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Up $8K, starting a new 401k, and possibly switching brokerages? – January 2021 Freedom update

Since last month, I went from 33% of the way toward my $500,000 net worth goal to 35% of the way there. Once I reach $200,000, I’ll be 40% of the way. I find that breaking it up into little steps is a lot more manageable than thinking about the entire goal all at once.

This month finds me sitting at ~$173K, so I’m focused on ways to reach that next milestone. The stock market has been kind, and I’m back to rebuilding my savings after paying off all my credit cards and car note last month. All told, I’m up ~$8,000 this month. And in a few days, I should be getting the first deposit into my new 401k from the job I started a few weeks ago.

january 2021 freedom update

Cute dog alert! He was napping right before I took this pic of us

Now that I have no liabilities and only assets to think about, my finances have gotten a bit… routine? So of course I have to rock the boat.

I’m seriously thinking of moving some assets to Bank of America – enough to qualify for the Platinum Honors tier in the Preferred Rewards program – and opening a couple of new cards and a checking account with them. But the thought of switching from Fidelity to Bank of America and from earning points to cashback is giving me heartburn.

Thus are the thoughts that find me on this cool, rainy evening in north Texas.

January 2021 Freedom update

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New job, no credit card debt, car paid off, and IRA maxed out – December 2020 Freedom update

Happy Holidays! 🎄 I feel a little bad for saying this but… 2020 was actually a really good year for me. No, I didn’t travel nearly as much as I wanted and being at home all year with an occasional trip to the grocery store wasn’t what I had in mind. But I did a lot of good, important work. Most of it inward.

I know this year has been hard for so many people, and I almost don’t want to celebrate my wins publicly. But that’s what these posts are about, and I’ve always posted when things have been down. So with that…

I’m hoping 2021 will be the year I thought 2020 would be: lots of travel, live music, and exploration. During the last year of reflection, I’ve been wanting to leave Dallas, reconfigure my future, and take control of my finances.

december 2020 freedom update

I’m a new plant dad and love having so much green around

And I’ve been doing well on that last part! I have so much to tell you. So much has happened right at the end of the year.

December 2020 Freedom update

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One year of tracking later, my net worth is up $60K – November 2020 Freedom update

november 2020 freedom update

About a year ago, I started seriously tracking my net worth. And every month, I’ve posted what I call Freedom updates. Obviously, 2020 has been a wild ride and a lot has happened. I’ve had months where I’ve been way up and way down. Sometimes by tens of thousands from month to month.

After bouts of whiplash, I want to look back at where I started – before I sold my condo in Dallas and Covid-19 hit – and compare where I am now. As of today, my net worth in Personal Capital is $158,999 (darn that extra dollar lol). I’m up over $60,000 from the end of last year. And currently at 31.8% of my goal of a $500,000 net worth.

“They” say investing your first $100K is the hardest. And now my investments are sitting at $127,353. I’m contributing 30% of my paychecks to my 401k. And come January 2021, I’ll dip into my savings account to max out the $6,000 Roth IRA contribution early in the year.

november 2020 freedom update

This sure ain’t where I began. Ain’t where I end, either!

But before I get into all that, I just want to celebrate my overall progress. Despite everything, I averaged $5,000 per month in net worth gains over the last year. And now that I have momentum built, I’m hoping it’s just a short jump to the next $100K. Onward!

November 2020 Freedom update

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A Bounce Back to a ~$150K Best-Ever Net Worth – October 2020 Freedom Update

october 2020 freedom update

Last month sure felt dismal. Felt like throwing money into a fire pit, like I wasn’t catching up to my effort. There have been so many ups and down this year that I should’ve known better. But sometimes doubt gets the best of us and it’s hard to keep riding the wave.

October was much better. I am putting 30% of my paychecks into my 401k and aggressively paying down my credit cards. As of this month, I only have $3,000 to go! I’m challenging myself to pay them off completely by the end of 2020.

So I’m saving heavily and getting into excellent financial shape – as of right now, the best of my entire life. My net worth is currently $148,641. That’s 30% of the way toward my $500,000 goal!

I hope the next couple of months treat me as favorably, though that might be tough with the election coming up in a couple of weeks. We will see how the stock market reacts. I kind of expect it to dip, no matter the outcome.

October 2020 Freedom Update

Sign o’ the times

But I’m keeping myself occupied. Working, writing, talking to friends. Looking forward to my Big Bend trip next weekend. Being present has emerged as a major theme for me lately. That and connection. ⚡️

October 2020 Freedom Update

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Down $4,000 & feeling nervous this month – September 2020 Freedom Update

September 2020 Freedom Update

September is drifting past; Virgo season is over. Summer grass to fall leaves. I feel like I’ve been plugging away – and then I look at the numbers and I’ve actually slipped.

