Checkup – August 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.

It’s officially been three years since I shared my first monthly checkup, having just started fellowship with a plan to get my financial house in order and hit the ground running when I became an attending.

In that time I refinanced all of our student loans. We paid off our cars. We got back to broke. I opened a taxable brokerage account. My wife started a profitable and growing business, and we were able to jump start Roth IRAs for our two boys. I even dabbled in cryptocurrency. And recently, two years out of training, we hit a net worth gain of half a million dollars.

While I haven’t made a single cent from this blog (and in fact probably am a three-figure amount in the red), I don’t know that I would have been nearly as accountable to myself without the support and inspiration of the community that I have found here. So thanks.

Budget/Cash Flow

We have a $5,000/year CME allowance for conferences and the like, and unsurprisingly I didn’t do much traveling in the past fiscal year. It’s use-it-or-lose-it, so I took the opportunity to sign up for multi-year memberships to as many pain societies as I could afford. I’ll be ‘attending’ ASRA Fall 2021 virtually, but other than that no conferences until 2022. This money is reimbursed rather than used outright, so it shows up as a expense line item this month. There’ll be a correspondingly large bump in my paycheck next month.

Other than that not a lot of huge purchases to speak of, and this would have been a below-average month for spending without it.

PayItBack Progress

Interest rates remain steady at the same record lows of last month. Paying minimums. Rise repeat.

Net Worth

The S&P was up almost 3%, accounting for most of our gains. Crypto is in the midst of a dramatic rebound, but otherwise our portfolio is calm and boring which is how it probably should be. Next month — on the other hand — should have some nice milestones.

Financial Independence

Graph courtesy of Mad Fientist

This will hopefully be the last big step backwards on our FI date. Our new ‘normal’ level of spending has pushed the final few low-spending months from last year out of the calculator. For what it’s worth, my own ‘homemade’ calculator for our FI date has been a lot less volatile for the past year.

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: $40,500 of $68,500 (59.1% 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: $75,080 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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