November 2021 Monthly Recap
Every month I do a recap of my goals, budget, and savings. This recap helps me see how I am progressing in those areas of my finances and determine how well I’m doing. Then, if needed, I can make adjustments for the next month. Now, without further ado, here is my November 2021 monthly recap.
In November, I set five goals. One in personal finance, health, social, education, and business. A goal is a future envision, result, or experience that is planned to be achieved. We all have things we want to achieve, but until we have a plan, those wants are wishes, not goals. For November 2021, my goals were:
- Determine top 5 investment goals
- 3 sets of weightlifting 4x a week
- Call 1 friend each Saturday
- Read for 30 minutes a day
- Post 1 blog post a week
1. Determine top 5 investment goals
During one of our budget meetings, my wife and I determined our top 5 investment goals. They are:
- Retire by age 50 (2043) with $2,100,000 saved
- $80,000 saved for our dream house by 2030
- Buy first rental property by 2030
- Buy first piece of land by 2027
- Generate at least $100/month from dividend stock portfolio
2. 3 sets of weightlifting 4x a week
3. Call 1 friend each Saturday
I called a friend one Saturday but failed on the others. This goal is important and I will switch my strategy. It will be easier to send a text message than to call and break the ice.
4. Read for 30 minutes a day
I developed a habit of reading for 30 minutes before I go to bed by adding reading to my bedtime routine. Using Apple Books, I tracked my reading time. By treating reading like brushing my teeth, I can’t go to bed without doing it.
Post 1 blog post a week
I posted to the blog 3 out of 4 weeks, falling short of my goal of posting 1 a week. This was because of being in training at work for 1 week and not having a buffer of blog posts written. Over my winter break from work, I plan to build my buffer of blog posts.
A budget is a plan of how income is spent. As the saying goes, “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.” I use a zero-based budget, meaning my budget equals my income. So, even if income goes up or down, all my income is planned. Thus, I budget based on what I have and not what I wish I had. I review my budget every week to track spending and make adjustments quickly. At the end of each month, I review my budget to identify problems and improvements, track progress of goals, and plan for the next month.
In November, I started adding my starting balance to capture my roll over funds in my budget. I had a starting balance of $1,023.17 from rolled over funds. I earned a gross income of $4,764.79 with $1,228.67.41 (20%) held for taxes, leaving $6,565.42 in disposable income. From the disposable income, $555.00 was invested, $98.26 covered health and insurance, and $263.08 covered my company lease car. Leaving $3,848.45 in net income aka take home pay.
Of my 14 budget categories, 3 had overspending, 4 had underspending, and 7 met spending. Despite having 4 budget categories with overspending, I didn’t spend more than my income. This is one of the powers of the zero-based budget and adjusting the plan to where you need the money. I don’t dwell too much on overspending, because life isn’t perfect. But I monitor it to see if I need to make any adjustments.
Saving & Investing
To me, the fundamental purpose of a budget is to save and invest money. Saving is setting money aside for one of the three types of savings: emergency, goal, and irregular expense. Investing is using a resource (time, money, energy) with the expectation of achieving a future benefit or gain. I like to separate my savings and investing rates to see how much of my money is going towards short-term goals and long-term goals.
Savings rate = (retirement contributions + employer retirement contributions + non-retirement savings)/disposable income
I calculate my savings rate according to the BEA. This allows me to see how I compare to the average savings rate in America. For November, my savings rate was 19% at $897.99. I contributed $355 to 401k, $200 to HSA, $100 to Roth IRA, and $30 into Wize Money. Employer retirement contributions totaled $212.99.
WIZE Investing rate = investments/gross income
I am also interested in how much of my gross income is being invested with a target to get to 20% or higher. My WIZE investing rate in November was 15%. I decided to include employer contributions in my WIZE investing rate calculation.
By reviewing my finances monthly, I determine if I am improving or not and adjust my plan as needed. Month to month, my finances, goals, or priorities can change and that’s okay. I make sure my plans align with any changes. Well, that’s a wrap on my monthly recap.
Do a monthly recap to to see how you are doing with your finances.