Finance

Category Archives for Finance.

Bear market, down $19K, plus a HUGE announcement! – July 2022 Freedom update

July 2022 Freedom update

What a month! The stock market had its worse first half since:

  • 1970 for the S&P 500
  • 1962 for the Dow
  • Ever for the Nasdaq

It’s still firmly in bear market territory – and I believe it has farther to fall. There are real-world issues that need solving that no amount of interest rate hikes from the Fed can touch. Namely supply chain backups, geopolitical tension from the Russia-Ukraine invasion, and lower company earnings and forecasts from too many of the wrong products and a tight labor market.

Interest rate increases are affecting home sales, and certain sectors are seeing hiring slowdowns (particularly tech). So how’s it affect me, the average investor?

It me: “average investor”

Well, I contributed $2,000 to my 401k last month, but my overall 401k balance is only up $146. That means my money is losing value in real-time. It also means I’m getting more stocks at a lower cost basis. Instead of lowering my contributions during this volatility, I opted to increase them.

And the accounts I don’t touch (my Roth IRA that’s maxed for the year and my traditional IRA) are negative since last month.

The average bear market lasts for under a year, but the average bull market lasts nearly three years and has much higher highs than the bear market’s lowest lows, percentage-wise.

So I’m staying the course, sticking to my plan – and I have huge news I’m finally ready to share! Ahhhhh!!!!

July 2022 Freedom update

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Crypto crash, a new UTMA account, and timid stock market – June 2022 Freedom update

June 2022 Freedom update

It’s been a scorching month. 🔥 I lost money to crypto, started an UTMA account for my son, and pulled the trigger on a brand new HVAC system – to the tune of $20K+.

Throw in some court appearances 😒 and continuing to get the house together, and it was more than enough to make the month fly by.

June 2022 Freedom update

In Knoxville for a work trip

And then the travel! I drove to Dallas and flew to Austin for Tori Amos concerts, and flew to Knoxville for work. It was SO good to be on planes!

I was going to visit family in Memphis for a weekend, but that trip never happened. And I won’t be making any other trips for a while. I’ll share more about this in a few weeks. Between life and the pandemic, it seems I’m destined to be a travel blogger who doesn’t blog for a little while yet. I’ve got my points poised for several big trips and continue to accrue them.

To the update!

June 2022 Freedom update

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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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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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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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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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Up $13K and near the halfway point – September 2021 Freedom update

September 2021 Freedom update

Hi again from Upstate New York! I’ll be here a couple more weeks, then drive to Vermont and Delaware – then home to Memphis. From there, I’ll regroup and maybe do one more big loop around the Southwest this winter.

And then?

Well, you know I don’t plan that far out – but I’ve been looking at houses in Memphis and will hopefully snag one soon.

This Freedom update finds me with my highest-ever net worth, up over $13,000 since last month, and nearly halfway to my $500,000 goal.

September 2021 Freedom update

The Catskills have been good to me

When I leave here, it will have been two months in Upstate New York. By staying at a friend’s house, I’ve been able to save all my extra cash, complete my savings goal, and put the excess into my taxable brokerage account. My only expenses have been groceries and eating out, with the occasional splurge.

Professionally, it’s been great too. I started writing for NextAdvisor on Time.com and have built up a cadre of articles on Business Insider. I’ve also been killing it at my regular 9 to 5, and posted on social media every day in August 2021 as part of my trashy mystery witch school (which I’ve been doing for one year now).

You can follow me on Instagram for thoughts about divine masculinity, sexual awakening, daddy issues, travel and travel memories, investing, and random slice-of-life stuff. 🍉

Now for the money! 🤑

September 2021 Freedom update

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