April 2021 Financial Update

The month of April came and went in what seemed to be a flash and we are happy it is over. The month began with us still being stuck camping in a bodyshop parking lot as repairs continued on our RV. Once the wonderful folks at M&M Coach completed the work it was time for us to head to South Dakota so we could complete the process of becoming residents.

Of course everything we hoped to avoid on our journey to and from South Dakota ended up happening. And why not since Murphy’s Law seems to be our copilot and trial by fire is the gauntlet we apparently have to run through in order to live this amazing life.

We hit below freezing temps, snow and heavy winds pretty much every single day in Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota. Just the week before these same places were enjoying sunny 80 degree days but now it’s snowing in the middle of April. We made sure to fill our water tanks every chance we got because several campgrounds were unable to turn on their water due to the risk of the pipes freezing. This also meant we had to ration water because getting more would require breaking down camp and driving the RV somewhere in snowing conditions to refill the tank. No thank you!

We were very fortunate that our mail forwarding company and the South Dakota DMV are quick and efficient unlike California as we arrived on Tuesday and by Friday we were full residents. You can see that story here. This worked out well because there was a big storm heading our way that was going to hit the day before we were supposed to leave. The possibility of getting snowed in was real and because of the cold weather we were already very low on water and had burned through almost 80 pounds of propane in just over 7 days. There was no way we would have had enough of either to get us through the weekend let alone until Tuesday when we were supposed to leave. Since we had already accomplished everything we came for, minus visiting Mt. Rushmore and every other fun thing we wanted to do, we decided it was best to leave South Dakota 4 days early before the storm hit. It cost us some money we had prepaid but that was a small price to pay to get somewhere warmer and not get snowed in.

After two more days in below freezing temps as we drove back through Wyoming and Utah we finally arrived in sunny Las Vegas completing 2400 miles of driving in just over a week. We had contacted the folks at the campground and they were generous enough to block our spot for a few days prior to our scheduled arrival date so we had a nice cushion and could get there anytime we wanted. Once we arrived we wasted no time setting up camp and enjoyed 2 weeks of sunshine with just a few days of strong winds. Much better than freezing cold and snowing.

After two weeks in Vegas we headed back up to Utah which is where we currently sit. We have this site booked for the entire Summer and we plan to make the most of it. Our son will soon arrive and we plan on doing a lot of fishing, hiking and visiting with family who lives in the area during our time here. When we arrived our friends were here already and it was so nice to sit and visit with them for a couple of days. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you miss familiar faces until you see them again.

While all of this was going on the financial world continued its hot streak. It was difficult to pay much attention to the markets until we settled in Las Vegas and able to exhale. Once we were there I was pleasantly surprised to see that we had some good gains.

While reviewing our accounts I made a decision to modify and utilize an old brokerage trading account that has sat dormant for many years. As a matter of fact I believe the account is now with the third brokerage after a couple of acquisitions. At one time this account was used in a very unsuccessful attempt at day trading which I eventually gave up on and moved to investing in index mutual funds. Since there wasn’t much cash left in the account I decided to use that money and start a mini dividend portfolio as a little side hobby. In order to fund this account in the future I decided to take any money made from this blog through advertising or affiliate links and use it to build a portfolio of dividend paying stocks. This is not a lot of money so taking passive income to try and build a portfolio that earns more passive income sounds like it could be fun and it’s only going to be a fraction of our overall portfolio so the risk is minimal.

As for our overall portfolio, Here is where we ended for the month of April 2021:

Portfolio = $1,532,256

Portfolio Goal = $1,500,000

Amount Needed To Reach Goal = ZERO

Our Portfolio Increased By $55,313 or 3.75% From The End Of March

Year-To-Date Our Portfolio Has Increased By 24.41%

Net Worth = $1,558,562

Our Net Worth Increased By $51,170 or 3.39% From The End March

Year-To-Date Our Net Worth Has Increased By 8.08%

There it is!! We first crossed our portfolio goal on April 6th and so far we have not looked back. It was exciting to see but with everything going on I could only muster up the energy to send out a tweet instead of dedicating time to write a blog post. So yay us!

Financially April was a very expensive month for us. First we had to pay about $1k for fuel to get to South Dakota and back. Also one night stops at campgrounds are pricey, but it was way too cold to boondock anywhere to save money. Once we were in South Dakota we had to pay for our vehicle registrations, licenses and full time insurance for the rv and Jeep. Finally we ended up liking the place we stayed at in Vegas and decided to prepay for a campsite to spend the winter there. Let’s not forget we also ate the cost of 4 days in South Dakota by leaving early.

On the positive side we are done with our transition now so there are no more expenses we will incur going forward. Also while it is expensive to prepay for campsites it all evens out in the end because future months will not have that expense. And because we are stationary for a few months at a time our fuel costs will be zero for the RV in most months. So it’s a lot of money upfront but over time you recoup some of that cost.

As for the markets it’s hard to give an outlook as I have been so disconnected for the last month. It appears the reopening surge is happening but inflation is a concern regardless of what the Fed is telling everyone. I tend to believe what I see with my own eyes before believing what some government official is trying to sell on the financial networks. Everything is getting more expensive and that’s a fact.

We are now entering sell in May and go away territory and with the markets primed for a correction I wouldn’t be shocked one bit if that happens. When corporate earnings are blowing out the numbers and stocks don’t budge or even move in the opposite direction it starts looking like people are looking for a reason to sell and lock in some gains. Can’t blame them at this point.

We will continue to stick to our long term strategy but now with a small slice of dividend investing on the side. I’m excited to start building this little side hobby and see where it goes. I haven’t researched and actively invested in individual stocks for over a decade and last time I did it wasn’t pretty. But the strategy and goal this time is also much different and the dollar amounts are small for now.

