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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The Year of Investing - August 2017

Smashed my savings goals and smashed my investing goals. A month of low bills and upward trending markets worked out wonderfully!

To reach Financial Independence, Retire Early, and not have to go to work on a Monday ever again I need lots of money. More importantly I need money that produces more money. Right now I spend between $25,000 and $30,000 a year. This doesn't include the maintenance costs on my investment property, because that is covered by the rent. So if I wanted to walk out of work and never come back again, I need to find a way to make $25,000 a year, without a regular paycheck.

I'd rather go for the higher end of the scale though, so to fund my $30,000 lifestyle in retirement, I'm going to need to find $750,000 in the next eight and a half years, in accordance with the four percent rule.

The investment plan

For the next twelve months (July 2017 - June 2018) I am going to focus on supercharging my investments. The earlier in my retirement journey I start investing the more heavy lifting will be done by compound interest. By spending my money on buying more money in the early years, I hope to see my investments growing on their own through the next few years.

In the Year of Investing I plan on building up my existing accounts until I have just over 10% of my retirement fund. Starting from $52,000 I'm aiming for $80,000 by July 1 2018, an increase of $28,000 - just shy of $2,400 a month.


Want to try out Acorns? Check out my review first.


Opening Balance: $1,171.82
Deposited: $377.12
Dividends: $0.06
Market Gains: $5.64
Current Balance: $1,554.64

Since starting The Year of Investing

Opening Balance: $813.53
Deposited: $728.48
Dividends: $7.36
Market Gains: $5.27
Current Balance: $1,554.64

This was a nice comfortable month. My schedule means I had 5 weekly deposits this month. Between the extra weekly investment, and the bonus $50 I threw in last month, I'm tracking comfortably ahead of my goal. Which is great because in the last week my portfolio value has been dropping $3 - $4 a day. It's like buying coffee and not getting to drink it...

Goal: $5,000
Amount remaining: $3,445.36 ($344.54 per month)
Current investment plan: $75 per week


Want to try out Vanguard? Check out my review first.


Opening Balance: $41,257.03
Deposited: $1,550
Dividends: $0
Market Gains: $186.10
Current Balance: $42,993.13

Since starting The Year of Investing

Opening Balance: $39,566.66
Deposited: $3,750
Dividends: $0
Market Gains: -$323.53
Current Balance: $42,993.13

I feel a little cheated by Vanguard this month. Admittedly I made money, and that's great, but... just a few days ago my account balance was $600 higher than it is right now. I honestly got up Tuesday morning to find myself $300 poorer than I had been when I went to bed. Obviously I expect the markets to yo-yo up and down, and by Dollar Value Averaging I should be able to take advantage of this, but the drop happened right before the end of the month and I almost didn't hit my goal.

It takes Vanguard 3-4 days to process a transaction, so if the markets kept falling I wouldn't have been able to get over the line for August. Thankfully they settled down just enough that I'm $100 ahead of my goal. Pity it's not the $400 ahead that I thought I'd be reporting.

Goal: $60,000
Amount remaining: $17,006.87 ($1700.69 per month)
Current investment plan: $1,300 per month, plus whatever extra I can find


Want to try out RateSetter? Check out my review first.


Opening Balance: $11,717.15
Deposited: $250.00
Loan Returns: $70.20
Current Balance: $12,037.35

Since starting The Year of Investing

Opening Balance: $11,416.13
Deposited: $450
Loan Returns: $171.22
Current Balance: $12,037.35

It's been a quiet month in RateSetter. Some months I make over $100, some months it's lower. It just comes down the the exact date the loan is due, how long it takes payments to clear, if the borrowers overpay their loans. Still happily on target here as well.

Goal: $15,000
Amount remaining: $2962.65 ($296.26 per month)
Current investment plan: $200 per month

The big picture - my savings rate

In total I'm hoping to invest $23,000 during the Year of Investing. On top of that I plan to keep up with my mortgage repayments, which should see my debts drop by approximately $12,500. This means saving $35,500, just shy of 50% of my income. 

So on top of paying down my mortgage and investing, I plan to squirrel away a little bit more so I can declare that I saved 50% of my income. In the previous 12 months I saved 41% of my income, so this year I though 'What the heck, let's push for 50%'.

According to the networthify early retirement calculator, if I pull this off I'll be able to retire in 9 years - just a few short months after my goal. A lot can happen in nine years, and I intend to prove that calculator wrong ;)

Here's how my savings look for August:

Amazing! but I confess, this is a bit skewed. I count savings as the actual change in balance for my cash accounts, the amount of pushed into investments, and the amount paid down on my mortgage. I don't count the balance on my credit cards. I opened a new card for bonus rewards points so I have money owing on that card that hasn't hit the due date yet, so isn't factored into my savings rate for this month.

That will come off next months savings rate, but since September is going to be a three paycheck month (I'm paid fortnightly) it shouldn't be too much of a train wreck.


For the sake of curiosity, here's what I spent in August.

CategorySpentBudgetedAnnual Average
Home$1,302.61$1,250$1348.44 (up $5.44)
Bills... Well, One Bill - my council rates. Next month I pay gas and electricity, that'll be expensive.
Investment Property$703.23$1,250$1,545.06 (down $78.94)
An entire bill free month! All I paid was the mortgage! Woo!
Personal Bills$146.91$147.08$133.90 (up $5.33)
The usual
Groceries$197.42$200.00$203.08 (up $5.26)
I'll be honest, I didn't need to spend this much. I got excited about Japanese food and stocked up on Dashi, Miso and Sushi Rice.
Pets$17.90$30.00$25.34 (up $1.49)
Strangely, my cat likes to eat every day. Crazy! Still working through the 90Ls of kitty litter I bought back in February, but I think I'll be buying some in September, maybe October.
Roller Derby$202.41$111.25$152.37 (up $13.28)
I bought a new helmet! It's all sparkly and shiny, and way cheaper than a brain injury! However derby continues to be more expensive than I budget for...
Travelling$0$100$126.19 (down $5.00)
I haven't travelled since October last year and the costs are starting to fall off the 12 months average. Time to book another holiday!
Other$74.14$245$271.75 (down $15.81)
We went shopping for spring plantings! I tried to buy perennials so hopefully everything I bought will keep us fed and flowered for a couple of years.
Total$2,644.62$3.333$3,842.93 (down $70.20)
It was almost a bill free month! I had to pay the council rates at home, but nothing else came up! I don't expect this good fortune until after Christmas.

Blast from the Past!

The Year of Investing started July 2017. You can see past reports here:


  1. What a nice overview of the finances, well done. You also seem to be doing rather well (amazing savings rate!), best of luck with your 2018 goal!

    1. Thanks, a pity it won't last since I won't have another bill free month for a while, but it's always great to be able to report big numbers :)

  2. I like to think of months with big numbers (either low bills, high income, or both) as "stocking up" for the winter - months where there's not much room after automatic savings, debt payments, and expenses. Thinking of those lean months as "hibernation" helps me relax a bit and focus on what's in front of me.

    1. That's a great way to think about it. I'm not having a bad month, I'm a scary bear taking a nap in my cave :D

  3. I love seeing these numbers grow. It's always such a pleasing feeling!

  4. Haha 'it's like buying coffee but not being able to drink it'

    Looking at my portfolio this week there is a lot of red. Sometimes it is best not to look at every drop and just focus on the long term

    1. Oddly, I have some spare cash that I'm waiting to invest. I'm actually a little miffed that in the last week the market hasn't dipped enough for me to need to push more cash in to my investments.

      It's odd to say, but I'd like the values to go down please!


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