Finance

Category Archives for Finance.

New this month: Money trends, 401k, and over $300K! – August 2023 Freedom update

Whew! This weekend (and past month) was a doozy. Warren had his 4th birthday party (I can’t believe I have a four-year-old!) and my mom was in town visiting. Lots of setup and hosting and having fam around.

I also hit the $300K mark officially! 🤑

I noticed the stock market dropped in the last week or so, but not enough to drop me below $300K again. Now that I’m over 60% of the way to my $500K goal, I’m feeling extra motivated.

August 2023 Freedom update

This is a real place

And yet, life keeps delivering. We finally got Warren’s updated birth certificate and passport – and Beck’s stuff is on the way. I have a mountain of crap to pay off and the expenses are always rolling in.

But also – later this month I become eligible for the company 401k. Between that and the HSA, I will be consistently investing again. So despite feeling financially held back in so many ways, I’ll still be making (automated) progress. And that’s something I’m really excited about.

August 2023 Freedom update

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New net worth high, at 60% of goal, and the march to $300K invested – July 2023 Freedom update

July 2023 Freedom update

Because the stock market has been thriving and the economy is beginning to even out, my net worth saw a new high this month – just shy of $300,000 and nearly 60% of my ultimate $500,000 goal.

Yay! I’m thrilled/relieved for this update. On one hand, I cognitively know that investing during a downturn means huge gains down the road. On the other, that road felt (feels?) really long.

In fact, I hit $200K invested in November 2021 – the same month I moved to Oklahoma. Right now, I’m sitting at $241,320 invested despite maxing out my 401k and Roth IRA in 2022, and opening an UTMA for Warren, my three year old. I’d been flat and hovering around the same level for over a year and tbh these updates were starting to get same old.

July 2023 Freedom update

Friend to all trees

But I know that powering through that slog will benefit me well in the future. It’s to the point where if the stock market has a good month, I can see gains of $20K+. This is the momentum I’ve been looking forward to. My hope is always cautious, especially these days, but I’m having a milestone month and I’m gonna celebrate those accomplishments.

As I work my way back toward financial stability and pay off lingering debt, I’m seeing the light again and am beyond ready to plow forward.

Let’s review.

July 2023 Freedom update

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New minivan, new job, feeling bright – June 2023 Freedom update

a man and baby lying on a bed

This past month has been nonstop in the best way possible! It’s been one good thing after another. I’m so grateful – I really needed some things to work out.

We went to my partner’s brother’s graduation, spent a week exploring Dallas (so different with kids), and had a weekend visit with family.

This weekend, I lost my mind and bought a minivan (used, of course). We got a great deal on an 8-passenger minivan and the finance terms and monthly payment were agreeable. So we drove it home. And so far, we love it. We quickly outgrew my little Nissan Versa Note, lol.

June 2023 Freedom update

Dad reporting for dad duty

I start a new job on Monday and am very much looking forward to it! This infusion of new energy is seriously good.

I also found a new barber and have been doing yoga when I can (because self-care is so important, especially when you’re parenting). It’s been pretty nonstop, but all in the service of moving forward and making progress.

With all of that, let’s see how it impacted me financially.

June 2023 Freedom update

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A flat month for stocks and pondering the future – May 2023 Freedom update

a child sitting on a statue

It’s been a good month. The weather is warmer and we’re all starting to feel the shift that’s coming.

I’ve been working diligently behind the scenes to arrange trips, find new opportunities, and move the family forward. I’ve been embroiled in court drama since December 2021, and there are just a couple more obstacles to knock out of the way. Once it’s done, we’re seriously contemplating moving to a new place. And a remote working visa in Europe is looking really appealing right about now. #expatlife

a garden with flowers and a bee

Cute spring scene

But we’ll see what happens.

Financially, I’m flat month-over-month, but that’s to be expected. The U.S. stock market is reeling in the wake of bank foreclosures, ongoing interest rate hikes, and the fight against inflation.

