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Friday, 13 April 2018

The Year of Investing - March 2018

Oof, was it just me or was March one of those months? I spent a lot, the markets went backwards and life just seemed more stressful and busy than it had any right to be. Still, I stayed on track with my goals, and squeezed in a couple of days of doing absolutely nothing - just like retirement could be!

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.

Except, not really, because I have a stretch goal, and now a double stretch! Overall I plan to have $90k invested, for an increase of $38,000, or just over $3,150 a month.


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


Opening Balance: $3,714.83
Deposited: $330.79
Dividends: $0.17
Market Gains: -$111.09
Current Balance: $3,934.70

Since starting The Year of Investing

Opening Balance: $813.53
Deposited: $3,023.37
Dividends: $46.20
Market Gains: $51.60
Current Balance: $3,934.70

It was a month of fighting against the market swings. I poured in a little more money that I would normally have to make sure I kept on target for the year. Still on track, but things have gone from 'comfortable' to 'mildly concerning'.

Goal: $5,000
Amount remaining: $1,065.30 ($355.10 per month)
Current investment plan: $75 per week


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


Opening Balance: $57,808.94
Deposited: $4,075
Dividends: $0
Market Gains: -$1,364.26
Current Balance: $60,519.68

Since starting The Year of Investing

Opening Balance: $39,566.66
Deposited: $19,725
Dividends: $1,061.23
Market Gains: $166.79
Current Balance: $60,519.68

Woah March, what happened? The value of everything dropped, and Trump picked a trade war with China. While I don't live in the USA I do invest there, and the Australian economy falls in step pretty closely with the US markets, so when they crash down, so do we.

It's a time to remember that we invest for the long term, and that while it's a bad looking month, investing is a long term game. While I might be down this month, I am up over the three years I have been investing with Vanguard. This is just a great opportunity to buy in cheap, and follow my Dollar Value Investing plan.

Goal: $60,000
Amount remaining: Done!
Stretch Goal: $65,000
Stretch amount remaining: $4,480.32 ($1,493.44 per month)
Double Stretch Goal: $70,000
Double stretch amount remaining: $9,480.32  ($3,160.10 per month)
Current investment plan: $1,900 per month, plus whatever extra I can find


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


Opening Balance: $13,915.06
Deposited: $200.00
Loan Returns: $94.86
Current Balance: $14,209.92

Since starting The Year of Investing

Opening Balance: $11,416.13
Deposited: $1,950
Loan Returns$843.79
Current Balance: $14,209.92

I'm sure I say it every month, but I love the consistent great returns from RateSetter. This month was worth 8.1% after fees (but before taxes). While I wouldn't want all my eggs in this basket, it is a great reliable source for when the markets are going haywire.

Goal: $15,000
Amount remaining: $790.08 ($263.36 per month)
Current investment plan: $200 per month

On track!

The big picture - my savings rate
In total I'm hoping to invest $23,000 during the Year of Investing (now $33,000 with my double stretch goal!). 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, (45,500) just shy of 50% of my income (just over 57%). 

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 ;)

According to the Mad Fientist Lab, after March I'm only seven years and six months away. In February I reported I was only 7 years and 5 months away, I've gone backwards because...

Here's how my savings look for March:

That's right, March was expensive. I spent almost $5,000 in the month. I had a ridiculous number of bills all come due at the same time, plus I spent a weekend interstate for derby. With the exception of the 'Roller Derby' budget line, my spending was pretty average. It just all fell in the one month.
I am seeing a pattern of two good months, and a third 'bad' one. Which makes sense, because all my bills are quarterly. So I expect to have a couple more good month, with a very disappoint result in June, but an overall success for the year. Watch this space!


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

CategorySpentBudgeted12 Month Average
Home$1,431.60$1,312.50$1,301.61 (up $12.64)
paid some bills...
Investment Property$2456.36$1,166.67$1,265.05 (up $128.92)
figured out why bills have been so low.. hadn't paid water in six months. Not my issue, the company, but I paid 1 in March, and have the next due in April to bring it back up to speed
Personal Bills$146.91$147.08$147.08 (up $0.70)
The usual. These go up annually, so in April we'll be ever so slightly higher.
Groceries$126.40$200.00$180.93 (up $1.34)
Slightly up on last year but well below what was budget. Mr. FIRE is travelling a lot for work, so we go through less food in the house. Plus when he's not around, I get to make weird experimental food to clear the cupboards out. Some of it is great, some is... not...
Pets$64.72$29.00$26.96 (up $1.66)
Remember how I spent nothing in February. Well I stoked up on food twice in March, and made another bulk purchase of kitty litter. Plus someone broke their cat tree, so now I'm tossing up whether to buy or build a new one.
Roller Derby$382.94$150.00$220.85 (up $23.80)
So ah, I went to Brisbane. The flights were pretty cheap thanks to Credit Card hacking, but I still needed to pay for accomodations and feed myself while I was there. I'm not travelling again till after August, so maybe the average spend will come down? Ahh, who am I kidding...
Travelling$0$100.00$0.00 (no change)
Still none... there is something very wrong here. Well, no none derby travel, clearly this whole budget is disappearing into the Roller Derby line.
Other$91.42$157.25$195.67 (up $3.70)
It was a pretty quite spend month here. I did some networking lunches, bought some new pants from the second hand store (3 pairs for $20!) and picked up a couple of bits and pieces at the hardware store. All very dull.  
Total$4,677.11$3,329.17$3,344.07 (up $141.88)
So yeah, this happened. A whole month with every single category average in the red. To be fair to me... quarterly bills, plus an interstate trip. The actual monthly spend outside those things was very low, so while this might look like a terrible month in isolation, in context it's just.. a month. Admittedly my worst since tracking my savings rate, but still not terrible.

Blast from the Past!

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


  1. Looks like a great month, despite the markets bot playing ball.

    Roller derby looks awesome :)

    1. Thank you!

      Roller Derby is amazing. Though I realised today that if I'd chosen a mainstream sport, I'd probably have reached a level where someone was paying me to play, rather than the other way around :D Oh well, it's way more fun than cricket!

  2. Last month, I sighed at the reds when I opened my investing apps and closed it. Don't need to think too hard, definitely no panic selling either!

    1. The markets didn't play well in March, but April went down a treat! Check out tomorrows post :)


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