It’s that time of the month when a lot of bloggers throw up their net worth for the world to see. Unfortunately, when you are blogging under your actual name, you’re not so comfortable throwing your actual numbers out into the world. However, for all you number nerds out there, I definitely do have some number posts planned for you. After I embark on my road trip, I definitely plan to keep track of my freelancer income (which I hope is more than $0 some months!) But more interestingly, I plan to keep track of my expenses and see if I go over or under budget. A budget I haven’t created yet. If I go over budget, then the indefinite road trip will definitely have to have a definite end. lol. I’m not sure that I’ll do another pre-trip financial update, because there isn’t much else to say. Anyways, Here are some free tools that I use every month, as well as a general overview of where I’m currently at. Sans numbers.
TOOL #1: FI LAB
I totally love the FIRE community. I’m inspired by all the awesome things that everybody is doing. But what I’m doing with my life at the moment definitely isn’t a early retirement. I’m not financially independent by the traditional definition. I just didn’t want to wait until FI to take some risks with my life. Everybody has a different comfort level on that. It’s a rather difficult thing to take a lot of consecutive time off in the American work force, but a gap year isn’t completely unheard of. If you want to track your own journey to FIRE, I highly recommend utilizing the FI Lab, a super fun tool that the Mad Fientist gives away for free. As you can see below, I still have a ways to go before reaching actual FI. Of course, there’s so much financial unpredictability in my future (a big one might be the financial stats and habits of my future mystery spouse? Where will we live? Will it lead to children? )
What I love about the FI Lab tool, is that for your expected expenses, it automatically calculates the average of your previous 12 months. The hardest part about all those retirement calculators is that you are supposed to input expected expenses in retirement. I don’t have a clue. Average of the past 12 months seems as good as any, unless you were uber frugal and that’s not your norm. It will definitely be interesting to see what the FI Lab tool adjusts my FI date after my expenses drop when I depart California for life on the road. That being said, my savings rate is going to plummet big time too, since turning off your full time salary is kind of a big deal.
TOOL #2: ThriftyGal Google Doc
I’ve used various tools to track my net worth over the years. I have a super cool spreadsheet that I started using in mid 2010, but for whatever reason, haven’t touched since January 2016. In September 2015, I started using a Google doc that ThriftyGal released to the world last year. It’s very similar to the FI Lab, actually, but it’s more detailed. I like the ThriftyGal doc because in the Google version of Excel, I can have columns for savings rate % and net worth change %. I’m not going to reveal the scale of this chart for privacy reasons, but the green line is the potential passive income line, and the red dot is that month’s expenses. It has never ever been this close before.
NERDY NUMBER FUN (Skip if you don’t like nerdy numbers)
If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me share this random fact yesterday:
Digging into the numbers was actually really fascinating to analyze. When we look at the twelve individual savings rates for the previous twelve months, from highest to lowest, those numbers were 76%, 74%, 55%, 51%, 49%, 48%, 42%, 34%, 32%, 30%, 28%, and 8% . My career is not in some sort of commissioned field with a super variable compensation, though there are definitely some fluctuations based on the months that dividends come in and my habit of chasing bank and brokerage bonuses (I’ve never been one to pass up free money). I know that some of the lower savings months were probably because I was fulfilling some sort of minimum spend for a credit card signup bonus There were also two separate month-long periods where I was dating a woman, and dating in SoCal kinda gets expensive vs. just living the single semi-frugal dude life.
FOREVER GRATEFUL FOR GOOD FORTUNE.
“They paid for college for both of us when they could have used that money to buy better cars or retire early. That’s a love like no other, and there’s no way to repay them.”
I definitely don’t have a million bucks and I never had a six figure income, but I have had a lot of privilege and good fortune in life.
Reader – do you have any random nerdy number facts that you’ve discovered on your financial journey?
P.S. If the above mentioned tools such as the FI Lab and ThriftyGal’s spreadsheet seem like way too much work for you (I mean, not everybody is a number nerd. Most people aren’t at all.), then I highly recommend outsourcing your net worth tracking to Personal Capital – Join for Free