I personally managed to get everything paid for the month, plus laid out cash to get some documentation for the boys, and didn’t get to invest much. Oh, and our fridge decided to give up, so we had to order an emergency replacement – which was a whole saga unto itself.

Anyhoozers, the first half of the year was a great push forward. I’m hoping the second half will be full of progress, travel, and fresh ideas.

May 2023 Freedom update

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Up $11K, end of Q1, and finally looking to the future – April 2023 Freedom update

April 2023 Freedom update

The stock market had its best quarter since 2020, and I’m now back to where I was two months ago. If that ain’t a metaphor.

These gyrations (plus life) have kept me hovering around the halfway mark of my $500,000 goal (that’s a long way of saying $250K) since I first hit it… exactly a year ago. #GroundhogYear

a man smiling at camera

Inching ever closer

I’ve had my sights set on $300K for a long time. As life continues to come together, saving money should get easier. I’ve been saving what I can while fighting down 0% APR credit card debt and lingering legal bills.

All said, I’m doing good – and hoping that compound interest will do some of the heavy lifting for the remainder of the year.

April 2023 Freedom update

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Freelance and $262K, progress after layoff and ruling – March 2023 Freedom update

March 2023 Freedom update

Life is completely different than it was even a few weeks ago. We got our ruling, finally, in our favor. We’ve been in and our of court for the last year, and now we can take some action and move on with our lives.

There will inevitably be appeals, but we’ve been assured they’ll either be thrown out or the higher court will uphold our ruling. It’ll be some more paperwork, but it’s a non-issue so I’m going to put it out of my mind and not even think about it. For the first time in a while, I’m dreaming about the future and what that could look like. Definitely a lot more travel once I get all the documents switched over. ✈️ Ya know, travel blog and all. 💁🏻‍♂️

march 2023 freedom update

How we feel about our court ruling

Money stuff has shifted, too. It’s been a lousy patch for the stock market, my home lost some of its appraisal value, and I’ve had to charge up my cards to get stuff paid.

That said, I’m thrilled because I’ve been picking up a few freelance projects that pay more than my previous income. I think I’ll come out ahead – it’ll just take a little bit for things to settle.

So let’s get into that.

March 2023 Freedom update

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Close to $300K, laid off, and this year’s goals – February 2023 Freedom update

a child sitting on the ground

I feel like my life is on hold. Like I’m on hold, but life just keeps on life-ing.

We’re days away from getting the judge’s ruling for a set of cases that have been going on for the past year, hopefully early next week. We think it’ll be in our favor, but until we get that document, we’re kind of just… on hold. Stuck. Like we can’t move forward.

February 2023 Freedom update

Oof

Oh, and I was laid off from my job this week, so go ahead and add that to the mix. I’m taking some time to regroup. I’m not worried about the future so much as I can’t even imagine the future right now.

With that, I’m making February 2023 the month of self-care and taking my insurance for all it’s worth before it expires in a few weeks. I’m:

  • Getting new glasses and contacts and a fresh eye exam
  • Having a tiny cavity filled next week
  • Seeing a doctor for an all-around checkup and allll the preventative care my insurance will allow
  • Getting a couple more chiropractic adjustments (Baby Beck is now over 15 pounds!)
  • Going to therapy every week this month

I also snagged an appointment for an in-demand dermatologist. Plus, I already have new insurance so I’m taking advantage of being double insured and criss-crossing town to keep myself healthy and active. I’m feeling good about everything.

With all that in mind, let’s talk about money.

February 2023 Freedom update

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New net worth high, new cash strategy, and investing my third $100K – December 2022 Freedom update

December 2022 Freedom

I didn’t post a November update last month. It was such a blur – complete with a week in court, then a nasty virus and holidays – that it sucked me under. I am just now emerging.

