March 2024 FIRE Update

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Hey, everyone. It’s April and spring is here. What’s that bright ball in the sky?! Oh, it’s the sun. That’s what Portlanders say after a long gloomy winter. Finally, we have a beautiful spring weekend. People are out and about in shorts and t-shirts. Ahhh… It’s nice because we just got back from spending spring break in Southern California. The weather was perfect there. We visited Griffith Observatory, Santa Monica, Venice, and Palm Springs. We had a great time as tourists. Mrs. RB40 and I grew up in Southern California, but we didn’t appreciate all the things it had to offer. It was also nice to visit with families and friends.

On the finance side, we had a pretty good month. Thanks to the stock market, our net worth hit a new high. The S&P 500 climbed more than 10% in the first quarter of 2024. It was pretty amazing. Our cash flow was a little bit negative, but I’m not worried at all. It’s easy to be optimistic when the stock market is rising.

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%. After 3 months, our FI ratio is 82%. That’s a bit low, but we’ll catch up.

*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 track it and keep my fingers crossed.

Our net worth gained 8.3% since the beginning of the year. Wow, the stock market is doing so well this year. We’re almost there. I’m very optimistic this year.  

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. March was a good month. I’m on track. However, my right elbow is starting to act up. I’ll adjust my workouts to reduce stress on my joints.

Health checks

Equally important is going to see the doctors. At this age, we have more maintenance and preventative care. 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.

March was a great month. We had a pretty uneventful month and capped it off with a great break trip to Southern California. It was a ton of fun.  

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 (+8.3%)

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. Most years, our investment gains greatly outpace our earned income. This is why you need to start investing early and keep at it.

The first quarter of 2024 was fantastic. The stock market went up significantly. Investors are very optimistic. 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 the market has plenty of room to run.

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 they’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.

March 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.

March was a pretty good month for us. Travel expenses were high because we flew to LA for spring break. Everything else was pretty reasonable. Our cash flow was negative, but it wasn’t too bad. We’ll catch up in the coming months.

March 2024 FIRE Income: $4,056

Our FIRE income was okay in March. The online income was a bit low, but that’s okay. It’s part of the transition. In 5 years, I’ll stop working completely and start withdrawing from savings more.  

  • Real estate crowdfunding: $0. We didn’t have a payment from real estate crowdfunding last month. You can read more on the RE Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Dividend Income: $1,813. March was a good month for dividends.
  • Rental Income: $665. We had an uneventful month at the rentals.
  • Blog income: $981. Blog income was low in March.
  • Odd jobs: $375. I spent about 4-5 hours per week doing deliveries. 
  • Misc: $200. Mrs. RB40 got a nice payout from the Safeway BOGO class action lawsuit.  
  • Interest: $22.

Spending: $4,914

This year, I plan to spend about $65,000. That was the amount 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: $1,361. 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: $377. Gas and insurance. I also replaced the headlights and got an oil change.
  • Travel: $1,407. We had a great time in southern California. It was worth it.
  • Entertainment: $171. Mrs. RB40 was sick so we ordered out a few times when it was her turn to cook.   
  • Groceries: $339. We spent less than usual on groceries in March. This was due to our spring break vacation. Also, Mrs. RB40 only cooked a few times last month due to being sick.  
  • Health: $268. Health-related expenses are increasing as we age.    
  • Kid: $647. Unfortunately, kid expenses are also increasing as RB40Jr gets older. Last month, we paid for martial arts classes and his braces.     
  • 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: –$857

March 2024 wrap-up

Alright, let’s wrap it up. March was great and I’m ready for spring. Our cash flow was negative in Q1, but it should balance out by the end of the year. I’m not worried because our net worth increased so much already. At this point, stay the course and we’ll be fine.

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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