Great Post at Slowly Sipping Coffee on benefits of FI for job growth

He is being provided an opportunity to move  up the corporate ladder, and he talks about how the pluses and minuses of moving up. He also discusses how, as they have sought out FI, it gives them more options and allows them to stress out less about this potential move.

I’m Getting Pulled up the Corporate Ladder…

“Yep, if this new assignment turns out to be horrid, I already have a parachute packed with my name on it and I can jump out of this plane at any time knowing that I will land safely on the ground below”

One of the other major benefits of pursuing the FI lifestyle!

Mr. 39 Months

 

Healthcare II

Well, as you remember from my last healthcare post, I wanted to look into using the internet to research potential  health care costs for myself and Mrs. 39 Months when we retire early. I thought it might be of interest to folks to see what I found, and what questions this raised.

After looking through some of the sites that I discussed on my last post, I chose to go with Healthsherpa.com as my source for finding information. The steps I followed are:

  • Go to HealthSherpa.com
    • You can setup account if you want, and then log in to keep your stuff
  • Type in zip code . Very important. Some places have Healthcare exchanges, some don’t. I will cover some of those areas that don’t in another post.

  • Who needs coverage (me & spouse)
  • Put in ages, answer questions on disability, smoking, etc.

  • Put in number of people in household (2) and estimated income (I went with $60K)

  • Sherpa says that I can save $892/month on healthcare by reimbursement by government in my zip code (in southern NJ)
  • It asks for the qualifying event, and gives me a list. I chose losing coverage (since I’d be retiring)

  • Asks you to rate how often you use healthcare (low, medium, heavy) based on doctor’s visits, prescriptions, hospital visits, etc. Not perfect, but it will get you in the ballpark. I chose heavy use, because as we get older, we’d go more often

  • Let’s you go into detail on the plan (visits, prescriptions, etc.)
  • Also let’s you compare other plans & costs by clicking “view all 18 plans”

  • This sorts by lowest cost to highest cost, and has a screen on the left side that lets you filter your search. Since I wanted an EPO and Silver plan, I typed those in.
  • The result was a series of seven (7) different plans, ranging in price from $489/month to $2,076/month. Wow. The screen also lets you select up to three different plans to compare.

  • The three plans ranged from $489 to $589 per month. Some of the areas they compare are:
    • Deductible
    • Max Out-of-Pocket (OOP)
    • Primary Care co-pay
    • Prescriptions
  • This should help you get an idea of potential costs. Again, these costs reflect a reimbursement from the government of $892/month. If my income went above the 400% poverty level (around $64K right now), I would be adding about $900/month onto my healthcare bill.

Well, at least I’ve got a starting point for budgeting.

Next healthcare post, we’ll go over what to do when you have a state that doesn’t have a healthcare exchange.

 

Mr. 39 Months

 

Health Care – Post 1

Like many FIRE folks in the United States, the topic of health care takes a major part of our planning as we look to exit the rat race early. The current plan, as reader’s know, is to retire in 30 months, when Mr. 39 Months will be 56 and Mrs. 39 Months will be 58. Since Medicare doesn’t kick in till age 65, and we aren’t the kind of idiots who try to “chance it” by going without medical during the gap, we need to look for medical coverage to cover us for 7-9 years. Even though the healthcare issue continues to be a political football, we need to start planning. I won’t get into the politics here (thank god) other than to say that, as a “libertarian leaning” individual, I find it distasteful that politics enters into it at all.

Now that that is out-of-the-way, I wanted to go through my initial research on this, and what I found. I expect this will be an ongoing topic, as I update you on my findings and go through my logic as I approach FI and potential early retirement.

First some basic info:

  • Mr. 39 Months is 53, and Mrs.39 Months is 55
  • Overall health is good, though not as good as 20 years ago (i.e. no chronic illnesses, diabetes, injuries, etc.)
  • We have typically had a PPO plan (i.e. it allows us to go outside of our network fairly easy). An HMO plan is typically less expensive, but it is more difficult to seek doctors outside of a prescribed network. We both felt the additional expense was worth it for the flexibility
  • Mr. 39 Months job has typically been the one which has provided our health care (like so many folks in the US). The co-pay cost has gone up a lot over the last ten years, as health care costs and regulations have increased. At this point,  we are currently paying $9,835/year out of our paycheck (not counting co-pays and deductibles).
  • We currently have  a “Silver PPO” plan, which
  • As most folks know, you can’t easily deduct your medical expenses from you income taxes in the US (for 2016’s taxes, you could only deduct anything over 10% of your income – very difficult to hit).

