May 2021 Financial Update

May was a relatively quiet month which was a nice change of pace from what we have experienced over the last few months. It feels like we are settling into a new routine and we have been able to enjoy more time in the outdoors. We did a few hiking trips this month, two of which were in Bryce Canyon National Park, and I have been going up to our favorite lake a couple of days a week to fish with our son and my dad. At this point the most difficult thing to deal with is helping family understand we are not on vacation and we can’t go out to dinner every night or stay up late and play cards. Mrs. RVF still insists on continuing to work so we still have a schedule to keep for the time being.


Bryce Canyon National Park

Now that we are getting settled into a routine we starting to get a better picture of our living expenses and how they align with the budget we created. May was really the first month we have had since we started full timing where we really didn’t have any extra travel expenses or other expenses relating to our transition. We did have a couple of unplanned expenses as we needed to book a flight for our son to go back to school in August and we bought annual finshing licenses because it is cheaper in the long run than buying multipule licenses for shorter time frames. Also having our son home adds quite a bit to the monthly food bill. Despite these added cost we still managed to come in a few hundred dollars under budget.

The big wow moment comes when we compare our May 2021 expenses to May 2020. Year over year we have seen a 40% decrease in our expenses and we are really just getting started. Most of this decrease is because we no longer have to pay for a house and all of the expenses that come along with having that responsibility. But there are other things that are contributing to this nice decrease in expenses as well. We are no longer in tax happy California so fuel costs are much lower. Even after increasing the amout of driving we have done since we arrived in Utah and the fact that fuel prices are currently very high for the state it’s still alot cheaper than what we paid in California last year. Additionally, our food costs are lower than the same time last year even with our son home and despite higher prices due to inflation. The fact is life is just less expensive outside of California.

Aside from home expenses one of the biggest savings comes further down the ledger and that is vacation and travel expenses. In the past we spent several hundred dollars a month going out and camping in our RV because that is what makes us happy. Now we are living that life full time and because of that these expenses no longer exist. For example, we spent our budget amount for diesel fuel in May but now we are stationary for 4 months so we will not be filling the tank anytime soon. This is much cheaper than having to fill 100 gallons of deisel fuel every other week in California, who btw has the highest fuel tax in the nation, so we could go glamping. In addition you can say that monthly space rental took the place of weekend space rental, but it also took the place of our mortgage, HOA and utilities. Additionally you get a large discount when you book a spot for a month or more as opposed to partying for a weekend. Anyway you slice it the monthly savings is huge and this lifestyle is paying off both mentally and financially.

Here is where we ended for the month of May 2021:

Portfolio = $1,546,742

Portfolio Goal = $1,500,000

Amount Needed To Reach Goal = ZERO

Our Portfolio Increased By $14,486 or 0.95% From The End Of April

Year-To-Date Our Portfolio Has Increased By 25.58%

Net Worth = $1,577,099

Our Net Worth Increased By $18,537 or 1.19% From The End April

Year-To-Date Our Net Worth Has Increased By 9.36%

As we mentioned in our previous update April was a very expensive month due to traveling to South Dakota to establish residency, having to pay up front for new insurance for our RV and Jeep and double paying for a rental space so we could get out of the below freezing temperatures in South Dakota a few days early before a storm hit. We use credit cards to pay for as much stuff as possible so we can earn points or cash back and we ALWAYS pay the balance in full each month. Well that bill came due and we had to lay out a nice chunk of cash so our cash on hand went down a little and our monthly portfolio gain lagged because of it. But I will never complain about a positive month.

Towards the end of April I decided to start a mini dividend portfolio as both a side hobby and a way to generate more passive income. To fund this accout I am using money earned from this website from affiliate marketing and advertising. This will hopefully take passive income earned and invest it to generate more passive income, in essence creating a snowball effect. I started the month out with just a few hundred dollars that was dead money already sitting in my old trading account. I then went back and looked at how much money we earned over the last couple of years and transfered it to the trading account. At the end of May the account was up to $1,300 and invested in various stocks with an average yield of 4.2%. This will generate forward dividends of about $55. It will be fun to watch this account and the forward dividends grow as more money gets invested and the DRIP starts taking effect. It will be a slow process but that is half of the fun.

Going forward into the Summer months I don’t expect much to change from what happened in May. There was selling in May but no one went away, in fact they all came back at the end. It seems everyone is in a wait and see pattern with eyes on inflation and the Fed. If this inflation is indeed transitory then the reopening rally continues as the Fed watches from the sideline keeping the status quo in place. If the inflation we are seeing becomes more consistent and continues then the Fed will have no choice but to step in and that could change the ball game completly as we move into a rising interest rate environment. Until there is more clarity the markets will probably be choppy and move sideways.

As usual we will stick to our long term invesment strategy with a side order of dividend investing fun. The lazy days of Summer are upon us.

Thank you for reading our blog. Follow us on social media for updates and photos as our adventure gets into full swing.

Until next time……………

Joe

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!

Continue reading “April 2021 Financial Update”

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”

Living The Dream For 30 Days

There is a common understanding in the RV community that the full time lifestyle while amazingly liberating, can also be extremely challenging and frustrating. The mantra that you have to take the good with the bad is repeated adnausium in social media groups. There is no going into this way of living without knowing that you will eventually face your share of challenges and adversity. Well, after one month of living the dream, consider us fully christened into the realm of taking the good with the bad! Continue reading “Living The Dream For 30 Days”

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”

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”

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”

November 2020 Financial Update

What would 2020 be if we didn’t have a record breaking month for the markets on top of everything else that has happened this year.

In our October update I mentioned that the four market drivers going forward will be Stimulus, unemployment, growth and covid. With at least two covid vaccines now ready and waiting for approval the markets made major moves upward in anticipation of a post pandemic environment.

Additionally there are signs that stimulus talks are picking up again in Washington. I’m not holding my breath on a deal yet, but if talks are successful this time it could help people and businesses bridge the gap between the time the vaccines are approved and when they are made available to the general public. I think this is what needs to happen before we can get back to meaningful positive growth and lower unemployment rates. It’s always nice to have a positive month but there is still a long way to go before the economy gets back on steady ground. Continue reading “November 2020 Financial Update”