Checkup – September 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.

There has been a lot of sowing in the past 3 years; setting up accounts, automating transactions, saving diligently. September 2021 felt like a little bit of reaping. We got away from the kids for a bit for a just-for-us vacation, and we opened the pursestrings for some higher-level consumption, both experiential and material. It felt good. There was nothing that will get us off track, but it finally felt like we were seeing the fruits of our labor.

Budget/Cash Flow

New iPhones: $1,880. Starting a home gym: $1,050. Getting the kids back in preschool: $480.

We spent 5 days in Charleston, SC and it was a dream. Delicious food, walkable everything, and perfect weather. We spent $245 on one meal. I don’t even care. This is the kind of experience we’ve been working for, and I hope it represents the kind of trips we’ll be able to take going forward.

Nothing interesting on the saving side. I diversified my crypto holdings a bit (now have Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Solana, and Polygon), and will decreasing contributions a bit going forward as I have a basis that I’m comfortable with.

PayItBack Progress

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

Net Worth

September was not a kind month in the markets, with the S&P dropping almost 5% and possible more pain to come. Our portfolio is now that the point where movements like this are hard to compensate for even with my significant income. And in fact our net worth dropped for the first time since March 2020. But that’s okay! It just means that we’ve done a good job building a sizable portfolio, so of course market movements will have greater and greater impact.

My student loans dipped into 5 figures for the first time, which is a major milestone. We should be very close to 5 figures of overall debt by the end of the year.

Financial Independence

Graph courtesy of Mad Fientist

The slumping market and our increased spending continue to push out our FI date. But if we can stay secure and enjoy ourselves, working a little extra doesn’t seem so bad.

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: $47,500 of $68,500 (69.3% 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: $80,040 of $90,000 (88.9% 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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