Even though the healthcare issue is a moving target right now, here is what I’ve done.

  1. Figured out generally what we are looking for. The plan is to try to get a similar Silver PPO plan. While I’d like to look into an HSA type, I’m not dedicated to it. We will have to see.
  2. The plan is to live on around $72,000 per year. That is pretty generous (our current base expenditures are around $30,000 year + taxes). The extra is to provide $12K to each of us for an allowance ($1,000/month) for our expenses, $12K for medical, and $6K (just in case). This gets us to $72K. We are thinking of some “geo-arbitrage” in the US to potentially reduce the spending.
  3. With the new US tax law, we can deduct a base $24K from our income as a deductible. This puts us at $48K per year in income – well within the confines of the current US healthcare “assistance” level, based on being under  400% of the US Poverty level (which for 2016 was around $64,080 for 2 people)
  4. Looked for various sites on line to assist. Some of those I found include:
  • Healthcare.gov
  • Ehealthinsurance.com
  • healthsherpa.com

I’ll share what I found in my next healthcare posting.

Some other FIRE blog posts that I have found on the topic that folks might want to look into include:

  1. Our Next Life
  2. Root of Good

Mr. 39 Months

Spending less doesn’t mean living less: How?

Guest Post: Spending less doesn’t mean living less: How?

Today’s post is contributed by Amy Nickson, a passionate writer on finance. Amy is a professional blogger whom has started her own blog and also works as a contributor for the Oak View Law Group. Please share your opinions by commenting below.

Spending less doesn’t mean living less: How?

If you are living beyond your means, then you should be wary about your poor financial future. Having a lot of financial obligations make you frustrated and restless.

Getting your finances in order is not easy, especially if you owe huge debts.

However, spending less money is one of the sure shot ways to make a positive impact on your finances. But, a lot of people often believe that spending less means depriving themselves. But it is not true. It is sad that people don’t know that living a fulfilling life while spending less is possible.

 Living on less: What does it mean?

 People often think that living on less means living in misery. They believe that once they adopt a frugal lifestyle, it will force them to live a poor life.

But in reality, living a frugal life means, you are able to distinguish between your wants and needs. Being a frugal person, you can live a more meaningful life. Of course, you can dream of a high-end watch, a car, and some latest gadgets, but all these come after paying the monthly bills on time, paying off debt, and deposit a definite amount into the savings account. Frugal persons are even able to make investments to grow their money over time. Frugal habits also make financial life peaceful and secured.

On the other hand, cheap skate persons deprive themselves or others just for the sake of saving some dollars here and there. They have only one goal in their life – saving money at any cost. They eat at a low-quality restaurant just because the price is low. They show their obsession over the price. They believe, the cheaper price, the greater benefit.

But being a frugal minded person, you are actually saving money by buying fewer but quality products.

Frugality helps you learn how to cut down expenses that are unnecessary. By doing so, you can save quite a significant amount that you can put into a savings account or can use purposefully.

Here are some ways you can start living a frugal lifestyle.

 1. Avoid frequent restaurant visits

One of the best ways to save money is to avoid eating out every day. It is true that eating out can be a lot of fun and sometimes it’s difficult to carry home cooked food to work every day. But, eating at a restaurant every time you feel hungry can cause a huge hole in your pocket. These expenses may not appear too big individually, but can be huge if taken altogether. You should try to eat at home and pack your lunch when going out to work. This will help you save a lot of money that you can put towards other expenses.

  1. Consider thrift stores

You must consider a thrift store for purchasing your necessities without spending a lot. By doing so, you don’t have to compromise on the quality of the products. The added benefit is, you are saving some bucks. Also, consider shopping in bulk for grocery and vegetables. You can easily store perishable items that you won’t use right away in the refrigerator and stock up the non-perishable items when they’re on sale.

