Progress to Freedom 35: 2015 Q1 Update

It looks like we did pretty well over the first quarter of the year, but it’s really a case of not much has changed. We tend to track our income, spending, and net worth changes monthly, but all of those can fluctuate a lot with irregular expenses and market swings. Averaging things out over a three month period smooths those fluctuations out, but also loses a bit of granularity. Our goals were to keep ourselves accountable and keep making progress towards our goals. If it doesn’t look like that is happening, we might have to switch to more detailed monthly checking in.


First Quarter 2015 Average Monthly Expenses

Category Monthly Average Comments
Housing $2,250 Mortgage, insurance for year, supplemental property taxes, and misc. stuff for house & garden.
Travel $600 We took two small trips, made plans and purchases for two more in the future, and had several annual fees related to travel rewards credit cards (subject of future post). A lot of this is eating out when we travel.
Health & Fitness $1025 Few large bills from pregnancy/delivery continued to roll in + few doctors visits and drugs
Food & Dining $300 85% groceries, 15% eating out (A lot of that is the MC getting inebriated). We ate out twice, enjoying good meals with friends and family, and picked up fast food once. A lot of restaurant spending is hidden in Travel.
Transportation $130 Most of this is pre-paying half a year’s insurance, a bit of gas, one oil change and a new bell and water bottle cage for The MC’s bike. More gas is hidden under Travel from our road-trip.
Pets $30 Bag of dog food, one grooming visit, and a new harness
Bills & Utilities $170 Water, Gas, Electric, Trash, and Expensive Internet
Misc $90 Gifts, clothing, entertainment, and website hosting (also entertainment)
Total ~$4,600  🙁

There were a few expenses that might be considered irregular including pre-payments of insurance, taxes, and medical, but as something always shows up, we think it’s only fair to include them.

One low-point is that The MC’s succumbed to his weakness for REI, with us ending up with a brand new bike bell, waterbottle cage and dog harness that have yet to be used (but he insists will be..).

The travel category is not a spending item we begrudge, but it does tend to hide a lot of other things: gas, restaurant meals, drinks. It might be worth reconsidering how we break down these categories.

Looking at the points above, it might be beneficial to us to review our expenses at this level or more monthly, to catch weak points that don’t add value to our lives.


First Quarter 2015 Average Monthly Income: $21,000

We didn’t do a great job of breaking down the sources, but majority of this is paycheck income, with scattered amounts of investment income, promotions, referrals, etc. We should do a better job of consistently tracking this going forward. It won’t always be this large so that should be easier.

Net Worth and Required Savings

At the end of the first three months of the year:

  • Total Net Worth: ~$775,000
  • Net Investable Assets (excluding home equity): ~$660,000

Net worth increased ~$65,000 over the first quarter of the year, that’s approximately $50,000 savings and $15,000 investment gains and returns, assuming we are doing the math correctly.

We would need to save ~$1.5 million to fund our lifestyle at the average spending levels of the previous three months.

Summary of Progress

Savings rate: 81%
Retirement date at current expenses (3% SWR): November 2, 2020
Retirement at current expenses (4% SWR): June 2, 2018

Retirement goal: Q1 2018

The above estimates are based on a lot of assumptions, some conservative, some optimistic. Time will tell how it unfolds..


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7 Responses

  1. Even Steven says:

    Looking over your numbers they look, well A-M-A-Z-ing! I also really like this statement here: 85% groceries, 15% eating out (A lot of that is the MC getting inebriated). Real question is was it good beer at least?

  2. Looking forward to following along with your progress, especially since we’re on such similar timelines! Sure seems like you guys are doing a pretty fantastic job.

  3. Ditching The Grind says:

    You guys are doing freaking awesome! Great income and ridiculous savings rate. You’re slightly ahead of us. Can’t wait to see your progress!

    • The DJ says:

      Thanks for the compliments. A high income does help a great deal with maintaining a high savings rate. More importantly, as we both progressed in our careers with raises/bonuses, we avoided lifestyle inflation as much as we could. It helped that one of us was a grad student for quite some time 😉

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