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It’s amazing just how quickly time flies when you’re having fun. For us, January to June 2018 was a whirlwind of activity and feels like it went by in the blink of an eye. However, underneath it all, we’ve been chipping away at our plan to financial freedom and an overall better life. So without further delay, here’s an update on our 2018 plan.
If you recall our post from earlier this year, we outlined 7 goals that would help us get from rich to RICHER. Those goals were:
- Max out our tax-advantaged and retirement accounts
- Payoff the rental property
- Consolidate insurance plans
- Legacy planning
- Identify a short list of neighborhoods to move into
- Take at least 3 vacations
- Invest in ourselves
Altogether, we’re still on track but have wobbled on a few of them during the first half of the year. Here are the details…
1.Max out tax-advantaged and retirement accounts- Midyear Grade B
This one is actually pretty easy to do since it’s on auto-pilot…and we still managed to not get it done! See what had happened was, we were scratching the surface on Goal # 5 and suddenly realized that we had a tight window to secure the house we wanted in an area we really wanted to be in. This meant we needed to sprint towards a down payment and stop our contributions temporarily so that we could secure the funds needed for the closing. We could ramp it up after we close on the house but honestly, we’re playing it by ear so we don’t add unnecessary pressure to our day-to-day.
Listen man…sometimes, you have to get through TODAY to get to tomorrow.
2.Payoff the rental property- Midyear Grade D
Similar to our rationale above, the funds that would’ve went towards paying off our rental are re-purposed to go towards our down payment. Honestly though, we’re not too upset about this. Admittedly, we underestimated how much space we would need with our little one so we had to make a change really quick so that we could improve our home life. Unless something magical happens, this will likely get done by mid Q2 2019 or sooner.
3.Consolidate insurance plan-Midyear Grade C
This is a work in progress and a top priority for us right now. Particularly since we’ve paid off our mortgage, the combined cost of insurance for our homes, cars, short term disability and life across different companies is one of the largest expenses we have. We know there are opportunities to save by bundling so we’re actively shopping companies.
4.Legacy Planning-Midyear Grade D
Not gonna lie…we’ve not given this nearly as much thought as it deserves during the first half of this year. Particularly now that we have a little one, we know it’s critical to have these affairs in order. Not to mention, we know that if we take that step, it will set the tone for us to have similar revealing conversations with our parents. Nice trick right?
5.Identify a short list of neighborhoods to move into– Midyear Grade A+
If there was an opportunity to get extra credit then this might be where it’s applied. Not only did we find a neighborhood, we signed a contract on a new home that checks the box on most of our needs [not all]. As of today, we expect it to be completed by September but if the rain in the ATL keeps up, we’ll be lucky to make early October.
6.Take at least 3 vacations– Midyear Grade A+
So far, we’ve taken a quick family vacation to Dallas, Texas (1) and a mini getaway to Portland, OR (2) which was coupled with our interview for the upcoming documentary, Playing with FIRE. We’re officially cast members and really looking forward to its release so this movement of early retirees and financial independence can reach a broader audience.
Coupled with FinCon 2018 in Orlando, we’re also planning to put our toes in the sand somewhere. While our trip to Jamaica wasn’t that long ago, our bodies and mind are in need of some…R&R. See what we did there?
7.Invest in ourselves- Midyear Grade A
We’ve definitely explored new ways to tell our story through our conversation series and have a handful of other creative ideas we want to tackle. We won’t spill the beans just yet but know that it will be pretty cool. Last but not least, Mr. r&R has made a better effort to get back in the gym after falling off the wagon last year. Mrs. r&R still has to fill her self-care cup a bit more. Thus is the life of a working Mom, wife and entrepreneur.
So overall, we give ourselves a B- for the first half of the year. If we were just talking about finances though, I would have to say this year has blown our expectations out of the water.
According to our Personal Capital Net Worth Tracker (screenshot above), our net worth increased by about $95,000 between January and July 2018 driven by retirement account growth, real estate appreciation and maintaining a strict budget to keep our spending down. Over that same period, our 401k has grown by 12% inclusive of contributions and our IRA growth has been largely flat [no contributions]. Given we’re heavily invested in low-cost index funds and the S&P 500 (which our portfolio basically tracks) has grown at around 11% over that time, we’re happy with those results. All things considered, it’s a mixed bag, but given the jittery global political climate we’re in, it’s a blessing that anxiety hasn’t completely suffocated the market’s growth potential.
Despite some pretty annoying tenant issues [more on that later], our rental property value has remained strong but profitability this year is in the $hits. It’s a looong story and one we’ll dedicated a full post to soon. Meanwhile, our current home/future rental has appreciated nicely. Thinking ahead, we received a formal rental analysis from our management company and they confirmed we can expect $1,370 for our new place (current primary residence). Given they’ve not seen any upgrades, we’ll likely be on the upper end of that and hopefully closer to market or Zip High[ $1,500].
According to Credit Sesame (screenshot below), our respective credit scores are still excellent with Mr r&R hitting 822 and Mrs. r&R joining the 800 club as well. This is simply because we pay our bills on time, pay our balance in full, don’t jump at every new offer credit card company sends our way and stick to our budget.
Last but certainly not least, Mrs. r&R was able to secure a significant promotion recently, so we’ll be enjoying the additional income cushion she brings in and hopefully some extra ‘schweet’ bonus potential in Spring 2019. Basically…life is good!
P.S. If you have feedback or ideas for us to consider like in-person meetups, workshops, e-courses etc. please reach out to us here. We can’t promise we’ll do it but will certainly take it under consideration.