On the Path to Financial Independence: January 2018

financial independence progress january 2018

We started the new financial year with a bang, thanks to the crazy bull. January was our biggest month ever financially, but before we get to the juicy numbers, let’s talk about life at the BITA household.


The big news from January is that my oath ceremony was in this month and I am now a U.S. citizen! I moved to this country in 2008, so this has been a journey close to ten years in the making. I have much to say on the subject, and have feelings and numbers to share in equal measure, so I will dedicate an entire post to the subject in the near future.


My parents’ visit with us continued into the first two weeks of January. In this time we took them out to an Ethiopian meal. Progeny BITA had her first taste of this cuisine and licked her plate clean. We also visited the San Francisco zoo for the first time. If you live in the area, I would recommend it. We invited a couple of my father’s classmates from medical school who live in the area over for dinner one night, and my mother cooked up a storm – butter chicken, pork vindaloo, beans, cauliflower – just piles of extreme yumminess all around.

Progeny BITA has mad drawing skills

MLK day was a big holiday for us. Why? It was one of those rare and special holidays when Mr. BITA and I are off, but Progeny BITA’s daycare is open. We did a happy dance, bundled her off to school and went on a 10 mile hike that day.

The next weekend we hiked as a family, and discovered a trail that is my new favourite. We chanced upon two earthworms on the trail and I had to “rescue” them while Progeny BITA cheered me on enthusiastically from the sidelines.

January wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. The Fuzzy BITA was struck down by a particularly virulent strain of dog flu. This flu season was so bad for dogs in the Bay Area that every dog daycare in the area closed for multiple weeks. I am pleased to report that after a total of $512 in vet bills (including antibiotics, one subcutaneous injection to stave off dehydration, the flu vaccine) and $250 on professional carpet cleaning (Sick dog = upset tummy evacuating on carpets in the wee hours of the night), His Fuzziness is cured and back to being a crazy ball of energy. I also got the flu and took a couple of sick days. I am pleased to report that my medical bill was $0 because all I did was curl up, hydrate and whimper a lot.


Work kept me very busy this month. I have had to work nights and a little bit on the weekends too – something that hasn’t been true for me for a long while now. The work in question is interesting, but I wasn’t thrilled to have it encroach into my evenings and I look forward to a time (coming soon!) when this will no longer be the story of my life.


Expenses were higher than average this month because aside from the vet bills we booked airfare for 3 trips that we plan to take this year and an Airbnb for one of those three trips. We also paid for the acquisition of my new U.S. passport and visa fees for an upcoming trip to India (the irony is not lost on me).

And now, without further ado, on to the promised record-breaking numbers.


Adding Cash to the Financial Independence Stash

This month we added $66,797.27 to our Stash. This is the most we have saved in a single month since I started tracking our numbers.

  • We maxed out Mr. BITA’s 401k, and his company gave him his full match. We also contributed a little to my 401k, and my company threw in a few $$s too.
  • We got our mega-backdoor Roth off to a solid start.
  • We maxed our two backdoor Roths ($5,500 each).
  • Mr. BITA’s company (through whom we get our health insurance) contributed $2,000 to our HSA for the year.
  • We also had some RSUs vest.

We were so proud of ourselves for having pulled off a stellar month of savings, and strutted around with our chests all puffed out. Then along came Mr. Stash and single handedly put both BITAs to shame. Mr. Stash brought in a whopping $74,266.92 for the month of January.

This, right here, is why we save and invest. The feeling that your money is working harder than you are is nothing short of awesome.


How did we fare this January compared to January 2017?

While we did a little bit better on the savings side, Mr. Stash did a whole lot better this year than at the same time last year.


The Financial Independence Plan vs. Reality

YTD we have saved and invested: $66,797.27.
YTD market growth: $74,266.92.

Here is another way to look at these numbers: YTD our Net Worth has grown at the rate of $3.16 per minute!  

As usual, I’ll end this monthly update with the Stairway to Heaven.

financial independence progress january 2018

334 days to go!

Financial independence status: On track!


20 thoughts on “On the Path to Financial Independence: January 2018”

  1. hey, glad you got u.s.a bona fide. it’s been a terrible flu year but i hadn’t heard about the dog stuff. that’s just awful when it gets hold of them like that. we tossed out a sacrificial carpet a couple of years ago due to that. keep on keepin’ on.

