April 10th, 2016 is the day I published my first post on this blog. I was extremely excited to start writing and sharing my story with you guys. It has been a very fun and eventful year since the blog began. In the past year we’ve lived in Middleboro, MA, Mansfield, MA, Fayetteville, NC, Newport, NC, and, as of 5 days ago, we are now living in Harpers Ferry, WV. We’ve taken weekend trips all over the east coast from Bar Harbor, Maine all the way down to Savannah, GA. We also took an amazing free vacation to Jamaica back in September.
I have really enjoyed writing on this blog for the past year. I have had hundreds of people reach out to me in comments, Facebook messages, and emails. Most of which were interested in attempting travel physical therapy but I have also gotten questions about finance and student loans which I love to talk about as well. I appreciate each and every one of you that have read my posts this past year and I’d like to give special thanks to those that have taken the extra step to communicate with me individually. I’m looking forward to next year and hope to continue producing helpful and entertaining content for you guys. If there is anything in particular you would like me to write about, leave a comment below and I’ll do what I can!
I recently got the chance to sit down and talk with Dr. Will Boyd on his podcast, “Breaking Student Debt.” We talked a lot about financial matters (student loans and investing for financial independence), travel therapy, as well as a little bit about my philosophy on life and work. It was a lot of fun and I encourage you guys to check it out. Here’s the link.
I recently had the honor of writing a guest post for Mr. and Mrs. Elephant Eater over at “Eat the Financial Elephant.” When I first found their blog, I was amazed at how similar Mr. Elephant Eater and I are, all the way down to our careers. He’s a physical therapist and personal finance nerd like myself. I encourage you guys to check out the post, which is primarily about my plan to achieve financial independence in less than five years, as well as some of the other great posts on their blog. Here’s the link.
March was the most lucrative month that I’ve had financially to this point. A combination of five paychecks this month and receiving my tax refund, equal to an additional paycheck, resulted in a significant improvement in my net worth. I also received $400 in bank account sign up bonuses this month to add some icing on the cake. The stock market had a rare down month, but that was no match for my astronomical savings rate due to lots of money coming in and minimal spending.
Whitney and I have accepted our next travel assignments which will take us back to Virginia, but this time in the northwest part near West Virginia. We both agreed to change up settings for this contract and will therefore be working in a skilled nursing facility that requires home health visits as well. We believe that this will be a good change of pace for us as well as allow us to get some experience in home health which is something that I plan to do in the future. Another perk of our new jobs is an additional ~$300/month of income which will further help to boost my savings rate. At this point we will be making about $600/month more than what we made during our very first contracts as new grads. Since my savings rate and monthly savings goals were made based on that lower income, it is likely that I will continue to surpass my expectations.
March was an interesting month for my investments. As I have written about previously, I do not wish to put new money in the stock market at current valuations as I feel the risk is not worth the expected return over the next 10 years. Instead of putting additional cash in the stock market, I decided to make two personal loans, one to family, and one to fund a friend’s business. As a result of the loan to my friend, I am now a 5% owner in his gym Tri-Star Fitness and Performance which is located in my hometown, Roanoke, VA. He is doing good work for the community, and I believe that this will prove to be a good investment.
My current projection for FI is in the month of June 2020, which will be exactly five years after I first began working full time. I am optimistic that with additional money from credit card and bank account sign up bonuses, as well as good investments, I will be able to push this date up even further over the next couple of years. Only time will tell but I hope that you guys continue to stick around for the journey.