Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Mr. Saverdink and I just returned from a fantastic long-weekend camping trip at Acadia National Park on Maine’s Mount Desert Island. We love Acadia for a number of reasons and try to visit at least once a year. Luckily for us, it’s only a 4.5-hour drive away. Coupled with the fact that we already own camping gear and sporting equipment, it makes for a very inexpensive vacation away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. On top of the gorgeous scenery and plethora of outdoor activities, the nearby town of Bar Harbor, Maine has a number of quaint stores, ice cream shops and microbreweries. Even though we’ve visited Acadia a number of times over the past decade, there is always something new to do and see.
We, Mr. and Mrs. Saverdink, are a pretty nondescript couple on the outside. We both have engineering degrees and have spent the past 10 years working standard Monday – Friday jobs. We own a moderately sized 3-bedroom house in a residential area. No kids, just two little cats. No fancy cars. We travel a few times a year (to some pretty awesome destinations!) and prefer to spend our free time hanging out with friends and exploring the great outdoors.
In 2016, we reached a major milestone. Our net worth hit $1 million dollars when we were only 32 years old. We’ve never benefited from a financial windfall and do not hold exceptionally high paying jobs. Slowly, but surely, we amassed almost a million dollars across our retirement, savings and investment accounts over our first 10 years as working professionals. Combined with $100k in equity in our house, we tip-toed over the millionaire net worth threshold and our savings have continued to grow.
What got us pointed in the right direction? Below are some of the major contributing factors that launched us on our journey towards financial independence and early retirement.
Financial stability is about more than just the money. It’s about peace of mind and knowing that if an unexpected event occurs, you are prepared to handle it. A study in December 2015 showed that 63% of Americans do not have enough savings to cover a single $500 unexpected expense. $500 is a moderate car repair. An emergency trip to the vet. Repairing a broken furnace in the middle of winter.
If you haven’t yet, take a moment to assess your overall financial situation and understand your rough monthly budget. Once you have an understanding of your personal situation, establishing an Emergency Fund should be your #1 actionable financial priority.
What is an emergency fund and why do I need one?
April was a fantastic month from both a financial and a traveling-to-new-places-and-having-lots-of-fun standpoint. We came in almost $2,000 under budget this month!
As an April Fool’s joke, we left Boston in the middle of a major snowstorm (gotta love New England!) and headed south for our much anticipated week-long scuba diving trip in Belize. This trip was pre-paid back in January, but a few additional travel expenses hit our back account in April. Core expenses remained low thanks to being away for 1/4 of the month and warmer temperatures resulted in lower heating costs. Spring was in full swing by the time returned to New England, so we hung up the skis and kicked off our summertime outdoors activities.
April 2017 Spending Total: $3,740
It’s hard to believe it’s May already. Even though this blog just came into existence in April, I want to keep us accountable for our monthly spending throughout the entire year. Our 2017 monthly budget is already planned, so let’s see how our first quarter spending compared.
Spoiler Alert: Winter 2017 was full of skiing, skiing and more skiing… until there wasn’t any more snow!
“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.” ~Benjamin Franklin
Creating your first budget can definitely seem overwhelming, but if you’re looking to get ahead financially, it’s a must have. There is no compromising on this one. The most basic rule of building wealth is living a lifestyle in which you earn more than you spend. Sadly, just like calories in that delicious piece of chocolate cake… we often grossly underestimate how much we’re spending (or consuming!) when we’re not keeping track. A budget is an estimation of your income minus your expenses over a given period of time, typically a month for personal finance purposes. Once you understand your monthly budget, you can start optimizing and making conscientious decisions to improve your financial well-being.
Prior to starting a detailed budget, I highly recommend everyone calculate their net worth. This exercise will give you a bird’s eye view of your overall financial picture and allow you to track financial advancement as time progresses.
Ok, let’s get started on that budget!