I started this series to reflect on our goals, summarize blog developments and share some things I learned.

I hope you get some value and enjoy following our journey. If you haven’t already, join the Flexcents community as it continues to grow!


We recently returned from our Southeast Asia trip. It was a two-week adventure packed trip that allowed us to get a small glimpse of our parents’ old lives.

The country is far different from that of which our parents came from, but we were grateful to have the opportunity to explore Vietnam and Thailand with our best friends no matter the cost.

That being said, this was our most expensive vacation yet. We spent $3723.56 for all related expenses. Normally, we would use our flyer points to save some money, but we found ourselves with limited flight choices when booking through the airline.

Instead, we paid for the flights out of pocket and will redeem our flyer points for roughly $1,400, which will reduce our discretionary expenses for the month.

Financial Goals

We discovered the financial independence (FI) movement in January 2018. Even though we were good about saving money and paying off debt as quickly as possible, we were still far away from FI.

Despite this, we did not let it stop us and we began tracking our finances meticulously by using the personal capital website and made a spreadsheet to track all our numbers related to FI.

One of the many things we track and can share with you is our progress to FI.

It is calculated by the following formula:

Formula: (net worth / projected FI number)  x 100

The closer you get to 100%, the closer you get to financial independence.

Our Progress to Financial Independence

2017
December – 8.46%

2018
January – 9.96%
February – 11.78%
March – 12.47%
April – 12.89%
May – 14.06%
June – 14.35%
July – 15.69%
August – 16.57%
September – 16.97%
October – 16.53%
November – 17.12%
December – 16.12%

2019
January – 17.97%
February – 19.05%

Right now, I don’t have time to break it down into a pretty graph for you, but you get the idea. We are nearly one-fifth away from achieving FI!

While market levels are not what they were before the 20% dip in October 2018, I’ll enjoy the gains during this recovery period while they last.

Want to know your progress towards the possibility of retiring early?

If you are are interested in finding out how far you are from financial independence, you’ll need to know your net worth and your FI number.

Formula: (net worth / projected FI number)  x 100

Finding Your FI Number

The traditional way to calculate your FI number is based off the 4% rule. Simply put, you would multiply your annual expenses by 25 and make sure that money is invested to give you an annualized return for 7% or greater. Based on the Trinity study, you have a 98% chance of that money lasting your 30 years.

You can find more details here at the popular article by MMM: The Shockingly Simple Math To Early Retirement.

For us, the 4% rule is a great place to start, but everyone is a little different and we wanted to be more conservative.

Therefore, we are now using a 3% rule which is approximately 33x our projected annual expenses. While it will take us longer to reach our FI number, it will allow us to be more comfortable in the future.

This rule isn’t perfect depending on your situation, so what do in addition accounting for recurring expenses, we also include one time large expenses such as our future home and current debts.

Finding Your (Investable) Networth

Simple: Assets – Liabilities

For us, we count our assets as any cash or investments we hold. If we held real estate properties which we rent out, this would be here as well.

We do not count the home we own or live in because you always have to live somewhere. Therefore, that money would always be tied up unless you choose to downsize or rent.

Liabilities are any debts you owe, this includes student loans, personal loans, car payments and yes, mortgages.

If you want to track your net worth, the best way to do this is by using personal capital.

Formula: (net worth / projected FI number)  x 100

Fitness Goals

I got to admit, I got lazy on the vacation. I only exercised a handful of times. Between flying, exploring, and having too much to drink the night before, waking up early to exercise wasn’t happening. Somehow, I still managed to lose weight.

It is most likely due the food poisoning from airplane food while traveling back to the U.S. The painful 14 hour experience will turn me away from flying for a while.

For now, I’m very glad to be back home. I’ve regained my appetite and made it back to the gym.

I better get serious with my workout routine if I want to reach 140 lbs and 10% body fat. It doesn’t seem like I’m too far away being 138 and 12.5% body fat, but numbers can be deceiving.

Blog Developments

If you frequently visit this blog, you’ll notice some things have changed aesthetically including the main pages.

I’m really happy with the functionality of the site right now but ran into some hiccups with the subscription sidebar which I am still working with developers to fix.

I’m hoping this month, I’ll get into heavy content production especially since things have slowed down quite a bit with home care visits.

Frugal Win

We have two frugal wins for February.

The first being that we are able to redeem $1,400 from credit cards. It definitely offsets our heavy spending during our recent vacation.

The second frugal win is that I saved about $1,000 in car repairs by buying my parts directly from the retailer and bringing them to a mechanic to install. If I hadn’t the total cost would’ve been over $2,500.

It’s too bad that I can’t bike to work since I have to visit patients in their homes and travel back and forth throughout the county. While I’m tied to this line of work, I am unfortunately tied to my car. I can confidently say that if a car wasn’t required for my job, I wouldn’t own one.

Trash for Cash

On the way to my second job, I found a music stand that I quickly up in my trunk. I sold it a couple of days later on facebook market place for $10. It’s not much, but everything adds up.

January:

  • Old office desk: $45.00
  • Old college textbook: $49.00

February:

  • Music Stand: $10.00

Total: $104.00

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