Even though it’s been three months since my last report and I’ve been planning to do these quarterly, I was seriously tempted not to post an update this time around. You see, it feels like we’ve made almost no progress over the last quarter, at least when you compare it to the quarter just before that when we had a lot more extra money to play with (thank you, stimulus check!).
However, sometimes the reality is that you DON’T make that much progress on your goals during a set amount of time, but I think it’s still important to stay accountable and keep showing up.
So here we are with another progress report, even if the numbers won’t be very exciting.
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Note on How We Track Our Financial Progress
For basic budgeting and household account maintenance, I use Mint, which I’ve used and loved for years. Recently, I’ve started using Personal Capital as well, which has many of the same features as Mint, but I like using it instead of Mint for tracking our debt reduction and investments, as I find their tools are a bit better for that. Both are free. (And if you sign up for a free Personal Capital account, we can both earn $20 if you go through my referral link!)
For a clearer snapshot of our financial picture over time, I started tracking our net worth via Google Spreadsheet in August 2018. It’s been a total game changer, and I highly recommend you read the post I did on the why and how of that process here.
Our 7 Big Financial Goals
Just for a quick recap, these 7 financial goals were all taken from the “Finance” section of my 101 in 1001 list, which is a list of 101 goals I want to complete over a 1,001-day period. I’m currently working on my second 101 in 1001 list, but if you’re interested, you can see the (different) financial goals I worked on for my first 101 in 1001 list HERE.
Open up a brokerage account + invest $2,500
Our brokerage account is through Fidelity and is in their Total Market Index Fund (FSKAX). We decided to go with this option after reading The Simple Path to Wealth and from me doing extensive research about the FIRE movement (Financial Independence / Retire Early) over the years.
While we were able to make a huge amount of progress over the first part of this year, we haven’t added anything into the account over the last 3 months (although I will say that it’s been fun to watch the $1,600 we had invested go up around $80 thanks to a hot stock market!).
I do anticipate that we’ll be able to start making some headway on this again in this next quarter, thanks to both the child tax credit coming up and thanks to the income I expect that the flower farm will start to generate once I have more surplus blooms to sell (other than those going out to CSA subscription members).
- Goal Amount: $2,500
- Initial Amount Invested: $500
- Amount Invested at Checkpoint #1: $1,600
- Amount Invested at Checkpoint #2: $1,600
- Progress Made This Quarter: $0
- Percent of Goal Reached: 64%
Buy and pay off a new vehicle to replace the Buick
In case you missed it, we were able to make this happen much earlier than planned thanks to the second stimulus check and thanks to Matt’s parents selling their old car to us for a steal. I’ve sure appreciated the fact that we haven’t had to take on another car payment the last few months on top of all the expenses we’ve put out for the flower farm business!
- Initial Amount Saved: $500
- Goal Amount: We planned to go for something in the $8K-$10K range, but we ended up buying one from my in-laws for $3,000
- Amount Paid Off: $3,000 (GOAL COMPLETED)
Get each kids’ savings account to $500
Both Matt and I served missions for our church, and we want to be able to give our kids the same opportunity. (Note: All missionaries that serve for our church do so on a volunteer basis and pay for it out of their own pocket.) We will encourage them to save some of their own money for this as well, but we want to provide a good chunk of it, too. If they don’t want to serve missions, this money will be used towards their higher education.
The only progress we made on this is using birthday money from grandparents to go into our oldest child’s fund.
Going forward, we do plan on using a portion of the money we get for the advance child tax credit to go towards this each month for the rest of the year.
- Initial Amount (Kid #1): $222
- Amount at Checkpoint #1: $392
- Amount at Checkpoint #2: $417
- Progress Made This Quarter: $25 (5% of goal amount)
- Percentage of Goal Reached: 83.4%
- Initial Amount (Kid #2): $203
- Amount at Checkpoint #1: $363
- Amount at Checkpoint #2: $363
- Progress Made This Quarter: $0
- Percentage of Goal Reached: 72.6%
- Initial Amount (Kid #3): $204
- Amount at Checkpoint #1: $350
- Amount at Checkpoint #2: $350
- Progress Made This Quarter: $0
- Percentage of Goal Reached: 70%
Make an extra mortgage payment (not necessarily all at once)
Now I guess this is a goal we’ve made some exciting progress on because as you’ll see, we’ve now completed this initial goal for the mortgage payoff!
Of course, if you read my recent post on our new plan to retire from traditional work at age 50, you’ll know that our mortgage payoff goal has also greatly been changed/accelerated (which you can read all the specifics about HERE). I will note that from this point on, all mortgage payoff updates will get posts of their own every 6 months or so, but I did want to note this milestone of completing this first extra payment here.
Note: I don’t know how anyone else calculates making an extra payment towards the mortgage annually (since I know it’s a common goal), but this goal was the amount of a full monthly payment (including Escrow and interest). Obviously a regular payment wouldn’t all go towards principal, but I wanted to do a goal based on the whole monthly payment as a stretch goal.
- Initial Extra Amount Paid: $134
- Extra Amount Paid at Checkpoint #1: $1,034
- Extra Amount Paid at Checkpoint #2: $1,456
- Progress Made This Quarter: $422 (29.8% of total)
- Goal Amount: $1,415 extra paid toward principal
- Percentage of Goal Reached: 103%
Start contributing to my IRA again
Still nothing here, though the amount I’d put in while I was still teaching is growing nicely thanks to a hot market :).
- Initial Monthly Amount: $0
- Current Monthly Amount: $0 (no progress made)
Max out Matt’s Roth one year
No progress here, though I anticipate that we’ll be bumping this up shortly thanks to Matt getting a raise at work.
- Initial Monthly Amount: $150 ($1,800 a year)
- Current Monthly Amount: $150 (no progress made)
- Goal Monthly Amount: $500
Save up $2,000 for home improvements
Nothing to report here either, and this has actually slipped even lower down the priority totem pole than before thanks to both our medical and car sinking funds being completely drained over the past two months due to an expensive repair on our van and an emergency ER visit (everyone’s fine, don’t worry!). We like to keep between $500 and $1,000 in each of those sinking funds just to cover most things that might come up (or at least give us a good headstart so we don’t have to dip too much into our general emergency fund), so we’ll be working on building both of those back up before we work on adding to this home improvement fund.
- Initial Amount: $20
- Current Amount: $20 (no change)
And that completes our quarterly progress report on our 7 goals! I’ve gotta say, having completed 2 out of 7 in the first six months is a lot better than where I thought we’d be!