On the path to financial independence: October 2016

The BITAs giveth, the market taketh away.

October was an expensive month.

  • We paid the tax man for past stupidity regarding our Indian Stash. This was an expected expense though, and we saved up for it in September.
  • We had house guests for two weeks in October and ended up eating out a lot more than we usually do.

On the other hand we finally filed our 2015 taxes and received sizeable refunds from both our Federal and State tax returns.

On the whole, we did an excellent job of saving this month, even if I do say so myself. The market bloody-mindedly attempted to undo all the good we did, and very nearly succeeded.

Adding cash to the financial independence stash

We added a very respectable $19,516.63 in new investments to our stash.

  • We saved $11,000 from our income (salary plus tax refunds) and invested it in our taxable account. We weren’t expecting tax refunds, so that was a bonus. When we filed for an extension earlier this year, we used Turbo Tax to calculate what we owed for 2015 and paid the IRS. Then we hired a tax consultant to deal with the holy fuck up lovingly known as our Indian Stash, and as part of that effort said consultant informed us that we had overpaid the IRS in April.
  • We started to contribute after tax money to Mr. BITA’s 401k and rolled over those contributions to our newly minted Roth IRA – our first mega backdoor Roth transaction, wheeeee! We saved and rolled over a total of $4300.
  • Mr. BITA had some RSU’s vest.
  • My company stock paid us a cute little dividend.


That concludes the happy portion of this month’s financial show. Cue mournful background score. This month the market made a sucking sound and the losses we incurred very nearly canceled out our new investments.


Our ‘growth’ in October was -$18633.53. So our Net Worth effectively increased by $883.

Markets vs. The BITA’s determination to get to FI: this round goes to the BITAs, but just barely. We were bloodied, but we are still standing.

The financial independence plan vs. reality

So, how are we doing with respect to the Plan?

According to the Plan, we need to save $20,000 before the end of 2016 (starting in October 2016). Nailed that. The victory feels hollow though, when our NW has barely moved. I understand that we’re playing the long game here, and yay for buying low-ish, but damn if it doesn’t piss me off to save so hard and have almost nothing to show for it.


Financial independence status: Ahead of the game (picture me giving the markets the finger here).

Did you have a good October financially? Did the markets treat you better (I’m going to be pissed if the answer to that is yes. I can’t stand favouritism)?


21 thoughts on “On the path to financial independence: October 2016”

  1. Yikes! I knew October was a rough month for my portfolio as well, but it makes it even more painful when looking at it in a bar graph instead of just the percentages. Good job on being able to contribute so much in one month & hopefully the 2015 tax snafu is finally all able to be in the past now.

    1. I learned this month that being intellectually prepared for the vagaries of the stock market and being emotionally prepared for them are two entirely different things.

  2. Damnnnnmmmmmm I wish I could save that much in a month. You guys are KILLING it!! I noticed my accounts weren’t up as much as I thought they should so I checked and yep, they went down. Bah. I actually kind of hope they go down a bit more…. I’ve got a big bonus check coming in December and would like to buy as many shares as possible! Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks Gwen – we are a bit late to the party, so I feel like we need to save an ass tonne just to catch up. You are looking at this the right way though – markets going down and buying low is good for all of us. I know that, and I still feel annoyed when dips do happen.

  3. Excellent work here! Your stellar savings will pay off, I try to look at year-to-date gains for my fuzzy feelings (if it is above zero I consider it a win!) and my month to month as buying opportunities. Generally though we put the savings on auto-pilot and just let the market do it’s thing.

  4. Awesome job this month. Definitely play the long game and don’t worry too much about the short game which will definitely be choppy. I still remember waking up one morning and saying how did I get here with my investments. It’s amazing how quickly it adds up over time 🙂

  5. I fired up Personal Capital to see our net worth slump a healthy chunk of five figure change in October. Market stuff and bit of real estate adjustments on our primary and secondary home. I can’t imagine any investor having a stellar October. SP 500 on a downward swing is hopefully a dip before the market corrects back a little after next Tuesday. Our plan continues on track though for summer 2018 to pulll the cord.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, and congratulations on the approaching-so-quickly date of summer 2018.

      I was just fascinated observing what I was feeling when I crunched our October numbers. Intellectually, everything was as expected. Intellectually, I thought ‘yay, low market, cheap stocks, buy more!’ Emotionally, there was the gut reaction of “Holy fuck we saved a lot and have nothing to show for it!”. It fascinated (fascinates) me that both reactions could coexist! I suppose I’ll get jaded over time, the more times I ride the roller coaster and I expect the emotional side will soon be like “nothing to see here, move along folks”.

  6. “My company stock paid us a cute little dividend”, wow, wish that we could say the same. With these kind of numbers, you guys could technically already FIRE about now (granted, you would have to re-organize a couple of things most likely, but still).

    Really well done you two, if you can keep this up, you surely will be able to make your target!!

    1. Thank you! I really like being part of this online community of like minded people who cheer and encourage each other on the journey.

      1. Depends if you have a sick sense of humour 🙂

        I also tend to watch my forward dividends more than the total portfolio value, and that number doesn’t fluctuate as much.

  7. Wow – impressed with your numbers! From reading around the PF community, October was a rough month for everyone. We had huge expenses because we pay our taxes and insurance in the month they come due (rather than paying them over the course of the year). That means about $12,000 right off the top (luckily our renters pay a lot of that!) We get pensions (have one now and getting one 5 years from now) – so we don’t have as much tied up in investments. I don’t stress at all with up and down days there 🙂

    1. Yes, I have been enjoying reading everyone’s numbers. Misery loves company : )

      Pensions! Colour me green.

  8. Nice job adding so much to your investments 🙂 I think anyone would be happy adding $19,500! Markets go up and down, that’s okay, you bought your current Vanguard at a cheaper price probably.

    Nothing exciting happened for us in October, the market in Australia is also down a bit. November’s review should be exciting though.


  9. Our October was more spendy than usual, but still a good one overall. I remember last year when we did our yearly roundup, we realized that for the year we were only about $15k or so ahead in gains, yet we’d invested almost $135k that year… I feel your pain with markets sucking when you save so hard and feel like there’s nothing to show for it. 🙂 or maybe it should be 🙁

    Good job adding so much on the investment side though, it looked like a good month overall even if parts of it were spendy. 🙂

    1. Thanks Mr. SSC, and thanks for stopping by. The markets seem to be making up for it now, just a bit, so lets go with : )

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