    1. Thank you! Mr. BITA and Fuzzy BITA were the the worst afflicted in our household. I am just grateful that Progeny BITA has thus far escaped unscathed. If ours had been a standalone rug I would have gladly sacrificed it too – ugh.

  2. Congrats on citizenship! That’s awesome!!

    I was out for 4 days last week with the flu, and like you, I just quarantined myself to the guest room and slept, hydrated, and binge watched shows (when I was awake). Those are some awesome savings this month as well. Holy cow! We should find out our bonus and LTI situation later this month, and from what I’ve heard, I’m expecting good things, but you never know how that may sort itself out in the details.

    Rough stuff with the dog and carpets… That’s the way of pet ownership though, fortunately it was “cleanable”, right? 🙂

    1. Thanks Mr. SSC!
      I don’t know how we did the flu pre-Netflix. It is an essential part of the arsenal, right in the flu trenches with good buddy Nyquil.

      I bet that round about now you are glad your bonus etc. is coming in a little later than ours and you won’t be investing at the peak before the 10% correction : /

  3. Congratulations, Mrs. BITA! And yes, my husband has used a bungee cord to do the same thing. Or a carabiner… We must have a 100 of those things in our house. Looking forward to hearing more about your thoughts on the whole citizenship thing.

    1. Thanks Vicki! Perhaps some day we will hike together, accompanied by our weird husbands festooned in bungee cords. We can walk separately and pretend to not know them.

    1. Belated congratulations to Mr. ThreeYear too! The original plan was to get there by the end of this year/early next year. To hit that goal we needed to save at least as much as we did last year _and_ we needed a flat market. We will take care of the former, but we are somewhat at the whims of Mr. Market as to timing.

  4. Due to a higher up level guy leaving and his replacement still learning the ropes, plus coworkers being out, I definitely did more time in Jan than normal. I have thought about bringing my laptop home, but 7pm yoga doesn’t get me home until 9, and we probably don’t want me commenting on documents then / if I do chores around the house & decompress for an hour it’s almost 11 pm.
    I know I’d been asking for more responsibility to target a promotion I didn’t expect it like this. Hopefully I’ve done well enough to maybe speed up the process? Who knows?!? I’d be happy with a good bonus.

    Glad to hear you & the fuzzy one are feeling better!
    Congratulations on your citizenship!

    1. When it rains at work, it pours. That sounds like a pretty stressful January for you. Good for you for sticking to your guns and prioritizing your health over work. I need to do that more. I hope your bonus is what you deserve and that you get promoted as well.

  5. Congratulations on your citizenship! We got it last January and the ceremony was amazing, never felt more proud to be a citizen of new country and sad to leave citizenship of another.

    For India, I think OCI is the way to go as opposed to visa. One time and you are set – and it takes only slightly longer processing time than visa.

    Great progress on the financial front.

    1. The ceremony is bittersweet, and I did find it unexpectedly touching.

      We do plan on OCIs for the whole family – but for now I have an e-visa. This is because I am traveling to India at the end of February and that didn’t leave enough time for the OCI process (just over a month from citizenship to travel – and I had to get my U.S. passport done first!). Once I get back we will get to work on the OCIs.

  6. Bungee cords and duct tape. They are truly two items that continue to make the world go round! Congrats on citizenship. How awesome is that??!!
    I didn’t even know dogs could get the flu. How silly of me as an NP. It’s a virus after all, guess they have their own form. Glad Fuzzy is better and you’re still crushing your savings and investments. Inspo!!!!!

    1. Thanks BB!
      I’m glad Fuzzy BITA is all better too – a sick dog is just so pathetic. The fact that they can’t verbalize how shitty they feel just makes everything worse.

  7. Congratulations on your becoming a U.S. citizen and for the growth of the portfolio. So what if there is a bear market? Will you all do the OMY or just pull the plug?

  8. So glad that both you and Fuzzy BITA recovered from the flu, what a horrific flu season it’s been so far! We’ve been keeping to ourselves to avoid the germs and are going to try to stay isolated until the flu season is WELL over 🙂

    I can’t hate on the bungee cords MacGyver move there.

    And congrats, new citizen! I think there’s a special cake for that, right?


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