October was a very enjoyable month as we did quite a bit of hiking, exploring and met up with some friends that we had worked with at our previous stop in Utah. When we decided to full-time in our RV this was the type of month we envisioned having more often than not as it was fun and productive both personally and financially.
We started the month by visiting local breweries and sampling some great tasting beer. I’m usually a creature of habit but when you go to these places it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and try new things. I did that by trying a blueberry wheat ale and was surprised at how good it was. Definitely something I would have again!
We did a few hikes in and around Sedona. Hiking in Sedona is just amazing as every trail is scenic and has awesome views. It’s something everyone should have on their bucket list if you enjoy hiking or just being outdoors. Our favorite hike of the month wasn’t in Sedona surprisingly. We decided to do a trail Southeast of Sedona. It followed a creek and ended at a perfect spot with rock cliffs and water pools. It was a great place to sit on the rocky shore and listen to the flow of the creek, take in the red rock mountains and enjoy the outdoors. You could also see native trout swimming in the water below the rocks where you sit.
We finished our hiking activities for the month with a visit to Grand Canyon National Park which is probably one of the most amazing sights to see in our Country. It was a beautiful crisp Fall day, perfect for taking in the views and photos. We had so much fun that on the way home we decided to take a detour. Instead of taking the interstate, we took a scenic drive down the highway back through Sedona to see the Fall colors. Easily one of the best days we have had since going full-time.
To top off the month we got a call from some friends we met and worked with at our stop in Utah. They are staying in the Phoenix area until Spring and wanted to come up and visit with us for the day. It was a nice surprise and great to see familiar faces. We enjoyed a nice lunch and then went into town to walk around and check out the antique shops. Hopefully we can meet up again soon.
While all of this fun was going on, the markets went on a tear. After a down month in September I didn’t think we would see a full 10% correction, but I was mentally prepared for it if it did happen. As I said in our September 2021 Financial Update these pullbacks are healthy for the markets even though as an investor they are hard to watch and experience. Historically speaking you almost like to see a pullback in September and October to reset for a nice year-end run. But the times we are living in seem to defy gravity and expectations. So after a slight pullback last month, the markets resumed their upward trajectory in October and once again achieved all time highs. That was something I didn’t expect to happen. It makes our portfolio look good.
Here is how our portfolio performed in October 2021:
(Our original portfolio goal was $1.5m)
Portfolio = $1,623,043
Our Portfolio Increased By $60,888 or 3.90% From The End Of September
Year-To-Date Our Portfolio Has Increased By 31.78%
Net Worth = $1,660,916
Our Net Worth Increased By $61,787 or 3.86% From The End Of September
Year-To-Date Our Net Worth Has Increased By 15.17%
That is a huge month as we recovered all of the September decrease and then some. One thing to keep in mind for our portfolio numbers is we no longer have any income and are completely living off of our savings and investments. Because of this, we have a cash drawdown every month which can amplify a portfolio decrease or suppress a portfolio increase. It doesn’t really matter either way as long as we are covering our expenses and growing our portfolio in the long run. But it’s something to think about when you see large decreases or increases and know there is no new money from wages coming in to smooth out the ride.
Normally this is where I give my best guesstimate on where I think the markets are heading in November, but I don’t feel any sense of direction despite reaching new highs in October. To me this means more choppy trading with steep drops, strong rebounds and probably ending flat. All the more reason to stick to your plan, hold tight and ignore the noise so you don’t make the classic mistake of panic selling and panic buying which only costs you money because of poor market timing.
Now that we are retired and our monthly budget is of the utmost importance, we are going to add a new line item to our monthly updates for our total monthly expenses. Our blog is a dual purpose blog geared toward living F.I.R.E and living the full-time RV lifestyle. I think it would be beneficial to our readers on both fronts to see the fluctuations of monthly expenses and actual cost of living while trying to live under a budget.
In our previous blog, Full-Time RV Budgeting, we showed the differences between our original budget from the planning stages and the actual expenses we are incurring now that we are living full-time in our RV. However, in this blog we only covered the categories that are the main concern for full-time RVers so they could get an idea of the actual costs related to this lifestyle. This is just a portion of our actual expenses as we didn’t include any items that are related to our personal circumstances such as insurance or RV payments. For the purpose of tracking our progress as it relates to living F.I.R.E every expenditure is important so we can stay under our monthly budget and live a long life of freedom.
To recap, our monthly budget is $5k based on a 4% annual withdrawal rate from our F.I.R.E. number of $1.5M. This doesn’t mean we will spend $5k every month because expenses fluctuate based on when some items come due or when stuff happens. On an annualized basis when we take an average of what we spent over a 12-month period it should come out close to, or hopefully less, than what our monthly budget is. Please note, we are only going to give a total number for this line item along with an over/under budget amount. Anything more will be getting into the weeds on our personal spending and no one cares about that. Additionally, starting next month we will create a cumulative year-to-date amount as we do with our portfolio and net worth so we can monitor as the year progresses. Let’s see how we did on our spending for October 2021.
Our total spend for October 2021 = $4,336
Monthly Budget = $5,000
Over/Under Budget = +$664
October was a pretty good spending month despite a couple of good size annual expenses coming due. Being stationary helps saves money on fuel and lowers our monthly resort fees. This helps to cover some of these annual expenses when they occur. In months where we travel, we will always see a bump in costs based on these two factors alone. We also spent a little more on dining out with our birthday brewery visit but you gotta have some fun.
That’s it for our October financial update. Thank you as always for reading and following our blog. Please make sure to follow us on the social media platform of your choice for updates as they happen. November is our last month in Arizona and we look forward to sharing more adventures with you.
Until Next Time………………….