  1. Keep one car in good state instead of keeping multiple bad quality cars

 Keeping multiple cars that are in a bad state can cost you dearly. You will need to pay thousands of bucks to repair the cars, if required. On the other hand, if you claim insurance for repairing the damaged car, the cost of insurance coverage can increase on policy renewal.

Therefore, it is wise to keep one car in good state, which can serve you better, and for which you don’t have to spend much.

  1. Make spending changes wisely

You may get tempted to purchase goods from the best manufacturers or goods that have a high brand value. By doing so, you are wasting money on something that you could have purchased for a much lower price. Thus, it is recommended to compare price before purchasing an item. You can also wait for a sale to buy the item on discount.

  1. Keep a piggy bank

Create a coin bank to dump the changes collected from the gas station or a grocery store. See how much you have collected over the course of a year. You can also save the money you received as gifts on birthdays, holidays and sometimes unexpected gains like the tax refund (you haven’t calculated), lottery, etc.

  1. Contribute money into a retirement account

You should set aside a certain amount (at least 20% of your monthly income) every month into a retirement fund. Try not to spend your hard-earned money in impulse buying. It’s possible for you to secure your retirement, but it takes some serious commitment and time.

  1. Consider free entertainment

Remember, your family needs your time, not your money. Instead of buying expensive gifts, or planning luxurious trips, entertain your family through public resources. Instead of buying costly story books, visit the library for story hours with your kids. You can rent movies to spend a good time with your spouse. Buying CDs or story books from a public library can help you save a lot of money. Go for fishing, gardening, and cycling, to spend happy hours with your family.

  1. Build an emergency fund

Put the extra money into a separate savings account so that you can easily build an emergency fund that can be utilized during an emergency. If you can make sure that you have built an emergency fund, you don’t have to take resort to loans and become liable to repay them in the future.

  1. Use cash for everything

Instead of using credit cards for buying things, you should use cash. By doing so, you can avoid buying things that you can’t afford with cash. Thus, you will be able to avoid huge credit card bills to pay off every month.

  1. Go for DIY revolution

The DIY revolution has helped a lot of people to live on less. It allows you to stop buying many items as you can make them on your own. Thus, you can save a considerable amount of money. Stop taking out a loan to meet the expenses. You can easily make your own gifts and decor items to save enough money in the long run.

Sometimes, it becomes difficult for you to resist the temptation of purchasing a particular thing. To avoid such a purchase, you should wait for a few days before buying that particular thing. After a few days, if you still desire to purchase the item, buy it. Many a times, chances are, you will lose the desire to buy the item. By following these simple frugal tricks, you will be able to live a more fulfilling life on less without depriving yourself. Living a meaningful life will help you to get a better financial prospect. So, think about it right now!

Update on Value Investing Portfolio

I went through my value investing choices in my “fun money” account, and reviewed them for performance. If you remember, this account is around 5% of my total invested assets (the majority of them are in straight index funds, allocated over stocks, bonds & REITs). With this account, I sought to experiment with investing in value stocks, based on the writings of Graham, Buffet and other value stock disciples. I wrote two articles on that back in 2017.

The general tenets of the analysis, I broke down into several categories of analysis for each stock:

  1. Market value greater than $2 Billion (Strength)
  2. Current ratio (current assets/current liabilities) of 2-1 or greater
  3. Positive earnings in each of the last 10 years
  4. Paid dividend at least 20 years, and raised over last 20 years
  5. Increased earnings per share by at least 1/3 over 10 years
  6. P/E of 15 or less
  7. Price-to-book of 2.5 or less
  8. Return on Equity of 15% or more, and growing

Not every stock can have all of these, but they should have the majority (and be trending in the right direction). Most stock analysis tools (like Morningstar) will let you put in these feature and determine those stocks that meet or are close to these values.

In the account, I had three stocks that, when I did the analysis, matched somewhat close to these values: Gilead Science (GILD), CSS Industries (CSS) and Tahoe Resources (TAHO).

