April 2024 FIRE Update

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Hey everyone! Wow, it’s May. The months are flying by so quickly. That’s what happens when life is good. April was a busy month for me. I went to the gym, delivered some lunches, worked on the blog, took RB40Jr to all his activities, and enjoyed learning how to make ceramics. Whew! That’s the key to a fulfilling retirement. You have to be a little busy. Well, I had plenty of time to relax too. I read several books, watched a bunch of movies, and went out with Mrs. RB40. It was a good balance.

On the personal finance side, we had a good month. Our net worth decreased a bit due to the stock market pullback. The stock market ran up tremendously in the first quarter of 2024 so a pullback is healthy. That’s what I tell myself anyway. On the other hand, our cash flow was great last month. One of our real estate crowdfunding projects exited successfully and we got a big payout. The additional passive income vaulted our FI ratio to 138%. That’s great because we had negative cash flow for several months previously. Whew!

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. Time is running out!

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 4 months, our FI ratio is 138%. Yes! I think we’ll be okay this year.

*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 after 4 months.

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, the gain is completely 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 4% since the beginning of the year. We’ll have to wait and see how the stock market perform.   

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. April was a good month. I exercised 15 times and I’m on track. However, my elbows are hurting. Getting fit after 50 is tough!

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 turns 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.

April was a good month. I was busy and didn’t have any big problem. The ceramic class is a lot of fun. I’m glad I signed up for it.

Help RB40Jr start a YouTube channel

RB40Jr wants to start a YouTube channel. I’ll help him get it going in the summer. This one doesn’t look good. RB40Jr lost interest in starting a channel. Maybe we can rekindle his interest this summer. He’ll have more free time then.

Net Worth (+4%)

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 quarter of 2024 was fantastic. The stock market went up significantly. However, it pulled back a bit in April. That’s healthy because tech stocks were getting too hot. I’m optimistic for the rest of the year, though. The economy is still doing pretty well. The stock market should benefit when the Fed cut interest rate later.

***Important*** My best advice is to stay the course. Do not stop investing. You have to keep investing whether the stock market is going up or down. You might think stocks are too expensive, but it’ll look cheap in 10 years. Keep investing and you’ll achieve financial independence someday. Don’t try to time the market.  

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.

April 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.

April was a great month. We didn’t have any big expenses and our passive income was higher than usual. Whew, what a relief. We had several months with negative cash flow previously. This month erased all that and put us ahead.

April 2024 FIRE Income: $16,270

Our FIRE income was awesome in April. The real estate crowdfunding payout gave us a huge boost. My online income was okay, but that was due to a one-time cash out event. Blogging income is still trending downward. It’s part of the transition. In 5 years, I’ll stop working completely and start drawing down from our investments.  

  • Real estate crowdfunding: $13,253. 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: $947. Good month.
  • Rental Income: $465. We had an uneventful month at the rentals.
  • Blog income: $899. Blog income continues to decrease.
  • Odd jobs: $676. I spent about 4-5 hours per week doing deliveries. These days, I focus on lunch catering orders.   
  • Interest: $29.

Spending: $3,613

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: $1,382. 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: $377. Gas and insurance. 
  • Entertainment: $401. I spent $360 to attend an intro to ceramic class. It’s fun to learn something new. I’m enjoying it immensely. See my first few pieces below.   
  • Groceries: $563.  
  • Health: $222. Health-related expenses are increasing as we age.    
  • Kid: $138. Unfortunately, kid-related expenses are also increasing as RB40Jr gets older. We are making payments for his orthodontist and an international school trip.      
  • 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.

Savings: +$12,657

April 2024 wrap-up

Alright, let’s wrap it up. April was a great month for us. Our net worth dropped a bit, but it wasn’t a big deal. The stock market goes up and down. It doesn’t change anything if you’re investing for the long term. I’m optimistic for the rest of 2024.

That’s it for April. 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!

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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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