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January 2024 FIRE Update – Retire by 40

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Hey, everyone. Happy days are here again! Last year, the US economy grew faster than any other large advanced economy. Things are looking good in 2024 as well. Unemployment is low, inflation is moderating, wages are growing, and the consumer is spending money like water. As a result, the stock market is reaching new highs every week. Life is good for investors. Anyway, it’s a nice start for 2024. Things may slow down a bit as the presidential election approaches, but I’m optimistic this year.

We had a good month at the RB40 household. There was a snowstorm in the Pacific Northwest and Portland shut down for a week. 2 inches of snow shutting down the city might sound ridiculous to you, but it’s a regular occurrence here. The city doesn’t have enough equipment to deal with the snow and most people don’t have tire chains. This year was particularly bad because the snow was followed by a cold snap. Everything got iced over. A ton of trees fell and thousands of households lost power. It was nuts. Fortunately, we had enough warning to stock up on food and our electricity stayed on. Whew! We mostly stayed home and kept out of trouble. The rest of the month was uneventful.

On the finance side, we had a nice month. Our FIRE cash flow was a little negative, but our net worth reached a new high. It’s all good. Alright, I’ll share how I’m doing with my New Year goals. Then, I’ll go over our net worth and cash flow. Let’s go!

2024 Goals

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Here is my 2024 goal spreadsheet. It works well. Try it out if you can’t keep up with your New Year goals. The key is to review the spreadsheet monthly to track your progress. That way, you can see which goals need extra attention and work on them.

Financial Goals

FI ratio > 100%

The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. If you can generate enough passive income to cover your expenses, then you’re set. For 2024, I set this goal to 100%. January was good because we got a big interest payment from bonds. We are doing well so far at 119%.

*FI Ratio = passive income / expense

3% Rule

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Everyone is familiar with the 4% retirement withdrawal rule, right? Basically, you should have a successful retirement if you withdraw less than 4% of your investable assets annually. Let’s see if we can spend less than 3% in 2024. This is a good way to test your retirement readiness.

Track net worth and hope for +10%

I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006. It’s great to see the progress. This year, I’d like to see 10% gains. At this point, it’s all dependent on the stock market and there isn’t much I can do to influence this goal. I’ll just track it and keep my fingers crossed.

Our net worth gained 1.9% since the beginning of the year. January was a good month on the stock market.  

Health Goals

Exercise 3x per week

Now that I’m 50, health is job 1. I need to exercise more consistently so I can stay healthy longer. I joined a gym and plan to go at least 3 times per week. January was a tough month. We got snowed in for a week and couldn’t go anywhere. But I made up the missing week and I’m still on track. I exercised 12 times in January. Hopefully, I can keep this up.

Health checks

Another important thing I need to do is to get various health checks done. Here is the list for 2024.

  • Colonoscopy. Done!
  • Annual physical.
  • Dental exam.
  • Glaucoma screening. I have a family history.
  • Immunization. Tdap booster Done! Flu and Covid vaccine later.

Fun goals

International trip

Mrs. RB40 will turn 50 this year and she wants to go on a fun memorable trip. We plan to visit Japan for 3 weeks in the summer. I’m looking for tickets and researching where to go.

Happiness level > 8

I’m a naturally happy guy so this should be easy. Life has been great over the last few years.

January was a good month. No problems.

Help RB40Jr start a YouTube channel

RB40Jr wants to start a YouTube channel. I’ll help him get it going in the summer. I believe he wants to make videos about gaming. No progress here.

Net Worth (+1.9%)

I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006. It is very motivating to see the progress we’ve made. The power of compounding is unbelievable. January was a good month on the stock market. The economy is doing well and consumer confidence is high. It looks like 2024 will be a good year.

The important thing is to keep investing when the market goes up or down.

***Important*** My best advice is to stay the course. Do not stop investing. You have to keep investing when the stock market is down. Eventually, the stock market will recover and you will do very well as long as you keep investing through the downturn.

Here is a chart of our net worth from Empower. (Personal Capital is now Empower.) Sign up for a free account at Empower to help manage your net worth and investment accounts. I log in to check our net worth and use their free tools. It’s a great site for DIY investors.

January 2024 FIRE Cash Flow

This FIRE cash flow chart includes my online income, side gigs, and taxable passive income. Mrs. RB40’s income isn’t here because she’ll retire soon.

January was a spendy month for us. RB40Jr got braces to fix his overbite. We paid $1,500 down and we’ll pay the rest over the next 2 years. Fortunately, we got a big payment from bonds so the cash flow wasn’t too bad.     

January 2024 FIRE Income: $4,733

Our FIRE income was good in January. In particular, we got a nice interest payment from bonds. This helped the cash flow tremendously.

  • Real estate crowdfunding: $525. Our real estate crowdfunding income is doing quite well. You can read more on the RE Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
  • Dividend Income: $954.    
  • Rental Income: $575. We had an uneventful month at the rentals.
  • Blog income: $150. Blog income was meager in January. I had a big bill from the hosting company and my laptop broke down. Next month should be better.
  • Odd jobs: $405. I made $218 from being a delivery driver last month. That’s not much, but I worked a few hours per week. That snowstorm cut into the driving time. In addition, I made $187 from a credit card sign-up bonus.
  • Interest: $2,124. We got a big payment from bonds.

Spending: $5,119

This year, I plan to spend about $65,000. That’s how much we spent last year. However, we plan to update the kitchen this year. We’ll see how it goes.

Here are some details.  

  • Housing: $1,207. This includes mortgage, utilities, furniture, repair, and maintenance. Our housing expense is pretty low because we live in a duplex. We split many expenses with our tenant.
  • Transportation: $136. Gas and insurance.  
  • Travel: $497. We’re heading to LA for spring break. I already booked the flight and rental car.
  • Entertainment: $107. We ate out a couple of times last month.  
  • Groceries: $449. Not bad. 
  • Health: $107.  
  • Misc: $130. Various stuff.
  • Parent: $250. My brothers and I send $250/month to our parents to help with expenses. They live in Thailand so their cost of living is much lower.

Saving: –$384

January 2024 wrap-up

Alright, let’s say goodbye to January. It was a good month, but I’m ready for nicer weather. The economy is still doing well so I’m optimistic for 2024.  

That’s it today. Did you have a good month? 

Passive income is the key to early retirement. These days, I’m investing in commercial properties with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the United States. Go check them out!

Disclosure: We may receive a referral fee if you sign up for a service through the links on this page.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.

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