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February 2024 FIRE Update

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Hey, everyone. It’s March and spring is almost here. The weather is still cold, though. I saw a few snowflakes on the way to the gym this morning. It’s winter for a few more weeks in Portland. In February, I did well on my exercise goal. I went to the gym 15 times. That’s quite good for a short month. Hopefully, I can keep it up as the year goes on.

*The side image was from the Portland Winter Light Festival. It was a great free event.

On the finance side, it was a mixed month. Our net worth shot up because the stock market is on a tear. Investors are optimistic about AI and they are very bullish. At some point, the bubble will burst, but I’m enjoying the ride for now. On the other hand, our cash flow was negative last month. I purchased the flight tickets for our Japan summer trip and booked a few rooms. I expected the charge, but it was still painful when I added up everything. Ouch! It’s hard for a frugal person to see that kind of negative cash flow.

Alright, 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!

2024 Goals

Here is my 2024 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.

Financial Goals

FI ratio > 100%

The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. If you can generate enough passive income to cover your expenses, then you’re set. For 2024, I reduced this goal to 100%. The FI ratio looks bad so far, 52%. We spent a lot of money on our spring and summer trips. It should improve from here, though.

*FI Ratio = passive income / expense

3% Rule

Everyone is familiar with the 4% retirement withdrawal rule, right? Basically, you should have a successful retirement if you withdraw less than 4% of your investable assets annually. Let’s see if we can spend less than 3% in 2024. This is a good way to test your retirement readiness. We’ll add everything up at the end of the year. It’s looking good so far.

Track net worth and hope for +10%

I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006. It’s great to see the progress. This year, I’d like to see 10% gains. At this point, it’s all dependent on the stock market and there isn’t much I can do to influence this goal. I’ll just track it and keep my fingers crossed.

Our net worth gained 5.2% since the beginning of the year. Wow, the stock market is doing so well this year. I’m very optimistic. It’s just the beginning of the AI boom.    

Health Goals

Exercise 3x per week

Now that I’m 50, health is job 1. I need to exercise consistently so I can stay healthy longer. I joined a gym and plan to exercise at least 3 times per week. February was a good month. I’m on track. The gym will start to be less busy soon, though. Most people will ease off as their New Year resolutions fade. I’m looking forward to easier parking at the gym soon.

Health checks

Equally important is going to see the doctors. At this age, we have more maintenance and preventative care to deal with. Here is my list for 2024.

  • Colonoscopy. Done!
  • Annual physical.
  • Dental exam.
  • Glaucoma screening. I have a family history.
  • Immunization. Tdap booster Done! Flu and Covid vaccine later.

Fun goals

International trip

Mrs. RB40 will turn 50 this year and she wants to go on a fun memorable trip. We plan to visit Japan for 3 weeks in the summer. I purchased flight tickets and reserved the hotel already. I can’t wait for this trip.

Happiness level > 8

I’m a naturally happy guy so this should be easy. Life has been great over the last few years.

February was a nice steady month. No problems.

Help RB40Jr start a YouTube channel

RB40Jr wants to start a YouTube channel. I’ll help him get it going in the summer. I believe he wants to make gaming videos. No progress here.

Net Worth (+5.2%)

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. The first two months on 2024 were great. The stock market went up significantly. Investors are crazy for AI stocks. I’m enjoying the ride, but I’m a bit nervous too. This is beginning to feel like 1996. The AI bubble is still young so I think we have a few good years ahead of us.

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 going up. You might think stocks are too expensive, but it’ll look cheap in 10 years. Keep investing and you’ll be fine.  

This 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.

February 2024 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.

February was a spendy month for us. In particular, travel expenses were huge. I purchased our flight tickets and booked accommodation. I used a bunch of credit card points and saved about $2,000. Unfortunately, our cash flow was negative. We’ll have to make up for this over the next 10 months.

February 2024 FIRE Income: $5,126

Our FIRE income was good in February. The problem was on the spending side.

  • Real estate crowdfunding: $296. Our real estate crowdfunding income is doing quite well. You can read more on the RE Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Dividend Income: $1,028.    
  • Rental Income: $665. We had an uneventful month at the rentals.
  • Blog income: $2,166. Blog income was good in February.
  • Odd jobs: $519. I spent about 4-5 hours per week doing deliveries.  
  • Misc: $428. We got some reimbursement from the insurance for RB40Jr’s braces.  
  • Interest: $24.

Spending: $10,541

This year, I plan to spend about $65,000. That’s how much we spent last year. However, we also plan to update the kitchen this year. I probably should increase our budget to accommodate that. We’ll see how it goes.  

Here are some details.  

  • Housing: $1,207. This includes mortgage, utilities, furniture, repair, and maintenance. Our housing expenses are pretty low because we live in a duplex. We split many expenses with our tenant.
  • Transportation: $208. Gas and insurance.  
  • Travel: $6,452. This Japan trip probably will cost over $10,000. The flight tickets already cost about $5,000. Luckily, I was able to use some points for the hotels. It’ll be a great summer trip, though.
  • Entertainment: $78. We ate out a couple of times last month.  
  • Groceries: $701. This was a bit higher than usual. I stocked up on a few things. Generally, I think we’re doing okay with groceries.
  • Health: $535. Health-related expenses inevitably increase as we age. Mrs. RB40 and I had some doctor appointments last month.   
  • Kid: $726. Unfortunately, kid-related expenses are also increasing as RB40Jr gets older. Last month, we spent money on his birthday party, bike fenders, Xbox controller, and other things.    
  • Parent: $250. My brothers and I send $250/month to my dad to help with expenses. He lives in Thailand so their cost of living is much lower than in the U.S.

Saving: –$5,415

February 2024 wrap-up

Whew! I want to loosen up on spending this year, but I was shocked when I went over our cash flow in February. There was too much negative cash flow. I’ll tighten up a bit over the next few months. Although, I shouldn’t stress out too much. Our net worth just reached a new high. The stock market is doing so well. Consumer confidence is good and the economy should hold up well this year. I’m very optimistic for 2024.

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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