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November 2023 FIRE Update

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Hey everyone! Oh wow, it is December already. Did you have a good Thanksgiving? We stayed home and had a low-key holiday. However, we spent more money than usual during the Black Friday sale. Someone has to keep the economy going, right?

Overspending resulted in a negative cash flow in November. Strangely, I’m not stressed out about it at all. We’ve been frugal for many years. It’s about time to move into the next phase of FIRE and enjoy the fruits of our frugality. Honestly, I think we are having a small midlife crisis.

Our cash flow was horrible, but November was the best month of 2023 for our net worth. The stock market performed very well and our net worth hit an all-time high. This is another reason why I’m not worried about our spending. Our investment gains offset our negative cash flow.

All right, I’ll share how I’m doing with my 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 well. Try it out if you can’t keep up with your New Year goals. The key is to review the spreadsheet monthly to track your progress. That way, you can see which goals need extra attention and work on them. Time is running out!

Financial Goals

  • Invest in Real Estate Crowdfunding. I plan to invest in at least one RE crowdfunding project this year. Earlier this year, there was a capital call and I sent in $3,000. 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. However, I’m done this year. My dad is planning to build a beach house in Thailand. I sent him $50,000 and the construction should start soon.
  • FI Ratio > 120%. This is my main goal for 2023. FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. This shows we can maintain our lifestyle with passive income. Unfortunately, our FI ratio is the lowest I’ve seen in years. We spent too much money this year. December is usually a good month, but I don’t think we can turn it around…
  • Net worth back to all-time high. This one is entirely dependent on our investment. I don’t have much control over it, but let’s get back to ATH! We accomplished this goal in July so I’m calling this a win.

Health Goals

  • 7,500 steps per day. This goal is tough to accomplish. My steps per day dropped like a rock after I came back from Thailand. My average is 5,464 steps per day and dropping. Fortunately, my fitness tracker broke and I can’t track this goal anymore. This one is a fail.  
  • Cook 1 vegetarian/fish per week. I want to cook a healthier meal at least once per week. So far I have cooked 47 healthy meals. That’s steady progress.

Personal Goals

  • Disneyland, zipline, or hot air balloon ride. We visited Disneyland in March. It was great. We enjoyed the trip tremendously. RB40Jr wasn’t impressed with the classic rides, but he loved the newer more thrilling rides. I’m glad we went. Done!
  • Happiness > 8. November was a pretty slow month. We stayed home and didn’t do much. RB40Jr was mostly out of school due to the teacher strike. We spent way more money than usual. Happiness was temporarily high – 8.5.
  • Get rid of Awebber. WIP. This is one of my biggest business expenses and it doesn’t seem that useful. I want move to a cheaper alternative this year. I tried to move to another email provider over Thanksgiving, but it wasn’t successful. That one didn’t do what I wanted.  

Net Worth (+17.4% YTD)

I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006. It is very motivating to see the progress we’ve made. The power of compounding is unbelievable. November was a great month in the stock market. The economy seems to be coming in for a soft landing. The job data and inflation are good. The Fed seems to be happy to hold for now. Things are looking good. 2023 is a great year to be an investor.

The important thing is to keep investing when the market goes up or down.

***Important*** My best advice is to stay the course. Do not stop investing. You have 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 to check our net worth and use their free tools. It’s a great site for DIY investors.

November 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 she’ll retire soon. November was another spendy month for us. We’ve been lax with our spending lately.  

FIRE Income: $4,356

Our FIRE income was good in November, but we spent more than usual. As a result, our cash flow was negative. It doesn’t look good, but I’m not worried. Our finance is solid enough to absorb a few negative months. We’ll see what the overall picture at the end of the year.

  • Real estate crowdfunding: $260. Our real estate crowdfunding income is doing quite well. You can read more on the RE Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Dividend Income: $1,331.    
  • Rental Income: $781. We had an uneventful month at the rentals.
  • Blog income: $1,093. Blog income is normalizing to this level.
  • Odd jobs: I made $866 from being a delivery driver. The pay seems to be decreasing. I heard there are too many drivers now.  
  • Interest: $25.

Spending: $8,854

In 2023, I plan to spend about $50,000. That’s the same budget as last year. Unfortunately, we are way over. Next year, I probably should increase our spending budget to $65,000. That’s a big increase, though.

Here are some details.  

  • Housing: $1,249. This includes mortgage, utilities, furniture, repair, and maintenance. Our housing expense is pretty low because we live in a duplex. We split many expenses with our tenant.
  • Transportation: $716. I spent more than usual on our car. I hit a curve and blew a tire. When they changed the tire, they saw the brake pads were getting thin. So I got new front brake pads too. Our 2010 Mazda is getting older and probably will need more maintenance in the coming years.    
  • Travel: $3,941. We’re going to Tahiti in December. This trip will be a splurge to celebrate my 50th birthday.
  • Entertainment: $199. We ate out more than usual last month. There were some new restaurants we wanted to try.
  • Groceries: $514. My target for grocery expenses is $600 per month.  
  • Health: $432. I got a gym membership. As we get older, we need to focus on health and wellness. Next year, I’ll exercise a lot more.
  • Misc: $93. USPS and a new Blu-ray player.
  • Clothing: $467. Mrs. RB40 purchased some nice clothing.   
  • Parent: $250. 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.

Saving: –$4,498

November 2023 wrap-up

Our November cash flow looked like a FIRE enthusiast’s nightmare. However, we are transitioning into the YOLO phase of FIRE. We are getting older and we want to enjoy life more. As long as our net worth increases, I won’t worry about spending. We’ll see what the numbers look like by the end of the year. December is a big month for passive income so we might be better off than I expect. Anyway, Mrs. RB40 is still working so we’re actually doing pretty well.

That’s it today. Did you have a good month? 

 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 sign up 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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