About Harlan

Digital nomad living on the road and working toward financial independence.

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Back down $15K, staying the course, and getting into DeFi – May 2022 Freedom update

May 2022 Freedom update

Last month was absolute murder for the stock market. Earnings season revealed, if anything, that we’re still dealing with fallout from Covid and navigating headwinds from:

  • The war in Ukraine
  • Interest rate hikes (with another one being announced tomorrow)
  • Runaway inflation
  • A “post”-Covid market that no longer cares about Netflix, online shopping, and delivery services – or can’t afford to

I made it back to Dallas last month!

It was the worst start to a market year since 1939, the worst year for Nasdaq stocks since 2008, and the worst month overall since March 2020. So course my portfolio is down.

Mentally, I see this as an opportunity to buy more stocks at a lower cost basis. But seeing the drops in real-time is hard, especially with murmurs of “recession” and “bull market” everywhere you look.

This month, I also got interested in a new DeFi app with 15% APY that pays daily interest. More on that and the rest of my updates below!

May 2022 Freedom update

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Officially to $254K net worth, over halfway to my $500K goal! – April 2022 Freedom update

🥳! It finally happened! With 876 days left to reach my $500,000 net worth goal, I’m officially at the halfway mark.

Currently at $254,041 with ~$212,000 of that invested in low-cost index funds (mostly FSKAX and VTI). The market’s been hemming and hawing, but it seems like things are on an upswing.

As of this week, it’s on to the second half of my journey!

Historically, April is a good month for earnings. The last 15 out of 16 Aprils have had gains. And I have a feeling that Q1 earnings will reveal the positive effects of inflation.

It’s been a rough quarter, so I’m glad things are finally starting to shift. That losing streak was tough to get through, but I stuck to my plan: regular investing in index funds, automated every two weeks. I’m always amazed at how simple it is and how it just works. It hasn’t failed me yet.

April 2022 Freedom update

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New coin deal for ~$5,300 in spending and $162 in profit – tomorrow, 3/17 @ 12pm ET!

Just a heads up for a new PFS Buyers Club coin deal in case you want to get in on over $5,000 in spending. Tomorrow, March 17, the US Mint is releasing a new set of coins at exactly 12pm ET. The coins will cost ~$5,337 and all cards except US Bank/Elan (Fidelity) cards should work to earn miles, points, or cashback.

There’s some speculation that Amex cards *might* charge a cash advance fee. Incidentally, I just got the Amex Gold card in the mail yesterday and need to meet the minimum spending requirement. But I think I’ll use my BofA Premium Rewards card for 2.62% cashback (~$140) instead.

Here are the coins that go on sale tomorrow

Aside from minimum spending, you could also gain traction toward spend bonuses like free hotel nights (Hyatt, Hilton), elite status (AA cards), or any other promotions you’ve signed up for.

PFS Buyers Club coin deal

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Last call for the Capital One Venture X 100K + $200 welcome offer – the BEST premium card!

Update: This offer is no longer available. Check here for the best current credit card offers! 

Today is the last day to get the newly-launched Capital One Venture X card’s incredible early spend bonus! After many rejections from Capital One, I finally got approved for this one – here’s my tip on how to check your approval odds.

For most people wanting a premium travel rewards card, it doesn’t get much better than this one.

The welcome offer is incredibly strong, the rewards earning rates are excellent, and the card’s ongoing benefits justify the $395 annual fee year after year.

Capital One is building their own network of airport lounges and doing great things with their transfer partners. And their version of the Priority Pass includes restaurants in airports (something the Amex version of Priority Pass does NOT).

The Capital One Venture X 100K offer is one of the best in recent memory

I love earning a flat 2x miles on all purchases without having to think about category bonuses. But the Capital One Venture X does earn 10x miles on hotels and rental cars and 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One.

If you’ve had your eye on this one, this is the last call. We don’t know what the new offer will be, but it’ll likely be inferior.

Capital One Venture X 100K details

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Holding the line with a $1K increase & riding major volatility – March 2022 Freedom update

March 2022 Freedom update

I considered not posting this month. With the war crimes and attacks on Ukraine, talking about the impact to my 401k feels inconsequential compared to the loss of life and destruction of major cities.

