It’s Never Too Early to Save

Earlier in the year our 11 year old son (10 at the time), told us he wanted to save up for a Nintendo Switch game console and some games. This was the first time he had ever expressed an interest in saving up for a large item; beforehand as soon as he received his weekly allowance he would want to spend it on as we put it “cheap plastic crap”. So this was a big step for him.

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July Financial Update

We are now moving well through the summer, it’s hot and the kids are out of school. Much as it’s great to have kids around I do kind of miss our routine. So how did the major markets do during July?

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The Myth of European Driving

One of the great “truths” is that driving in Europe is expensive. My intention today is to bust that myth.

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The $500 Vacuum Cleaner

First of all apologies for missing posting the last week. With the kids off for summer, the whole structure of the week changes dramatically, which means that finding the time to just sit and blog is tough.

So we just bought a new vacuum cleaner. Our old one still works, but it’s quite large and hard to lug up and down stairs. We hadn’t really planned on getting a new one but having seen first hand how light and easy my mother’s Dyson hand held stick cleaner worked, we decided to go ahead and get one too.

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The Longest Three Months

The summer break is long. Kids in the US get out of school around the end of May and don’t go back until around Labor Day; so that works out at three months. When we were living in Houston and working we would send the kids to summer camp for most of the summer.

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Brace Yourself for Expenses

The vast majority of US kids have orthodontic work done at some point in their childhood. My gut feeling is that there is a tendency to over brace kids. It seems to be a very American obsession with perfect teeth. Bit if the dentists says that kids need braces then as a parent our natural tendency is of course to accept that diagnosis. No one wants to be the parent who feels guilty because their child has dental problems later in life.

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June Financial Update

Halfway through the year already. The year seems to be flying! Based on the markets for the first six months we can have a reasonable idea of how the year is going to go. Most markets are pretty much flat through the first half, so it’s not unreasonable to expect the overall year to stay fairly flat (though we could all be surprised!)

So here is how the major markets and out own net worth did through H1.

Market Jun-18 Q2 18 YTD
S&P500 0.48% 2.93% 1.67%
NASDAQ 0.92% 6.33% 8.79%
DOW 30 -0.59% 0.70% -1.81%
Benchmark Vanguard 2040 Fund -0.33% 0.90% 0.36%
Our Net Worth -0.43% 0.49% -0.68%

FIRE rate through June = 2.2%

So as mentioned other than the NASDAQ the other markets are pretty flat. The benchmark Vanguard 2040 fund is only up 0.35% in the first half of the year and was down a small amount in June.

Our own net worth was down a bit in June and we ended the first half of the year down around 0.7%

Our current spend rate is at 2.2% which i’m happy with as it is well under our target of 2.7% (and even our stretch goal of 2.5%). However our largest expenses will all be in H2.

Our expenses in June were under our budget, which is pretty good considering it covers both the credit card from May and quite a lot of June’s expenses too. When we were on vacation we didn’t use the credit card at all, we tried to stick with cash. So that will show up in June’s numbers.

We had a couple of large expenses, we finally paid the $400 vet bill. Also we paid the quarterly estimated state tax. We also paid our 6 monthly car insurance bill, so that was another $500.

In theory July should be a pretty good month however our son is getting braces – which are expensive. I’ll write more about that later in the month.

How did your first half of the year go?

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Back From Vacation

So just a short post today to let everyone know we are back from our vacation. It was great to go back to the UK, we ate too much and saw lots of things and got to spend some quality time with my family. We also all came home with colds.

I had some ideas for posts while on holiday. Such as the myth that driving in Europe is expensive, how vacations helps one to really appreciate home, the emotional roller coaster of  following your favorite sports team (you try being an England supporter!) and the importance of estate planning for the older generation. Hopefully I’ll follow up on some of these in the coming weeks.

I’ll update on the June numbers next week as well as a Q2 update on the annual objectives.

Summer is here and with the kids out of school our schedules are very different to normal. It will be interesting to see how this effects our routine as in retirement we have found routine to be very important.

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Best Board Games – H1 2018 Update

Over the last few months I’ve become more involved in board gaming as a hobby. At the end of last year I outlined some of my favorite games. Here is an update of some of the best games I’ve played over the last 6 months.

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May Financial Update

May is now over and we are heading rapidly into summer. The kids will soon be off and we are heading off on vacation next week.

So here is how the major markets and our own net worth did in May.

Market May-18 Q2 18 YTD
S&P500 1.78% 2.44% 1.18%
NASDAQ 5.32% 5.36% 7.80%
DOW 30 1.05% 1.30% -1.23%
Benchmark Vanguard 2040 Fund 0.84% 1.24% 0.70%
Our Net Worth 0.67% 0.92% -0.26%

FIRE rate YTD = 2.18%

All the markets were up this month, and after the turmoil of February and March things seem to have settled down to be flat to slightly up for the year. The NASDAQ has been the big mover for the year, so far with the DOW 30 down slightly.

Our own net worth is down slightly overall for the year. Which based on the market is about what I would expect. Our FIRE rate is currently at about 2.2% which is under our yearly target of 2.7%

May in Detail

So we had a pretty good month and ended up $2000 under our budget. Our only large bills was for some required ant treatment (an issue here in the North West) and our quarterly water bill.

Grocery expenses were good at under $500, which after a couple of months that were out of control was pleasing. We spent more on clothes than normal as we needed new hiking shoes for the summer.

Everything else was pretty much under control and where we hoped. Almost halfway through the year and i’m happy with how things are going. Next month will be mainly on vacation. This will actually not be too expensive as most of our expenses have already been paid for.

Have a great June!

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