In October, Mr. TJL broke a tooth and needed a crown; a major dental expense. How expensive, you ask? $1290! Luckily, our insurance covers 50%, but we are on the hook for $645.
As a result, we have exceeded our annual budget for out-of-pocket medical expenses, which I had originally set at $500.
The good news is that we will be reimbursed for $265 worth of blood work I had done earlier this year.
In short, I made many phone calls to my insurance company trying to persuade them that the blood work was preventative and should be covered 100%. Ultimately, they disagreed and I paid the bill. Oddly, this month they spontaneously decided to cover the expense. I literally, have no idea why except that maybe I was right in the first place. Why is this shit so hard to figure out and why the six-month lag time?
We also spent $400 extra this month fixing up the camper in anticipation of the Mesa Verde trip planned for next month, buying Little Miss climbing shoes, birthday gifts and party expenses.
Despite higher expenses in October, spending in 2017 is shaping up to look pretty reasonable and I am proud that we have been able to keep our expenses under control despite a few unexpected items.
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 October 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.
Our overall income normalized in October. We had a few extra expenses but the business income helped make up the difference. To date, we have over spent by $1,790; too much savings perhaps?
In October, we realized a savings rate of 67%!
The Jolly Ledger’s Income Statement
I prefer to manage our finances like a business so I track all sources of income and expense. Below are the details for the monthly summary.
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 $1,624 (as of 10/1/2017) per month. In retirement, we expect to withdraw $2,733* per month.
Expenses tabulated in the chart combine the household expenses with the business expenses, so it does not reveal our true cost of living, which has stabilized to near $3000 per month. I am hoping that this level of spending 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.