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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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Nearly $200 invested, up $7K, with sights on the future – August 2021 Freedom update

August 2021 Freedom Update

This August 2021 Freedom update finds your protagonist in beautiful Oak Hill, NY – upstate in the Catskill Mountains. It’s certainly welcome after July 2021, which was a doozy of a month. I went from West Virginia to Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to upstate New York.

Not gonna lie, in Philly I started to get travel fatigue. I found the city overwhelming. Plus, it was really hot while I was there. Here are reviews of recent stays at the Kimpton Palomar and Hyatt Bellevue in Philadelphia. And here’s my West Virginia trip report.

But now I’m staying at a friend’s house for a month or so, which will help me save cash. In fact, I’ll meet my $30,000 savings goal this month, then switch to investing all my extra income (and soooo excited about that).

After all the short stays last month, I’m firmly a believer in staying put for at least three weeks. After a month, I start to feel froggy, but two weeks is too short, so I think that’s the sweet spot for me.

August 2021 Freedom Update

Fenwick is having the time of his dog-life

OK I have a lot of ideas to share so let’s hop to it.

August 2021 Freedom update

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A shift to investing, travel while traveling, & up $8K – July 2021 Freedom update

July 2021 Freedom update

Hi from wild and wonderful West Virginia! I’m stationed right outside New River Gorge National Parkour newest one. The Mountain State surely lives up to its name. I’ll spend the weekend hiking in the park and exploring the little towns up and down the 53-mile stretch of river the park occupies.

After this, it’s Pittsburgh for a week, Philadelphia for a week, and finishing the month in upstate New York in the Catskill Mountains.

July 2021 Freedom update

I’ve been hiking every chance I get – this was on the North Carolina side of the Smokies last weekend at Hemphill Bald

In the background, I’ve stuck to my investment strategy and have been stashing away everything I can to build up savings. I’ve almost reached my savings goal and will shift into throwing every spare cent into my taxable brokerage account – something I’ve been looking forward to for a while.

Before that happens, I have a couple of expensive hotel stays to pay for. Asheville and Fayetteville (where I am now) were expensive tbh. That’s part of the danger with choosing the place instead of chasing the cheap deals, but I wanted to see them both.

After upstate New York, I’ll be more open to following cheap prices. And I’ll be able to complete my savings goal in the next month and switch to investing mode.

Despite everything, I’m still up almost $8,000 this month over last – and at 42% of my $500,000 goal. Let’s get into it.

July 2021 Freedom update

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Three months a nomad: Personal finances and points on the road

On March 21, 2021 (3/21 – like a countdown), I put all my stuff in storage and headed out on the road as a digital nomad. I spent the first month in Memphis to be near family and find my road legs.

Today, I’m in Asheville, North Carolina, after spending a couple of months in Tennessee, including Nashville (where I earned Hyatt Globalist status with my stay) and Knoxville (at an Airbnb).

digital nomad finances

I’ve been hiking so much and it’s been so so nice

I can already tell that where I’ll stay will be a combination of:

  • Award stays with points
  • Paid hotel stays
  • Alternative booking sites (Booking.com, Hotels.com, etc.)
  • Airbnb
  • Stays with friends
  • And maybe even some camping

There’s no set way I’m doing this other than I’m trying to stay around $1,500 per month for my accommodations.

And when I pay, I’m always trying to get something back: elite status, a booking rebate, more points, redeeming an Amex Offer, or meeting minimum spending on a new card (or ALL of these with a single stay like I’m doing right now in Asheville – y’all know I LOVE a good stack).

So I’m really using every trick in the ol’ trick sack to maximize this lifestyle – and help it perpetuate itself.

I have no idea how long I’ll do this. I guess for as long as it feels good. After all, I know I can always get my stuff out of storage and rent an apartment again. But now that I’ve pared down my possessions to a few bags, I don’t see myself doing that any time soon.

Digital nomad finances and how I’m managing them

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Crypto, traveling, & getting through a volatile market month – June 2021 Freedom update

June 2021 Freedom update

Howdy from Knoxville! I’ve been in Tennessee for a couple of months, but later this week I’m heading to Asheville, North Carolina – and very much looking forward to it!

