College Road Trip 2020

This past Summer we enjoyed a wonderful family adventure. We visited Yellowstone National Park and a whole host of other states and campgrounds. It was our assumption that this trip would be the last time our son would join us in the RV as he would be heading off to college next Fall. Well, it looks like we will be doing a little family road trip next year after all.

Now that our son has accepted admission to a big east coast U we started discussing the logistics of getting him and his stuff across the country. Our first thought was for us to fly there and ship all of the necessary items to him. This was going to be very expensive as flying is not cheap and neither is shipping. Our son is also a student athlete so we are not just talking about shipping some clothes and some bedroom items. We need to bring his gear also, which is a big and heavy bag.

As we discussed these possible options, it hit us. We have a huge RV, why are we even considering wasting money on flights and shipping?

At that moment, College Road Trip 2020 was born!

There isn’t a more perfect way to send our son off to college than a 2500 mile (one way) road trip. We will be able to visit states he hasn’t been to yet while spending some quality family time together before he is officially a college student. It will also save us some money and the return trip back is like a second road trip / vacation for mom and dad. It’s a win, win, win!!

While we have about nine months to prepare for this trip we do need to get started. As of now, in typical RVF family fashion, we are only thinking of planning two stops. One to see family and the one at the college town. Everything in between is going to be as spontaneous as possible. That’s the fun part about road trips for us. Some days you feel like driving more than others. So the only plans we try and make are for when we need to reach our destination.

And because this is essentially two road trips in one we will need to decide on the route going and the route coming home. The route going we will leave to our son. There are a few to choose from so it depends on what states and cities he would like to see. The route home I can pretty much guarantee will be through the southern states as that is part of the country we have always wanted to see. It’s also an excellent route if you are a history buff like me.

This is a very exciting development for us and we can’t wait to share this adventure with our followers. I will have to add up the number of states we will see. It has to be more than 15 which will be epic!

The end of this trip will also mark a new beginning for my wife and I as empty nesters. We always knew the day would come but to think it’s less than a year away is a crazy concept to grasp. Once we enter this new phase of our lives we have a lot of plans we are moving forward with. We will of course be sharing these plans with you as they develop.

After all, this is the very reason we started this blog to begin with and what we have been working so hard for all of these years.

Thank you for reading our blog. If you are not already a follower please click the follow button to the right. You can also follow us on social media by following the links below or to the right.

Until next time…………………..

Joe

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October 2019 Financial Update

Another month down and it feels like the year is flying by. October was an exciting month right up to the point that our RV got smashed by a trucker that apparently doesn’t value the use of his mirrors.

The month started out slow after I left my job. As I wrote about in my blog post titled “Two Weeks In” I didn’t get any work or even a single phone call for the first two weeks. I was getting kind of worried that I might be stuck without any income for a long time and that wasn’t going to cut it. Luckily I was able to get a connection with a company and they started sending steady business my way. It’s not paying me a lot at this point, but it’s a start and also gives me something to build on.

In the beginning of the month we also got word that our son was accepted to the university he has spent most of his life wanting to attend. He quickly committed to the school and since then we have been looking into every way possible to get some scholarships and mitigate the student loans. We saved money since before he was born for college, but the cost of going to this university is well above what we planned for. As such, we will help him find scholarships and guide him through the decision making process. However, the responsibility will fall on him to ultimately pay for the extra cost above what we planned for. Welcome to adult life kiddo!

As the month went on we also made some financial moves. It was very obvious that the gig job wasn’t going to be worth the effort. It was more financially beneficial to sell the car, so we did just that. This will save us the monthly car payment and future insurance and registration costs. We also got a nice little refund check for the prorated insurance premium we already paid on the car.

Additionally, I have started the process of rolling over my company 401k to my Vanguard Rollover IRA account. I can’t believe how convoluted this process is in this day and age. It seems like something that could be done in a little more than a week, but they are saying up to four weeks! How that can be is beyond me. They sent paperwork, I filled it out and sent it back along with a letter from Vanguard with their instructions. Liquidating the account shouldn’t be too difficult and then transfer the money. Done deal! But no, it’s going to take more time to liquidate and they insist on sending a check directly to me first and then I have to send it to Vanguard. How lame is that? And a complete waste of time as well.

While I’m waiting for this process to play out I’m also reevaluating my investment allocation in the rollover account. When I started this account I had an allocation of 70% stock funds, 20% bond funds and 10% other income funds. The stock portion was spread between 20% small, 20% medium and 60% large cap funds. Over time this allocation has grown out to where I’m at about a 78% stock, 17% bond and 5% other income fund split. This allocation has done very well for us with a 8.4% annual return rate since 2010.

The question now is where do I put the money that is being transferred over? I can use it to quasi rebalance the portfolio or I can go a whole other direction and add a new fund. Or I can go the F.I.R.E old faithful route and just put it in VTSAX and forget it. Apparently I have up to four weeks to decide, so opinions and ideas are welcome. Please keep in mind that this is also only about 3.5% of our total portfolio. So it’s not like we are making a major overhaul here.

Here is where we finished the month of October:

Portfolio- $1,004,094 (Cash and Investments)

Portfolio Goal – $1,500,000

Amount needed to reach goal – $495,906

Our portfolio increased by $12,930 or 1.30% from the end of September.

Year-to-date we are up 20.76%.

Net Worth – $1,205,182

This is an increase of 1.10% from the end of September.

Year-to-date we are up 18.96%

It was a great feeling to finally reach the seven figure portfolio mark. We were able to hold that mark despite some cash drain due to lost income and also a small sell off on the last day of the month. I don’t know that we will be able to hold this mark indefinitely until business picks up, but it sure looks nice for now.

