August is over so I am frantically trying to put together my monthly update before heading to Washington, D.C. August is always one of the busiest months of the year for me as the new academic year starts. I spent most of my working time this month in meetings, prepping courses and developing instructional materials, meeting students, and teaching classes. On top of that I devoted a lot of time on my research which had me writing almost every day. My oldest daughter also started elementary school adding an additional drop-off and pick-up every day. Needless to say, this left little time or cognitive energy to spend writing posts and articles for my blog, but I expect that to improve over the next few months.
Income was fairly stable this month, but we were able to increase our retirement account contributions thanks to making the last tuition payment for our youngest child’s preschool. Luckily we will not have to make another payment until 2020. From a financial perspective we mostly just stayed on track, so I will just jump right into our monthly update…
This will be the third update since we started posting a few months ago. The main changes this month were a little less money in income, but less expenses thanks to no tuition costs for our youngest child! At the end of August 2019, our net worth is currently $953,481 which is up from $949,906 at the end of July. I imagine that this amount fluctuated a lot over the course of the month based on market news, but I only looked at account balances prior to working on this update. Investments were mostly flat to a bit negative, but with the contributions it pushed us higher for the month.
Our goal for 2019 is to save a minimum of $50,000 inside our retirement accounts, with maybe a little additional amount in our after-tax brokerage or savings account. . So far we have saved $30,828.92 including the amount we saved this month (August). I increased my pre-tax withholding in my 403(b) account by an additional $1,000 a month and now have almost all of my income being withheld. My paycheck was only a little over $700 this month, and $300 of that was for some administrative overload work I am doing. The reason we save so much of my paycheck is that I have access to two additional retirement accounts not available to my spouse (457b and an ORP account) and I am older meaning it will simplify access to some of the accounts later in life.
Our spending was $5,344 this month, which is much better than the $8,130 we spent last month. This is also under our average target of $6,000 a month. We benefited from not needing to make a tuition payment for preschool, plus finally lowering some of our food costs over the month. I will say that we have some upcoming expenses that will see this monthly total go higher in September and probably October as well. That will hopefully be countered with some additional income that is expected.
This month our income was $9,042 that was calculated by taking our net income (after taxes) and adding back the amount that was voluntarily withheld into our 403(b) and 457(b) accounts. My income decreased quite a bit from the previous two months since I am no longer getting additional pay from my summer teaching. My wife however is more than making up for it with the projects she is working on for clients over the next several months. Right now all I can say is that we are happy how fortunate we have been on the income side for the last couple of years.
Other thoughts on August
As I said at the beginning of this update, August tends to be a blur for me with the start of a new academic year. Don’t get me wrong, it is always exciting to see the energy of new and returning students coming to campus, but the amount of work is quite high, and it is certainly not helped by the number of meetings and “retreats” in those first few weeks. I am really looking forward to attending the FinCon conference next week for the first time. I average about 5-6 conferences per year (academic year), but this will be my first non-academic conference I have attended in a long time. Anyway, goodbye August, and hello September!