2019 Year In Review

2019 was a year of change and planning for our future.

After stumbling onto the F.I.R.E. movement and realizing we didn’t need to work into our 60’s, or even mid 50’s as we had always planned, we started taking our finances more serious. We cut back quite a bit on our spending and increased our savings rate nicely. We have never been able to accomplish a 50% plus savings rate because we have always had a sizable lifestyle and also took on the equivalent of a second mortgage with our RV. However, we did manage to move the needle in the right direction after cutting some costs and scaling back on frivolous spending.

On the downside, sort of, when I decided to move on from my job and start our business our savings rate went down to almost nothing for the last quarter of the year. Hopefully this is just a small set back as the business grows and contributes more to our finances.

I expect that our savings rate in 2020 will be about the same or maybe a little better for the first half of the year and then take a fairly dramatic turn for the good in the second half of the year when we go into full downsize mode and sell our house and belongings.

In March I decided it would be a fun idea to start a blog. Like many before me, I quickly realized it’s much more time consuming and frustrating then I thought it would be. However, I also think it is liberating and helps keep us focused. Putting something in writing tends to keeps you honest and more driven to follow through on goals or aspirations.

Lately I have been toying with the idea of upgrading the blog package to a higher level to try and get more control over some of the behind the scenes data and possibly generate more advertising revenue. It’s really a question of the additional cost being worth the investment. In 9 months of blogging I’ve only covered about 25% of the site cost through advertising. Luckily I have done much better with the affiliate links and actually made enough to cover the upgrade if I choose to do so. But is this additional cost worthwhile? Will having the ability to display different ads instead of just using WordAds make any difference at all or should I just pocket the gain and move on?

Maybe some of my fellow bloggers can provide some guidance on this subject as I am surely not the first one to ask this question.

In the Summer, we took an amazing two week road trip to Yellowstone National Park. While we had a couple of hiccups along the way, it was a great trip and proved we made an excellent choice in upgrading from our old RV to one that is more comfortable for long term living.

Moving into the second half of 2019, it became very apparent that my work situation was not sustainable. I was miserable every day and that misery was carrying into the home. It was put up or shut up time and I decided to move on and start my own business. In the first three months, the business covered all of the start up costs and we are now putting some money in the bank; just not very much of it.

For 2020 I will need to focus on increasing business volume as well as the quality of work I am agreeing to take on. Having work is nice, having quality paying work is better. 2020 will determine if this is a viable business or just a side hustle. We are profitable if you look at the balance sheet. But being profitable and making a living from those profits are two different things. If we can’t generate enough cash flow to increase our savings then the business will turn into a side hustle as I return to the workforce. I certainly hope this doesn’t happen but as a business person I have to be realistic.

Towards the end of the year our son was accepted into his dream university and also started working. The good news there is that he is saving every penny he makes as he knows he is on the hook for some of the dream university costs. He has applied to get several scholarships which would be amazing, but being prepared to not get them is just as important as applying for them.

In the fall of next year we will be hitting the road for three weeks to take him to school and enjoy a little vacation time. Stay tuned to the blog for future details on that front.

October was also the month when our portfolio hit seven figures! This was a huge moment for us which was quickly followed by a huge disappointment when our RV was hit by a trucker while in line for fuel. We have it back now and are trying to move on.

Heading into the end of 2019 we had family visit for Christmas and we tried to balance that time with work obligations. I always say it is nice to see family for the holidays and equally as nice when it comes time for them,or us, to go home. We had a great time visiting and playing card games which is a little tradition we have. We also had some days where it was clear we were getting on each other’s nerves. This year was particularly difficult as it’s obvious my parents are slowing down and I guess with that comes less patience, more frustration and more irritability. We love them all the same and cherish the time we have together but after ten days we are also glad to be getting back to normal.

As we close out 2019 we would like to extend a thank you to all of our readers. We always thought this blog would be fun but also an exercise in futility. I pretty much thought I would be talking to myself and hoped to possibly get a few followers. While we are not exactly setting the blogging world on fire we now have over 300 followers across all platforms. This is about 297 more than I ever thought we would have and that includes myself and my wife.

We look forward to bringing you many more posts in 2020 and updating you on what will most certainly be a wild year. First up will be our December 2019 Financial Update which should be interesting with the new market highs.

Please leave your comments or suggestions below as your feedback is important to us.

If you are a blogger and have any advice in regards to upgrading the platform to allow tracking tools, plugins and advertising outside of word ads your feedback it greatly appreciated.

Have a great New Years everyone and please be safe.

Joe

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