I regularly check up on our progress towards financial freedom. Mint.com continues to be my favorite resource for tracking investments, bank account balances, credit card balances, and our property values. The Mint.com website and mobile app are just so easy to use. Mint.com has also helped us catch fraudulent charges on our credit cards (the most common one being waiters / waitresses secretly increasing the tip amount).
We’ve been steadily following a simple financial game plan on our journey: earn more, spend less and invest the difference. We both continue to hustle for more income, save over 50% of our income, and invest in index funds and real estate.
When I logged into Mint.com today, I noticed that our total investments have surpassed $200,000 in value! This amount includes investments in our 401Ks, Roth IRAs, taxable accounts, and our son’s 529. This does not include money in our checking and savings accounts, nor our home and rental property equity. This isn’t enough to be financially free, but we are encouraged by the progress. We’ve come a long way from when we originally started taking investing seriously around January 2012. The last big financial update of ours was when our total investments surpassed $100,000 in value in June 2014. I’m not sharing this information to brag. If you don’t track your finances, you won’t be able to understand how to improve it.
Personal finance is just that, personal. Plenty of people our age have saved way more than we have. It’s encouraging to have peers and friends who have become successful at a young age. We will find our success in our own way. At the other end of the wealth spectrum, there are many people who don’t have the opportunity to save. I’m grateful for the opportunities that we have been given – growing up in the U.S. is a huge opportunity in itself. If you have steady income from a job, there is plenty you can do to save and invest more. You need to plan for a long life.
I know I share this constantly, but I want to emphasize that investing does not have to be difficult. We are not individual stock pickers or market timers. We choose to invest in a simple Boglehead 3 fund portfolio consisting of 90% stocks (70% domestic / 30% international) and 10% bonds. The stock market will go up sometimes and it will go down sometimes. We regularly invest by dollar cost averaging during market volatility. When the stock market drops, we will pick up more shares. The most difficult part of investing in index funds is staying the course and making contributions regularly.
The last day to contribute into your IRA for 2015 is coming up on April 18, 2016. If you’re not maxing out your 401K, you can always increase your contributions 1% at a time every few months. How are your investments doing?