Checkup – July 2021

Welcome to another Dr. PayItBack monthly checkup! I use this space to remain accountable to our expenses and goals, track net worth and debt, and muse on what was done well and what can be improved.

A bit late this month! I was out of town for the last week of July, and clinical work never stops it just builds up so I spent the past week digging myself out of the backlog. Of course I wish I could continue the recent trend of starting these posts with sunny thoughts of how the world is moving past COVID, but that just isn’t the case right now. Fortunately our area — while seeing a spike to be sure — continues to do fairly well, and I don’t see any storm clouds on the horizon as far as real impact on my practice. My greatest worry is for our kids, who will be starting back at preschool next month.

Budget/Cash Flow

The family spent the entire month of July on the road and I myself was on vacation for the final week, so a bit of a bizarre month especially in the dining column. The single largest expense was my 3 year DEA renewal ($888), followed by plane tickets for a trip in the fall ($575) and my annual umbrella insurance premium ($241). The food bill was death by a thousand cuts, with a whopping $1,670 spent eating out (and still somehow $600+ on groceries).

Nothing notable to speak of on the investing side; I continue to contribute monthly to VTSAX in a taxable brokerage as well as a small amount to cryptocurrency. I’ve given up on my prior allocation scheme; there is just no good way to rebalance in any way approaching tax-efficient. So I am just contributing $150 to Bitcoin, $50 to Ethereum, and $50 to Cardano monthly.

PayItBack Progress

New record low for rates. Considering the current level of inflation, however transient it may be, their real rates are far into the negative range.

Net Worth

Things continue to chug along nicely. The US market was again up about 2% in July, so no major impediments to continued growth. Our taxable brokerage is rapidly approaching the size of our other investments and of course should eventually overtake them as there is no annual contribution cap like there is for retirement accounts.

On July 23rd, we hit half a million of net worth growth since I became an attending, a feat which took only 702 days. Hopefully the next half a million takes even less time.

Financial Independence

Graph courtesy of Mad Fientist

Our spending has undoubtably crept up and our FI date is consequently pushing out. Still, the idea of being in such a good place in less than 10 years is incredible, and a testament to the power of compounding over even medium-term periods.

Financial Goals for 2021

1) Max out 403b: $19,500 of $19,500 (100% done)
2) Max out backdoor Roth IRAs: $12,000 of $12,000 (100% done)
3) Use taxable brokerage in addition to 1) and 2) to save $100,000 total for retirement: $33,500 of $68,500 (48.2% done)
4) Max out 529s for state tax benefit: $16,000 of $16,000 (100% done)
5) Save 20% down payment for a $450,000 house: $75,040 of $90,000 (83.4% done)
6) Continue to pay minimums on student loans as long as rates remain <4%
7) Finalize estate documents

How Far I’ve Come

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