Going forward I still think we will continue to see markets moving in the upward direction. As I said last month interest rates are going lower and they did. Stocks are the natural beneficiary in a low interest rate environment if you want a return on your investment. Additionally, the tariff and trade war with China seems to have cooled with an announcement of a partial agreement to be signed.

These two developments along with mostly positive corporate and economic news should power the markets higher through the end of the year. Of course, we also don’t know what we don’t know. But, barring any surprises it should be a good finish to the year.

Thank you as always for taking the time to read our blog. If you have any feedback or ideas on where to park this rollover 401k money please leave a message in the comments below.

If you are not already following our journey to reach F.I.R.E. please click the follow button to received updates automatically. You can also follow us on social media to receive updates.

Until next time……………….

Joe

Milestone Reached And A Huge Bummer

Today I was expecting to write about how exciting it was to finally see our portfolio cross the seven figure mark, at least for now. But on Friday, as we were in line to fuel our RV for a weekend getaway, our joy and excitement took a pause when a trucker backed up into our coach and caused some significant damage.

Now, I know the natural reaction from people will be that it was an accident and accidents happen. Or that it’s just some damage that can be repaired and it’s more important that we are ok. And I agree with these sentiments. They are true and correct. However, the feeling we have goes beyond a vehicle repair because this is not just a vehicle to us, it’s our home. And when you are sitting in your home and see a truck coming and then hear and see your home being destroyed before your eyes the feeling cuts a little deeper than a car accident. It was a very upsetting moment for us. Continue reading “Milestone Reached And A Huge Bummer”

What A Difference A Week Makes!

In our last blog update, read it here, I discussed that two weeks into our new business venture we hadn’t had a single job come our way which was a little disappointing. I also discussed how I have been working a side gig job to try and see if it was a viable way to earn some cash while building some business relationships. This past week everything changed.

After spending time going business to business, meeting people and handing out business cards I decided to do a cold call of a large agency. The response I received was the usual “we will have someone contact you about getting your business set up in our system” which I agreed to but didn’t think much about. About two hours later my phone rang and it was an associate calling to take down my business information. Again, I didn’t think much about it because I’ve already been down this road many times in the last two weeks. But this time, as we grew close to ending our conversation, the associate stopped and asked “do you want your first assignment right now?” My stomach sank and I paused because I couldn’t believe what just happened and I didn’t know if I was ready to answer yes at that very moment. So in a complete haze I answered “sure”. Continue reading “What A Difference A Week Makes!”

Two Weeks In……………………

I never thought for a minute that this transition would be easy. I also didn’t think it would be this hard.

Here I am, two full weeks into my new business and I have yet to land a job. Now, I wasn’t naive to the point that I thought a sudden avalanche of business would just magically flow my way from the day I opened the doors. However, I did think that within two weeks I would have landed at least one job. Not a big job, but something small to at least get me moving in the right direction. But so far, zero, zip, nada! Continue reading “Two Weeks In……………………”

September 2019 Financial Update

September was a month of change and closure. Once the month ended so too did the third quarter of the year, along with my full time employment in the corporate world. I’m not sad to see either one of them go.

As we start a new month and a new quarter I am also officially self employed. That has a great ring to it, and it makes me proud to be able to say it. However, saying it and doing it are two separate things and it didn’t take long for this new reality to set in. Continue reading “September 2019 Financial Update”

A Fresh Start

That’s it! For the first time in my professional life I am not employed by someone or relying on an employer for a paycheck. I don’t know that it has fully hit home yet as my last week of work was a whirlwind that ended with an awesome gathering with my now former co-workers. I wasn’t expecting anything except the usual goodbyes and good luck that comes with being in management. What I got was a full blown celebration that lasted the whole day and continued after hours and late into the night at an offsite location. It was a very humbling experience that I am still in shock over.

My new venture is off the ground and I’m officially open for business. I’m still working on my final certification and should have that wrapped up in the next day or two. The next step is to make sure all of my lose ends are tied so I can spend some time getting out and networking with other businesses. I’ve never been in the position of having to network and hustle for business. The old adage of “fake it until you make it” keeps coming to mind as I will have to portray confidence in doing something that I really don’t have any experience doing. I think my years in the business world will help me with this process, but I can’t help but feel a little nervous about the thought of walking into businesses and trying to connect with folks. Continue reading “A Fresh Start”

Countdown To Freedom

As I head into my last week of work before setting out on my own I have to admit that I am nervous as hell. There is a lot to get done this week and it’s not easy to focus when I still have to go into an office every day and put in twelve hours. On top of all this I have another certification to get so I can make sure to reach my full earnings potential.

A couple of good things that have come up in the past week. First, after doing some market research I realized that my initial pricing was too low so I’m giving myself a raise before I even get started. Another good thing that happened is that I made an agreement with a local business to refer people to me. It doesn’t cost me anything and they will keep some of my business cards on their countertop. In turn they have someone that can service their clients when needed. Continue reading “Countdown To Freedom”

10,000 Views

We reached a nice milestone today by getting to 10,000 views.

When we started this blog just under five months ago I didn’t think we would get a thousand views in a year let alone ten thousand in less than five months.

Thank you to everyone that takes time out of their day to read our blog and follow our journey. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Joe

I Quit!

As readers of this blog are already aware of, I can’t stand my job. Well, rather than complain and be miserable every day it was time to do something about it. Or as my dad would so elegantly say “either shit or get off the pot.” Continue reading “I Quit!”