Financial Freedom Update #5

June – 5 Months

5 months in and we are still kicking!  Markets are fluctuating, but we are holding strong and still earning some passive income.  This month we put some more money into our high interest savings, something that we can let sit and compound.  We also put a couple extra thousand into our investment account as well.  You’ve got to get it while it is on sale as they say.  When the markets dip is the best time to buy.

Without further ado, on to our account and performance update:

Betterment High Interest Savings and Investments:

Actual Investments to date: $29,010.39

Passive Income Earned to date: $71.90

Current Balance: $29,610.88

Performance to date: +$600.49

All of the losses from the original market drop at the beginning of the COVID epidemic have now recovered and we are seeing our accounts on the plus side for the first time. Very exciting!

Supplementary Retirement Accounts:

Thrift Savings Plan: $113,778.06 (+$2,558.00 from last month)

Vanguard 401K: $14.939.71 (+$375.92 from last month)

With the markets rising, so too are our supplementary retirement accounts.  The TSP is still being contributed to bi-weekly, but the 401K is just riding along at a steady investment amount, pluses and minuses solely based on market performance.

F.I.R.E. Account Balance

$158,328.65

This is an increase of $11,975.66 from last month ($8,000 physical investment, $3,975.66 account performance increase).

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Financial Freedom Update #4

May – 4 Months

We are now 4 months into our quest for financial freedom and our dream of an early retirement.  

This is a very turbulent time for investments in general with the global pandemic wreaking havoc on economies all across the world.  At the same time, the dramatic drop in all of the markets effectively puts stocks on sale and could prove to be the most opportune time to really start investing in a serious manner.

We have 2 accounts with Betterment.com and 2 external retirement accounts separate from my career supplied 401K.

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Betterment Account Performance:

Physical Investment to Date: $21,010.39

Passive Income Earned (Dividends and Interest): $67.33

Current Balance: $20, 569.14

Performance to Date: (-$441.25)

The initial market drop did some damage right off the bat, but the recovery is gaining momentum and I am optimistic that this will continue to trend upwards as lockdown restrictions are lightened.

Supplementary Retirement Account Balances:

Thrift Savings Plan: $111,220.06

Vanguard 401K: $14,563.79

F.I.R.E. Account Balance

$146,352.99*

*This is an increase of $9,116.24 from last month.

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Financial Freedom Update #3

April – 3 Months

It’s that time again, a new month calls for a new update.  

Our investment accounts have been rolling for 3 months now, let’s see how they are doing.

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Betterment High Interest Savings – Initial Deposit $5,000.00.  Last month’s total: $5,014.84. Interest Gained $4.10.  In order to capitalize on the Coronavirus induced market downturn I moved $4,000.00 from this account into my General Investment Account.

Total Amount Invested: $1,000.00

Total Interest Earned to Date (Passive Income): $18.94

Running Total: $1,018.94

Betterment Investment Account – Initial Deposit $10,000.00. Surplus March deposit $10.39.  Additional investment made to capitalize on the market downturn $8,000.00 ($4000 from income tax return & $4000 from Betterment Savings Account).

Total Amount Invested: $18,010.39

 Last month’s total: $9,105.87. March’s Betterment Performance -$1,021.48.

Total Dividends Earned to Date (Passive Income): $45.15

Running Total: $16,094.78

My personal retirement savings now totals:

$137,236.75

I will admit that investing more money into the market at this time is a little bit stressful. All over the news you are hearing about how the stocks are plunging due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has also detrimentally affected my Thrift Savings Retirement plan.  At the same time, when the markets are low it is time to invest, also with the stimulus plan passed the markets will no doubt rebound. Of course, with time, this crisis will pass, and when it does I look forward to reporting my fortuitous gains.

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I will be focusing our additional monthly savings due to our budgeting into restoring our Betterment Savings Account back to its full strength, unless of course another advantageous investment period rears its head once again.  

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Financial Freedom Day 1

Initial Investment Day

January 1st, 2020; new day; new month; new year; new decade.

This morning we awake with our eyes facing towards what could be.  We look forward towards the future after spending the last month reminiscing on what was coming to an end.  While everyone was enjoying the end of year countdowns and recaps, I spent the last month of the year researching what I could do better with my money.

I am just a couple years away from 40, and it hit me this year just how much I don’t want to be working for the rest of my life.  Retirement investment has always been in the back of my mind and I had taken the steps to supplement my career supplied 401K with an additional retirement savings plan, but is it enough?  We have a standard checking and savings account, our checking account is fine for everyday spending, and we have a decent allotment to our savings. Our savings account allotment has been going on long enough now that we have a not extraordinary, but not an insignificant amount of money accumulated.  The returns on our savings account though are…well…minimal, and that’s not the minimalism that I am so fond of.

With all of our recent travels, my wife has taken steps to really lock down a budget plan which I will share with you in the future if your interested, so be sure to subscribe.  Our budgeting allows us to track our spending down to the penny, maximize our saving efforts and increase our feeling of security concerning our current income. This also allows us to invest what we have saved, minus a small emergency fund, without having to worry about needing to pull the money right back out again for one reason or another.

So after much research, deliberation and contemplation, the investment platform of choice for us is Betterment.  I am not a finance major, I didn’t know what index funds were, annual percentage yield and compound interest were just fancy terms that financial managers threw around to sound smart as far as I knew.  Betterment suited my level of expertise perfectly, set a few goals and timelines, invest it and forget it for a low annual fee. Then, log in once in a while to see how much money I earned for doing nothing. Free money is my favorite kind of money. 

For the sake of this blog, I plan on logging in on the first of every month to add our monthly savings to our current investment and for a summary of our investment performance to share with you all.  So stay tuned.

Without further ado, initial investment day had arrived.  Creating an account with Betterment.com involved a short questionnaire to establish our current situation and our investment goals to go along with an email address, physical address, cell phone number and establishing a password.  The whole process took ten minutes at the most. Once the account was established, I linked my current checking and savings account with a simple online username, password and emailed pin number. As well as my supplementary retirement savings account for all in one place, simplicity purposes.  I like simple, and Betterment is excellent at making things simple.

We decided on two investment accounts to begin with.  A high interest savings account, and a general investment account.  The savings account is geared towards money that we expect to have a need for in 1 to 5 years, but would like to get the highest return possible on in the meantime.  Initial deposit: $5,000.00.

The general investment account is for money that can be invested for the long term, in this case, my target timeline of 22 years (when I turn 60).  At 60 I fully intend to retire, or already be retired. Between my investment into this account and my supplementary retirement account, I set a lofty goal of having 1 million dollars by the end of my timeline. Initial deposit: $10,000.00.

My supplementary account will not be managed by Betterment, just tracked and reported on, so it’s balance and performance will not be tracked on this blog for now.

If you are interested in investing with Betterment, my established account could benefit you with 3 months of fee free account management by clicking this Betterment.com referral link.

Financial Freedom

Hygge-lism inevitably leads to an increase in freedoms and savings, most notably of these is money savings, but what you do with that savings is what really matters.  

Our journey into hygge-lism has allowed us to eliminate debt, and now that we have little to no debt at any given time (we use a travel credit card for airline miles), we will be trying to find the best way to invest any extra money that we can.  This page will track our progress towards financial freedom, without sacrificing our true love of travel and experiencing all that life has to offer. Similar to the FIRE movement, anything that we can do to add a few years to our retirement is the ultimate end goal.

2020 will mark the beginning of our debt free, delve into financial independence.  Stay tuned by subscribing to keep up to date on all the tips, tricks and lessons learned along the way with us from day 1.