Up $8K, becoming a digital nomad, & still saving – 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

I’ve already booked places until June. And paid up on “rent” until next month. That means my two April paychecks are all mine to save. In May, I’m staying at a Category 1 Hyatt House and can’t wait to tell y’all how I set that up with points + cash.

But this past month, I focused on getting out of Dallas. My brother came out to help me disentangle myself from my old apartment. I got to Memphis and checked into my first Airbnb. Then drove to Oklahoma for a few days.

It’s been a lot of moving and driving. Once the Memphis chapter is over, I’ll head to Nashville – then I’ll really be away from home.

April 2021 Freedom update

There’s nothing like playing with a toddler outside

The highlight of the month was getting to visit with my bio-son. He’s almost two now and it was my first time meeting him. He’s so magical. So close to talking. And very wiggly! He gets around just fine. I think one day he will be an intrepid traveler. 😎

And while all this was happening, my net worth grew nearly $8,000. Even as I paid for the U-Haul and all the other moving expenses. Even as the market dipped in March. I just keep sticking to my plan, and it just keeps working, month after month.

April progress

I thought I was going to have to pay for my Dallas apartment through April. But they were able to rent it before I moved out, so when I left that was it. That situation resolved itself beautifully.

I paid a lot for gas and food on the road. And when I got to Memphis, ordered out a few times before I stocked up on groceries.

a dog lying on a bed

Fenwick loves being on the road with his daddy

I’m really into having a big emergency fund with $30,000 cash saved. As the economy begins to reopen, I might get comfortable having less in there, and maybe even buying a single family home as a real estate investment. But for now, the housing market is way too hot and I favor the cash-heavy position.

So I’ll keep moving cash into savings until I reach that goal. Then I’ll focus on adding to my brokerage account – probably the one at Fidelity because fractional shares (I can’t believe Merrill Edge doesn’t support fractional share buying, otherwise I’d probably use them out of convenience).

I’m going to try my best to keep my monthly expenses around $2,000 including $1,500 for an Airbnb or room and the rest for gas and eating out. My only recurring expenses are auto insurance, Spotify, and Netflix. Oh, and my new storage unit which is $86 per month.

a pile of boxes and a chair

My storage room filled with all my earthly belongings

I’ve pared my life down to the necessities and am on the lookout for anything else I can cut. I checked into the current Airbnb on March 24, so it hasn’t even been a full month yet.

But so far, I think I want to keep doing this for a little while. I’m enjoying the flexibility and most importantly, NOT having any responsibility aside from work. It has been so, so freeing to have those concerns removed from the vortex of my psyche. Life feels simple. And it actually does feel easier to save because of that.

By the numbers

My strategy has become so streamlined: save cash, contribute to 401k, watch investments rise.

CurrentLast monthChange2021 Goal
401k (contributions only)$4,167$2,500+$1,667$19,500
Overall investments$158,873$152,644+$6,229As much as possible
Net worth in Personal Capital $190,520$182,610+$7,910$500,000Track your net worth with Personal Capital

Overall, I’m up nearly $8,000 over the past month. While I do wonder about having a smaller emergency fund and putting more into a taxable brokerage account, I just really want the security of liquid cash right now

I’m putting ~$1,700 per month into the 401k to max it out and the rest of my disposable income into savings. That’ll be my strategy for a couple more months until I reach $30,000 cash saved. Then I’ll focus on the taxable brokerage account.

April 2021 Freedom update

So close to 40% of my goal

I think I’ll soon hit the $200K mark, which will be a full 40% of my goal. And hopefully $250K shortly after. When I hit that milestone, it’ll be full speed ahead to reach $500,000.

Since I got my financial life in order, I’m amazed at how simple it’s been to make progress.

I’ve been thinking about what I’ll do once I reach $500,000. At that point, I’ll basically be “Coast FIRE.” I do know I want to shift focus from long-term retirement planning to a shorter-term (next 30 years) horizon.

But my thoughts aren’t there yet. For now, I’m going to keep plugging away. It’s working. And it seems like it’s starting to speed up the closer I get. I’d be thrilled to hit $250K by the end of 2021. Think I can do it?

April 2021 Freedom update bottom line

I’m officially living on the road and still achieving my financial goals. It hasn’t yet fully hit me that this is my ne wlife (for now).

I’m feeling optimistic about future travel thanks to the vaccine rollout. It would be amazing to do some of this from a different country. I’ll consider that when it’s a possibility.

Hitting $200K, the next milestone, will be 40% of my overall goal. I’m gonna flip when that happens.

Until then, I’m reeling a bit. Letting it all catch up. A lot has happened in the last few weeks. My “boring” financial plan has been working hard to earn more money while life has been happening. That’s pretty incredible. I still haven’t fully processed everything. It’s been a lot packed into a short amount of time. But I think it’s starting to level out already. Thank you for following the journey. I’m so grateful for all the support and encouragement.

Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy out there! ✨

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update!
BEST Current Credit Card Deals
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards—Earn 90,000 Venture miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening, plus a $300 annual statement credit for travel booked through Capital One
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card—Earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months and 3X bonus points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Amex Blue Business Plus—Earn 15,00 Membership Rewards points once you spend after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of Card Membership and 2X bonus points on up to $50,000 in spending per year with NO annual fee
Open a savings account with Yotta and play the lottery every day—for free. Get FREE tickets with a new account!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

About Harlan

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

More articles by Harlan »


    • Lol, I did it! I can’t wait to write about the deal I got on my Hyatt hotel next month. A month in Nashville dirt cheap by stacking promos. This stuff is amaaaazing. I’m bitter about the upcoming peak pricing. Right when I get Globalist. But all the same – Hyatt is rocking my world right now. Thanks for the tips, too – St. George, Utah looks extra interesting.

      Hope you’re doing well in Japan!

      • I’m so happy you’re loving this new chapter. It’s so great to see people actually changing things instead of just being miserable. That was me for years in Denver before we made some big changes too.

        Yes, the cheap path to Globalist is something we sadly missed out on since we had to stay put while Kim’s complicated background check was ongoing. We had something like 125+ different locations over the past 2 years that we had to submit and I think they’re still working on that haha.

        There are so many great cat1 Hyatts all over the place. St George is a great spot, but there’s so much more in that side of the country to explore. Get yourself a national parks pass and go to as many as you can. Some of our faves are the Petrified Forest, Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Zion, and Death Valley. But really, every one we went to we loved. We did something like 10 days at St. George during that 25% points back promo which made each night 3,750 points, plus I want to say there was something else that stacked to make it even sweeter. I still miss the breakfasts there before this covid mess. Oh, I’m supposed to get my vaccine tomorrow morning!

        We FINALLY found a house and moved in a few days ago. Only took us 25 days to find the place. Brand new, 2 full baths, 3 rooms, huge downstairs, microwave/oven, fancy JP toilets, 2+ parking spaces, and a ceiling fan. Most of those are pretty rare in JP. But the night we moved in Kim backed the rental car into a pole next to our drive. $1k out the window, but it’s just a car and nobody was hurt. Even the pole was unscratched.

  1. It’s a shame you trust the government with your fiat.

    Learn about crypto.

    A stable coin is pegged to the dollar and in the crypto world you can earn .3 percent a fckin day on your stables. That’s $300 a day on $100k trust me you don’t need 500k to retire what you need is to put your money in crypto.

    Started this year with 11k, up to 95k with crypto compounding earning $300 a day right now. It’s a shame you working that hard,

  2. Also if you think I’m bs ing anyone can go look up CAKE that is the name of the token on binance. It’s going to $100 by end of year. Binance smart chain.

  3. I would say owning a home could get stressful, been paying a lot to fix a few things around the house since we’ve been staying a while at home and you notice the little things.

    Like you, we’re chugging away at our investments but when travel picks up again (and looks like it will), we might have to use some of that extra income and divert back to our travel fund!

    • Yes yes yessss! I can’t WAIT to divert some of my savings back to TRAVEL FUND. I can’t wait to fly somewhere overseas again!

      And totally feel you on noticing the little things when you own a house. I swear it compounds – the more you notice, the more you find to do and update lol. It’s been so nice to just not be responsible for anything. Such an improvement in my psyche/mental clutter/brainpower. But like, for real.

      Hope y’all are doing well! Say hello to that sweet baby for me!

  4. Just wanted to say THANK YOU for your updates and letting me into your journey.

    It has inspired me since last year to get my financial life in order, establish a budget for the first time and allowed me to build up my net worth.

    Indirectly, i believe it has lead me to find a better job wheee I start next month and a future move to a new city where I think I’ll be happier.

    Thanks again and looking forward to future updates.

    • Ed, this made my entire day when I saw it. Thank you thank you so much.

      Getting your finances together, making a budget, and building your net worth – YES YES YES! I know it’s hard to put your time and attention into that, but now that you’ve done it, you can start realizing the benefits – and money – of your work. I am so proud of you!

      Congratulations on the new job and the move! I agree with you – once you start optimizing, other areas start improving too. Sort of a “rising tide raises all boats” effect. Thank you for sharing your story. I appreciate the time you took to share.

  5. Enjoy your blog. I status match Wyndham to Caesars Diamond and back each year to maintain.
    I’ve been an active RE investor since coming to US 20 years ago with nothing.
    Love index funds, Vanguard Fidelity etc – I hit my $ goal just by sticking to a plan, like you do.
    Fenwick is a sweetie.
    Happy and safe travels.

Leave a Reply