I decided today that I needed to do some high-level analysis on my progress in terms of FI/RE related metrics.
- Increasing income
- Reducing expenses
- Increasing savings/investing
You see, I know I’ve increased savings since Oct 2018 when I started this journey. However, I wasn’t convinced the other 2 had actually moved much despite my efforts to try to improve. Unfortunately, my hunch was right.
Thanks to YNAB, I have been able to pull awesome reports indicating my progress month over month, year over year, in very specific detail. Here’s the lowdown.
Since October 2018 to November 2020, family income has trended down slightly. This is due to my COVID layoff in April/May 2020.
If I remove the month of May 2020 from the data, there is a very very small upward trend. Despite efforts to increase income through a few different side hustle/savings initiatives, the overall family income has not really increased.
Considering the amount of thought and effort I’ve put into reducing the family’s expenses, there has been very little movement here overall. I most-definitely underestimated the cost of big things and the impact those have on spending metrics (such as cars, roofs, etc). I think it would be worse had I done nothing to optimize of course, but it seems my optimizations don’t have a ton of effect overall.
Note: This includes mortgage principal payments and other debt repayments pre-2020. I’ve considered removing mortgage principal payments from my expenses since I’m gaining equity into my property, but I’m not really sure I want to do that. Something to ponder over the Christmas break.
Expenses displayed as a negative value for visual interest and technical accuracy:
I would say that my compromising on things when it comes to my family has had a significant effect on expenses. For example, we spent 16k on a car that both Hubs and I could agree on. We could have gone with a much less fancy vehicle but we made the leap to get a hybrid for long term savings on fuel, and therefore paid way more for it because the options were so limited in our area. And, taxes. We sure love our taxes here in Canada / my province in particular… My original plan was to buy a beater under 10k.
I am owning this, as I didn’t put my foot down on the budget for a new vehicle. I feel like the health of our relationship partly depends on me being flexible in terms of family spending. And I love our new car and the fact that it’s more environmentally friendly, so there’s that.
On the bright side we’ve had no lifestyle inflation. Yay us!
After paying off all debt except our mortgage in January of 2020, my savings rate increased significantly:
This chart shows my personal savings rate – not the savings rate of my family which I’ve been reporting in my monthly stats. I decided that it is better to report on my own savings rate separately to measure my path to FI/RE, since Hubs has a pension and I really cannot rely on that to fund my own retirement. in the New Year, I’ll be tracking this separately to ensure I continue to make improvements.
This was a hard post to write. I wish that I had better news for myself in terms of widening the gap. At least we’ve gotten rid of our non-mortgage debt which is a great first step towards FI/RE.
Over the holidays I want to think long and hard about how the heck I’m going to make improvements. If we are unable or unwilling to reduce expenses, then the only other option is to increase income to have more to save and invest.
I’ve decided this is not a post to solve my problems, but instead a post to lay them on the table for consideration. I don’t actually know what to do next, but I expect it will involve some discussion with Hubs to show him the data and obtain his feedback.