In addition, Graham had a value equation (updated by recent value disciples) that helped to determine real value for the stocks. Using that, I was able to determine that all three of these were undervalued, based on current earnings, growth potential, etc. In it, you took the company’s earnings without dividends, multiplied it by 2*a company growth rate (I chose 6%) plus 8.5%, and then multiplied that times 4.4 divided by the corporate bond yield.

When looking at my three value stocks, I had the following results:

  • GILD: 6 out of 8 in the categories. Est value of $101.02/share vs current price of $75.42 (+@$25.60)
  • CSS: 6 out of 8 in the categories. Est value of $22.10/share vs share price of $27.86 (-$5.76)
  • TAHO: 3 out of 8 categories (they fell off a lot this year). Est value of $4.81 vs current price of $4.49 (+$0.32)

Based on this, I chose to sell my CSS and TAHO at the beginning of the year. I also chose to sell the REITs I had in the account (I was originally setting it up like my dividend paying account, and only in 2017 did I chose to do value investing in it). This would give me a significant amount of money that I planned to put into three value stock plays.

I did the analysis of the eight categories and came up with 2 other stocks that interested me:

  • SBS (Companhia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo SABESP): 5 out of 8 in the categories. Est value of $19.69/share vs. current price of $10.43 (89% upside)
  • BBGI (Beasley Broadcast Group Inc.): 5 out of 8 in the categories. Est. value of $29.01/share vs. price of $12.80 (127% upside)
  • I also chose to double my investment in GILD, as it still had significant upside.

I was struck by the lack of stocks that met many of the categories, due to price. It appears the stock run-up has cut into the potential for getting good value stocks.

So evenly split, I have about $12K in each of these value stocks. I’ll let folks now how they do throughout the year.

 

Mr. 39 Months

 

 

 

 

Have you re-balanced yet?

You can’t go a day without seeing articles on the pending crash/adjustment/correction to the stock market. Folks are talking about when this giant run-up of the last year will correct back. They point to high P/E ratios, way “out of whack” with traditional measurements. At the same time, others say that reduced regulations & taxes are going to push the market even further. For most of us, it is much too difficult to figure out, so what are we to do?

African elephant female and her baby elephant balancing on a blue balls.

The obvious answer – re-balance! Each of us who invests should have an asset allocation that determines how much we want in stocks, bonds, real estate, precious metals, etc. This should be based on our “risk tolerance,” where we identify how much risk (and stock market craziness) we want to participate in. For me, my risk tolerance is “moderately high” (it used to be “high”) so I’m into a 70/30 split with stocks/bonds. Mrs. 39 Months likes a lot of cash, so we end up really with a 60/40 split. Note that about ¼ of that “60” is in REITs, which is my way of investing in real estate.

The problem comes when one asset class or another really “takes off” and leaves the asset allocation off track. It is here where smart investors use re-balancing to reduce the risk and prepare for the correction that is due to occur. Re-balancing involves selling a portion of your “winners” (in this case the stocks that have just run up) and buying some more of your “losers” (bonds, REITs) in order to re-balance your portfolio. Re-balancing forces you to sell high and buy low – the quintessential investor plan.

For me, I tend to re-balance twice a year (January & July). Some folks do it more often, but I think you can drive yourself crazy if you do it more often. I also don’t re-balance if something is over a 2% variance (i.e. if I am supposed to have 30% and I only have 28.5%, I let it ride).

Some investment companies make it easy to re-balance. The Vanguard website has a specific section for selling out of one fund and purchasing shares with that amount from another. TRowePrice’s is a little more cumbersome, but not bad. Other brokerage houses, like USAA, make you have to do it all yourself, with your own spreadsheets and calculations. Still, its math, which I enjoy doing.

As an example, I looked at my Vanguard IRA account at the end of the year, and found this:

Name Symbol Current Price Current Shares  Current Value % of Portfolio Amount “off”
Vanguard 500 Index Fund VFIAX  $             246.82 237.6  $     58,655.54 19.6% $6,374.7
Vanguard REIT Index Fund VGSLX  $             117.55 392.6  $     46,146.13 15.4% ($6,134.7)
Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund VSMAX  $                70.78 805.5  $     57,011.95 19.1% $4,731.1
Vanguard Bond Index Fund VBTLX  $                10.75 7397.1  $     79,518.65 26.6% ($10,105.7)
Vanguard Int’l Index Fund VGTSX  $                30.52 1881.2  $     57,415.51 19.2% $5,134.6

Looking at this, I chose to sell of $6,134.70 of S&P500, and put it into REITs (to get back to around 17.5% for each) and sell off the Small Cap ($4,731) and International ($5,134) and buy into the Bond Fund (+$9,865). This gets me close to my original allocation.

