February 2020 Financial Update

Oh where to begin on this one? In our January update we talked about the end of the month impact on the financial markets from the Coronavirus. At that time we had some panic selling that turned the markets negative for the month and wiped out some nice gains. I was tempted to buy into the market, but ultimately decided to hold off which turned out to be a good decision.

Then came February and the panic took full hold with massive irrational moves to the downside. For me, it was time to move once we passed the 10% correction threshold. I half jokingly tweeted on Friday the 28th as the market closed that I thought we were near the bottom.

By this time I had already made my move.

This was a decision based on how the market was reacting at the time. Although they were still down on the day the Dow clawed its way back up from a 1000 point loss to close down 400 and the NASDAQ actually closed green by less than a point. It wasn’t about timing the market because as I have said before, that is a fool’s errand. The market was showing some level of buying support and that is something I look for in irrational times. It turned out to be a good move so far as the markets rallied on Monday and even with Tuesday’s Fed-induced pullback, they are still off their lows as I write this.

Now, I don’t write this to pat myself on the back. The markets could have, and still can, very easily collapse further. Because of this I also hedged by increasing a monthly contribution in case there is a need to average down. Either way we keep buying at reduced prices for the time being.

The point of this is that there is no reason to panic in uneasy times. It sucks to lose money, but there are long term benefits for those that can keep a level head and see the big picture. There are a ton of quotes from the Warren Buffett’s of the world that we could insert here, but I’m sure you already know them and they don’t need to be constantly repeated.

This is the beauty of having a long term investing outlook. Our timeframe is not today, tomorrow, next month, next year or even next decade. Our timeframe is forever. Again, insert Warren Buffet quote here.

So let’s see where all of this market madness dropped us off at the end of February:

Portfolio = $992,770

Portfolio Goal = $1,500,000

Amount needed to reach goal = $507,230

Our portfolio decreased by $52,319 or 5.01% from the end of January

Year-to-date our portfolio is down 5.33%

Net Worth = $1,203,920

This is a decrease of $50,557 or 4.03% from the end of January

Year-to-date our Net Worth is down 3.75%

As you can see we took quite a hit in February. It’s probably the worst we have had when it comes to dollars, but not on a percentage basis. This puts us back at September 2019 levels which in the big picture isn’t too bad considering the run we have been on.

If I have one small thing I was a little bummed about is was falling below the $1M portfolio threshold. But that quickly rebounded and hopefully it stays that way. I understand that this was more likely than not to happen eventually because we need market corrections for long term growth.

So where do we go from here? I stand by my statement that this virus, while bad, is not the real reason for the market sell off. It might be the catalyst, but it’s not the reason. The reason is that the markets were overheated and well overdue for a correction. The virus gave people looking for a reason to sell their opportunity to do so. Once that process started and fear set in, it snowballed with a little help from the folks in the media. You might disagree but that’s my opinion.

If you haven’t already please read the excellent write up from MMM for a very level headed assessment of the situation.

Going forward I expect this hysteria to wind down and for the markets to refocus on economic conditions and the upcoming election. There is no doubt that there will be some impact on corporate earnings and the economic indicators will also take a hit. However unless there is a sudden and dramatic increase in cases and deaths in the United States I believe this will only be a speed bump in the road for the economy as opposed the full blown recession some in the media are fearing. As I have said before, the November election poses a larger risk to the economy than the Coronavirus. Again, my opinion.

March brings the end of the 1st quarter which also means dividend payouts will start rolling in. I’m hoping some of the moves we made at the end of last year increases our dividend income. March will be our first chance to compare our new allocation against the same period last year. I’m not expecting a huge increase but I would like to see movement in the right direction.

We continue to inch towards the Summer months which is when the fun really begins. Stay tuned for that.

Have you ever tried timing selling everything you own, including your home, while trying to work, plan a three week road trip, assist a kid preparing to start college with trying to get scholarships all while also making accommodations so you have a future place to live? Yeah, it’s a-lot of fun.

Thank you for taking time to read our blog. We look forward to bringing you updates on our future adventures as they unfold. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be very busy.

Until next time…………………….

Joe

Full-Time RV Finances

In our last blog I discussed that we are moving forward with going full time in our RV later this year. As you will recall we didn’t expect to have to make plans so far in advance, but it became quickly apparent after a visit to one of the resorts that we were actually almost too late. Since then we put down deposits for November and December to reserve a space.

While this is a current unexpected expense, it is refundable if we don’t meet our timeframe goal and need to cancel. It also gives us some much needed flexibility by booking two months instead of one. Additionally if we do meet our November 1st goal, the deposits go toward the space and the out of pocket cost will be lower at that time. So there really is no risk of losing any money by making this move and it gives us peace of mind. Continue reading “Full-Time RV Finances”

2019 Year In Review

2019 was a year of change and planning for our future.

After stumbling onto the F.I.R.E. movement and realizing we didn’t need to work into our 60’s, or even mid 50’s as we had always planned, we started taking our finances more serious. We cut back quite a bit on our spending and increased our savings rate nicely. We have never been able to accomplish a 50% plus savings rate because we have always had a sizable lifestyle and also took on the equivalent of a second mortgage with our RV. However, we did manage to move the needle in the right direction after cutting some costs and scaling back on frivolous spending.

On the downside, sort of, when I decided to move on from my job and start our business our savings rate went down to almost nothing for the last quarter of the year. Hopefully this is just a small set back as the business grows and contributes more to our finances. Continue reading “2019 Year In Review”

Happy Thanksgiving!

We would like to take a moment to wish all of our readers a happy Thanksgiving.

We appreciate your support and taking time to follow our journey.

Joe

This and That……

It has been a few weeks now since our RV was damaged in a incident at a truck stop. You can read up on that here if you missed it. This has been a major bummer for us as we have had to cancel two trips now and have been stuck at home on weekends. The good news is that we finally got word this week that the repairs are completed and our RV is ready to be picked up.

The worry however, as with any vehicle, is that there will be additional issues that need to be worked out or that some things will not work the same as they did prior to the accident. I guess we will cross that bridge when we get to it. Also, our insurance waived our deductible so we are not out of pocket for any money. In the end, we got the best results out of a bad situation and we are grateful for that. Continue reading “This and That……”

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. Continue reading “College Road Trip 2020”

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!”

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”