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Monthly Financial Snapshot: October 2017

You can also track my all-time progress on the aptly-named Current Progress page.

Another month gone! Maybe it's just the season, but time really seems to be flying by lately. Been very busy at work so the days and weeks have started to blur together. Nothing super exciting to report out for this month, other than the stock markets continuing their great performance for the year. It's weird having months where capital appreciation is actually more than how much I spent during that month. I guess that will be the norm once I am fully FI and the market isn't crashing. I sometimes find myself wondering how much longer the markets can keep it up until the inevitable downturn for which we are "overdue," historically speaking. Nobody can predict it with precision, but it is almost certain that it will happen eventually. Or maybe not. Who knows? Nothing to do except to keep on investing!

Oh, yeah. I got a small raise at work this month! Higher salary goes into effect next pay period!

On a sidenote, supposedly the Republicans are due to release their tax "overhaul" proposal very soon (as in, probably by the time you are reading this). I was thinking of maybe writing a post about what they propose and how it would affect different groups of people, but it's hard to write posts about current events since they quickly become outdated as things seem to be changing ever more rapidly in the political sphere. If there is something especially egregious in there that has a decent shot of becoming law, I'll try to put up a post detailing it so you will know what may be at stake. On the off-chance that they actually pass a bill, I'll likely do an overview detailing the changes. But I'm not making any promises, so don't hold me to it!

On with this month's spending report:


CategoryOct-17Comments
Rent$768.75$750 for rent + $18.75 Plastiq fees
Internet$55.92Internet is kind of expensive.
Cell Phone$0.00Paid for 1 year of service through MintSIM. = $15.51 / month!
Natural Gas$18.60Slightly below average.
Electricity$30.20About average for the month.
Water$41.30About average for the month.
Groceries$167.79A little above average.
Car Insurance$267.01I pay every 6 months in April and October. Payment went up slightly compared to last time.
Gasoline$67.16A little above average.
Car Expenses$0.00Nothing to see here, move along
Health$73.44Heavily subsidized, high-deductible health plans through my work. Includes health and dental. Also monthly gym membership.
Other$0.00Nothing to see here, move along
Necessary$1,490.17A little above average, mostly due to car insurance.
Restaurants$13.50Had a meal with a coworker.
Entertainment$3.99
Cancelled Netflix since I no longer watch it enough to justify the cost. I did see a morning showing of Blade Runner 2049, which was only $4 at my local theater!
Shopping$167.68A little above average. Got some travel accessories for my trip in December, as well as some new shoes for gym and work.
Travel/Parking$173.32Renewed my passport, and booked a hotel room for weekend plans in November.
Gifts/Donations$10.00Donation to my favorite Youtube channel.
Software/Games$0.00Nothing to see here, move along.
Business$77.80Inventory and expenses.
Other$17.00Even more expenses for my personal project.
Discretionary$463.29Below average, for once!
Total Expenses$1,953.46A little below average overall.
Gross Income$7,126.792 paychecks + business income + quarterly ESPP returns
401(k) Match$194.72My company matches 3% of gross salary
Taxes$763.32Federal + state income tax + payroll taxes. I previously prepaid $3k of federal income tax and marked myself exempt for the rest of the year.
Net Income$6,558.19Somewhat below average due bumping up my 401k contributions to be entirely after-tax for the next month or so.
Savings$4,604.73Only a little below average.
Savings Rate70.21%Savings / Net Income. Back to a more normal level of savings this month.
Net Worth$181,672.25Jumped quite a bit this month, due to resumed high savings as well as good market performance!

Projected time to FI (assuming 6% growth and 4% withdrawal rate): 5 years, 11 months!

Comments

  1. I would definitely love an overview of the tax overhaul IF it goes into law great idea! Also for taxable accounts do you like using the robo advisors?

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    Replies
    1. Like I said in the post, the bill keeps changing every few days and I don't really have enough time to do in-depth research/analysis and write a post about it before it changes again. There are other blogs (such as this one: https://www.kitces.com/blog/tax-cuts-and-jobs-act-2018-house-gop-tax-reform-proposal/) who have covered the changes in more depth than I ever could, so if you are looking for solid analysis, please read those. If it actually gets passes, I might write a post giving my opinions on it if I feel inspired enough to do so.

      As for robo-advisers, I think they have very limited utility compared to managing a brokerage account yourself. It's not hard for even a complete beginner to come up with a sensible, low-cost index fund portfolio allocation that fits one's risk profile after only a couple of hours of research. From there, all it takes is discipline to maintain regular contributions and ignoring the noise of the market and the media. I don't see any additional value the robo-advisers offer for the vast majority of investors in exchange for their management fees. Other FI bloggers have written about them in more depth (see https://gocurrycracker.com/why-betterment-has-zero-of-our-dollars/ , https://earlyretirementnow.com/2016/04/03/why-we-dont-use-robo-advisers/ , https://earlyretirementnow.com/2016/08/24/we-just-saved-a-ton-of-money-by-not-switching-to-betterment/ ). Bottom line is they probably aren't worth it.

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