February was a relatively uneventful month compared to all the problems in January. Work went well, and Whitney and I began applying for our Illinois PT licenses where we hope to work in the next couple of months if everything goes well. We were hoping to extend our contracts to stay at the beach for the spring and beginning of summer, but it looks like the company we’re working for may be hiring a couple of full time PTs and will no longer need us here. We’ve gotten to explore the area more over the past month and have been impressed with most things around here. At this point eastern NC is definitely a top consideration for where we will live after we finish traveling.
Financially, it was another awesome month. I easily surpassed my savings goal for the month, and the US stock market continues to surge higher which boosted my net worth this month. At this point the CAPE ratio (29.52) for the US market is the third highest it has been in history and above the level it was before the crash in 2008. This is not good news for future US stock market returns that are estimated to be somewhere around 1% annualized over the next 10 years based on current valuations. No one can say for sure what the future holds, but it looks very unlikely that the market will return anywhere near it’s historical average over the next 10 year period. This is the reason that I have continued to stockpile cash instead of pouring money into the market over the past year. With that being said, I do have about half of my net worth invested in the market currently to take advantage of the gains in case the market continues to climb higher.
Based on my current calculations, I’m still going to reach financial independence in July 2020 but getting closer to June due to a higher savings rate in North Carolina and the previously mentioned market returns. In addition, I could now live for a little over 12 years on my current savings assuming an average return of 6% which is exciting to think about. Hopefully we won’t have to take any time off after our current contracts end and I can continue with my recent savings rate, but so far we don’t have any good prospective jobs. Our contracts end at the beginning of April so hopefully by next month at this time we will have a better idea of what will be in store for the next three months.