Welcome to my 8th Financial Report Update in a row! With a $10.5k increase since I started tracking my Net Worth (which was in August 2016) and a $8.4k Net Worth increase since the end of last year, 2017 is definitely starting great for us. And it’s starting fast also! We’re slowly heading back to a single income couple until my SO finds a new job.
Anyway, with April already behind us 1/3 of the year has passed and we’re definitely on our way to crushing our goals, with another 32% Savings Rate this month (33% on average for the year) and a $2.2k Net Worth increase since last month. Still 8 months to go, so a lot can happen in the meantime.
The only big change we had last month, was our expected tax refund, which was finally not used as I had planned initially, and our expenses which we managed to keep low even with a long visit from our family for three weeks at the end of April. I was also still able to make two nice lump-sum contributions to my savings and my retirement accounts, and I’m finally seeing some nice boosts from the market on our accounts, even without counting our own contributions, which I must admit feels great.
If you have already read the following introduction section at least once, feel free to skip down to the juicy new content starting here: Financial Report April 2017.
Once a month I’m publishing a detailed report regarding my financial stats, in which I try to reflect over the past month – what went well or what didn’t go as planned. This also allows me to stay motivated towards the dream of being financially independent someday. My goal with these monthly reports is also transparency and I’d like my readers to emulate my successes and avoid my failures.
It feels kind of strange to publish all my financial details here, but it’s also a very motivating feeling. We have all pretty much different backgrounds regarding our personal finances, but hopefully my detailed reports will motivate you to keep on pushing harder. Whether it is to start a blog, or at the very least to start tracking your Net Worth, you can’t go wrong here as there are no bad choices! You can check out my favorite resources if you don’t know where to begin with.
My go-to tool to track all the data to generate these reports are extracted from my Mint account. I find it really easy to budget / analyze and visualize the trends, and I’m also a big fan of their iOS App! A nice feature is that it can be integrated very easily with Wealthsimple (where I have my RRSP account), giving me a complete overall view of my finances. Since early January, Wealthsimple is now also available to people living in the US! Feel free to read my complete Wealthsimple review here, if you want to start investing easily.
All stats on this report are combined for Mrs. FFG and I, and are in Canadian dollars, as we’re currently living in Canada. Here is a list of the sub parts of my report (you can click on each link to reach directly one specific part):
Table of Contents
If you’re interested, all the reports I have written since I started this website are listed on my financial stats page!
So here it is, my complete financial report of April 2017. I hope you’ll find it inspiring, and perhaps this will motivate you to start your own website.
April 2017 Income
As expected our income was nearly the same as last month, and we only have May left with a dual income. Mrs. FFG successfully achieved her PhD (which will officially ends in a couple of weeks, as she has just a couple administrative tasks to finish) and her grants will stop at the end of May (it has in fact already ended as I write this month report very late and she was paid at the beginning of the month!).
Besides that we had our tax refund earlier last month, but I chose not to count it as an income this month, because we withdrew it all (around $1.5k) for our family which was visiting us, we’ll be getting it back when we’ll visit them this summer. We chose to do this because a) they avoid high fees from their European bank accounts (and so will we this summer) and b) we did not need this money in the short time. So all-in-all it’s like a delayed payment to ourselves!
I also chose not to count the money I made with this blog as direct income (it was $250 as of last month, which you can find summarized on my detailed analysis of my first six months of blogging), because I’m still reinvesting everything directly in this blog (advertising, plugins, etc.) This might change in the next few months, as I plan to reorganize all of this
if (when!) I’ll reach $1,000 income from this blog (this summer hopefully).
Total Gross Income April 2017: $6,119
- Previous Month: $6,080
- Difference: +$39
April 2017 Expenses
Expenses were once again below our estimated average of $4,000 per month. This is once again a win for this month (and that’s the third time in a row this year!) We also failed (it seems like it’s that way every single month) at our $800 / month for our Food & Dining budget, mainly due to the fact that we had family with us for a whole three weeks, which made the grocery trips way more expensive than usual. All-in-all this was still a good month but I’m pretty sure we could drop our expenses much lower! With this amount, we’re at around $40k expenses per year, which would require a million dollars Net Worth before financial independence, if we follow the 4% withdrawal rule!
- Home: $1,175
- Bills & Utilities: $340
- Auto & Transport: $420
- Health & Fitness: $75
- Food & Dining: $1,147
- Travel: $75
- Shopping & Entertainment: $220
Total Expenses April 2017: $3,452
- Previous Month: $3,403
- Difference: +$49
April 2017 Investments & Savings
For the past few months, we’ve been investing and saving in
three (four since last month) different ways which are completely on auto-pilot:
- My Simplified Pension Plan (SIPP), where my employer offers a 100% match of my contributions, up to 2% of my salary (pre-tax), in which I contribute 2% (pre-tax) per paycheck.
- My Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) account with Wealthsimple, in which I contribute $100 per paycheck (post-tax).
- Our emergency fund in an High Interest Savings Account (HISA) with Tangerine in which I contribute $100 per paycheck (post-tax). I’ve switched a couple month ago to Tangerine, mainly for the 2.40% interest rate.
