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

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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.

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.

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! ✨

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About Harlan

Digital nomad living on the road and working toward financial independence.

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  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!

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