This month, I’m reminding myself that progress is slow and steady and every month won’t have big eye-popping gains. Plus, I’m getting three paychecks in October and anticipate that will help me get caught up. As cash-heavy as I’ve been, this month my stocks took a tumble.

September 2020 Freedom Update

Life was simple in September. It’s OK to feel stuck sometimes

I napped a lot. Continued meditating. Being so heavily invested in the stock market, I feel the fluctuations even more – especially now that I don’t own real estate any more.

And several things caught up with me: a big Costco run, a higher than expected phone bill, and a few nights out with friends now that restaurants are slowly re-opening here in Dallas. So while there wasn’t a lot of growth, I used money for the here-and-now.

With the election so close and headline news affecting the stock market, I didn’t realize any gains. But I’m still putting away 30% of my paycheck into my 401k and getting stocks at a discount. I do wish I’d saved more pure cash, though. That’s why these reflections are so helpful for planning each month.

September 2020 Freedom Update

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Progress & setbacks, but up $18K anyway – August 2020 Freedom Update

august 2020 freedom update

It’s been a weird month. Financially, things have been great. But I’m getting antsy about the next life phase and been doing a lot of “hanging in there” recently.

I had the idea to buy a little house in the Memphis area and move closer to family. But waiting for things to reopen. And keeping an eye on the upcoming election. And hoping to keep my job for a bit longer.

If I can make it through September, October will be a lost month (2020 is already a lost year, so it’s almost moot). There’s going to be so much election stuff that I wonder if anything will get done. And then the results will be explosive no matter what happens. Then holidays. And my lease in Dallas is up in February 2021.

august 2020 freedom update

Meditating until 2021

I’m over Dallas. I’m only here to live in an apartment and drive to an office one or two days a week. If anything, this pandemic has shown me what I want – and don’t want.

There’s a lot of wait and see going on from every angle. But time passes, as it does. Despite everything, I’ve been socking funds away for my near- and long-term future. So I’ll be prepared for whatever that might mean for this Freedom journey I put myself on.

And tomorrow’s my birthday. 36 years on planet Earth! 👽

August 2020 Freedom Update

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My first $100K: How to start investing

how to start investing

You know how bloggers say they started their site because their friends kept asking for pointers? This post on how to start investing is exactly that.

I posted on Insta and Facebook about my first $100K invested in the stock market for my retirement – separate from the cash I’m setting aside.

This milestone happened yesterday! For the first time in my life, seeing six digits when looking at my accounts – finally – was exciting.

It didn’t happen fast for me. But once I buckled down, momentum built and I nearly doubled what I had in just the past year.

This pandemic, horrible as it is, has been an advantage for saving. I’m not traveling any time soon after my weird vacation earlier this month, can’t go to happy hour because bars are closed, and have most meals at home. So my “fun slash going out” and travel budgets are going directly to savings.

If you’re in a similar spot, this is an excellent time to begin investing for your future.

how to start investing

Money Alley is a great place to be

So here’s my mini-guide. Written especially for my friends and those looking for direction. 🤑

How to start investing

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Condo sold, net worth return to form, & up $35K – July 2020 Freedom Update

july 2020 freedom update

Big news first: I closed on my condo on June 29! It hit the market April 22, and I got the offer on May 30. As y’all know, I’ve been on veritable pins and needles waiting for this. Now that it’s over, I’m almost embarrassed at the sheer amount of mental and psychic energy I put into it.

It drained me and consumed my thoughts. For the first time since I was little, I got down on my knees at night and prayed (for a smooth, quick sale).

This whole thing started in January when I got a small ceiling leak and morphed into this whole debilitating thing. But it’s done. And I finally feel like I’M BACK.

july 2020 freedom update

Now I live in an apartment in Dallas with the goodest boy

I’m always amazed (in a bad way) at how consumed I get with situations to the point where it zaps me so fully. That said, the last couple of weeks before closing were absolutely freaking crazy. In no way would I describe myself as being “calm.”

I didn’t post a June 2020 Freedom update because I knew the sale was pending and that it would shake up my financial situation. It did. And now I’m heading into the best financial shape of my life.

