Unlike our history of income I posted earlier, the history of our spending and saving does not go back quite as far, at least with 100% accuracy. It was only in 2010 that we started tracking all of our spending, first in spreadsheets, then in YNAB, and now back to spreadsheets (since 2016). This tracking coincides with the first year we were living together, so it seemed like a good place to start. Even though I do not have the exact numbers for the years leading up to 2010 I can make some pretty good estimates about our spending and saving that I will highlight in this post. Starting in 2010, the numbers in this Google Sheet are the exact amounts that we spent each year. If you compare this to our income, the difference (after taxes) is what we saved and in most cases invested. The exception to this is 2018 where we spent much more than we earned after taxes which I will discuss later in this post. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to read our History of Income post first, and then also read our post on our History of Investing. Reading all three posts will help provide a lot more context that was just too much information to put into one post. The history of our income also gives our rationale for being willing to share this information so openly on the internet.[Read more…] about Our History of Spending and Saving
Before launching this blog I had a long conversation with my spouse about how open we wanted to be and how much we were willing to share online. I knew that at some point I was planning on sharing my real identity so we had to consider that once that veil of anonymity was pierced all of our finances would be open to the world. In the end we decided to go ahead and be completely open and transparent for several reasons.
First, we wanted to share our personal path and story with all the details so that anyone reading could make comparisons to their own circumstances and find things that may be similar or that they could identify with that could be modeled, considered, or learned from (good and bad). We think the more unique voices that share their stories online the better, and we wanted to add our voice in the most honest and transparent way possible.
Second, anyone who knows who I am can easily go online and look up my salary, including my previous salary by year since I am a public employee in North Carolina. To be honest, I wish all jobs shared everyone’s salary whether the job is public or private because I think It would be one step to showing both systemic and individual inequities. Whether this would promote change, I don’t know because even with public knowledge of salaries at my university there are still a lot of pay inequities based on non-relevant factors…
Finally, and one of the main reasons we are willing to be open and share our complete financial picture and history is that we are already in the public space for a much different, larger, and more important set of issues. It is hard to imagine being more of a target (online and offline) than we already are from some groups, so sharing our financial details seems so small in comparison. More importantly we want to be a voice that can say that even with certain circumstances, barriers, and systemic challenges we are still in a position to pursue financial independence. Don’t get me wrong we still have benefited from certain privileges, and in some cases luck, but we want to acknowledge and discuss all of the elements of our journey, positive and negative, as well as what is a result of our actions versus luck or circumstance.
So with the background of why we are willing to share this out of the way, this is the first in a set of three posts where we are opening up about more than just our current income, expenses, and net worth. I wanted to share the history of our path as best as it could be reconstructed that got us to this point. In this post I am going to share our income history, is followed by a post about our spending and saving and a final post on our investing history.[Read more…] about Our Income History
November marks the sixth consecutive month of net worth updates we have shared on The FI Project! At first we were really hesitant about how much we wanted to share on this blog, but in the end we wanted to be fully transparent and open with all of our numbers, unique circumstances, and our personal path. I will admit putting all of this on the internet can be scary, but we are trying to share a story and the journey of how we are achieving financial independence. This narrative is different than the typical narrative that seems to have become standard (or at least promoted) in a lot of media on the topic of financial independence.
Ultimately we think that every path to FI is unique but there will be some things others may be able to replicate, or learn and apply to their own personal situation. As a teacher and a researcher my hope is that anyone reading this blog views it as only one of many possible perspectives and paths that they will read and draw from to determine what can be assimilated into their own personal circumstances. That has been my approach to financial independence for years, and I enjoy adding just one more unique voice.
So now looking at our progress this month we had quite a jump in our net worth. At the end of November our net worth grew to $984,100 with most of that increase coming from gains in the market. If only gains could continue at this rate (they can’t), we would be wrapped up pretty soon![Read more…] about November 2019 Project Update, Net Worth: $984,100
When we first started discussing Financial Independence several years ago one of the biggest concerns that was expressed was the idea that we were going to have to sacrifice doing anything enjoyable for a long time in order to save as much as possible as quickly as possible. This was problematic because neither of us wanted to give up everything just for the potential that we might be able to do a lot more things in the future. Luckily we quickly realized (thanks to a few books and blogs) that this was not an approach we had to follow. Instead we had control over the priorities in our life and could reorganize our finances to spend on the things that we loved and valued while cutting back on everything else that did not meet this criteria. Once we started to think this way it changed our outlook on the whole process.
One of the biggest priorities in our life, outside of family that I have discussed in prior posts, is our love to travel. We decided early on that both of us wanted to travel the world to see and do things that might be harder when we get older. We also want to do this with our kids and take them with us so that we get to experience all of this as a family. We have had discussions that if we had to choose between traveling now or later in life, we would rather do all of our traveling now, rather than when we are older, although hopefully we can do both. We benefit from having significant flexibility in our careers that allows us to travel while we continue to work which is a huge benefit and privilege. When I say we like to travel, I am not simply stating this as an idea, but something we put into practice. So far in 2019 we have spent 91 nights away from home (all out of state) traveling, and this does not include my personal travel (FinCon and CentsPositive), or one solo work trip. By the end of the year we will have traveled well over 100 days and we expect this will continue for the next several years. During this year we have traveled to England, Spain, France, Portugal, Mexico, Aruba, the Azores, as well as several states including multiple trips to California and Florida. Since I plan to start posting highlights of some of our trips on this blog (including the financial aspects) I thought it would be a good idea to talk about how we are able to travel so much and not completely derail our plans for financial independence…[Read more…] about The Joy of Travel – Making it a Priority
October was a great month filled with travel, personal development, and a lot of self reflection both about financial independence, and life in general. This was the first month in a while I have had time to really focus on myself and our future. Work was of course still present, but it was much more calm and I had a lot less meetings! Most importantly the whole family went on a trip to the west coast last week, for an off-peak vacation. For seven days not only did we spend that time with each other, but I was completely disconnected from the internet which is always refreshing. During the middle of October I attended the Cents Positive Retreat in Chicago, and it was an amazing experience that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, and I can’t wait for an opportunity to attend again in the future.
Financially things were pretty stable this month with a slight increase in our savings amount thanks to some clients finally paying my wife. Net worth increased while spending was about the same from last month, although spending was still higher than our average monthly target. This is typical and expected since we have variable expenses throughout the year (mostly kid or travel related) and our budget is designed to focus on average monthly spending rather than a set amount each month.[Read more…] about October 2019 Project Update, Net Worth: $955,600