September is over and in many ways I am happy to see it end. In general I think that every September tends to be my busiest and most hectic month of the year. This is typical when Fall classes are in full swing, everyone wants to meet (committees and individuals), grant applications are due, research and writing picks back up, and administrative tasks seem to be at their highest. Throw in a lot of travel (both personal and work), adjusting to two separate drop-off and pick-ups for the kids, and a bunch of side-work at night and I am truly exhausted. Moving forward I expect things to settle down as they have in years past as many things start to become more automated and efficient for the rest of the year, at least with work.
From a financial perspective, this month was pretty much like the last month and luckily almost everything is automated. Our net worth decreased slightly even with the additional retirement account contributions, but that really is to be expected in the short term. So for our fourth consecutive monthly update, here are the details…
While this month was certainly busy and productive, our financial picture looks fairly similar to last month, with a small drop in our net worth and a slight increase in spending. At the end of September, our net worth was $948,991 which is down from $953,481 at the end of August. While I never like seeing the number go down, especially when this includes around $3,800 of savings, I am learning to ignore short term changes. In the past this type of thing would bother me since I (and probably everyone else) always wants to see improvement in any time period, but I am learning to separate my emotions from long term goals.
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 $34,623.64 including the amount we saved this month (September) which was $3,794.72. By the end of the year I should have contributed the maximum allowed amount to both my 403(b) and 457(b) accounts. After these pre-tax contributions my take home pay was only around $1,104 this month, and only $308 of that was from my primary job. The rest of our net income was from my wife’s business.
We spent $6,351 this month, which is almost $1,000 more than last month. Almost all of this increase was health care related which is beyond frustrating. At some point I will be able to provide more context to this situation, but it is frustrating that we are having to pay out of pocket for services that should be covered. Even with this we are only slightly over our target of $6,000 a month.
This month our monthly income was $10,145.72 which we calculate by taking our net income (after taxes) and adding back the amount that was voluntarily withheld into our 403(b) and 457(b) accounts. Most of the increase in income this month was from my wife’s business as clients start paying for services that have been completed. When we started on this journey we knew we had two levers we really could control, spending and income, and we have worked hard to increase income as we have purposely let our spending increase in certain categories. When my wife went out on her own and started the business, it was one of the best things that could have happened for our financial independence plan. While I also do work for the business, I only have a certain amount of time I can devote it right now which is maybe about 10-15% of the work. My wife really enjoys the work we do in the business, I do not.
Other thoughts on September
Last month I stated that August was a blur, but September always seems to be the busiest month of the year, especially for work. I feel like I am just starting to catch my breath, and I am hoping to now be able to tackle more of my personal tasks and goals that have been on hold and waiting. This includes a significant amount of work I want to do on this website and blog, especially after attending FinCon almost a month ago. I hope everyone enjoyed the update and has a great month!