Tennessee’s been great. I reconnected with hiking and made an effort to get moving and active again. Now I’m unstoppable, especially after climbing mountains in the Smokies this weekend.

It’s been a fun month in Tennessee

On the money front, things held steady. I’m up ~$4,000 despite wild market gyrations. I was able to throw $1,000 into savings and pay off every cent I put on my credit cards. And I didn’t hold back this month with the eating (and drinking) out .

I had a friend in town and woof, Nashville is an expensive city. I’m caught somewhere between living in the now and saving for the future… but let’s say “the now” took over a little more this month.

Oh and I’m newly a Hyatt Globalist member! All it took was a 29-night stay, but it worked out almost exactly as planned. Actually, I came out ahead of my calculations by a bit.

It feels so good to be transient (and I don’t use italics a lot).

June 2021 Freedom update

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40% of my goal reached, nomad life, & crypto – May 2021 Freedom update

May 2021 Freedom update

Y’all – I am so close to $200,000 that all I need is one good day in the market and I’m there. I’m officially at $198,676, which is 39.7% of my $500,000 goal. So close to 40% that I’m gonna go ahead and call it.

Hi from Nashville! I’m at a Hyatt Place about 25 minutes northeast of downtown. I’ve been here for nearly two weeks, and it’s been great so far! I’m eagerly awaiting my Hyatt Globalist status to kick in and in the meantime, I’ve been living and working.

There’s free breakfast with coffee and snacks to last most of the morning, and a fitness room where I can work out in the evenings. The local places have great lunch deals and happy hours, and I’ve been able to see a couple of things in Nashville and walk some quiet nature trails with my dog.

May 2021 Freedom update

I look like a happy demon with black eyes

I’m beginning to find my rhythm with this digital nomad stuff, though sometimes it’s weird to realize I don’t have a permanent address any more. But like, good weird. I also have to always be planning ahead, which energizes and simultaneously stresses me. But like, a good stressor. Can you tell this is new for me?

May 2021 Freedom update

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Up $8K, becoming a digital nomad, & still saving – April 2021 Freedom update

April 2021 Freedom update

Hi from Memphis! The last month has been an absolute whirlwind. I intended to do an update in late March, as usual, but then decided it would be better to do these updates near the beginning of the month instead.

The start of this month was Easter – and I was in Oklahoma meeting my bio-son for the first time, which was incredible. When I got back, I was exhausted – still am. But wanted to get this posted.

April 2021 Freedom update

And just like that… I’m gone

Also at the end of March, I rented a truck and put all my stuff in storage. I’m now living on the road for an indefinite amount of time. I’ll be in Memphis for a few more weeks. Then Nashville for a month, Knoxville for two weeks, and Asheville, NC, for two weeks. And northeast for the summer.

And I dare say I’m saving more money than before? I’m getting close to a $200,000 net worth.

Living debt-free on the road: so far, so good.

April 2021 Freedom update

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The level set and a miserable month, but still up $10K – February 2021 Freedom update

February 2021 Freedom update

Well, this month just about broke me. There was a historic, once-in-a-generation cold snap in Texas accompanied by power outages and wind chills of -15 or more. I found myself without heat, power, water, and internet for the better part of a week.

And there was nowhere to go because the roads were a slick, icy mess. Fort Worth had a 133-car pileup. I considered going to a hotel, but didn’t want to risk it. For the power I had, I paid $9/kWh and over $700 in electricity for February alone. My lease expired and I’m now paying a $400 per month upcharge.

Things are better now, but overall February was a cold, miserable month where I did work by candlelight and got price gouged out the eyeballs.

February 2021 Freedom update

And I got new glasses for those eyeballs before the power outages

But, the positives: I had never ran out of food, work was amazingly sympathetic, and my net worth rose nearly $10,000 despite everything. I now have all the creature comforts again, but it’s too little, too late. Next month, I have some personal news to share but the gist of it is: I’m finally leaving Dallas!

More on that soon!

February 2021 Freedom update

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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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