The first month of the new year is already in the books! Hopefully the adage “as goes January, so goes the year” holds true after a nice start to 2023. Obviously there is a long way to go and many hurdles stand in the way of positive returns for the full year, but a good start is always welcome!
As we enter our fourth month in Mesa, AZ it is clear to us that we will never agree to this type of work-camping structure in the future. We covered the different types of work-camping structures, and our current agreement, in our November 2022 Financial Update blog if you would like to take a look back. We won’t rehash all of that here, but let’s just say that the longer we stay here the more obvious it becomes that it’s not worth what we get in return. And the rate increase that took place at the start of the new year is only making matters worse.
It also doesn’t help that the job description we received detailing the position and responsibilities before agreeing to the deal has not really aligned with the actual experience. The job has involved more manual labor than actually working the events, which is what sold us in the interview process. We are team players and just do our best to get the work done. But some folks do not want to, or are physically unable to, do manual labor. And quite honestly if lifting tables and chairs for hours on end, day after day, was in the job description we received we probably wouldn’t have agreed to it in the first place. All of this should have been disclosed as part of our responsibilities during the interview process so we could have made that decision, but it wasn’t.
Other work-campers have expressed similar frustrations and other concerns too, so it’s not just us. In fact, some of our fellow work-campers have asked to be transferred to different assignments and some have just left the resort all together as a result. And as new people arrive to take their place the cycle has repeated itself, so that’s very telling and explains why so few people return the next year.
Despite these challenges we have no plans to break our side of the agreement as we like to fulfill our obligations. We will however, make a note to never to return to this type of structure, and to this company in particular, since they are not totally up front with their work-campers in the interview process. This is also something we might detail in a future blog as it may be useful for other work-campers if they are considering this chain of resorts for employment.
If there has been any bright spot during our time here it’s that we have become good friends with some of our coworkers and have enjoyed some good times. At this point we are all working with and eye towards moving onto our future adventures and are just passing the time. We will keep pushing forward and do our best to overcome a frustrating situation.
Here is how our portfolio performed in January 2023:
(Our original portfolio goal $1.5m)
Portfolio = $1,401,657
Our Portfolio Increased By $77,030 or 5.82% From The End Of December
Year-To-Date Our Portfolio Has Increased By 5.82%
Net Worth = $1,456,027
Our Net Worth Increased By $76,200 or 5.52% From The End Of December
Year-To-Date Our Net Worth Has Increased By 5.52%
It’s hard to ask for a better start to the new year than this! However, we must keep our expectations tempered as there are looming issues that need to be navigated in order for this little rally to have any chance of continuing. We still have the federal reserve board that thinks it’s a good idea to keep raising rates, albeit at a slower pace, despite data showing inflation and the economy are eroding. We also still have the expectation that the economy will dip into recession once again in the coming quarters. As long as the fed continues to work with blinders on and continues to increase rates they risk an overshoot and more economic fallout. If the economy slips into recession again there is no telling how deep it will go or if the fed will even acknowledge it based on recent history.
Additionally, corporate earnings have been ok but the guidance from companies hasn’t been great. And let’s not forget that layoffs are being announced almost on a daily basis, particularly in the tech sector. Sure the unemployment numbers and GDP numbers still look pretty good, but they are also lagging indicators. So while we wait to see how all of this plays out over the next few months we will try to be cognizant of the data as it is released so we can make informed decisions.
Now let’s turn to the spending side of the ledger.
January through April are always tough months for us as most of our annual expenses such as insurance, registrations and maintenance are front loaded into the beginning of the year. While these are items we budget for it always starts us off in a hole when looked at on a straight monthly budget basis and then we slowly work our way out of the hole over the course of the year.
In January we scheduled the annual maintenance for our RV and it was a large expense. In 2022 we were fortunate to get by on the cheap side, but there was no such luck this year as we needed to address a wider range of items and the vendor we used came at a premium cost. There is not much we can really do about it as the work is necessary to keep out RV, and home, in good working order so we just deal with it and move on.
Here is how we did on our spending for January 2023:
Monthly Budget = $5,000
Total spend for January 2023 = $5,714
Over/Under Monthly Budget = -$714
Over/Under Budget YTD = -$714
Less Prepaid Site Fees = -$169
Net Over/Under Budget YTD = -$545
While our annual maintenance put us over budget for the month the cost was partially offset by savings in other areas. As a result we were only over budget by $545 on our monthly budget which is only about 1/3 of what it could have been. We also had an unexpected expense in January as our dog needed visit the vet to get checked out after he was attacked by another dog in the resort. So that was a few hundred dollars spent that wasn’t planned for and kept us further in the red for the month than we otherwise would have been.
Overall we did a god job of keeping expenses to a minimum as the cost of the maintenance and the vet bill could have easily put us a couple thousand dollars over our monthly goal.
Looking forward to February we will have to pay our registration renewals which is our only large planned expense for the month. Hopefully we can once again keep our overall expenses down to offset some of that cost and also avoid incurring anymore unexpected costs. It would be great if we can have a chance to finish a month with planned annual expenses in the black, but that could be a tall order.
Thank you as always for taking time to read our blog! We hope everyone has a successful and profitable new year.
See you on the road!
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