worried because our spending should slow down in the coming months. It wasn’t all bad news, though. Our net worth increased by a good amount. The stock market had a nice run while we were having fun at Disneyland.

Alright, I’ll share how I’m doing with my 2023 New Year goals. Then, I’ll go over our net worth and cash flow. Let’s go!

2023 Goals

Here is my 2023 goal spreadsheet. 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 and work on them.

Things are looking pretty good so far.

Financial Goals

  • Invest in Real Estate Crowdfunding. I plan to invest in at least one RE crowdfunding project this year. In January, there was a capital call and I sent in $3,000. That’s a start. I’ll invest more when we accumulate some money. My projects on CrowdStreet are doing quite well so I plan to invest more over the next few years. It’s a great way to generate passive income.
  • FI Ratio > 120%. This is my main goal for 2023. The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. This shows us we can maintain our lifestyle with our passive income. It isn’t going well this year. Our FI ratio is at 90% after 3 months. We spent a lot of money recently. See the cash flow section below.
  • Net worth back to all-time-high. This one is completely dependent on our investment. I don’t have a lot of control over it, but let’s get back to ATH! Things are looking good so far in 2023. Our net worth has recovered 63% already. Our lowest point was in October 2022.

Health Goals

  • 7,500 steps per day. Wow, this goal is tough to accomplish. My steps per day dropped like a rock after I came back from Thailand. It was cold in Portland and I had a tough time leaving the house. I’ll try to walk more as the weather warms up. My average is 6,975 steps per day.
  • Cook 1 vegetarian/fish per week. I want to cook a healthier meal at least once per week. So far I cooked 20 extra healthy meals. That’s great progress. Here are a few of the healthy dishes I cooked.

I made stir-fried oyster mushrooms. It was great. I inoculated these mushroom spores in my logs 3 years ago. They finally grew!

Tuna poke bowl. This healthy dish had plenty of vegetables. Yum.

Personal Goals

  • Disneyland, zipline, or hot air balloon ride. Disneyland was great. We enjoyed it tremendously. RB40Jr wasn’t impressed with the classic rides, but he enjoyed the newer and more thrilling rides. I’m glad we went.
  • Happiness > 8. March was a great month for me. I was able to finish many items on my to-do list at home. Our trip to Disneyland was a lot of fun. The stock market improved. Things were good. I give March a 10!  
  • Get rid of Awebber. WIP. This is one of my biggest business expenses and it doesn’t seem that useful. I’ll move to a cheaper alternative this year.

Net Worth (+6.4%)

The stock market shrugged off the SVB collapse and came back strong. Wow, investors are optimistic. Consumers are also very optimistic. Disneyland was packed. Our flights were fully booked. It looks like everyone is still spending like crazy. The economy is still hot.

I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006. Usually, it is very motivating to see the progress. The power of compounding is unbelievable. However, 2022 was demoralizing. Our net worth dropped along with the stock market. Hopefully, we can get back to our all-time-high this year. The important thing is to keep investing even when the market goes down.

***Important*** My best advice is to stay the course. Do not stop investing. You need to keep investing when the stock market is down. Eventually, the stock market will recover and you will do very well as long as you keep investing through the downturn.

Here is a chart of our net worth from Empower. (Personal Capital is now Empower.) Sign up for a free account at Empower to help manage your net worth and investment accounts. I log in almost every day to check our net worth. It’s a great site for DIY investors.

YTD 2023 FIRE Cash Flow

This FIRE cash flow chart includes my online income, side gigs, and taxable passive income. Mrs. RB40’s income isn’t here because I want to see if we’ll be fine after she retires.

YTD FIRE Income: $9,422

Our FIRE income was a bit low in the first quarter of 2023.

  • Real estate crowdfunding: $2,631. Our real estate crowdfunding income is doing quite well. You can read more on the RE Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Dividend Income: $3,657. Dividend income is looking good.   
  • Rental income: $853. I increased the rent this year so rental income should improve soon.
  • Blog income: $2,258. My blog income is decreasing. I might need to find a real part-time job if it doesn’t bottom out soon.

Spending: $14,747

In 2023, I plan to spend about $50,000. That’s the same budget as last year. We went to Disneyland in March so that pushed up our expenses for the quarter. I don’t have any big expenses in Q2 so things should improve.

Here are some details. Actually, I’ll only focus on a few categories to keep it simple.  

  • Housing: $5,553. We had to remove a fallen tree and fixed part of the fence. When the weather warms up we’ll work on the yard and that will cost some money too.  
  • Travel: $3,948. We visited Disneyland in the spring. In the summer, we’ll go camping and take several weekend trips.  
  • Groceries: $1,477. Oh wow, we averaged under $500/month on groceries. That’s surprising because everything seems so expensive.  
  • Kid: $1,572. RB40Jr’s activities – Wushu class, ultimate Frisbee, summer camp, toys, and trips to the archery range.  
  • Parent: $750. My brothers and I send $250/month to our parents to help with expenses. They live in Thailand so their cost of living is much lower.
  • Transportation: $1,063. We got new tires for the car.

Savings: -$5,324

We spent more than our FIRE income so we had to borrow from savings. I’m not too worried. Our spending will drop over the coming months. Things should even out soon.

March 2023 wrap up

March was a nice month for me. I enjoyed being home and fixing up various things around the house. Our cash flow was negative, but I’m not too worried. It should balance out in the coming months. Income and expenses can be lumpy in early retirement. I’m surprised the stock market recovered so quickly from the banking fiasco. Let’s see how the rest of 2023 will go. It’d be nice to get back to our all-time-high net worth soon.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to warmer weather. It’ll be easier to get out and walk more. We have a ton of things to do in the backyard too.

All right, that’s it today. Did you have a good month? I hope you had a great spring break.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. These days, I’m investing in commercial properties with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the United States. Go check them out!

Disclosure: We may receive a referral fee if you 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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