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

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

For now, I’ve feeling a bit drawn inward, toward safe places. Like I’m incubating in a chrysalis. Getting ready for my renaissance. This past year has been a lot. But again, turning – turning.

a man with a beard and mustache

Containing multitudes

Financially, I’ve continued to do what I can, including:

  • Opened a new credit card to finish paying my attorney – 0% interest through September 2024
  • Bought a new fridge from Lowe’s to max out Chase Freedom’s 5% category this quarter (after finding that none of the Costco fridges would fit through my door. 🥲 Believe me, we tried)
  • Set up my partner with Fidelity accounts – specifically a traditional IRA and a cash management account because #DumpYourBank
  • Finally paid a crew to trim and haul out fallen branches and get the yard into shape. It looks amazing out there, but 🤑

That doesn’t sound like “enough” progress for the last month, but it is enough. Not every month has to be some giant leap forward.

This money, I used money as a tool to organize my immediate environment and present self as opposed to future self. I’m kinda glad the market is flat right now, because I’m not missing much. But of course I want to get back to regular investing. It was just a month full of things that popped up.

Future goals (or maybe the rest of this year)

I feel like I’ve already missed too much living this past year. I don’t want to keep missing more stuff. I’m really hoping the economy and market bounce back in a big way, especially after hovering around the same level for what feels like forever by now.

a screenshot of a phone


But I do want to:

  • Get a new job and start contributing to a 401k again
  • Max out the Roth IRA
  • Pay down the credit card by December (that’s when the 0% APR expires)
  • Buy a new car (the family is expanding)
  • Spend money on TRAVEL
  • Keep saving and socking away funds into taxable brokerage, Warren’s (my son’s) UTMA, and general savings
  • Break $300K net worth finally!
a dog and baby on the floor

This is Hank, he’s our new dog

Long-term, I still want to reach my $500K net worth goal. When I started blogging about this, my original goal was to have this amount by August 2024.

Unless the stock market really picks up or I get a windfall of cash from something, it’s looking more and more like that won’t happen. Of course, this was before Covid, kids, legal battles, and all the rest.

Even still, it’s good to have a goal. So I’m challenging myself to make some big strides in the next year or so. And hey, anything’s possible!

By the numbers

Yeah, these lines were… flat.

a child sitting on a statue

Before Warren’s haircut 💇🏼

CurrentLast MonthChange2023 Goal
Overall investments$220,220$209,162+$11,058As much as possible
Roth IRA$52,001$49,863+$2,138$6,500 (in new contributions)$4,000 so far!
Taxable brokerage + UTMA$12,194$11,798+$396$25,000 (total invested)
Primary home equity + appreciation$49,881$46,074+$3,807$70,000
Credit card/HVAC upgrade$10,691$11,708-$1,017$12,708 (starting balance)
Net worth in Personal Capital$273,654$262,014+$11,640$500,000 (overall goal)Track your net worth with Personal Capital

There was some good progress with home appreciation, but I had to dip into my savings a little to pay for things that were “cash only.”

Overall, it was a kind of “meh” month for progress. So while I have big goals, I’m trying to reconcile that with the fact that every month doesn’t have to be amazing. A little at a time will do.

May 2023 Freedom update bottom line

Y’all, I feel like a broken record for this May 2023 Freedom update. I’m sure everything will turn around in a big way  – very soon – and it’ll be like a rubber band snapping.

In the meantime, I’m doing a lot of yoga, meditating again, and focusing on the things I can control. I’m feeling happy and healthy and overall good again. Now I’m waiting for everything else to catch up. The money stuff will happen. For now, I’m looking forward to posting good news and missives again from beyond my little cocoon.

Thank you to everyone who reads these updates. It means the world to me. 

Stay safe and scrappy out there! ✨


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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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