July Wrap Up

The US stock market appears to be on a path to new highs, my investment accounts are showing a similar trajectory and summer is in full swing. Welcome to the July edition of The Smart Fi Wrap Up.

In just a couple of weeks the current US bull market will reach a major milestone and become the longest bull market in the history of the US stock market. For most of this ten-year bull run, my wife and I have silently been building wealth.

In the beginning years of the bull market, I was diligently putting my hard-earned dollars to work in my employer 403b. Now, as my snowball of wealth accumulation grows, my market returns often outpace my contributions.

Incidentally this month, my wife and I celebrate our 14 year wedding anniversary. Most of our marriage has been during the 10 year bull market. Sure, we have invested through a couple of market downturns but instead of being paralyzed by fear, we used those moments as buying opportunities.

We didn’t know what we were financially fighting for when we started our journey together 14 years ago, but we now know, it is called financial independence. The ability to live life on our terms and not beholden to a paycheck or debt.

I wish I had started this blog all those years ago to journal our journey, but truthfully I didn’t even know what a blog or financial independence was 14 years ago.

To be sure, the next ten years will be just as eventful as the last. So lets keep the streak going and follow along as we build wealth through the next 10 years.

July Drill Down

The Smart Fi Traffic

Thesmartfi.com had 889 page views in July. I went from a record number of page views in June to a record low number of page views in July. I believe I had a small role in that low number of page views. I posted far more content in June, than I did in July. I was hosting the June Weight Loss Challenge  and I was posting weekly updates to that challenge.

July on the other hand, has been busy with family camping trips and spending time outdoors in the great Pacific Northwest. I suspect August may also be a slow blog month but I plan to hit the keyboard hard in September and create some more content to keep everyone motivated and inspired. That is my wish at least.

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.

Twitter And Instagram

  • Current Twitter followers 1400. Follow me on twitter here. 
  • You can also follow me on Instagram here.

Income Report

I had $7.02 from Google Adsense in July. This single digit income is more in line with what I normally earn from Adsense. Last month I had a miraculous $33 in income. Keep in mind Google will not cut me a check until I cross the Benjamin threshold.

I’m currently in the neighborhood of $50 and hope to reach the $100 threshold by the end of the year. My one income goal for this blog in 2018 was to earn enough to cover the cost of keeping the website operating into 2019.


Run every day in July. 
Running every day in July really pushed me to my limit. Some days I didn’t run far but it was enough to test my mental will power on my 12 hour work days. I discussed all the details in this post, What Running Every Day in July Taught Me About Myself And My Finances.

5 million step challenge

It came as no surprise to me, that running every day in July led to even more steps in July than in June. I finished July with a grand total of 529,476 steps.

Invest $1000 into taxable brokerage

This was a new goal I created to push myself to keep saving after I maxed out my 403b in June. I knew the natural tendency with increased cash flow would be to inflate my lifestyle. I figured the after tax dollars that would be ending up in my paycheck in leu of being diverted to my 403b would be about $1000 in July. Thus the $1000 savings goal in July.

I was able to hit the $1000 goal to the penny. The money was invested through my Vanguard Brokerage account into the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index ETF (VTI). I am planting seeds that will turn into might oak trees.

2018 Financial Goals Reviewed

January first, I laid out my lofty financial goals for  2018. Here they are:

  1. Max out both Mrs. Smartfi’s  and my  401 k’s = $37,000*
  2. Max out both Mrs. Smartfi’s and my Roth IRA = $11,000
  3. Max out family HSA = $6900**
  4. Contribute $10,000 to taxable brokerage account at Vanguard for my hybrid mortgage payoff plan.
  5. 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 $227,500.

* 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 July this is where I allocated our family’s capital:

  • $1,407.25 to 403b’s
  • $846.12 to Roth IRA’s
  • $440 to HSA
  • $1000 to Vanguard taxable account
  • $1,854.69 paid towards mortgage principal
 July ContributionRunning 2018 Total Contribution2018 Goal
Roth IRA's
Vanguard Taxable account
Mortgage principal$1,854.96$14,885.12$20,000
monthly savings rate (%)44.5%

Woo hoo! I have completed the first of five of the 2018 financial goals. I have contributed $10,000 to my taxable Vangaurd Brokerage Account. Stand them up and knock them down.

I am within striking distance of hitting the $20,000 towards mortgage prinicpal goal. The other three goals are set to dollar cost average over 12 months and will be completed toward the end of the year.

Wrap Up

In the Summer months of June, July, August and September there is no place I would rather be than in the Pacific Northwest. I cherish the warmth of the summer days, the cool evenings and the short respite from the Washington rainy season. I may have too many hobbies, most of them during the summer months. Camping, hiking, fishing to name a few. This leaves very little free time for blogging.

Summer 2018 has been my first summer as a blogger and I have to say it is a struggle to keep up with a regular posting schedule. I have so many great content ideas that I hope will inspire and motivate with so very little time to turn those ideas into something you can read. I hoping to turn things around in September when my children’s school schedule resumes.

Use the next month of summer to get outside. Go for a hike. Go explore some new local place within driving distance. When the cooler fall weather returns, we can push on to financial independence.


2 thoughts on “July Wrap Up

    1. We are on a 15-year mortgage at 3.375%. I always struggle mentally with investing extra cash flow or paying off the mortgage early. I tend to put less money towards the mortgage when I find the stock market to be a good value. Right now with the stock market at near 52-week highs, I have been putting the extra cash flow to work paying down mortgage principal. There is no right answer and I will probably go back and forth until I pay off the mortgage. It is more emotional than it is intellectual.

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