July 2020 Freedom Update

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Hitting a major rough patch & down $35K – May 2020 Freedom Update

Selling my Dallas condo has consumed most of my energy this month. Every time I check the Zestimate on Zillow, it falls a little more (yeah, I know it’s not reliable, but seeing the number go down gets me in the worst way). The value was above $200K for a few years, and now it’s dipped below that.

I get the resale certificate tomorrow. At this point, I’m seriously considering offloading to a cash for homes place just to get rid of it so I can move on with my life.

Because of Covid-19, I was able to get a 90-day forbearance on the mortgage. So I’m hoping that whatever’s going to happen will work itself out in the next three months. Cuz it’s seriously stressing me out.

May 2020 Freedom Update

What good has come from this situation? I’m meditating again and preparing for life’s next chapter

In the background, I’ve taken time to reconnect to my meditation practice (remember when I did that 10-day meditation retreat when I first got to Dallas?). And I’m seriously considering going full digital nomad when I no longer have a mortgage pinning me down. I want to travel again – this time, for a long time.

I’m also cutting my losses. Mourning in advance, if you will. So while my numbers are down this month, it means I’m going to have to work that much harder (or smarter) to keep my goals on track. Either way, I feel I am winding down my time in Dallas.

May 2020 Freedom Update

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Up $11K, condo for sale, moved, and uncertain – April 2020 Freedom Update

What a month for my April 2020 Freedom update. My condo is on the market now (!). COVID-19. I moved into an apartment around the corner. And I’m still employed – for now.

I’m concerned my property value is going to drop like a stone.

I always thought I was doing the right thing by investing in property. I had no idea how much control an HOA would have and how much they can affect your asset. I just want to offload this thing as quickly as possible – and I’m willing to give somebody the deal of a lifetime if it means I can get out.

April 2020 Freedom Update

Would anyone like to buy a perfectly good condo in Dallas?

This experience has soured me on condos (specifically HOAs), and to some extent, Dallas. I’m just ready move on with my life.

I will never buy property with an HOA ever again. And this whole thing really makes me wonder if I really want to deal with owning property at all. I love my new apartment – everything works and I’m not responsible for anything. I can cancel my lease and be out of here with a 60-day notice. It’s so… unattached. So freeing.

Although with COVID-19 happening, I definitely see the value of living in a paid-off house, especially with money being uncertain.

So a lot has happened in these last four weeks. And I really hope even more happens in the next four.

For starters, my investments have started to recover. But the idea of “normality” still seems very far away.

April 2020 Freedom update

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Taking a $25,000 beating & dealing with panic in a bear market – March 2020 Freedom Update

This year has already been difficult in many ways. So I’ll have to unleash a whole lot of not great news. Of course, everything is down right now. And I’m fighting my HOA about a roof repair and thinking about renting an apartment nearby and trying to sell my current place.

All that’s been going on in the background as everything I’ve worked to save in the past year or two has been wiped out in the stock market. I’m hoping I can sell before my property value suffers too much. I will never, NEVER live in a place with an HOA EVER again.

That said, I’m grateful to have a job that’s allowing us to work from home. But this – all of this – moving, renting, selling, and making repairs to my current place (including the roof and ceiling!) are going to cost me everything I have. Like, everything.

But I have to try.

March 2020 Freedom Update

I few weeks ago, we lived in a different world and I was in Cabo. How quickly things change

For a second, my finances are going to spin out of control. And oddly enough, it’ll all be OK.

March 2020 Freedom update

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One IRA maxed, a return to credit cards & up $10,000 – February 2020 Freedom Update

Hello my droogs. How quickly things change in a day.

I started this post with such excellent news to report: big gains, strong performance, and hard work paying off. As I write this, I fear I’m about to go into battle with my HOA over repairs that haven’t been made for a month – right before my (nearly free) Cabo trip. So I’ll try to put myself back into my previous headspace and vent about the rest later. Because I need to vent.

The good news is a continuous upward trend. Though I fear coronavirus is about to give my stocks a hell of a beating, I’ll have to see it as an opportunity to buy more at a discount. Because it’ll pass and that’s what it is.

This month finds me almost done maxing out my 2019 Roth IRA. Then I can finish paying my credit cards and turn attention to the 2020 Roth IRA. All according to plan.

February 2020 Freedom update

I’ll be back in Mexico at the end of this week, a lot further ahead than I was before – even if it doesn’t feel that way right now

The HOA stuff might throw a wrench in my progress soon, and I hate that. But life, right?

Sigh – going back to previous headspace again. As it stands now, my overall net worth is up to $137,88528% of the way toward my $500,000 goal. Baby steps feel so good.

February 2020 Freedom update

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