Since I hit my monthly goal of at least $10,000 for October, my husband and I went out for a scrumptious meal at Perry’s Steakhouse a couple of days ago. While we were devouring $45 per person steaks (I literally cringed when we opened up the menus), we started talking about our future plans.
My Income Increased
For anyone just tuning in, I was making $35,000 a year at my old day job as a glorified customer service rep, which I had started at $26,500 in 2005 and left in July 2011. After taxes and benefits, that came to just about $2100 a month. Even with my blogging income in 2011, I was making just around $3000-$3500 a month until May 2011. Then my blog advertising business really started to take off. My income has even started to land in the 5 digits for the last couple of months – $11,900 in September and am already at $15,000 for October. Even after fees, expenses, and taxes, my income has quadrupled in a matter of months. So my husband and I have started re-looking at our future.
Our New Goals
We decided this week to throw a lot of the excess cash towards our mortgage (about 35% of any extra we have at the end of the month). Our current goal is to have it paid off by the end of 2013, so 6 years from when we bought our house in 2007. We also have decided to invest 25% of the monthly excess into individual stocks and mutual funds, so we will hopefully build up a portfolio that can cover our expenses from when we plan to retire around age 52 and when we can touch our retirement accounts (2 Roth IRA’s and my old 401k) at around age 60. The other 40% of the monthly extra is split with 20% going to our vacation and travel account and 10% going to each of our fun money accounts.
But we haven’t ever really talked about re-evaluating our retirement age or looking to see if my husband really needs to work until age 52 as a school librarian (24 more years). Honestly, if I can consistently bring in $10,000 a month or more year round, my husband could work from home too as a virtual assistant. We could cut both of our work days down to 5 hours a week day or I could double my current client base. Most likely, it would probably end up being something in between…
As for our retirement age, we both think that we could look at seriously cutting back when our cash on hand and Scottrade investments equal $3,000,000 or more. That was our original retirement goal and it would still work for us. We have more money to spend now, but we are still living on basically the same amount we always have and just save the rest. If I wanted to be completely honest, we used to live on about $38,000 a year and now live on about $45,000 a year, but that isn’t too bad since we used to make about $80,000 a year combined and now make about $140,000 or more a year jointly.
Overall, our dinner and talk helped us wrap our heads around our new increased income. No matter what, we are going to continue to try living on the same monthly budget and have made the conscious decision to try to stick under $60,000 annually for living expenses and basic savings goals. That will leave us at least 50% of the rest of our income to throw towards our future.
Have you had any major lifestyle changes that you may need to really dig into? How often do you re-evaluate your overall goals in life?
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!