We look forward to sharing our adventures with you and thank you for reading and following our little blog.

Until next time…………………….

Joe

Becoming South Dakota Residents

To us one of the essential parts of becoming full time RV’ers was to establish residency, or domicile, in a state other than California. This is something most full timers do if they no longer intend to have a permanent residence or home base in a state. There are several reasons both financially and logistically to take this step and although it takes a little bit of work it is a fairly easy process and well worth the time.

When it comes to full time travelers some states are more beneficial than others. Have you ever noticed that many RV’s on the road are to be registered in South Dakota, Texas or Florida? This is because these three states are considered full time friendly states and make it very easy to become residents even though you don’t intend on being in the state most of the time. Another thing these three states have in common is they have an income tax rate of ZERO!! That’s right, if you are a resident of one of these three states you do not have to pay a state income tax. Contrast that with California who has one of the highest state tax rates in the nation and you can start to understand our motivation for getting out of the state. Continue reading “Becoming South Dakota Residents”

March 2021 Financial Update

There is not much more that can be said about our current situation than we outlined in our previous blog. The good news is that there is now light at the end of the tunnel and we are taking everything one day at a time.

Financially the month of March was pretty good considering we had a large cash outlay to pay off our son’s first year of college. Due to this expense we expected that we would, at the very least, have a negative month. We were really just hoping it wasn’t too negative. Throughout the month the markets were very choppy due to rising yields, inflation concerns and of course covid-19. In the end some positive news pushed the markets up and much to our surprise we were able to squeak out a small gain. Continue reading “March 2021 Financial Update”

What To Do With Cash Now?

I don’t know about you, but I remember the days when you could earn some interest on your cash. This is definitely not the case in today’s low no interest rate environment.

Back in the 90’s and early 00’s we had a cash account with a brokerage where we parked our emergency cash fund. Our balance back then was about $35k and we would happily earn about $75 a month in interest. It wasn’t crazy money but it was better than a bank savings account and was still liquid should an emergency arise. We at least felt like the money wasn’t getting killed by inflation while it was protecting us from unforeseen events. Continue reading “What To Do With Cash Now?”

February 2021 Financial Update

We are one week into living the RV life and to say the last month has been a whirlwind would be a drastic understatement. After getting everything loaded up and driving to our first stop we looked around and saw a giant mess. It looked insurmountable at first, but once we started tackling each area of our storage we became more encouraged as we cleared out bag after bag of our belongings. It turns out we had a lot more stuff left than we realized but after a week of organizing and adjusting to a new routine we feel a lot more at home. Continue reading “February 2021 Financial Update”

New Beginnings On The Open Road

We did it! After years of planning, saving, investing, researching and pandemic delays we are finally living in our RV as full timers. There is still a lot to do but the hard part is done now that we took the leap and made it to the other side. It’s wonderful to say we actually achieved a long term goal and hopefully our journey will help inspire others to do the same.

We all have goals in life. Some people write them out or track them in one form or another while others just keep a mental note of things they would love to do and call it a goal. Typically those that track their goals are actually working in some fashion to achieve them while those keeping a mental note are mostly just dreaming about it. I call it the “maybe someday” syndrome, which is something we suffered from for many years. Continue reading “New Beginnings On The Open Road”

From House To Home

We are entering the final week of living in our old sticks and bricks house. It’s been a great place, but we knew it was never going to be our final home. The excitement of finally living in our RV full time far outweighs any emotions of leaving the house and to be honest there really aren’t any emotions about leaving. It’s a great house in a great location but it’s just not us and never has been.

It’s amazing what we have been able to accomplish in the last three weeks. We have sold nearly all of our possessions including our furniture, dishes, cookware, everything in our garage including a car and some of my musical equipment. There have also been some bumps in the road along the way but we have managed to figure out a solution and move along. Continue reading “From House To Home”

January 2021 Financial Update

Events are evolving quickly in the RVF household. In January we put our house on the market and it sold in just two days, read about it here. We are now in full blown sell everything mode as we have to be out of the house in just a couple of weeks. It’s looking like we will need every minute of that time to clear out.

Of course when you sell your home and move into a RV you need a place to go. Since we need to stay in the area for a few more weeks we were able to make reservations at a not so local RV park. It’s going to cost more than we planned on spending but options were limited for a monthly space in our area. As my dad would always say “any port in a storm”. We plan to spend the next month tying up loose ends like filing our taxes, winding down our business and getting organized and adjusted to full time RV living. Continue reading “January 2021 Financial Update”

RV Life – The Final Countdown

This is it! Everything we have planned for over the last few years is now, finally, coming to fruition. The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind and we expect that will continue for at least another month now that our house is sold.

Once we settled on the decision to go with a real estate agent everything seemed to move at a breakneck pace. Using a traditional agent was a tough pill to swallow at first but when he got started we quickly realized it was the right decision, albeit an expensive one. Every agent has the standard responsibility of listing and showing the property. But generating interest and creating a competitive market to gain the best price definitely takes skill. It was fun to watch the process play out and it also paid off with our property selling for a record price for our neighborhood. Continue reading “RV Life – The Final Countdown”

December 2020 Financial Update

And exhale! It’s finally here, the end of the month and the end of the most chaotic year of our lives. We referred to 2020 as the year of change as we had big plans and big goals, but we had no idea what was in store.

In 2020 everything that was supposed to change didn’t. We are still living in our house. Our son went off to college, but he came back home and he is still here. Our RV is still sitting in a storage yard. We are still paying for bills that were supposed to be gone with our new and improved nomadic lifestyle.

In the end it feels like nothing changed except the calendar. Like Groundhog Day we are starting 2021 with the same goals and plans we had at the start of 2020. Continue reading “December 2020 Financial Update”