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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.
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
I’m racking up attorney bills, but let’s not bury the lede here: this is the best month I’ve ever had for my net worth. Stocks came roaring back, and so did my portfolio. I’m currently over halfway to my $500,000 goal, my house is appreciating, and I never stopped investing through it all. In fact, I just maxed out my 401k for the first time in my life.
I’m currently working on investing my third $100K, and about to acquire a few acres of land in Arkansas. I’ll focus on paying my lawyer these next few months, and while it sucks, it’s also paving the way toward solidifying this chapter of my life. I can’t wait to travel with my sons next year.
Turning off my 401k
After I maxed out the 401k, I set my future contributions to 0%. That’s because I don’t want it to start again in 2023. Instead, I want to get a new job and keep it all in one spot at the next employer.
Also, I need to pay my lawyer and until she’s paid, I won’t have an extra cent. But I want to keep the investing momentum going, so I’m planning to max out my Roth IRA in early January (dang, that’s in just a few weeks!).
I feel good about this, though. It’s just where I am right now, in life. This has been such a long, nasty fight.
I’m glad for it though, because the case record is now so complete (and the other party’s lies and disastrous behavior so thoroughly documented it’s basically appeal-proof) that it will reach its own conclusion. Once we get the ruling in our favor, we can move on with our lives and never see that person again. It’ll be like that person never existed. We’re so tired of having to look at and deal with them. 🙂
Looking to $300K
It looks like the Federal Reserve is nearing the end of their rate hikes. Stock prices responded in a hugely positive way this week, but then flatlined again as every said, “Oh wait, there might actually be a recession now.”
The “soft landing” might not be coming after all. So while I’m excited about reaching a new net worth high, I know how quickly it can fall again. So I’m not celebrating yet. Maybe once it sticks for a few months. Even then… it’s all so tenuous. It’s like I don’t trust anything any more.
I do want to focus on saving cash, both to pay off my debts and to potentially snag an investment property for cheap. But yeah, I need every dollar that comes my way for a while. I still want to max out my 401k next year, it will just have to be later in the year. I have other jobs that my money needs to clean up right now.
Thinking of money as a tool, I’ll use it to attend to Present Harlan. Then I can get back to traveling and saving for Future Harlan. It’s safe to coast for a while at this point. ✈️
By the numbers
It’s been 60ish days since I posted an update. In that time, I:
- Added ~$32K to my net worth
- Paid $1K+ toward my HVAC/credit card debt
- Maxed my 401k
- Racked up $10K in lawyer fees I have to pay
- Achieved a $266K net worth – my new personal record
|Overall investments||$212,973||$186,415||+26,558||As much as possible|
|401k (contributions only)||$20,500||$16,500||+$4,000||$20,500||COMPLETE!|
|401k (overall balance)||$40,617||$31,904||+$8,713||As much as possible|
|Traditional IRA||$104,552||$94,117||+$10,435||xx (can't contribute)|
|Roth IRA||$47,461||$42,755||+$4,706||$6,000 (in contributions)||COMPLETE!|
|Taxable brokerage + UTMA||$11,248||$10,124||+$1,124||$25,000 (total invested)|
|Primary home equity + appreciation||$48,360||$44,957||+$3,403||$20,000||COMPLETE!|
|Credit card/HVAC upgrade||$14,351||$15,506||-$1,155||$12,000|
|Net worth in Personal Capital||$266,210||$234,279||+$31,931||$500,000 (overall goal)||Track your net worth with Personal Capital|
The land I’m receiving will be worth about $10K though, so it’ll offset the lawyer fees. And of course, will be an asset moving forward.
I also want to buy a bigger vehicle for the fam and continue to service my credit card debt. And look for a new job that pays more in the next few weeks. All in all, I’m feeling optimistic about everything and looking forward to writing and working more. Life’s picking up again as my parental leave winds down. And for that, I’m grateful. Next year should be like turning a corner. The biggest one ever, in fact.
December 2022 Freedom update bottom line
I’m thrilled about ascending to new net worth heights, but if this year has taught me anything it’s to not take mental possession of a gain too quickly. And anyway, it’s been a shitty year smeared with a lot of anxiety and unnecessary tension on the personal front. I’m ready to get my ruling and move on. I’m ready to travel again. And ready to figure out what the next iteration of Out and Out will look like. I’ve had this blog nearly 10 years and intend to keep it going.
I basically have to put my entire financial life on hold to pay my lawyer and then get on with it. It could take some time. If my stock investments continue to go up in the meantime, I’d be pleased as punch. And if not, well, I’ll figure it out later.
Sorry if I sound dour. I really am hoping for the best and feel very encouraged. Now to get it all in writing and ordered by the court. What a stupid ride it’s been. One I never wanted to take and can’t wait to put behind me. Soon. I’m still in here and still myself, I promise. And of course, my children bring so much love to my heart I can barely take it sometimes.
Thank you to everyone who reads these updates. It means the world to me.
Stay safe and scrappy out there! ✨
-H.* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!
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This too shall pass. Onward and upward my friend.
Come to Japan!!!!!
Really really want to! As soon as we can get passports for these kiddos. Hope you are doing well, Ken! <3
I’m very sorry you’ve had these troubles and hope they are behind you soon. Life can be a roller coaster. The boys look precious!
Hang in there, Harlan!