The stock market has of course been extremely volatile, and I’m right around the same place I’ve been for the last few months – that $240K mark, give or take. I really want to get to $250K and it’s so close and yet…

March 2022 Freedom update

I flew for the first time in two years – to Washington, DC!

But it’s also been a happy time. I took my son, Warren, on his first plane ride and he had his first swanky hotel stay at the Park Hyatt Washington, DC where the entire staff was amazing and treated him like mightily princely. He’s a natural traveler like his dad and it was a phenomenal experience. He’s already asked to get on another plane. We have a traveler on our hands!

I hadn’t been on a plane myself since March 2020 when I went to the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. It was good to be back in the air. I even paid attention to the safety demonstration.

And with money stuff, I changed nothing about my strategy. My house appreciated, and I was able to sock $1,000 into savings. My net worth went up and down all month. But now, it’s at the same place as it was last month. Somehow things keep evening out despite everything happening in the world – and in my life.

March 2022 Freedom update

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FoundersCard Review 2022: Benefits, Updates, Cost – And Is It Worth It?

FoundersCard Review 2021

Time to update my FoundersCard review for 2022! I’ve been a member for 8 years by now. Each year, they add more (and more useful) benefits, keep the best ones, and refine their partnerships based on member demand and use.

The upshot is making the most of even ONE perk can outweigh the $495 membership – and the rest is gravy. And when you sign up with my link, your rate will never go up.

I’ve used the 15% AT&T discount, Hilton Gold elite status, and Caesars Total Rewards Diamond status (which is back this year through January 2023!) to cover and exceed the membership cost.

And there are new benefits for 2022, mostly focused on business and lifestyle. A couple of the travel benefits have gone away, but I believe that’s reflective of where we currently are with Covid-19 and that they’ll return. Until then, what’s left is still a long list of benefits.

FoundersCard Review 2021

Has it really been 8 years? Just renewed my FoundersCard membership again as a Charter Member

Here’s everything to know before you apply for membership.

FoundersCard Review 2022

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Down $8K and sticking to the plan – February 2022 Freedom update

February 2022 Freedom update

January 2022 felt like the longest month in a while. As I write this, the stock market will close on a downswing, which means all the numbers I just changed from pluses to minuses are going further into negative territory later today. Such is the stock market roller coaster ride, especially lately.

On top of a volatile month, I had some cash outlays that I’ll get caught up this month. All around, it felt like the hits kept comin’.

I’m still standing

But, life’s good and things are in the works, as they always are. I keep dancing around this midpoint in my FI journey – right around the $250K mark. When I cross it, there will be much celebration. I’ve been thisclose for a few months now.

This month, I’m down $8K. But we know how quickly things can change. Slow and steady. Except it’s really slow and feels shaky?

Unlike other months, I’m detached from the numbers and continuing to invest as I always have. I have 2.5 years left to reach my $500K goal.

February 2022 Freedom update

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Almost to $250K & new goals for the year – January 2022 Freedom update

January 2022 Freedom update

With 965 days left to reach my goal, I think I’ll cruise past the halfway mark of $250,000 this month!

December was a doozy. The markets rallied, I had over a week off to rest, and had my first Christmas in my new house in Oklahoma.

I’m still reeling from November and feeling a little whiplash at dropping $24,000 and then bouncing back over $30,000 in the last month of the year.

On top of all that, I started adding money to savings again and on January 1, went ahead and maxed out my Roth IRA with a $6,000 contribution. 💥 I was waiting to let that settle before I posted this update.

January 2022 Freedom update

In my new office. The house is coming along nicely

In my January 2021 update, my net worth was $173K. This month, it’s $247K. If I can manage a $73K increase in one year, then I’ll shoot to have a $100K increase this year and be at $347K by January 2023. 😛

January 2022 Freedom update

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Success! How I got my Capital One Venture X approval (The BEST premium card)

I just got my first Capital One card over the weekend – and not for lack of previous trying. I’ve applied several times over the past few years but have always gotten a big fat denial. The official reason has always been “too many card accounts” or some other vague message, and I missed out on some really great offers.

I’ve tried to get the Capital One Venture card, the Capital One Spark Miles for Business card, and most recently, the fantastic Capital One Venture X card when it launched in November.

The Capital One Venture X card is THE card to have right now.

