Q1 2018 Financial Progress Report

Can you believe March is almost over?! What a crazy ride it has been. With that, time to review where we stand as of end of business today.

Assets & Debt

Liquid assets stand at $624,800.

Our EOY goal is $704,000 ($79,200 to go), though, since we decided to start putting more money towards our mortgage than fully funding post tax accounts, we are not sure we are going to get there, and that is ok.

Our combined 529 balances (not counted above) remain stable, despite the recent drop, at $60,570.

Remaining mortgage plus car debt is $92,600, significantly better already than our EOY goal balance of $101,700, with lots of payments to go! Our mortgage part of that is about $73k, the rest is car, and I estimate our house value is about $290-$310k, leaving about  $200k in equity after fees and all that stuff if we were to sell.

Expenses

We made a few tweaks to our budget already.  As you may recall, we are trying to cut down from $75k last year to $70k this year.

Originally, we had moved down our travel budget from $12k to $8k and made a few other adjustments to hit this goal, however, we were hit with some significant medical expenses earlier this year – few ER visits (all well now, kid injuries and stuff!) – which has forced us to have to cut further in other categories as well. In addition, we  got some extra few expenses from the car we bought last year, so that is reflected on the car expenses as well, which will have to mean spending less in other areas (restaurants, entertainment, etc).

Finally, I forgot to budget for our tax preparation fees (boo!), which were over $500 bucks and I have put that in the ‘shopping / entertainment’ category (I know they are fun right? urgh. Was too lazy to create new buckets :)), so will have to make up for that elsewhere too.

All in all however we are still generally on track and think we can hit our goals (even if the savings and investments don’t match as we redirect towards paying debt).

Let’s see how we go and if the market cooperates or takes back years of gains.

How about you, how goes it so far?!

 Category Budgeted Q1 Avg Variance
Mortgage $1,400 $1,400 $0
Utilities/cell phone $500 $499 $1
Groceries $500 $538 -$38
Restaurants $200 $126 $74
Personal /entertainment $570 $804 -$234
Gas/Car expenses $750 $695 $55
Medical expenses $480 $680 -$200
Vacation/travel $580 $340 $240
Kids $500 $375 $125
Pet $300 $406 -$106
Replacement fund $50 $3 $52
Total Monthly $5,830 $5,865 -$35
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Note To Self: Distract Yourself From Making Dumb Moves In A Bumpy Market!

The Time Has Come

We have a golden opportunity to practice what we have been preaching: “don’t worry about losing thousands of dollars in a second, this is totally normal, markets go up and down (you just don’t remember young one), don’t make stupid moves out of fear, keep your eyes on the long term horizon, this too shall pass, you still have time, this time is no different”, etc. etc…

Rationally, I get it.  Emotionally, a little anxiety started creeping in. Not to worry though as I am determined to not let feelings win this round! Take that heart, said the brain!

Dealing With Sneaky Feelings

I am trying to focus on things I can control and creating positive distractions for myself.  For example, I am still going strong with my two personal challenges of the month: vegetarian diet and no technology Sundays (affectionately dubbed Tech-No Sundays by my sweet son). In addition, I am still enjoying the “no (stuff) purchase challenge” for a year with no issues.

I am feeling pretty good about these challenges, and hope to continue with some of the habits learned so far as they do make a difference (though in full honestly mode, while still limiting meat substantially, I will probably still have the very occasional Chicken Burrito Bowl from my beloved Chipotle upon finishing this challenge…. sigh, I miss you!).

In addition, we are tracking against expenses, despite a few unplanned medical bills (the scariest part of the expense side of the house, if you ask me!). Oh and I am kicking butt at work (according to my very unbiased opinion) – go me!

With that said, on the assets sides things are a little less rosy. For a brief second, we saw our liquid assets hit $650k this month, only to be back down to $620k a few weeks later even after adding a few thousand dollars in contributions during that time. Ouch. I had forgotten what that felt like!

After some reflection, my husband and I agreed that we are comfortable(ish) leaving our already invested money where it is and we will, but not necessarily adding ALL our new money into the market right now. With that, we compromised and will do the following:

We will continue to add pre-tax 401k and HSA funds in the market but use post tax extra funds to up our emergency cash stash (to 3-4 months vs 2) and increase our mortgage payments significantly. As a reminder, we are hoping to add in about $140k per year in new inflows, of which about $80k is post-tax.

Is this the best financial decision? I don’t know, but it does not seem the worse decision either, especially as it brings some peace of mind.  At least we did not decide to go spend it because well, YOLO! (midlife crisis under control folks….for now).

We will revisit as circumstances change of course, but, if this is the path we take the rest of the year, we will likely not meet our EOY asset goals, however, we would crush our debt repayment goal.  We are ok with that. Now, should the market take a steep dive soon,  we will get back in the market full swing and revert to min mortgage payments until we get cold feet again.

Now tell me, how are you coping with this natural but by now not so familiar volatility? Are you ready to stay the course? Let’s do this!