Welcome to the beginning of May and another look back at the past month of The Smart Fi stats. This is a chance to see what the site has accomplished in the past month and a chance for me to share with you, the progress our family is making as we march towards financial independence.
If you are not familiar with our family’s story check out my about page.
A quick thought for you
Yesterday my wife and I had a date day. A quick, fast-casual lunch, where we can sit and catch up on the past week away from the distractions of parent life. We feel truly spoiled to be able to “feed” our marriage with these “date days” while the boys are in school. By the way, date days are much cheaper than date nights.
On our lunch date, I took the opportunity to announce how happy I am with where we are financially and spiritually. I feel our financial position brings a large amount of contentedness to our marriage. We started our marriage with a zero net worth and have slowly worked towards a position of “financial comfort.” This is all to say, there is a secondary benefit to building financial freedom and that is financial peace.
Let’s get to the numbers
Most popular posts in April (in order)
The Smart Fi Traffic
This website flickered to life in January. I have to say, 4 months have gone by rather quickly. Thesmartfi.com had 1,179 page views in April. This was a month over month decrease of 331 (-22%) page views from March. I have anticipated that traffic will fluctuate up and down throughout the year. I plan to continue writing blog posts that I think will help solve financial problems for readers.
- The Smart Fi website had 1179 page views for April. This is 39.3 pageviews per day on average.
- Friday, April 13th, was a lucky day for me. This was the busiest page view day of the month with 92 page views. No days in April broke the century barrier.
Once again not too much to report here. I had $8.74 from Google Adsense. This currently is the only source of income for the blog. I think someone was being nice and clicked on a couple of ads in my posts. Thank you, whoever you are.
Buy nothing challenge
I was featured in an interview on the Count Down to Tranquility blog. I detailed my progress in the 2018 Buy Nothing Challenge. You can read that post here.
5 million step challenge
I am a sucker for a challenge and while I take my finances seriously, I take my health more seriously. So when I learned of the 5 million step challenge being hosted by the blog My Sons Father I jumped, or should I say, stepped towards the opportunity. There will be a monthly update on his blog as we step our way to 5 million. For the record, I am currently in second place. 1,589,330 steps through the month of April. Woot Woot!
2018 Goals Reviewed
January first, I laid out my lofty financial goals for 2018. Here they are:
- Max out both Mrs. Smartfi’s and my 401 k’s = $37,000*
- Max out both Mrs. Smartfi’s and my Roth IRA = $11,000
- Max out family HSA = $6900**
- Contribute $10,000 to taxable brokerage account at Vanguard for my hybrid mortgage payoff plan.
- Add $300 dollars per month to the mortgage payment. This gets me to $20,000 of mortgage principle pay down per year. Current mortgage balance $235,000.
* 401k and 403b contribution limit increased $500 for 2018 to $18,500 in 2018.
** HSA limit increased $150 for 2018 to $6900 for a family for 2018.
Let’s add this up
37,000 + 11,000 + 6,850 + 10,000 + 3,600 = $68,450 savings/investments in 2018
In April this is where I allocated our family capital:
- $4704.03 to 403b’s
- $846.12 to Roth IRA’s
- $440 to HSA
- $2000 to Vanguard taxable account
- $515 added to mortgage principal payment
|March Contribution||Running 2018 Total Contribution||2018 Goal|
|Vanguard Taxable account||$2,000||$7,606||$10,000|
Before creating The Smart Fi, I could only list 3 or 4 blogs off of the top of my head. After spending a couple of months curating and promoting my own blog, I realize there are hundreds of bloggers that all have a very unique and interesting story to tell. In this section of the wrap-up, I plan to feature a blog that I have found that may be of interest to my audience.
For the April Wrap-up, I found a blog that nearly brought tears of happiness to my eyes. Welcome Teen Seeking Wealth Blog.
Andrew is a senior in high school writing a blog. My mind is already blown! His mission is to “achieve financial freedom, entrepreneurship, wealth, and an overall life of comfort.”
Okay maybe it’s just me but I was super impressed. My own, “almost” teenager has trouble getting out of bed before 10 am and Andrew is already thinking about building a “life of comfort” through financial freedom.
In one of Andrew’s recent blog posts, he outlines his rules for personal debt.
Teen Seeking Wealth: Personal Rules For Debt
- No Car Payments- I have already discussed my thoughts on car payments in another post you can find here. I did make payments to my parents on my first vehicle (they had bought it and I paid them back), and I have decided against doing so in the future. In short, I don’t believe paying a large amount of money for a depreciating liability.
- No Discretionary Debts- This rule refers to making payments on discretionary items, or unnecessary objects. ATV’s, tablets, jewelry, and basically anything that is not vital to one’s life fits in this category. I totally understand purchasing something nice for yourself, but it is completely unnecessary to acquire debt in the process. If you really want the item, wait and save enough money to purchase it outright.
- Overall Rule Of Thumb- My basic and brief rule for debt is as stated: Don’t acquire debt on something unless it will appreciate or grow in value, or it will provide a source of income. Even when an item or asset fits these criteria, I am still a little wary of acquiring debt on it. I like to make sure it is a solid investment first, beforehand. And this is pretty hypothetical by the way. I am not some big business tycoon like I am talking, but I like to think this is the mindset I would have if put in a situation like that.
It took me my whole life to formulate similar financial rules. Meanwhile, Andrew has figured this out by age 18. Something tells me Andrew will do very well in life.
There it is, another monthly wrap-up post in the books. If you like this post, or if you don’t, leave me feedback in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list. You can join 9 others who are receiving all of my new posts directly to their inbox.