September 2017 NCF Update: Celebrate the Accomplishments

Welcome to the monthly update on our house fund goal, Nuestra Casa Fund (NCF). Our NCF goal is to save enough to fully fund our home purchase before we retire early. 

We’ll measure our progress by providing a monthly update against our benchmark. Our number one rule: Never, nunca, touch this money unless it’s for the house.

We’ll achieve our goal by continuing to work at our full-time jobs. As far as investing, our plan of action is to continue maxing out retirement accounts, while saving for the house and fulfilling the rest of the buckets we deem necessary to retire early.

Celebrate the accomplishments

When you reach a long-term goal, milestone or even what, in our eyes, we might consider a small win, you should make it your business to celebrate it. The FIRE community is full of accomplishments that might seem normal to us, but they’re humungous to the rest of the world. Being debt free might be the norm for us, but how many of your friends and family can say that they don’t carry any debt?

Maxing out a 401(k) sounds like the entry goal to reaching FIRE, but how many people contribute enough to their 401(k)s to even get the match? The same goes for smaller goals like cutting cable, going with a pre-paid cell phone or choosing to keep your car longer to avoid monthly payments. No matter how small the achievement, we should always take a pause to pat ourselves on the back.

You don’t need to spend money lavishly to celebrate these. Just a simple toast, a special meal at home can be a way to celebrate.

Did you celebrate your most recent milestone?

We are about to reach a powerful milestone in our home-saving goal, we are almost at the 50% mark. We need to take a moment to reflect on that achievement. Not many people can say that they saved more than 20% of a house payment. It’s not because they can’t make it happen for themselves, many times it’s about their priorities.

We made it a priority to stay away from debt and invest as much as we could over the past few years. We could’ve saved the 20% for a down payment and bought our dream house years ago, but that would’ve kept us tied to our jobs for another 30 years. We could’ve even paid cash for all the furniture required to furnish a new home, but that would’ve kept us on the “hamster wheel” and in the complete pursuit of a higher position to continue inflating the lifestyle.

Instead we invested that money in the market. We bought index funds, we managed our rental property and invested the cash flow into more equities. We continued to invest until we became financially independent. FI was our first goal and then we started to concentrate on funding our home purchase.

We now have less than two years to complete this goal and are considering making some necessary changes to the NCF Fund, so that we can keep our funds a little bit above the inflation mark. More to come on that next month!

Now, let’s see how much we saved in the NCF last month.

September NCF Update

We expect to meet our goal by June 2019. Below are our August results along with a year-to-date update. Last month we saw an increase of 3% towards our march to 100% of funding our goal. We’ve now saved 49.1% of the funds for our future home purchase. We’re almost halfway through our goal.

Things are about to get more interesting with the NCF goal.

1) Buying real estate in the U.S. in the areas we’re exploring will be more expensive than Punta Cana, DR, where we initially thought about retiring.

2) We might increase the net worth allocation to the NCF to compensate buying a property here. Stay tuned.

  Year-to-date NCF Update
MonthPercent of Goal MetBenchmark (the goal we set)Percent Increase towards 100%
January 201723.9%23.9%This is when we started tracking this goal.

We’re still ahead of schedule by 2-3 months. We hope to stay ahead for the next few months since in January we’ll start funding our Roth IRAs and might not be able to fund the NCF for a while.

NCF Contributions

Our jobs provided most of the income to the NCF. The “dividends” represents the bond fund interest in one of our taxable accounts. “Interest” accounts for proceeds in our bank savings.

Also, every quarter, we get dividends in our taxable funds (none this month). Since we’re about two years away from retirement, we’re not reinvesting the dividends from the taxable accounts and are investing this money in the NCF.

Net worth allocation between the Freedom Fund and Nuestra Casa Fund

If you recall from our previous FI updates, the Freedom Fund will cover our expenses in retirement. We project a net worth allocation of 85/15 by the time we retire. The Freedom Fund would comprise 85% of the allocation, while the Nuestra Casa Fund would make up the rest.

The allocation between FF and NCF
Goal ratio (%): 85/15

One way to interpret this chart is how much of our net worth do we want to allocate to our principal residence? We’re projecting to have 15% of our assets allocated to our home purchase by retirement. The ratio stayed about the same for the month.

That’s it for now, folks. We’re spending our Labor Day break in New England. So nice to come back and spend time with family and friends.

How did you make your summer count? What goals do you have for this month? Which accomplishments are you celebrating? 


After dedicating 13 years of his career to Vanguard, José retired from the corporate world at the young age of 44. During his tenure at Vanguard, he expertly coordinated the production of both electronic and print educational materials for 401(k) participants. Now, he relishes in his early retirement, cherishing time spent with his family, indulging in his favorite hobbies, seeking out new experiences, and savoring meals in the comfort of his own backyard.

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6 years ago

Why a Dominican flag?

Are you Dominican. I just got to this blog.

6 years ago
Reply to  JM

Hi and welcome to our blog!
I am Dominican and spent my childhood there.
We took that photo while walking through the scenic Benjamin Franklin Parkway, in Philadelphia, which is lined with flags of countries from around the world. It gave me a feeling of “home” or closeness to my roots.
I wrote a little about growing up in the Dominican Republic here:
Thanks for stopping by and hope you found what you were looking for.

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