It’s hard to believe the time for another monthly update is already here. November seemed to fly by and with the end of the month came the end of our time in the Sedona, AZ area. We absolutely loved every minute of our time there and we look forward to returning next year. In fact we already made reservations for the entire Winter next year and have the option to work camp and stay for free!
We hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday and was able to spend time with friends and family. Thanksgiving this year was very different for us as it was our first as full-time RVers and also the first time we didn’t have any family around. But that didn’t stop us from having a good time as we had a wonderful dinner and lots of laughs with our new friends at the campground. One of the great things about this lifestyle is that you are always meeting new people and making new friends. We even learned that it’s a thing to have full-time RVer business cards to hand out to people you meet so everyone can stay in touch and meet up in other locations when paths cross.
Now that we have finished getting settled in at our new location in Las Vegas we are excited to turn our attention to our first full-time RV Christmas. After last Christmas we sold almost all of our decorations in anticipation for moving into the RV. Not only did we have too much stuff but everything was way too big to take with us. Of course we had to restock with smaller more compact decorations so we waited for the holiday decoration clearance sales to start and scored some great stuff for our tiny home, including a skinny 6ft. tree that we got for $4! So we can’t wait to decorate the RV for the first time and see how everything looks. Adding to the excitement is the fact that our son contacted us and wants to come visit over his school holiday break! This was totally unexpected and it is going to be awesome!
Turning to the financial side of the month, like everyone else we suffered a case of Covid whiplash. At one point we were sitting pretty and looking to close out the month with a nice gain, then the news came out about yet another Covid variant and the markets found their catalyst to sell and take profits. I’m not going to get into the hysteria of the situation, but as I have said many times before markets react in extremes and the downside move was one of those moments. But, the good news is that reasonable long term investors now get a chance to buy and reinvest at lower prices and that’s always fun and profitable in the long run.
Here is how our portfolio performed in November 2021:
(Our original portfolio goal was $1.5m)
Portfolio = $1,577,269
Our Portfolio Decreased By $45,774 or 2.83% From The End Of October
Year-To-Date Our Portfolio Has Increased By 28.06%
Net Worth = $1,616,643
Our Net Worth Decreased By $44,273 or 2.67% From The End Of October
Year-To-Date Our Net Worth Has Increased By 12.10%
Not a great month for the markets, but it happens and it is to be expected in this crazy world we now live in. Going forward all eyes will apparently be focused on this new variant and how it impacts society. Personally, I hope this is much to do about nothing. We have been down this road a couple of times already and there is no appetite for more restrictions or closures that will negatively impact the economy. This should limit any downside when it comes to Covid.
In my opinion the fed is creating more risk for the markets than Covid. For months now they have said that inflation is only transitory and will subside. Now all of the sudden during his congressional hearing Mr. Chairman stated “the word transitory should be retired from the conversation going forward”. Welcome to reality Mr. Chairman! It was always questionable to say inflation was transitory in the first place and as I have stated before I prefer to believe what I see with my own eyes over what politicians and bureaucrats spew out of their mouths.
The fact is inflation has not subsided at all and has continued to increase. Now it appears the feds wishful thinking might have left them in the position of having to play catch up which means speeding up the timelines for tapering and rate hikes to try and slow down the inflation freight train. The danger is that this could cause a bigger problem because it takes time for the impact of these measures to work through the system and show up in the economic numbers. This could in turn cause the fed to overshoot on rate hikes which could slow the economy to a crawl and eventually lead us into a recession.
I’m not saying this is what will happen, but it is a realistic possibility down the line. And it’s hard to have a lot of confidence in a fed that took so long to acknowledge, in fed speak at least, that inflation is a larger problem than they originally thought it would be. There is real damage being done to savers and consumers because of this and it might get worse if the economy goes into recession on top of it.
As a long term investor we will continue to stick to our plan and at the same time be prepared to ride out any bumps in the road. It’s important to have a plan and a cushion when you are in our situation. We need to preserve capital to maintain long term growth while also keeping enough cash on hand to live off of. The last thing we ever want is to be put into a position where we are forced to sell assets to cover living expenses as it would erode the future growth of our portfolio.
The problem is that with inflation any cash holdings are also getting negative real returns so it is a damned if you, do damned if you don’t situation. So what do we do? One move I recently made is to move some of our cash into a high-yield tax-free municipal bond fund. We have a short/medium term duration of time before we will need to use this money so it is less risky than putting it in the markets and has a yield of 1.56%. It isn’t great, but is much better than the 0.01% we were getting in a money market account.
These are definitely difficult times to hold on to cash which is something we never worried about in our previous life. We have always loved having cash, but we made sure to invest everything we could and only kept enough cash on hand for an emergency. Now we have to think of cash as part of our short, medium and long term plans. It’s important to make sure we always have money to live off of and cover unexpected expenses that might come up without having a negative impact on our long term growth.
In November we were pretty good with our spending even though we did spend a little bit more on activities and dining out. There were some fun events in town so we went out and enjoyed some live music, a car show and of course some craft beer.
Here is how we did on our spending for November 2021:
Monthly Budget = $5,000
Our total spend for October 2021 = $4,570
Over/Under Budget = +$430
Over/Under Cumulative = $1,094 (Starting October 1st which was our first full month of retirement)
We have come in under budget for two months in a row now which is a trend we hope continues. That might be difficult with the holidays and with our son coming into town. Living remote does makes it a little easier than it would be if we were in a house and still working because there are no holiday parties or gift exchanges with coworkers.
It has also helped that we haven’t had to fuel up our RV since the beginning of September and don’t anticipate having to do so until we leave Las Vegas in March. The size of our tank and the proximity of the campgrounds we have stayed at has really paid off and helped keep our automotive expenses very low. This will trend will change once we leave Las Vegas as we have to trek all the way to Houston, TX in three days time which means lots of driving.
For now we will take the positive spending month and hope the market finds its footing for a nice end of year run. Ending the year on a positive note is always nice and hopefully sets the tone for the new year.
Thank you for taking time to read our blog. We appreciate you following our journey and adventures. If you have any feedback please leave a comment below as we would love to hear from you.
Until next time…………..