Each month, I share a net worth update for the Brewing FIRE household. This brief summary of our financial standing serves as a progress report on our journey to financial independence.
In addition to giving a snapshot of our net worth, I will take a brief look at our spending, saving, and investing activity for the month.
July 2021 Net Worth
When we initially moved in Virginia in December, Mrs. BF took a job that we knew would be temporary. It paid well, but didn’t qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), and so she was only planning to stay there until she found another position with a ‘not-for-profit’ hospital (what a joke, but I digress).
There was one other tradeoff of this job: she’d only work 3 days a week on average, but this would include evenings, every other weekend, and holidays. What this really meant: I’d be the sole caretaker 50% of the time, including weekends.
I’m not highlighting this to complain about taking care of my kids, or to pat myself on the back. I truly enjoyed all of the “Dada Weekends” and it’s clear that I now have a tighter bond with them than the days when Mama was around at all times. What I want to highlight is how damn difficult it is to manage two small children while also dealing with all of life’s normal challenges. I’ve gained an immense respect for anyone who has had to do this, often not by choice.
Some observations from this period:
- Cooking dinner with a one-year-old is impossible. And that eerie quiet when you realize he isn’t pulling at your leg anymore is terrifying.
- Double-meltdowns are inevitable, frequent, and self-perpetuating.
- The daily 30 minutes of TV is a god-send.
- Eating outside is a must. This way you can hose the place down after dinner.
- Getting through dinner/bath/books/bed without any profanity is unlikely.
- If all else fails, take them for a walk. If that fails too, find cookies.
All kidding/complaining aside, the past 7+ months was a good experience. I have a much greater appreciation for everyone who devotes themselves to the welfare of children. And especially my wife, who makes things much easier when she’s around.
It’s also useful to know that, if the shit hit the fan, I could handle the kids for a while by myself. After our second was born, I was never truly tested to see if I could manage both of them plus everything else for an extended period of time. At least I know I’m capable.
Now that Mrs. BF has started her new position, with an 8-5 routine, we’re mostly back to normal. Our daughter seems to be happier knowing that Mama will be home for dinner every night. Lord knows I am, too.
In other news, we made another visit to Connecticut in July to catch up with friends and family. Mrs. BF had a few weeks between jobs, so we spent about 10 days in our former stomping grounds.
I’m not sure when we’ll get back there again, so it was good to see everyone. We were also able to visit many more people than we did in April, considering most of our friends were vaccinated this time around. Some of my extended family came in from CA, MA, and OH as well, so it was really nice to see everyone for the first time since 2019.
We eked out a new high this month, as the markets mostly remained even during July. On a side note, I must admit that I’m less interested in our actual net worth numbers these days, considering we’ve reached a few milestones far earlier than I originally expected. I’ll keep tracking our net worth for the time being, but I’m considering whether we should discontinue at some point.
Spending and Not Spending
|Transportation||$343||More car taxes|
|Shopping / Misc.||$445||bike tune-up|
|Entertainment||$117||Fun in CT|
|Travel||$743||CT Trip + Sep. Airbnb|
|Total||$8,256||minus the donation|
I’m not sure how many months in a row I can say “$8,000 is a big number” before I just admit that this is how much we spend these days. As previously mentioned, rent plus childcare is roughly $5,000 per month, so I guess we’re starting from a pretty high floor.
Travel: our July CT trip only cost us about $400. We stayed with my family and brought the dog with us, so no lodging costs. The only real expenses were gas, food, and some happy hours/entertainment-related expenses with friends. We also booked an Airbnb for September, which makes up the rest of the cost.
Car Taxes: we paid the last of our CT car taxes, and now are officially released from our previous residence.
Misc: I paid $220 to have my bike tuned up, which I’ve neglected to do for years. I really should teach myself how to do everything, but I don’t know if it’s worth the effort to learn.
Home Inspection: if you actually pay attention to each line item of our expenses, this one probably piqued your interest. I’ll save the story for another post, but it looks like we managed to find a great house at a reasonable price during this shitshow of a housing market. More details to follow.
Income and Investing
In July, we had an income gap while Mrs. BF transitioned to her new job. She did get paid out for her excess PTO, however, which made up partially for the shortfall. We also got our first $600 paycheck/tax credit from the government (Biden Bucks?) to help supplement the cost of raising two eventual taxpayers. It only covers ~20% of our childcare costs, but that’s better than nothing!
As I’ve being saying every month, we’re being conservative with our cash reserves now as we plan to buy a house soon. I’m still auto-contributing $1,000 per month to Wealthfront as part of our investment strategy, and throwing some money into the kids’ 529 plans, but the rest will sit in our checking account for now.
Here’s what our current breakdown of investments looks like.
We’ll probably want to have a higher percentage of our assets in Roth/taxable investments by the time we retire, but that’s another post for another day.
That’s it for July. Any tips for wrangling two babies at once? Am I whining too much about childcare? Do you do your own bike maintenance? Let me know in the comments.