Now, if the S&P500 corrects 10%, I still have taken a significant chunk of money off the top and put it into a different investment. I also bond the bonds and REITs when they were down, allowing me to get bargain.

Have you re-balanced yet? How often do you do it?

 

Mr. 39 Months

Investment update – End of 2017

Well, with 30 months left till FI, and the beginning of the new year, I wanted to go back and see how my investments did, to give you an idea of how my allocations seem to be working out.

For the year, my investments (not savings or real assets) went from $823K to $983K.

  • I added about $63K throughout the year
  • Got about $22K in dividends (2.7%)
  • Got about $75K in capital gains (9.1%)
  • Total returns on investments for the year, round 11.8%

The return is about average for the FIRE community. There are certainly some who really “smacked it out of the ballpark”, but I think that is because they are more invested in the assets that really took off this year.

Since I’m older and closer to FI, my allocation is a little more conservative:

  • 30% Bond intermediate Index Fund
  • 17.5% S&P 500 Index Fund
  • 17.5% Small Cap Index Fund
  • 17.5% International Index Fund
  • 17.5% REIT Index Fund

As one would expect, my bonds and REITs didn’t do as well this year (1.5% and 1.2% counting dividends) and they make up almost half of my assets. The stock portion (S&P, small cap and International) really kicked butt, getting around 20.1% on average. In the end I am very happy, as historically, this allocation would net me around 5.24% after inflation (which I expect to be around 2% for the US this year). Thus, my expectation was 7.24%, and I ended up around 11.8%.

As you might expect, my “set it and forget it” investment portfolio in my 401Ks and IRAs (both regular and Roth), where I just invest in index funds with the above allocation, did the best. I just regularly put in money, and surprisingly, the index funds do OK.

My father’s Inherited IRA, which I set up with an eye towards income, has returned 3.6% in dividends in 2017, which is a little more than I expected. Perhaps the rise in interest rates in the US (up 0.75% in 2017) had something to do with it. The capital gains for the stocks have been substantial, but that is only 25% of the portfolio. The REITs (25%) and bonds (50%) had a poor year for capital gains, so overall, it ended up just generating the 3.6%.

My “fun money” account, was somewhat of a disappointment as well. While one of my stock picks (Gilead Sciences) really shot up, the other two value picks (TAHO and CSS) did not perform well. I will revisit them in another email and I try and decide my ongoing value strategy. This portfolio also has 33% REITs and 33% bonds, which didn’t do well. Again, this is a small portion (5%) of my overall investment portfolio, so its more for me to try new things than to really make lots of money. I keep the majority of my investments in index funds and let them grow.

In a future posting, I’ll go into my value strategy, so folks can get some additional ideas and see if they work for them.

Hope your New Year has gotten off well!

 

Mr. 39 Months.

Goals/Objectives for 2018

I’ve already gone over my performance to goals for 2017 in a previous posting. In summary, I hit my finance and business goals, but was only halfway successful for the personal goals. From what I can see, that is fairly normal for FIRE bloggers – we are pretty good at hitting the numbers, but often fall off on the “squishy” goals.

For 2018, I kept my finance and business goals fairly similar (just bumping up some of the numbers) and added more personal goals. Why would I add to the goal category in an area I didn’t excel in? Call me a glutton for punishment, but I feel that I want to emphasize the personal as I get closer to my FI goal. I need to continue to work on realizing it’s not just about the money.

