On the path to financial independence: January 2017

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed).

– Dr Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go


The first month of the year proved to be more exciting than we expected. I had to have emergency surgery because my umbilical hernia (thanks Toddler BITA for that wonderful remnant of my pregnancy) decided that it could no longer abide my intestines and murderously attempted to strangulate a section. I had to dial 911 to get to the hospital (boo though, not a single one of my paramedics qualified as cute), and was scheduled for surgery a couple of hours later. I couldn’t have timed my emergency better though. My mother is visiting us and it was wonderful not having to worry about Toddler BITA during the whole ordeal. Also, my mother is a kick-ass cook, and ensured that our medical mishap did not result in a budget mishap. We had yummy home-cooked meals on the table every day. My mum is a champ.

Financially January was a really good month for us and we hit record highs with the amount we saved this month (though the medical bills from my little adventure will eventually make an appearance and make some other month of this year most unhappy). We had set big goals for 2017, and it feels good to have started strong right out of the gate.

Adding cash to the financial independence stash

We kicked some savings butt in January by adding $54,859.55 to the stash.

  • The biggest contributor by far to our savings in January was Mr. BITA’s annual bonus (the awesome Mr. BITA, I mean. He reviews my posts and wanted his awesomeness to be noted). We maxed out Mr. BITA’s 401k for the year and funded both our backdoor roth IRAs for 2016 (no that isn’t a typo. We’ll get to our 2017 backdoor roths later this year).
  • Mr. BITA’s company did their part by putting in the full $9000 match. I love the fact that they don’t dribble in their contributions paycheck by paycheck the whole year through. If we front load, so do they, and that is pretty awesome.
  • My company stock paid out a small dividend of $293.93.
  • Mr. BITA had some RSUs vest.
  • My 401k got some love too, but we aren’t front loading it.
  • We had a couple of unexpected income infusions this month. Firstly, we received a $735 refund from the IRS. A while ago I wrote about how we had to hire a tax consultant to fix the mess resulting from the taxes we owed due to investments overseas. As part of that effort our tax consultant had to amend some of our previous returns and discovered that we had overpaid in the past. Secondly, we got $500 from PG&E because we lease an electric vehicle. They recently launched a clean fuel rebate program. There was a simple online form to fill (took about 5 minutes) and a couple of weeks later we got the cheque in the mail.

New investments. Financial independence progress Jan 2017

The markets continued to cooperate with us and the growth of our stash was satisfying to watch. Growth resulted in a $21094 increase in our net worth. Last month, for the first (and only) time, our investment growth outpaced our new investments. This month we’re back to being the major contributors towards our own retirements.

Investment growth. Financial independence progress Jan 2017

The financial independence plan vs. reality

Our plan for 2017 calls for us to save a total of $160,000 this year. We put a big dent in that this January leaving us with a target of $105140.45 for the next 11 months. That works out to $9558 per month. That is a lot of money, but I think we can pull this off. Here then, is the updated monthly installment of our stairway to heaven.

Financial independence progress Jan 2017

Financial independence status: Ahead of the plan.


22 thoughts on “On the path to financial independence: January 2017”

  1. Wahoo!! Those numbers are awesome. Sorry to hear about your abdominal war 🙁 hopefully you’re recovering nicely!

    1. Thanks Gwen! The numbers were better than I hoped for, and I am thrilled. I am nicely on the mend too, just dreading having those medical bills come in.

  2. Nice numbers (that’s quite an understatement)! It’s always helpful to start off extra strong saving early in the year. Man, I envy those company matches…Clearly, work in public education was not the best way to FIRE, haha😃.

    So glad that you came through your medical scare well! Boo for emergencies, yay for moms in town to help!

    1. It sucks how poorly we choose to compensate those working in public education. Well at least you get all summer off. Mr. BITA has 15 vacation days a year. Does that make you feel a little better : )?

      1. There are always trade-offs! The time off is the main perk that kept me going, for sure. In theory, I suppose we could try summer work to supplement salaries, too.

  3. Whoa, that is rough with your medical issue. Glad you’re doing better.

    That’s nice being able to get a good jump on savings in January. We still have that pile of cash sitting around, but with the current climate of everything, I can’t get Mrs. SSC convinced to invest it anywhere yet. We’ll see…

    Here’s to hoping February doesn’t have any unexpected surprises medical or otherwise.

    1. I understand her fear. It isn’t easy these days to just keep dumping money into the market.

      You had an eventful January too. May February be a calm month for both of us!

  4. Even two years after pregnancy, it can still try to kill you! NOT COOL. Thank goodness you were able to get that treated quickly. But to stage a coup when your mom’s in town and can help out, good timing if it had to happen?

    Do you have a PPO? Is that why you’re not sure what the bills will come out to?

    Congrats on the awesome savings though – hugely motivating to get my butt in gear and see what rabbits we can pull out of savings hats. That analogy is a bit weak but it’s what I’ve got right now.

    1. Yep, can’t complain about the timing. If it had to happen, I’m grateful that it happened when my magical mother is in town.

      I’m not sure about the bill amount because who knows what enormous amount they are going to charge for ER admission, the surgery etc. Nobody ever tells you before hand what stuff will cost. I am pretty sure that I am going to hit my out of pocket max for my HSA though, so I guess in that sense, I _do_ know how much it is going to cost.

      And thanks! I look forward to seeing what comes out of your savings hat. Here is hoping that it is more of an elephant than a rabbit.

    1. Thanks MSM! The 50k blew me away too. I knew we were saving a lot, but adding it all up at the end of month was a pleasant surprise. Now if only every month was a 50k month (not that I’m greedy or anything).

  5. Oh my – so sorry to hear about your trip to the hospital!! Man, you were so fortunate for the timing with your mom there – and all the cooking to follow!! I am interested to see the cost of the medical bills when they come rearing their ugly head. Bummer on the paramedics but perhaps if you could have a little fire you might get a cute firefighter?? Haha – #goals…

    Way to go on the new influx of cash! I also got my bonus in January (not nearly that amount!) but felt weird about adding it to my income for savings percentage rate purposes. It throws the whole curve off! Eh, I got over it. It’s a good problem to have and one that I am ultimately proud of…and then there it is – I always feel weird to be proud of my income! Oh brother… Anywho you guys are kicking major ass! I love to see that you are ahead of your plan. I hope after this year I will have a better idea if I am on track or not. My FI date was based on work and a hunch I could financially get there. This year will be the proof in the pudding. 🙂

    1. Hahahahahha. Hey Mrs. BITA what is your hobby? Oh I’m a small scale arsonist.

      You will definitely get to see what the medical bills are – I plan to do a post on it.

      You’re doing really well so I’m not going to be surprised when you find out that you are also ahead of your plan!

  6. haha, I read How The Places You’ll Go to our 2 yo old all the time. She loves it and can almost say the whole thing on her own! Anyway, wow, those are some great numbers!!!

    1. I love that book, and everything else that the excellent Doctor wrote. Toddler BITA’s current favourite is Marvin K. Mooney.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Wow, what a huge, amazing and terrifying month all in one. You guys did sell well this month with saving, hugely nice job.

    And the trip to the hospital, wow. I’m glad you’re okay and I hope we don’t have to go through anything like that!


    1. Thanks Tristan! It was wonderful to start out the year so strong.

      And yes, the hospital trip was scary and I wouldn’t wish that stuff on my worst enemy (who am I kidding? I would _totally_ wish that on my worst enemy, but not on anyone else).

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