Another month has whooshed by bringing us that much closer to our FIRE date. For those of you trudging through the years of accumulation, wishing that you could make them go by faster, here is my advice to you: have a child. Time has accelerated ever since Toddler BITA has come into being. We blink, and we are all a month older, though not always wiser.
June brought with it a heat wave. We had a couple of streaks of over-95 degree days. So the AC was used this month, and we’ll groan over the electric bill next month. We don’t use the AC to get down to a comfy 72 though. We set it to a robust 84. Move over Marcus Aurelius, the BITAs are the new sweaty Stoics in town. The hot weather meant that our pool was open for business. Fuzzy BITA especially appreciates a swim on an unreasonably warm day.
We picnicked at a park by our house. We intended to eat hot dogs for lunch, and so went armed with sausages for Mr. BITA to grill at the park. When we got there we realized that we had brought everything we needed for a picnic except for utensils for grilling. Mr. BITA powered through with his bare hands and a plastic fork, and saved the day.
Other June entertainments included a free concert at a park (featuring an orchestra performance, and a magician), visits to the library, dinner with friends, a barbecue with other friends and a visit to the beach.
Toddler BITA has been going to a dance class. The dance company put on a musical this month. It was an elaborate affair – they booked a concert hall, costumes were involved and over the course of the two hour performance they put around 450 kids on stage.
The performance was a money making machine for the dance company. The offered adoring parents the following services: roses to buy for the performers, a pop-up store at the venue selling Disney toys, the option to pre-order a DVD of the performance for $25 (the BluRay version was $35), the option to have photos taken with your darling performer at a photo studio a week before the event, the ability to buy a spot for a ‘dedication’ in the programme (a picture of your talented dancer and a message from you to him or her). The list went on and on. I confess that we are not particularly adoring – we purchased none of the above. We applauded with gusto, and rewarded her with 7 M&Ms to eat in the car on the way home. She was thrilled and saved three for later. I was so proud.
We received one of the many gifts of home ownership in June. One morning as I reached into our pantry, my hand, horror of horrors, realized that there was a pool of water on the shelf. We evacuated the pantry and eventually determined that the leak resulted from the bathroom upstairs – the wall behind the pantry downstairs is the same wall as the water wall of the bathroom above it. A hundred curses. We have two bathrooms, so we have all decamped to the other one. We haven’t had a plumber in yet, so more about the finances of this situation will be forthcoming in July.
June also saw Mr. BITA grow a year older. He is a coffee fanatic, and for his birthday I got him a Yama Glass 5 Cup Stovetop Coffee Siphon. Here he is brewing a cup with his new equipment that looks like it belongs in a lab. He is thrilled with it, and claims it makes the best cup of coffee he has ever had.
Our garden had some new flowers on display, and our fruit trees were bountiful. We have a surplus of oranges. Our grapefruit tree produces fruit at a much more measured pace.
And speaking of bounty, on to the numbers.
Adding Cash to the Financial Independence Stash
This month we added $29,930.31 to our Stash.
- Mr. BITA’s 401k was maxed out in January, so that is why you only see contributions to my 401k and my company match. This month I maxed out my 401k. My employer will keep making contributions to ‘true-up’ my account till the end of this year.
- As is usual, we shoveled more cash through Mr. BITA’s mega backdoor Roth.
- What the chart below does not show is that we funded both our backdoor Roth IRAs ($11,000 worth) this month. We sold some of our company stock to fund the IRAs, so it wasn’t really new money, and therefore does not show up here.
- We also paid a chunk of estimated taxes for 2017. We will make another one or two tax payments before the year is done.
While we did a good job of growing the Stash, the market didn’t treat us too kindly. We lost $3518.84 in June. The growth of our taxable and retirement accounts was overshadowed by the losses sustained by our individual holdings. I’m not quite complaining – our individual holdings have treated us really well over the last year or so (e.g. this month’s loss is less than last month’s gain). This is the downside of holding a single (or two in this case) stock – volatility. We are no longer adding to our individual stockpile though – these days we sell as soon as we get a stock grant and convert our RSUs to nice diversified index funds. The stockpile is a remnant of the past, and selling these old stocks would cost us a pretty penny in capital gains, so I’m hoping to hold on to them until I retire and then convert them over to VTSAX.
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. How are we doing so far?
YTD we have saved and invested: $163,710.99
YTD market growth: $98,021.83
In Dec 2016, when I revised our savings goal for 2017 and upped the ante from $120,000 to $160,000, I thought we were shooting for the moon. Well, we’ve landed on the moon half way through the year, and I clearly don’t know shit about forecasting our savings. Given my abject failure to set a reasonable goal, I’m not setting a new one for 2017. We’re just going to keep saving as hard as we can and see where we end up.
As usual, I’ll end this monthly update with the Stairway to Heaven.
1280 days to go!
Financial independence status: Ahead of the plan.