Finance:

  • Save $81K in tax-advantaged accounts (saved almost $37K in 2017). 401K, Roth IRA, etc. By utilizing a deferred account my company offers, I can dramatically increase this number (I will dump 100% of my company bonus in to help reach this number).  Since the deferred account money will have to be withdrawn (and taxed) when I leave, it actually is a pretty cool FIRE solution for saving.
  • Save $9K in regular accounts (compared to $26.5K in 2017). This will go into my brokerage account. I will use the money I was putting into this to upgrade the money in the tax-advantaged (see above)
  • Increase dividend income from all accounts to $24K/year (compared to 22K in 2017).
  • Passive income covers 33% of base living expenses in retirement (it was 30% in 2017). My long-term goal is to get my dividend/passive income up to where it covers over 100% of my expected retirement living expenses, so my investments can continue to grow.
  • Beat net worth growth rate of 7% (it was 12.3% in 2017). My historical net worth growth rate for the last 20 years has been 6.6%. This has been through two downturns (2000 and 2009), and it’s been over 12% for the last five – but there is a downturn coming at some point.

Business:

  • Begin attending regular meetings of my local real estate investors association. They hold a regular monthly meeting, a monthly meeting for new investors, and a monthly meeting for my specific county. All three could be interesting, and it’s free for a paid member. Last year I started attending, but it was spotty.
  • Double the number of blog visitors in 2018. Last year it was a little over 2,000. I want to get at least 4,000 this year, so I need to put myself out there more (i.e. comment) and write interesting topics.
  • Write/publish a book on finance.  I wrote one for new graduates in 2017, but I have identified an area of the community which hasn’t been served as well in the past. Hopefully I can assist with something here.

Personal:

  • Increase weight lifted by 10% from 2018 (increased by 12.7% in 2017). I want to continue to improve my strength as I get older, instead of just wasting away
  • Average 3 hours of cardio per week (currently averaging about an hour). Again, want to improve my fitness
  • Take part in at least one long bike ride, like MS bike-a-thon (80 miles)
  • Backpack over 100 miles on AT (did over 100 in 2017)
  • Begin volunteering at Pennsbury Manor at their joiner’s shop (woodworking)
  • Reduce weight by 20 lbs. from Jan 2018 (lost 9 lbs. in 2017). Again, I want to get in better shape as I get closer to financial independence
  • Read at least one book a month. Trying to learn new things and keep my mind shop. Started this in August 2017, and I’ve been doing fairly well with it.

Travel:

  • Visit a national park (visited Shenandoah NP in 2017)
  • Visit family in Tennessee, Vermont and New York. Family is very important to me. One of the things I am looking forward to with financial independence is the opportunity to visit family more often
  • Visit Portland, OR and northern California. Mrs. 39 Months has a craft class she wants to take in Portland, so I’ll go as well, and run around in Portland, when it’s over, we want to visit the Park in Northern California with the Redwoods.
  • Visit Ellis Island. Wanted to do this in 2017, but didn’t make it. As 50% Czech from immigrant great grandparents from the turn of the century, I believe they went through there, and I want to see it
  • Go on an international trip. Not sure which one (Canada, Caribbean, etc.) but I’d like to get out this year.
  • Visit the Asheville NC area. It’s one of the areas that we are considering retiring to (close to my old home in Tennessee, interesting crafts, shops & outdoor sports, etc.). Trying to learn more about the area (we’ve been there a couple of times).

 

So those are my somewhat ambitious goals for 2018. I am going to do my best to hit them, so wish me luck.

 

What are your goals for 2018?

 

Mr. 39 Months

2017 Goals & Performance

Like so many others in the FIRE community, I thought I’d go over my 2017 goals and see how I did, in order to prepare for my 2018 objectives. I’ve been doing this for years, but haven’t had a blog to put it out there before now. I have to say, the Blog does help to both motivate me to push for bigger goals, and to keep things in perspective (there are always people in the FIRE community doing better than you – or at least looking like they are doing better than you on their blog).

