February started out slow and mellow. I was still recovering from the abdominal surgery that I had in January and I was on sick leave till the 4th of February. I went back to work on the 6th, barely caught up on what I had missed, and then we set off on our previously planned vacation to New Orleans.
I had not flown out of the San Jose airport for a while. It turns out that while I wasn’t looking the future had arrived and robots now run amok.
We got to use our priority pass membership (yay churning!) for the first time and very much enjoyed the experience. It was a great way to start the vacation.
New Orleans was charming and we were treated to weather that ranged between 72 and 78 degrees. This made for a very pleasant change from the near incessant rains back home. We stayed at an Airbnb apartment in the French Quarter. Our routine was unvarying. Start the day with a home cooked breakfast, then spend the morning walking around a particular area of the city. Eat lunch out and then head home for a nap. Post nap, pick another area to explore. Eat dinner out and get back in time for the bedtime routine. Since my mother was with us on this trip Mr. BITA and I got to sneak out for some late night music and drinks while Grandma BITA babysat. We had three days replete with sunshine, lots of walking, po-boys, and no dearth of good music. We ate altogether too many beignets (I’m kidding. There is no such thing as too many beignets). One evening we even got to witness a Mardi Gras parade.
Apart from vacation-related expenses we incurred a couple of other non-monthly expenses this February:
- We use a tax consultant to help us file and we paid half their fee this month.
- I finally bit the bullet and filed for my U.S. citizenship. The good news was that the USCIS accepts credit card payment at no extra cost, so more ultimate reward points for me.
The medical bills from my January procedure have started to trickle in, but some have not yet been through the requisite insurance adjustment and we haven’t paid any yet. That is going to be a whole other post.
Adding cash to the financial independence stash
This month we added $12,774.12 to our stash.
- Mr. BITA’s 401k was maxed out in January, so we only had contributions to my 401k and my company match.
- Mr. BITA enjoyed some mega backdoor Roth action and had some RSUs vest.
- We also added a modest amount to our taxable brokerage account.
The markets continue to surge, and our investments grow more rotund by the day. Our investment growth in February totalled $33,120.81.
The financial independence plan vs. reality
Our plan for 2017 calls for us to add a total of $160,000 to our stash this year. If we add together what we accomplished in January and this month, we need to salt away $9236.63 each month for the rest of the year to stay on track. Our medical bills next month might make this a bit of an uphill battle, but I remain optimistic. Here then is optimistic me climbing towards financial independence and early retirement:
Financial independence status: Slightly ahead of the plan.