The Big Scratch – October 2017 Net Worth Report

Since the beginning of the year, our investments have earned over $50,000 (earned not contributed)! That is a whole separate salary!

The earnings are due to a strong market but, I insist on taking the time to revel in it.

Pop open the champagne and celebrate for a second! Yell from the rooftops! Part-tay! Not all years are like this.

We also surpassed our year-end net worth projections of $784,000. We now sit at a healthy $788,200 with three months of contributions to go! If the market holds, we could reach $800,000 by year’s end.


October 2017 Net Worth

We saw substantial growth to our net worth in September. In addition to our “normal” automated savings, we also received dividends. We get paid dividends from index funds every quarter. Dividends are automatically re-invested.

Let’s check out the numbers!

The table shows the balance sheet for the beginning of the month September 2017 and October 2017.

Year-to-date results

Net worth in January 2017 was $663,042.

January 2017 to October 2017 difference = $125,158! This total includes:

Increase/decrease in home equity = $5,897

Investment contributions = $68,491

Earnings/losses = $50,770


Investment Contributions

Our financial savings goal for 2017 is $83,042. It includes investing the maximum to the 401k, Traditional IRA, Health Savings account and the brokerage account.

This has become a stretch goal for us due to a lower than expected raise and bonus. Regardless, I am going to continue to aim for it and find some ways to generate additional income this year.

*Nearly 100% invested in low-fee index funds (VTSAX – Vanguard)


In September, we contributed to:

*My employer contributes a match of 10% of my base salary to the 401k. My contributions to these accounts are automatically deducted from my paycheck. I never even noticed it’s gone.


Savings Rate

Our net income savings rate goal for 2017 is 70%. A high savings rate can be reached through decreased spending and/or by increasing income.

In September, we realized a net income savings rate of 81%! Cumulatively for the year, we have a SR of nearly 69%.

Despite taking three vacations this year, we continue to keep our expenditures low. Soon, our savings rate will achieve the 70% range.

Savings rate on net income is calculated by Total Saved + Mortgage Principal paid divided by Total Income minus taxes and charitable giving.

NISR = Total Saved + Mortgage Principal / Total Income – (Taxes + Charitable Giving)


Investment Income

Our net worth minus our home equity is $521,051. These funds are held in equities and a minor amount in cash. These monies will provide passive income during our FIRE (Financial Independence/ Retire Early) years along with income from our rental property.

ER accounts include Roth and traditional IRA, brokerage and cash


We will consider FIRE when our investments and cash reserves equal $937,424, each bucket is full, and the rental property is paid off. This conservative goal allows us a safe withdrawal rate of 3.5% assuming we need $32,800 investment income per year. We will also have an annual profit of $7,200 from the rental property bringing our allowable annual retirement spending to $40,000.

We aim to live off of $35,ooo or less in retirement so this FI goal should allow flexibility.


Several FI bloggers have surpassed their year-end projections! Have you?


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The Ledger –September 2017 expense reports

September was a birthday month for Mr. TJL. He is a grand 43! To celebrate we went bowling with some close friends.

His driver’s license expired; he renewed online. We thought this would be relatively easy and way better than our local DMV (which has the typical horrendous woman and is never open except at the most inconvenient times). However, three weeks later, he still doesn’t have a new license.

Anyone else renewed their license online? How long should it take? I guess we will making a phone call soon.

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Planning for “enough” for FIRE

Who doesn’t like a good waffle?

I tend to waffle back and forth on how much we actually require for FIRE. Save too much and I risk working too long. Save too little and I end up scrambling for work late in life for a lower-wage job.

By knowing our retirement income sources and expenses, I see what we need for our “enough”.

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Church of FI- Killin’ it cooking, cuttin’ bills and August expense reports

Cooking FI-style

Some people are just good cooks. After cutting out restaurant expenses two years ago, Mr. TJL and I are well on our way to cooking the best food in town. We aren’t naturally good, though. We have searched out and tried many new recipes. Some have been complete failures (or maybe it’s just our execution?).

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Kid’s Ledger – Teaching Children About Money

Welcome back to the Kid’s Ledger, a section especially dedicated to cause my child future embrassment. I usually use this space to spin some tale about my child and then tie it loosely back into to some lesson about personal finance.

 Patty Moore writes at Working Mother Life, a blog about managing a career while being a single mother. She covers a variety of topics including parenting, family finances, and work-life balance.

In today’s guest post, she offers useful advice and tips about how and when to introduce children to responsible money management.

Thanks Patty!

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The Big Scratch – September 2017 Net Worth Report

As mentioned in last month’s Big Scratch, we had a garage sale to help cover the cost of some home maintenance this fall. We made a whopping $255! This should cover a 5-gallon can of paint and some brushes.

Luckily, we also have a friend who has a summer business washing windows. Since he will be starting his winter gig soon, he offered us use of all his ladders, power washer, and sander. This should save us significantly in rental fees.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

Community is an effective wealth preserver!

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The Ledger –August 2017 expense reports

Holy Sock!

Achieving financial independence early isn’t easy. You don’t need an exceptional income to do it, but you do need exceptional dedication to the process (and PATIENCE; lots and lots of patience).

Many believe that we can only aim for FI because I make a healthy salary, and while that is true, our household income is only slightly above average. There are lots of people with a lesser combined income that have the same lofty FI goals.

I want to emphasize, though, that our real progress is due to something far more powerful; controlling our expenses.

This is the main reason that this blog focuses so much on expense reports.

At the beginning of our journey to FIRE, we cut our spending by about half . This has by far been the most powerful tool to increasing our savings rate to nearly 70%. In fact, we are on track to saving $80,000 this year because of it.

Additionally, we haven’t suffered day-to-day at all. Instead we have thrived.

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Church of FI- Real Estate obsession and August 2017 expense reports

I have long been obsessed with real estate. After buying my first house in 2005, we pretty much tore up and replaced every floor, refinished every door, and painted every wall. After that, we remodeled the bathroom and the kitchen to our taste (which is unfortunately only our taste). Seriously, no one else would like it, think mint green and doo-doo brown.

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Church of FI – Guest Post from Dollar Diligence

I am pretty unfamiliar with student debt and side hustles, so I was delighted when Jacob of Dollar Diligence offered to write a guest post of his experiences paying down his student loan debt.

Jacob is a high school teacher, who destroyed $33,000 of debt in 18 months after having a money epiphany.  After a change in attitude and lifestyle, he become debt free and is working his way through various financial goals.

The clock to financial independence starts when net worth equals zero! It is easier to get to zero when you eliminate or significantly decrease your debt! A side hustle might be just the ticket.

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The Big Scratch – August 2017 Net Worth Report

I am on a mission to get rid as much crap as I can, so this month we will be having a garage sale! I have spent considerable time this summer, cleaning out the kitchen, the closets, and opening drawers that I have not opened in years. There’s no telling how much we will actually sell, but anything leftover is going straight to charity.

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