The end of August brought with it the end of our time work camping and with that the end of our time in Southern Utah. While we were more than ready to pack up and leave for a new location and a fresh change of scenery it also meant it was time for our son to head back to the East coast to resume his college courses. Although we have been down this road twice before this time was different and more difficult as we don’t know when we will see him again. He has expressed his desire to remain on the East coast where his friends are and as of now we have no plans to go back that direction until next Summer. The thought of not seeing our son for almost a year is a difficult concept to grasp, but I guess that is what growing up and becoming an independent adult is all about. Hopefully we can find a way to see him sometime during the holidays but it doesn’t sound like he will be coming our way for that to happen.
As mentioned, we completed our first work camping assignment and over all the experience was great and we will defiantly be doing it again. In fact, we have already committed to returning to the same campground for three months towards the end of next Summer. The owners of the campground were very generous and asked us to stay through the Fall this year too, but after spending four months in the same place the thought of being there another 3 months was not appealing and would have been more of a sacrifice of our time and plans. After arriving at our new location it was clear we made the right decision as we would have had to give up this amazing spot we now have in Arizona. Not to mention Mrs. RVF is in her final days of corporate life and she would have had to give up her long awaited and well deserved break from working.
As for the work camping experience itself, we had a great time for the most part. We were able to learn and gain experience on a new computer system that will allow us to work at any campground. Additionally, we learned about the retail side of the camp store, how to make reservations, how to operate some machinery, plumbing, electrical, air conditioning and some landscaping. Best of all we made some great new friends and we look forward to crossing paths with them again someday. If we had to list the negatives it would be that one work camper couple was just negative and unfriendly and spent more time complaining than working which put more work and pressure on other shifts to pick up the slack for their laziness. Also, a lot of the campers that came into the campground were rude, miserable and entitle people that don’t think they have to follow the rules and complain about the lamest stuff. I already detailed that side of the experience in a previous blog that you can read here. But these are the things you will always have to deal with and it will not keep us from taking future jobs to get a free site and a little bit of extra cash in our pockets.
Financially August was an expensive month as our son started classes again which means it was time to pay for tuition and housing. Originally we were going to make monthly payments, but then we received the schedule and the additional charges that were added to the payments were insane! So then they told us we could use a credit card which was appealing at first because we would get points and cash back, but once again they added an enormous fee which didn’t make it worth it. So we paid straight cash for the entire semester! Isn’t financial independence great?! Sure we laid out a lot of cash but we didn’t spend a penny more that we needed to and we don’t have to make anther payment until the next semester begins. Having the financial flexibility to make that decision helps validate our financial journey.
Because of the large cash outlay we expected to have a negative month financially. But Mr. Market was on our side for most of the month and were were able to cover our payout and even add more on top of that.
Here is how our portfolio performed in August 2021:
Portfolio = $1,602,918
Portfolio Goal = $1,500,000
Amount Needed To Reach Goal = ZERO
Our Portfolio Increased By $23,980 or 1.52% From The End Of July
Year-To-Date Our Portfolio Has Increased By 30.14%
Net Worth = $1,639,220
Our Net Worth Increased By $24,459 or 1.51% From The End Of July
Year-To-Date Our Net Worth Has Increased By 13.67%
Wow, we did not expect that! Not only did we cover the cost of our son’s tuition and housing for the semester, but we increased our portfolio by over $20k and cracked the $1.6M mark at the same time! Mr. Market picked a great time to give us a good month. Of course that could all change at any moment but it looks good today and we will take it.
As we head into September the markets are still at all time highs and I’m not holding my breath for more gains. At some point there has to be a correction and September is typically a rocky month to begin with. I also love September because we will get huge dividend payments so if the markets correct then those payments will be reinvested at lower prices so there is a silver lining if/when a correction does happen.
Personally and financially we are heading into a pivotal time as Mrs. RVF has just a couple of days remaining before she retires. We would like to see our portfolio continue to grow and add more financial cushion to our future prospects. As of now we hold just over a years worth of expenses in cash which will be the first thing we draw on. This also gives our investments in taxable accounts another year of growth before we start converting some of them to cash to live off of. Further down the line I will begin a Roth conversion ladder to start converting 401k funds to usable money. This will be how we bridge the gap to the day when we can tap other pretax accounts without penalty. More on that at a future date. Our only task remaining is to settle on what to do with medical insurance which there are several options we are looking into. It’s a little harder to do when you are only in your home state once every five years but we will figure it out.
That’s it folks! It’s a very exciting time and it seems like changes are happening every day. We look forward to sharing our travels, adventures and financial updates as we begin this new and exciting chapter of full retirement. It’s hard to believe the day is finally here after decades of planning, saving and investing through bull markets, bear markets, corrections and crashes.
If there is one thing you can learn from our journey it’s that if you create a plan and stick to it through the highest highs and lowest lows you will eventually come out exactly where you want to be.
Be sure to follow us on social media for updates as they happen. Thank you as always for reading our blog.
Until next time…………….