- The chart displays the total value of our retirement investments. Our RESP, cash holdings, and home equity aren’t included.
- The huge jump in February 2018 was due to us refinancing our home and investing the funds. (This leveraged investing strategy cut our time to FI by four years.)
- The percentage at the bottom represents the growth/drop in our investments compared to the previous month. This includes investment growth/losses and any additions we made to our accounts.
May 2019 FI progress update
I thought May would be a quieter month for us, but it turned out to be another busy one! Here are our FI and money-related happenings for May:
Changes to my chart
After some thought, I decided to make some changes to my chart:
- I removed the expenses line because it’s not all that helpful.
- I removed the line indicating our FI number because it reveals too much info.
- I’ll now only show the growth/loss in our portfolio because I still think it’s an interesting metric to share. (Plus—I need some kind of image for this update every month!)
“I’ve actually found that sharing my FI journey at work has been a very positive thing specifically because I don’t plan to quit work when I hit financial independence. There’s something powerful about being able to tell your employer that you don’t HAVE to be there (even hefty FU money works) but letting them know that you still WANT to be.”
I love that Angela’s had such a positive experience with her employer. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad for M to reveal his FI plans? Hmmm, I don’t know. For now, it’s TBD!
Our portfolio decreased by 1.8%
Our portfolio actually dropped by 2% in May. But since we rolled in some of M’s company stocks (that just vested this month) our overall loss came to 1.8%. I’m guessing the drop in the markets was due to nervousness about the China tariffs. But since I don’t pay attention to that kind of news, I’m not sure! (And I won’t waste any time worrying about it.)
M got a promotion—yay!
Over the last couple of years, M’s worked hard to fulfill his role as an art director—even though he didn’t actually have the job title. That finally changed last week when M was presented with a letter confirming his official title change (and commensurate pay increase). Woo hoo!
Receiving this formal recognition is so meaningful for him. It wasn’t easy taking on the art director role, and it took a lot of time and effort for him to get here. I’m so proud of what he’s accomplished.
Our plans for the extra income
Here are our top considerations:
1. Invest it
Being FI-minded, this is our top choice. But at this point, new additions won’t decrease our time to FI by much—it’s now mostly compounding that drives the growth of our portfolio. Knowing this, we started thinking of other meaningful ways to use the money.
2. Travel more
Family travel has always been a priority for us, and it’s even more so now. Our boys are 11 and 13, and the years left to travel with them are quickly slipping away. We’d love to use the extra income to do more local travel.
3. Eat more luxuriously
Apparently, M’s been restraining himself and won’t buy ‘expensive’ foods like caviar, nice steaks, black cod, or… chicken wings! I had no idea he was depriving himself and told him he should go ahead and buy all the foods he likes! (Besides—when they’re only occasional treats, these items aren’t going to break our budget.)
4. More ‘stuff’
M thought of a few things that’d be nice to have, but none of them were all that important. He realized he’d rather put more money into our investments or take more trips. As for me, discovering FI has cured me of just about every material desire. Nowadays, I’m happiest spending only on necessities and experiences.
What’ll most likely happen is we’ll spend a bit on short trips and nice food, then invest the rest. It’s an important decision, so I’ve emailed our advisor Ed for advice. He’s even more of an optimizer and way smarter than me—I know he’ll come up with a good plan.
Choose FI Vancouver meetup
In early May, a bunch of Choose FI fans (and a handful of Mustachians) met up at a local park to mix and mingle. We chatted about FI and got to know each other as we feasted on a tableful of potluck dishes. Yum!
I was thrilled to finally meet my blogging friends Money Mechanic and Phia, as well as others that I’ve connected with through the Facebook group. It was a fun and engaging meetup, and I look forward to more in the future!
Thanks again for organizing the meetup Shaidah—you’re the best!
The $550 dinner out
As much as we love eating out, it’s expensive and not all that healthy. So we try to save it as a treat for special occasions.
Related: How to Reach FI on One Income
Well this month, we had a special occasion… and spent $550 on a single dinner out. Gulp! Aside from our wedding, that’s the most expensive meal we’ve ever paid for!
Long story short, it was a special meal for a good friend and her family. And because they’re extremely wealthy (like, crazy rich Asian wealthy) it had to be a fancy meal in a nice restaurant. While it was painful to spend that much money on a single meal, we don’t regret it one bit. We had a lovely time with my friend and her family, and the food was amazing.
Experiences like this teach me that sometimes, money does buy happiness. This is especially true when you spend on experiences. (And I think a fancy meal with a good friend counts as a pretty special experience!)
My mother-in-law made me proud
At dinner with my in-laws’ last week, the topic of financial independence came up. When we mentioned M could potentially retire in his 40s, one of our dinner guests was genuinely confused. They asked why M would retire so young and what he’d do with his time.
This person is a successful high achiever who’s good at and loves their job. They’re also enviably high-energy and driven. Understandably, it was hard for them to fathom M leaving the traditional workforce at such a young age.
I was about to respond, but M’s mom piped up and said, “It just means he’ll have choices. He can keep working, or do something else if he wants.”
I can’t tell you how proud I was of her at that moment! Even though I know she’s on board with FI, seeing her so passionately explain FI to someone else almost brought tears to my eyes! It means she truly gets what FI’s about.
We went on to explain to our guest that M would most likely continue in his job post-FI. But just knowing that he’s continuing on because he’s choosing to, not because he has to, is freedom.
After explaining all that, our dinner guest chuckled and agreed—FI wasn’t so crazy after all.
Related: Debunking FI/RE Myths
A lesson in value for Kid 1
Every year, Kid 1’s high school takes a group of Grade 9 students on a two-week trip to Japan. We love Japan and wanted Kid 1 to enjoy this amazing trip with his friends. So, over the last two years, we saved up the money—expecting that we’d send him when the time came.
But on the eve of the application deadline, we took a step back. We realized the cost of sending Kid 1 on this trip was half of what we spent on our family trip to Japan in 2018—for four weeks, for four people.
Additionally, we’d already seen half the things the school was planning to see. (And the other half that we hadn’t seen, we wanted to see too.)
We decided it didn’t make sense to send Kid 1 with the school. What we really wanted was to go back to Japan with him—as a family.
We were so nervous about breaking the news to Kid 1. After all, we’d bought into this trip for over two years, and it was all his friends could talk about at school. This was a very sudden about-face.
The ace up our sleeve
Thankfully, we had an ace up our sleeve… Kid 1 also wanted to do the Grade 10 Tall Ships Adventure trip. (Students get to live aboard and operate a tall ship as it sails from Victoria to Vancouver over five days. So cool!)
We’d previously told Kid 1 there was no way we’d pay for Japan and Tall Ships… but now that we were taking Japan off the table, Tall Ships was a possibility. We knew this could help to soften the blow… and it did. Phew.
Kid 1 took the change in plans surprisingly well. He could clearly see that it was a far better value for us to go to Japan as a family.
He also realized that the Grade 10 Tall Ships Adventure was a better value than the Japan trip. Not only is it a fraction of the cost, but it’s something we’re unlikely to do as a family. (Whereas with Japan, we’ll definitely be travelling there again.)
Kid 1’s still sad to miss out on the fun his friends will have in Japan together, but we all know this was the right decision. And I firmly believe that real-life experiences like these (disappointments and all) are the best kind of money lessons our kids can have.
And that’s a wrap!
What about you? Do you have any successes or stories to share from May? I’d love to hear about it—leave a comment below!
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