Remember the medical insurance bill that I thought I had resolved last month with my insurance company?
“This month my bill was for blood lab tests to establish a baseline for cholesterol, thyroid function, lipids and all the other medical jargon. Even though my coverage is 100% for preventative costs, but my insurance company covered less than half of this bill.
Luckily after a phone call to my insurance company, (and after some haggling), they finally agree to cover the entire bill! Bullet dodged.”
I spoke to soon. Shortly after I published that post, I received a letter in the mail from the insurance company stating that they will not cover these costs. Naturally I called back to protest (again!).
All those tests they said they would cover have conditions. Like the thyroid test, they will cover at 100% if you are less than 90 days old! W….T….F! Apparently, I need to get the codes from the hospital before I allow them to do anything, then call the insurance company to make sure things are covered, then I can go get tests done. What a crock of total shit.
In the end, I did get saddled with that medical bill. I guess I learned something.
May was also a Costco trip month. I stock up on staples like coffee, butter, flour, dog food and toiletries (and lots of bacon!) every quarter. I usually spend about $400.
For the first time, I purchased heartworm medication for the dogs through the Costco pharmacy. Costco charges around $25 where our vet charges $70. I would say the hassle of calling the prescription in was worth it!
Mr. TJL had an art show this month featuring his Aspen and Mountain collection. He made a little money, but also spent quite a bit on new equipment and other consumables.
I sold our greenhouse. I decided that I just don’t have the time to devote to gardening anymore and just have lost interest. Spending every weekend weeding is not my idea of a good time. I might pick gardening up again in the future, but for now, I just need it out of my life.
I have also started to purge unused items from our house. The clutter is really starting to get to me. We will have a garage sale this summer.
The Expense Report!
In the tables, I produce a monthly and year-to-date summary of expenses, the monthly spending average, and the budget. I keep track of progress and spending behavior. It is much easier to detect any problem areas by keeping careful track of where the money is going.
Summary of May 2017 spending
Green highlighted fields indicate income. We have four sources of regular income; salary and related benefits, rental income, interest and dividends and Mr. TJL’s business income.
Orange highlighted fields indicate expense and are denoted as a negative value in parentheses. Our regular expenses are categorized by monthly expenses and yearly expenses. The combination are our total operating expenses. Additional expenses are paycheck deductions of charitable contributions, health insurance and income taxes.
Blue highlighted fields are our investment and savings contribution.
The bottom line is the balance.
Our monthly budget is tabulated in the far right column.
In May, we earned a little over $10,000 before taxes.
Total operating expenses were about $47 over budget. We maintained a high savings rate, and spent less than last month. Most of our larger expenses have occurred during the first half of this year. I hope the remainder of the year is a bit cheaper. We remain over $4,000 in the red for the year due to a major expense in January.
The Jolly Ledger’s Income Statement
2017 FIRE Progress
I am on-track to retire in four years at age 45. To visualize my progress, I chart my expenses versus my passive income. Passive income is calculated as 4%, the safe withdrawal rate, of my investment balance including holdings in 401k, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and brokerage accounts.
Due to the contributions and earnings on our investments, our passive income is $1,439 (as of 5/1/2017) per month. In retirement, we expect to withdraw $2,733* per month.
Our spending has stabilized since January, although it still feels a little high. The last six months of the year should be less expensive. I am hoping that spending around $3000 per month or less becomes our “norm”.
*Total retirement spending is expected to be $40,000 per year. We will receive $7,200 per year in rental income. Our investments will have to provide us with the remaining $32,800, hence $2,733 per month. If Mr. TJL’s art business provides any income, we will be able to withdraw less, but we are conservatively planning as if we will not make any income in retirement.
I am glad to see our investment income grow a little every month! Are you starting to see positive results?