Time in the market savings rate and expenses – October 2017

I’m a big fan of four day weekends and wish they were more common. It’s nice to spend some time with people you don’t see that often and also to have some time to unwind and relax. It’s also as good a time as any to do some analysis on my savings rate for the prior month and see how I did.

That longer break gives me a little taste of what being retired might be like and I quite like that. It’s always good to take a little break and see how bored you get when away from work for an extended period of time.

Yesterday was Black Friday, a day known for shopping and great deals and I spent the entire day locked up at home napping and watching a marathon of The Punisher on Netflix.

blackfriday.jpg

I’m not too keen on getting out there and braving the crowds although more and more of that is moving online.

We did do some shopping there as my girlfriend bought a few things that her cousins had on their Christmas list at a big discount. That’s one good thing about Black Friday, it allows you to buy things that you were going to buy anyway at a big discount and that’s always nice. I think a lot of people see the discount and end up buying things they don’t need just because they’re on sale but as long as one is smart about Black Friday, it can be a big boon to long term savings plan. If I was going to buy something anyway, I might as well wait and buy it 40% off.

One of the key things for me in the last few months is trying to hit a savings rate that will help hit my savings rate goals for the year. As I discussed in my Q3 review post, I’m a bit behind on my bronze medal goal for both savings rate metrics and will need a solid October, November and December to remedy that.

The one important thing is that December is a 3 paycheck month which will be a big boost to those goals but I also want to make sure that October and November don’t lag far behind. That post was written at the end of October so it was too late to impact October results but these winter months are generally better than the summer months. That’s largely due to the fact that I spend more time indoors and that leads to less spending since it’s easier to spend money on something like lunch when you’re two hours away from home on a day trip.

Holiday season often means that there’s additional spending and such on gifts but we’re not a huge Christmas family and I only have to get gifts for the children in the family which also helps keep the costs down. The fact that December is a three paycheck month also means good things for December savings rate results. I think that as long as October and November come in near my savings rate goals(~30% for gross income SR and ~40% for savings rate), then I’ll be in a good spot to hit my 2017 annual goals.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how I did in October.  Continue reading “Time in the market savings rate and expenses – October 2017”

Time in the market’s Q3 2017 goal review

2017 was a year of firsts for me and that included the first time I set concrete goals that dealt with my portfolio. I’m sure we all have goals in the back of our mind that we strive for but writing them down and actually committing leads to a higher chance of success. I thought it’d be fun if I set tiered goals for myself and therefore decided to mimic the Olympics and gave myself bronze, silver and gold goals to aim for this year.

These goals were designed with the idea that Bronze would be a tiny stretch and everything else would require quite a bit of work to get there.

I wrote the initial post in February and promptly forgot about it but recent months of sub 20% savings rate reminded me of those goals.

Fall is one of my favorite seasons and the changing colors of the trees all around me has me wondering if it’s time for some changes in my life as well. I figured it was a good time to revisit my goals if I can make any adjustments in the last two months of the year that will help me hit those goals.

I’m hoping I can at least get most of the bronzes before the year wraps up and set my sights on something higher for 2018.

There were a bunch of goals in that initial post so let’s go through them one by one and see where I sit in relation to the various medals. The below analysis includes data through September. Continue reading “Time in the market’s Q3 2017 goal review”

My savings rate and expenses – September 2017 Update

Welcome to another monthly savings rate update.

We’re right in the middle of beautiful fall foliage season in the northeast. I’ve been spending a lot of time outside enjoying the warm fall weather and the ever changing colors.

I mentioned in my August update that a good chunk of my travel costs for my awesome trip to see the eclipse would fall in September so I’m not expecting a great month for savings here.

First, I’ll take a look at my gross income savings rate.

gross income savings rate september 2017

Continue reading “My savings rate and expenses – September 2017 Update”

My savings rate and expenses – August update

Hi and welcome to another monthly savings rate update.

I had a pretty awesome vacation in August so I knew my savings rate wouldn’t be anything to write home about but the main expenses(airbnb, plane tickets, car rental) for that trip actually fell into September as I didn’t cut my girlfriend a check until then.

That’ll serve to make this month slightly better although all of the trip expenses that weren’t listed above occurred here and I had some other one-time expenses like my car and rental insurance in August as well.

Let’s take a look at my gross income breakdown for August.

gross income savings rate august 2017 Continue reading “My savings rate and expenses – August update”

My savings rate and expenses – July update

I’m back from vacation and taking a quick looking at my savings rate in July. I had a rough month in June and knew that my August wouldn’t be great either due to the vacation and some other expenses so I tried to hunker down and spend less in July.

