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Hi! I'm Mike and this is my wife, Jen!  Since we began this site, we've learned to live more frugally, completely eliminate our debts, create new income, radically increase our net worth, and live altogether better lives!  Sign up below for instant access to our members-only toolbox, including our exclusive guide:  15 Steps to Fix Your Broken Finances and Live a Better Life!

Monday
Aug042014

The LTNE Report -- July 2014

Here are the highlights for this month:  

I'm training like crazy right now. I've dropped 20 pounds and 4 inches from my waist as I've decided that I'm going to be more fit than I was as a lieutenant.  Yes, this is nuts, but so far so good.  I pulled a calf muscle (soleus muscle) a couple of weeks ago, so I've had to lay off running, but I've been doubling my time on the bike and in the pool as it heals.  My weekly mileage is hitting new highs and I'm loving my TomTom Multi-Sport GPS watch that I reviewed earlier.  When I get time, I'll do part two of that review, now that I've spent some time with it in the pool.  

I'm on the last chapter of my dissertation.  Once I get feedback from my committee, I'll get the corrections made and prepare for the defense.  Getting this done will be an enormous relief.

Now, on to the financial stuff you're used to seeing!

(Quick note:  make sure you check out last month's report, as it lays out why I've made some of the changes that I have to this monthly report). 

I earned $97.30 in affiliate income this month from the following sources:

Amazon.com

Dollar Shave Club

aWeber

Thanks for hitting our links!

Our P2P investing generated $268.60 in interest income during July, though I am still drawing down our accounts for our transition.

We continue to use rewards credit cards (paid off in full monthly) to generate a small passive income stream.  This month's use generated $90.34 in passive income.  Most of that was on our USAA Cash Rewards American Express, which is our primary card for spending. 

We continue to experience a loss with our rental property, as the rent we collect doesn't cover either or mortgage or our HOA fees.  This is deliberate choice on our part, as our active income can cover the difference and we elected to remortgage the house to a 15-year mortgage, raising our costs, but paying it off much sooner.  Once it is paid off, that will be a nice passive income stream.  

As you can see, the vast majority of our income is still active (87%).  The goal over time is to begin to shift this balance. 

So, despite some nice passive income streams, the loss with the mortgage property still makes us have a net negative passive income.  My goal for this year is to continue to close that gap.

I suspended our mutual fund investments this month to cover some unexpected expenses, but we still managed to continue to get some growth in our net worth.  Our normal Vanguard investments return in force in August!

Traffic to LTNE remains low by our historical standards, but likely reflects the fact of our infrequent posting.  I'll remedy that in the future after we knock down some close targets first!  

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I hope that you have a splendid August!

Monday
Jul212014

Notes From This Month

July has been even crazier than usual.  A few notes:

1) My grandmother passed away and Jen and I were able to travel to her funeral to say goodbye.  The degree of financial security that we've scratched together allowed us to do this without stressing about money, even with the costs associated with last-minute travel.  To me, this is a great example of what money allows you to do-- it isn't an end in and of itself, but a means to allowing you to attend to those things in life that you need to without worrying.

2) One of our cats also died. He was 15 years old and had been with Jen and me since near the beginning of our marriage.  Losing a pet is difficult, particularly for kids.  In our case, I think it also reminded Jen and me of our own mortality and how quickly time passes.  

3) These two events have reminded us to waste less time with things that don't matter and we've adjusted portions of our lifestyle to reflect this reminder.  We spent some time discussing our marriage, parenting, goals and ambitions, and our current lifestyle to find places where we can improve.

4) Finishing up a dissertation is much harder than beginning one.  This process has taught me a ton about myself, my abilities, and my interests-- these are priceless lessons!

5) The best and happiest times are almost always the cheapest:  spending time with friends and family, watching your kids do something great, harvesting the vegetables that you planted months ago (oh, and tasting the difference!  We planted a ton of different types of lettuce and the bag lettuce at the store is cardboard in comparison!), and so on.  

6) Hard exercise hurts.  In my case, this isn't just muscles, but things like knees, hips, and feet.  Pushing through makes them hurt less, plus you feel like you're shaking your fist at the gods!  

7) One half cup of plain oatmeal, some blueberries, and a boiled egg will fuel you just fine until lunch, even with lots of exercise.

July has made me a kinder and wiser person, but I also feel like I've undergone some sort of paradigm shift where, for the first time, I'm absolutely willing to tell people to pound sand, when it is appropriate.  

Maybe I'll get another post in this month.  If not, I'll see you at the end of the month for our monthly report!