- Our vacation fund with Mylo (Non-Registered Account). For those wondering it’s the Canadian equivalent of Acorns. Basically, it’s an app which automatically rounds up everyday purchases and invests the spare change. So far the last few months, Mylo has invested $108 from rounding up my usual transactions, which I think is awesome as I didn’t even notice it!
Once again, I decided to make two lump-sum contributions to both my RRSP and my emergency funds accounts ($500 in both). Having done this every month since the beginning of the year, I might as well up my reccuring contributions, some would say. The problem is that as we’ll be back soon to a single income, I’m not sure this would be a nice move at the moment, we’ll see! Combined with our recurring *regular* contributions, those lump-sum contributions will help us to reach our savings rate target (as listed on my Goals For 2017) of 20% on average this year!
Also, I was expecting to make bigger contributions in April at first, but as we’ll be in Europe in a few months and we’ll need to have spending money for 5 weeks, we chose to not increase our one-time contributions for this month but withdraw our whole tax refund for our family spending money (which they’ll give us back this summer). As such, we still have to find a new purpose for our Mylo account, I’m still unsure on the exact goal but we’ll definitely find a good one.
- SIPP Account (employer & employee): +$182
- RRSP Account (Wealthsimple): +$700
- Emergency Fund (Tangerine): +$700
- Vacation Fund (Mylo): +$50
Total Investments & Savings April 2017: +$1,632
- Previous Month: +$1,640
- Difference: -$8
April 2017 Net Worth
As we do not have any liabilities anymore since I paid off our $27,000 student loan debt, we’re slowly working on improving our assets now! No major changes happened this month (except my lump-sum contributions of $500 to both my RRSP and Emergency Fund accounts). Yet, as these accounts are starting to reach interesting amounts, I’m finally seeing some huge progress even without counting my own contributions, which feels great (especially when you consider my 18.8% time-weighted return with Wealthsimple!). From March to April, our Net Worth grew to a +$2.2k amount, while only $1.6k was from contributions. That’s awesome to finally see it grow *automatically*.
- SIPP Account (employer & employee): $11,248
- RRSP Account (Wealthsimple): $4,739
- Emergency Fund (Tangerine): $4,490
- Vacation Fund (Mylo): $108
Net Worth April 2017: $20,585
- Previous Month: $18,374
- Difference: +$2,211 [+12.0%]
My short-term goal is to reach a Net Worth of $100,000 (which we should be able to reach before 2019). We’re currently at 20.58% on this goal.
Net Worth short-term goal: 20.58%
April 2017 Savings Rate
In terms of savings, we were aiming at a 15% Net Savings Rate last year, and an average of 20% for 2017. So far this year, it’s been four months in a row that we’re crushing this goal (29%, 39%, 32% and 32% as of this month!). Even if I know that it will be difficult to sustain such a rate (mainly because we’ll be dropping back to a single income soon), at the moment we’re way much better than what I would have hoped for so let’s keep this streak going!
Regarding our Net Savings Rate calculation, here is the breakdown of the formula that works for us:
Net Savings Rate = Savings / (Gross Income – Taxes + Pre-Tax Contributions)
My pre-tax contributions (employer) are included in both sides of the equation to have a better view of our *real* savings rate.
- April 2017 Savings: $1,632
- April 2017 Gross Income: $6,119
- April 2017 Taxes: $1,217
- April 2017 Pre-Tax Contributions: $182
Net Savings Rate: 1632 / (6119 – 1217 + 182)
Net Savings Rate April 2017: 32.10%
- Previous Month: 32.51%
- Difference: -0.41%
This is (again) one of the best month we’ve had since I finished paying off our student loan debt last summer! We’re currently sitting on an average 33% Savings Rate for 2017 which is great but I’m not sure that we’ll be able to sustain it for the next upcoming months, but we’ll do our best.
April 2017 Summary
I’m always planning ahead with a zero-based budget in mind. This is an easy way to figure out where everything we’re earning is going. Keeping this in mind, let’s summarize where our gross income for the month of April 2017 went to:
- Gross Income (I): $6,119
- Expenses (E): $3,452
- Investments & Savings Post-Tax (S): $1,450
- Taxes (T): $1,217
- Transfer from Savings (TR): $0
As a zero-based approach, here are the details:
I – E – S – T + TR = $6,119 – $3,452 – $1,450 – $1,217 + $0 = $0
And this wraps up my detailed financial report of April 2017! I hope I’ve inspired you with this report (my complete list of reports are listed on my financial stats page), and that you had as much fun looking at mine as I had looking at others! Remember that it’s not a race though, even if the journey seems like a marathon sometimes.
It took me a few months before deciding to start a blog, but this really helped me to focus on my long-term goal of reaching financial independence. Everyone has to take the first steps if they are willing to reach financial freedom, and I’m convinced that everyone with the right resources and some reading can reach its goal. I personally think that it does not take more that 15 years of consistent and diligent saving & investing to be able to reach financial independence even without a very aggressive strategy!