I was glad to see that spending less actually wasn’t all that hard. I’m lucky to be a home body which certainly helps with expenses so the fiancee and I spent more time at home versus going out and I’m hoping that showed in the savings rate for the month.

We certainly didn’t just stay in all the time, still going out and doing stuff every once in a while and enjoying ourselves but I was certainly aiming for a number that was a good deal higher than June’s poor savings rate.

Let’s take a look at the gross income breakdown for July. Continue reading “My savings rate and expenses – July update”

My savings rate and expenses – June update

May was pretty mediocre when it came to my savings rate. I was expecting June to put me back on the right track as it was a three paycheck month but that didn’t quite work out for me.

Getting married is expensive. I have a separate post around the cost of engagement rings and marriage that I’ll eventually get around to writing but my recent engagement really sent the savings rate for this month into a tailspin.

June’s expenses ended up being nearly double my average monthly expenses which naturally won’t do great things for a savings rate.

It was all money well spent though as my fiancee and I found a beautiful engagement ring that she loved and ordered it and put down the first payment for a quaint little wedding venue that we both loved.

We’ve also been house hunting pretty aggressively these last few weeks and have an offer out on a house right now after missing out on our first offer. That means I had additional savings flowing into a future down payment expense that I know is coming in the near term(within the next 12 months at least).

All in all, this three month paycheck month wasn’t quite what I expected it to be but it was due to a lot of one time expenses that I’m not too concerned about and see as valuable.

Let’s take a look at the gross income breakdown for June. Continue reading “My savings rate and expenses – June update”

My savings rate and expenses – May update

Health expenses are really easy to underestimate and I think that’s one of the biggest worries I’ll have whenever I actually make the decision to quit the work force.

It’s not just the insurance premiums that will be a bother but also the deductibles you have to meet before coverage kicks in. Both are sure to rise quite a bit by the time I’m ready to retire and losing those employer contributions towards my premiums will certainly send my healthcare related expenses soaring.

The problem with healthcare expenses is that they’re so difficult to predict. I can tell what my premiums will be for this year and I can tell what my maximum out of pocket expenses will be for the year but predicting actual costs which will likely fall between that premium only and premium + out of pocket max level is a total crap shoot.

I can’t even began to think about where to start figuring out what sort of premiums I’ll be looking at by the time I’m 40+ and whether or not I’ll even be able to get insurance at that point.

The timing of the payments is another question mark as well making it difficult to accurately budget for them on a month to month basis. I had some health care bills in May for doctor visits that happened months ago and my fiancee has some bills still coming in for an accident that happened ages ago.

I’m not sure exactly what I’m trying to say here besides healthcare kinda sucks and is the biggest question mark in early retirement for me.

My main annoyance with healthcare when you have a high deductible plan is that it’s really hard to gauge the actual costs of something when you visit a doctor or have some tests done especially since you often get billed multiple times for one visit. I’ve had situations where I’ve had a test done and gotten three bills for it, the test, the doctor who administered the test and then the reading of the test. I work in insurance and I’m still confused or annoyed by half the stuff that I see on my insurance bill.

I’m lucky enough to have the extra cash to cover my deductibles whenever I need to have something done or when I want to visit a doctor but I feel for those who are struggling to get by and can’t even afford to use their benefits because they have a massive deductible they have to hit.

I guess one positive thing from my perspective about having SOME expenses any given year is that it gives a more realistic picture of what my budget will actually be when I retire. I can easily see a 10k bump in yearly expenses after retirement for a single person if one doesn’t properly account for the premium and deductibles and has some new medical problems. Even now with my medical premiums being partially covered by my employer, I can still be dealing with a 5k bill for premiums and deductibles once the year is done.

The best I can do at this point is max out my HSA, take care of myself and get as prepared as I can be for whatever comes around when I’m ready to quit work. Hopefully my fiancee(wife at that point) will still want to work and I can jump on her insurance plan! It’s always better to get some form of subsidization than pay full boat.

If anything this year made me realize that I probably need to up my expected costs for healthcare quite a bit in my retirement plan.

If you read my last update, you know that April for me was a mediocre savings month as I had some travel costs for my awesome trip to Nasvhille and May is no different but it’s healthcare costs that are the culprit this month! It’s not a surprise as I knew they were coming having visited some doctors in the past few months but the surprise was the actual cost of the trips.

I hadn’t planned on all these medical expenses when I set my goals for the year so I’ll probably be lagging a bit in those areas but it is a good wake up call to have early in the retirement planning years versus realizing it much later when it’s harder to adjust for it.

Let’s take a look at the gross income breakdown for May. Continue reading “My savings rate and expenses – May update”