Browse Tag: Personal Finance

Q2 2019 Financial Scorecard: Halfway To Financial Independence?

IMG_4082After a setback late last year, 2019 has been good for the ROMT family’s finances.

During the second quarter, we continued to make progress on each of the three metrics we are tracking on our path towards early retirement and financial independence – net worth, 529 account funding, and passive income.

The resilient U.S. stock market was the primary driver of our good results. The S&P 500 rose by 3.8% in the second quarter, as strong performance in April and June offset a decline in May. During the first six months of 2019, the S&P 500 climbed 17% – its best first half performance in 22 years! As the second half of the year begins, the U.S. stock market is once again near all-time high levels.

It has been two years since we introduced our quarterly financial scorecard, and with our target early retirement date now just two years away, our recent progress has me believing we may really be halfway to financial independence!

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Q1 2019 Financial Scorecard: Back on Track!

When we last reported on our finances at the beginning of the year, the results were not good. The worst quarter for the stock market in almost seven years resulted in our net worth moving in the wrong direction for the first time since we started posting our Quarterly Financial Scorecards here at Retiring On My Terms.

Fast forward three months, however, and we seem to be back on track.

The S&P 500 Index returned more than 13% during Q1 2019 – it’s best quarter in nearly a decade! While the U.S. stock market is still a bit below the all-time high set last September, the strong returns so far this year have been great for the ROMT family. We made progress over the past quarter on all three of the metrics we are tracking on our path towards early retirement and financial independence – net worth, 529 account funding, and passive income.

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Solar Energy Update: We Made it Through the Winter!

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The early spring weather in our part of the country has been cold, with occasional snow and ice.

But when the weather hasn’t reminded us of winter, it has often been sunny.

Which has been great for the production of our rooftop solar panels!

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How Long Does it Take for Dividend Income to Grow Exponentially?

I’ve been earning income for over 30 years, and maintaining copious financial records for close to two decades.

As a result, I’ve accumulated a lot of information on my finances.

Most of the time, that information sits in a filing cabinet or on my computer’s hard drive.

But every once in a while I actually use it.

As we get closer to financial independence and early retirement, I’ve spent more time thinking about passive income. Since this blog has literally generated less than a penny per hour in earnings, passive income for the ROMT family consists primarily of interest on our savings and dividends on our investments.

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How Tax Reform Impacted Our Pursuit of Financial Independence

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

As we get closer to April 15th, there has been a lot of discussion around the impact of 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) on U.S. taxpayers.

Not surprisingly, much of that discussion has been politicized.

Rather than jumping into politics, we’re going to look at the facts. Specifically, we’ll examine how the new tax law impacted our family’s pursuit of financial independence in 2018.

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ROMT’s “FIRE Prowess” Scores for 2001 to 2018

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Two years ago, blogger The Green Swan introduced a metric called the FIRE Prowess Score.

“FIRE Prowess” went viral among those seeking financial independence and early retirement in 2017. Many financial bloggers, including yours truly, wrote about our FIRE Prowess Scores back then.

Since I’m finishing up my taxes, I’ve pulled together the information needed to determine my score for last year. I’ve been keeping thorough financial records for years, and enjoy tracking how my “FIRE Prowess” has changed over time.

I’m disappointed The Green Swan blog is no longer active, but their work lives on with this update!

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Dumb Financial Decisions: The Wrong Way to “Pay Yourself First”

Image by Goumbik on Pixabay

Many personal finance experts stress the importance of “paying yourself first.”

According to Investopedia, paying yourself first means automatically saving a portion of each paycheck. Money is routed from your paycheck directly into a savings or investment account. Before you begin paying monthly living expenses or making other purchases, you’ve already put some money into savings.

One of the simplest ways to pay yourself first is routing a portion of your paycheck into your employer’s 401(k) plan. I’ve done this ever since I started working. The savings I have built up in my 401(k) are a major reason we may have a chance to pursue early retirement! As an added benefit, many employers match a portion of your 401(k) contributions.

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Solar Energy Update: Do Your Job

Head Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots has a simple mantra for his football team.

Do Your Job.

The mantra has worked well for Belichick and the Patriots. The team has won six Super Bowl Championships this century.

With less than a month of winter left, our rooftop solar panels appear to have done their job for the 2018-2019 season.

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Are Business Trips Helpful in the Pursuit of FIRE?

Personal Finance

While I am not a frequent business traveler, I usually end up living out of a suitcase for work several times a year.

Last month, I traveled to Florida for an annual industry conference. Given that the temperature when I left my home for the airport was ten below zero, and it was going to be in the 70s when I landed in Florida, I was looking forward to a brief respite from the brutal winter in the north.

When I told colleagues, family, and friends I was headed south for a week, their initial reaction was generally one of envy – “hope you enjoy yourself on the beach while we’re all freezing, slipping on ice, and shoveling snow!”

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Q4 2018 Financial Scorecard: Moving in the Wrong Direction

Early Retirement

The first six times we reported on our quarterly financial progress here at Retiring On My Terms, the news was always positive.

The three key metrics we’re tracking on our path towards early retirement and financial independence – net worth, 529 account funding, and passive income – all increased every single quarter.

Sometimes the growth was fast, and sometimes the growth was slow, but fairly consistent income, responsible spending, and a generally supportive stock market enabled us to make steady progress towards our goals ever since we started this blog.

Of course, that all changed during the fourth quarter of 2018, when the S&P 500 index plunged nearly 14%. As good as we try to be at saving and spending, a quarterly decline of that magnitude, the likes of which we hadn’t experienced in more than seven years, is bound to leave a mark on just about any investment portfolio.

And ours was no exception, even though, somewhat surprisingly, we still managed to make progress on one of our three key metrics despite the market rout over the past three months.

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