August 2020 #FIRE Update

We took our first post-covid vacation to Alaska at the end of August which was great and it looks like we survived covid free. We figured going to one of the most nature intense places in the country would keep us away from people. Plus everyone on the plane had to have a negative test to get in.

Given that I took a vacation from the blog as well, so between vacation and catching up from vacation we’ve had a little two week hiatus. Let’s jump back in with our recaps.

These numbers are all as of the end of August. Obviously the market has been a little wild the last couple of days, but we did cross the $1,000,000 dollar mark in investments for the first time ever! It’s interesting that once you get to these milestones it’s not as exciting as you thought it would be. I think part of that feels a little guilty celebrating when the economy is still struggling. The other part is not really understanding why the market is up so much, so I’m not locking this in yet.

Aug Investments

Investment Notes:

  • Total investments crossed a new high at just over $1,016,894 dollars! This is a new high for us by over $60,000 dollars!
  • With savings we have planned for the rest of the year we can ride out a 4.7% downturn in the market and still remain above $1,000,000.
  • Part of the increase this month is I went ahead and invested $21,000 in extra savings this year based on our earning/spending so far.
  • The market was up 7.1% last month!!! Why??? I have no idea. We’ve seen the past couple days that the tech bubble may start to burst. I own a lot of those which has help offset the dividend portfolio.
  • You can see we have fallen behind the overall market now by around 1.2%. This is really driven by our dividend portfolio and our 401K being slightly behind. As the market continues to go up our short term portfolio which is in safer investments also will cause us to be behind.
  • I did shift my 401K out of the lifestyle fund and into the general stock market like I discussed last month.
  • Before I leave work I want to have $135,000 in short term investments as well as $48,000 in reserve cash. We are currently at $135,021 and $21,000 in those two accounts.
  • The Dividend Portfolio continued to struggle vs. the S&P 500 and is now down by 27% since we started. The positive here is most of our stocks are continuing to pay their dividends. The stock price themselves though has not budged since falling 30%. It has not recovered like the rest of the market.
  • I own around $318,000 in individual stocks. $100,000 of that is in the dividend portfolio. NFLX +63%, AAPL +76%, ATVI +41%, CMG +56%, and FB +42%.
  • Bottom Stocks included the energy and financial sector. I’m watching closely to see how they continue their dividends and if they can start to rebound. OKE -62%, ET -47.4%, XOM -41.6%, MMP -36.7%, KMI -32.8%

Aug Spending

August was slightly over last year, but that was mainly due to the Alaska trip. Turns out Alaska was fairly expensive based on some of the excursions. Although the flights themselves were cheap.

Spending Key Points:

  • Overall spending was up $600 dollars for the month driven by travel
  • Our Miscellaneous bucket was finally down this month by around $600 dollars. This was our third lowest month of the year. We seem to be in a good place to save now vs. last year.
  • Our entertainment budget is going to be down this year as we aren’t allowed to go to any entertainment. It’s interesting to see how they are handling the cancellations. The Twins are giving you credit +15%, but they have also stopped charging for now. Our Broadway tickets keep charging us while they push performances to 2021. It should give us a low 2021 expense as well.
  • We continue to save on spending for our kids. Although we are attempting sports with them again so some of those expenses will start to ratchet up.
  • You can see our household bucket is projected to be down $12,000 this year. The last $4,000 is going to go to a patio set next month and with that we will be done with those projects for the year.
  • Next year that last line will need to stay beneath $95,000 dollars to hit our plans. So far we are off to a good start, although the big shift is that we will start to pay health insurance premiums out of our pocket so we will need that gap.

Overall spending continues to trend below last year which is great. As a time without a lot of income gets closer it is good to see us stay within our budget.

Net Worth Update

We picked up almost $100,000 in net worth this month as every single bucket went up!

  • Our house value increased another $5,000 again last month. I’m not sure what is driving that and how real it is, but I’ll take it.
  • With investments up across the board we picked up the other $90,000 there. A reminder that $20,000 of this was adding savings.
  • We are closing in on the $1,300,000 mark. The goal in the first 7 to 10 years of Coast FIRE is to maintain this and see it grow to $1,300,000 without working as much. Let’s be honest though, I’m hoping to see it grow to $1,500,000+


It’s been a roller coaster of a year, but we continue to hit some big milestones. Once again very thankful to our situation when it’s been really tough for a lot of people out there.

We both continue to grow our side hustles to try and save more than planned this year while also spending a little bit more than planned. 9 months until independence!

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