Happy Autumn! We have closed our windows and have started to bundle up at night as the temperatures drop into the 40s and 50s.
We are also making progress on our financial goals.
Our mortgage is 88.1% paid off, up from 61.9% in April. There have been many sacrifices along the way to make that progress but we’d do it again in a heartbeat. At our current pace we should own our home free and clear by the end of the year (well before our 30s). The standard critic’s response to our situation would be that we had rich parents who paid off the house for us. The thought is that there is no way that a couple could live below their means and aggressively save money instead of spending it.
One of the nice things about keeping detailed financial records is that I can go back and look at the numbers and say that 8% of the house was procured using inheritance/gift money. The other 92% was earned and saved by our own sweat and determination. Of that 8%, 0% was explicitly earmarked for house payments, meaning that when we received a lump of money we CHOSE to invest it into our house instead of spending it freely.
Our retirement accounts haven’t changed much in value over the last 6 months thanks to a market correction in late August. Our equity heavy portfolio is more volatile than a bond portfolio, but we are not worried about the anemic pace this year. The market value of the portfolio has remained steady solely because we keep pumping money into retirement accounts each paycheck. The important metric is the number of shares owned and that has been growing steadily over the past half year.
Just yesterday, Caterpillar announced that they would be reducing their employee count by 10,000. A couple of months ago, another major employer in our area, Mitsubishi Motors North America, closed a factory with 1200 workers. My heart goes out to these families. For many, I suspect these layoffs will have devastating effects on their lives. The pink slips being handed out are not because they are bad at their jobs, they are the result of global economics, something that the affected worker has no control over. What we do have control over is how we manage and save the money that we have right now.