The Capital One Venture X card is the best premium card to come along in years. Using this photo until I can take one with my new card

It checks all the boxes: huge welcome bonus, great earning potential, ongoing benefits that justify the annual fee, and an overall simple yet powerful card. For most people looking for a premium rewards credit card, this is the one – and I don’t say that lightly. I really really wanted this card.

Here’s what convinced me to apply again. This time, I was instantly approved online with a $30,000 credit line.

Capital One Venture X approval

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In recovery: Down $24K & bought a house – December 2021 Freedom update

December 2021 Freedom Update

It’s getting real in Oklahoma City. What a month. I’m emotionally and spiritually depleted – and my finances took their expected dip.

Along with furnishing a down payment for a house, the markets also reacted because of Omicron fears. Moving and setup costs were more than anticipated.

But I’m here in Oklahoma City. I’ve been coughing and sickly since I moved in – and two days after I closed, my dad died.

So I drove all way the to Mississippi to get my stuff and go to his house, which went terribly. His wife was awful to me. I missed a lot of work and the following week was Thanksgiving.

Now there’s talk about a new Covid variant and I am still shell shocked. My nervous system is shot and I haven’t even begun to process everything that’s happened.

December 2021 Freedom Update

This was two days before my dad died and I’d just closed on my new house

This month, I should find out who my new mortgage holder is (my lender is going to sell the mortgage) and be able to add my house and mortgage account to my net worth calculations.

I almost didn’t post this month. My finances are in flux and things haven’t settled yet from the move. But in the spirit of honestly documenting this journey, I’m here, raw as I am, dips and all.

I will say – the house is so, so sweet. Such a good energy. Once I catch my breath, I can’t wait to get it decorated and furnished and work in the yard.

But for now, I’m being extra extra gentle with myself. Losing a parent you weren’t really close with has so many complicated emotions.

December 2021 Freedom update

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$200K invested, up $14K, and buying a house in Oklahoma – November 2021 Freedom update

November 2021 Freedom Update

Hi from Oklahoma City! I have a house under contract here and am scheduled to close in two weeks. Hell on an intro, eh?

I figure it can be a primary residence, and later on, an investment property. I’m finally getting started with real estate investing.

My rate is 3.125% and I’m getting a great deal on a nice-sized house – 4 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms. My monthly payment for mortgage, property tax, and insurance will be ~$1,500 – which was my monthly nomad budget. The urban core area is on the up and up. It’s on a quiet dead-end street with only 9 houses.

Of course I’ll want to buy furniture and spruce the place up a bit, which will cost more money. But I figure it’ll all even out.

My new house in Oklahoma City

This means my nomadic adventure of living on the road is coming to an end soon. But for the best reasons possible – I’ll get to spend more time with my son, start buying investment properties, and make art again. I’ll also get to keep up with my health and exercise goals a lot more easily.

I’m nervous, excited, second-guessing everything, and ultimately deciding to take all of this on. It’ll be good. I feel it.

But, my net worth is gonna take a short-term plunge – right when I was getting to the halfway mark. What a journey!

November 2021 Freedom update

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Down $4,000 & getting back to nomadic life – October 2021 Freedom update

October 2021 Freedom update

I’m writing this on my last day in upstate New York, between bouts of packing. I have been here for 76 days.

In that time, I’ve saved a few checks, completed my savings goal, and looked into buying a couple of properties (but haven’t pulled any triggers quite yet).

I’m sad to leave and excited to be back on the road at the same time. Next up is two nights in downstate New York, four days in Delaware, picking up my friend at Dulles and staying a night in Roanoke, then Nashville for a night, Memphis for two weeks, and Oklahoma City for two weeks. Looks like I’m hopping right back to nomad life!

October 2021 Freedom Update

I loved spending time in Vermont

I was also able to spend two glorious days in Vermont last week. I would’ve stayed longer, but it proved to be an expensive destination.

Depending on what happens this month, I’ll either be buying a house somewhere or continuing my nomad journey. (Or both?) Either way, I’m letting the destinations guide me instead of trying to choose places. I’m following prices to places where my dollars go further.

Oh and of course September was a bad month for my Freedom update – down $4,000. Still hoping I can hit $250K in Q4!

October 2021 Freedom update

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