2017 Goals:

Finance Goals:

  1. Save $33K in tax-advantaged accounts (Roth IRA, 401K, etc.) – Grade A: Overall saved almost $37K for the year
  2. Save $26K in regular accounts (brokerage accounts, after-tax, etc.) – Grade A: Saved $26.5K for the year
  3. Increase dividend income for all accounts (401K, brokerage, IRA, etc) to $18K for the year – Grade A: Total of almost $22K for the year
  4. Passive income covers 65% of base living expenses (taxes, utilities, etc.) – Grade A: Due to higher dividend payments, came in at 73.6%
  5. Net Worth beats my traditional 6.1% per year rate – grade A: Great stock year and putting in a lot of money led to a 12.3% increase in my net worth. From $1.27M to $1.42M! Yah

Overall for finance, I had to rate it as a A! Time to push the goals a lot more

Business Goals:

  1. Begin attending local Real Estate investors meeting (REIA). Grade C: Attended one meeting in July, but work and other issues kept me from going to more. Plan on starting to attend regularly and to pay for membership in January.
  2. Start a Blog – Grade A: Started the blog in April, total of 81 posts, 54 comments, and over 2,000 page views. Pretty small for most FIRE blogs, but I’m happy with it to start. Was able to post an average of twice a week, and I think that is a good amount. Was able to get over the “six month hump” where many bloggers dry up.
  3. Publish Student Finance BookGrade A: Completed the book on finance and work for students graduating. Its an e-book for $0.99, done more to get the info out there than to make tons of money (so far, its only sold 3 copies). I’ve got ideas on a second book, maybe for 2018.

Overall, for Business, I’d give myself a B.

Personal Goals:

Its here where I was a little “spotty” on getting stuff done

  1. Increase weight lifted in exercise by 10% from Jan 2017 amount – Grade A: Increase by 12.7%. Need to get more intricate in my lifting plan
  2. Average 3 hours of cardio every week by end of year – Grade F: Averaging around 1 hour, like at the beginning of the year. Need to make time and get this done
  3. Go on an international trip – Grade F: Didn’t do it, was planning on the 4th qtr, but work and injuries to Mrs. 39 Months kept this from happening
  4. Visit a National Park – Grade A: Backpacked in Shenandoah National Park for a week. A lot of fun. Looking forward to doing another 100+ mile year on the Appalachian Trail this year.
  5. See the 2017 total solar eclipse – Grade F: Had to go on a business trip to California the week it happened, and CA was overcast the day of. Didn’t get the chance to see it at all!

Overall, I’d give myself a C for personal goals in 2017. Need to up my game, here.

 

For the most part, it was a good year, though some health issues at the end of the year for Mrs. 39 Months and myself kept it from being a completely awesome year. I’ll try and push myself some more in 2018, both financially, business-wise, and for the personal goals.

 

How was your 2017? Did you get done a lot of what you planned for?

 

Mr. 39 Months

Clearing your “Shop” for the next project…

For many folks who do crafts work, there comes a time when you have completed a long, drawn out project, and you take the opportunity to do a reset of your space. It is an opportunity to clean, repair & sharpen your tools, clean up the area, take stock of your materials and area, and determine next steps to improve them before you start your next project.

For me, I am an amateur woodworker. With Christmas done, I can get back to the arts & crafts sideboard that I have been working on (still need to complete the drawers and the doors). You can kind of see it in the back there. Before that, however, I clean the shop, cull my woodpile, sharpen up the chisels and planes, and get everything ready for the next batch of work.

I often think this is similar to the end of year financial work that people have to complete. Some of the key items that folks work on right before/right after the New Year.

  • Tax planning for year-end, and for the new year (especially in tax-advantaged accounts)
  • Capital gains/loss harvesting (done before end of year)
  • Rebalancing of the portfolio (I always do this twice a year, Jan & July)
  • Review investment performance and determine what changes need to be made
  • Review investment performance and make adjustments to next year’s projections based on updated knowledge

With this done, folks can start work in the new year, with their plans in place – able to “hit the ground running.”

For me, I have some minor tweaks to my investment allocation. For tax planning, I prepaid my property taxes, so that I could deduct them for 2017 taxes – but now it appears that this won’t be allowed (still up in the air). Ah well, at least I tried to do something, instead of just sitting there. Finally, I want to look back over the stocks in my value investing “fun” account to see what their performance is, and what the price should be.

Like a lot of FIRE folks, I will have an update in the next week or so on 2017 and goals for 2017, and I look forward to reading other FIRE bloggers results and objectives for the New Year.

Happy new year to everyone in the community!

 

Mr.39 Months