And wow, it’s great on the other side. I feel like the court stuff is getting behind us, though we must wait for a final ruling. Still, I think we’re going to win. And then we will be free to talk about everything we’ve been through the past year. It’s beyond ridiculous.

a man and baby lying on a bed

Omg look at this wiggly cutie 😻

I was thinking how my blog doesn’t resemble a travel blog any more. Though I am swimming in points and miles, and planning for a lot of future travel. Someone said, “Well, just write about that.” So I will.

Even as we wait for the legal crap to clear the pipes, it’s not like I stopped planning stuff. It’s hit me in the pocketbook and stifled my travel, but I’m still here and feel myself slowly coming back to life.

December 2022 Freedom update

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Progress in a bear market? Mixing it up as a strategy – October 2022 Freedom update

October 2022 Freedom update

So, September was the worst month for the U.S. stock market in over a decade. The month (and Q3) ended with losses for the S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq.

And because most of my net worth is in index funds, I lost out too – despite continuing to dump funds into various accounts.

Not that I’ve had time to notice. Having a toddler and a newborn in the same house is… tiring.

But if anything, it’s helping me stick to my investment plans?

a man holding a baby

I love being a dad

Really, I just kept everything trucking along, which I’m happy about because I do think this is an excellent time to buy in at lower valuations. In another 10 years, we’ll all be ecstatic about the buying opportunities right now. It’s hard to be excited when you’re in the midst of it.

I also paid down some of my 0% APR credit card debt and added more cash to my taxable brokerage and my son’s UTMA accounts. But mostly focusing on our newborn, who’s now three weeks old and already so vibrant.

October 2022 Freedom update

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Baby Beck is here! The bear market is the only negative thing this month – September 2022 Freedom update

September 2022 Freedom update

This month’s update is a little late – for the best reason possible.

On September 10, baby Beck was born early in the morning under the Full Harvest Moon. 🌕 So far, he’s already back at his full birth weight and has lost his umbilical plug. He’s a sweet, happy boy – already looking around with deep blue eyes and smiling as he stretches his fingers and toes. We are already completely in love with him.

September 2022 Freedom update

Welcome earthside, baby Beck

I can’t wait to set up an investment account and USAA membership for him. But for now, we’ve all been resting and adjusting to this sweet new energy.

It’s been hard to keep up with the outside world, but every time I check on the stock market, it seems the lows get lower.

I’m continuing with my investment plans, but my overall net worth is obviously down this month. More and more, it’s looking like this is going to be a lost year for the market – and for my progress.

All good though.

History tells us that incredible bull runs usually follow lows like this. And anyway, I have my hands full for a while with a newborn.

September 2022 Freedom update

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Up $18K again, money thoughts, and new baby incoming – August 2022 Freedom update

a house with a window and text

This upcoming month, we’ll be gearing up for the birth of our second son! Last month was all about the baby shower and getting the nursery together (as much as possible – lol oof). I’ve been meaning to get this update out for the past few days. 🥵

June was a hard month for the stock market where we saw the potential bottom mid-month. And then, the last two weeks of July brought a scorching hot bear market rally.

Because of the gyrations, I keep hovering around the ~$240K mark and am currently level set from where I was a couple of months ago.

August 2022 Freedom Update

Cheers to bear market rallies!

But it wasn’t without significant ups and downs, personal expenditures, and trying to keep up with all the transitions. I’m doing a lot of freelance work on the side to afford everything.

Next month, I’ll kick off four months of parental leave when the new baby is born. So for the next few weeks, we’re getting as prepared as possible.

I feel bad that I haven’t posted more travel-related content in so long. First there was Covid, now it’s nearly time for the new baby. It’ll be a while before I travel again, but I can’t wait to travel with our children. That’ll be a whole new adventure.

For now, I’m still working on financial goals that’ll allow that travel to happen down the road. After all, this journey is about having choices and freedom to do what I love most in this world: travel to new places.

August 2022 Freedom update

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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?

a man taking a selfie

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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