For this month, let’s start off with my finances, after all that’s probably the reason you clicked on this post in the first place. December resulted in another 1% increase in the S&P 500 which capped off 2017 with a total gain of almost 20%! That’s the largest yearly gain since 2013. The bull market roars on! The tax reform bill passed in December with the hope of continued economic growth from reduced federal taxes for most individuals. Decreased federal tax burden would be the case for me. I calculated a $700 savings from the new tax bill if I earned the same amount in 2018 that I did in 2017. This won’t be the case though since I’m planning to only work 6 months of the year in 2018, which I discussed in my recent post on semi-retirement.
I took two weeks off work in December, so normally this would have led to a reduction in my savings rate for the month, but that ended up not being the case. I earned enough from referral bonuses to my favorite travel companies (thanks to those of you that reached out to me for recommendations) that I actually was able to make up for the missed work. I still was able to surpass my savings goal for the month. The savings from this month combined with higher than anticipated investment returns led to my FIRE date moving a little closer to the present. I’m now rapidly approaching April 2019. However, this date will inevitably be pushed back this year due to only working half the year and traveling internationally for six months. On the plus side, I’m very close to FI already if basing it on my current monthly expenses, but I still have a little ways to go when taking into account FI as it pertains to my future expected increased expenses. At this point, my future expected yearly expenses are 6% of my current net worth. My current yearly expenses are 5% of my current net worth. The blog bringing in income is something that I hadn’t anticipated in my projections, but I hope that it continues and will help to supplement my decreased pay in 2018.
December was an awesome month for recharging. As I mentioned earlier, Whitney and I had 17 days off of work to spend time at home with family. I took my brother on a trip to Aruba for 6 days as a high school graduation present which was a great trip—and not to mention it was mostly free with credit card rewards. We had a lot of fun on the beautiful beaches there and were sad to leave. He is actually writing a post about the trip which will be published on here soon. I got to spend a lot of time home with family the rest of the time off, which was definitely overdue.
Whitney and I are enjoying being back in Eastern NC at our old jobs where we will be until mid March as of now. We currently don’t have any plan as to where we will go once this assignment ends, but it will likely be somewhere in VA or NC again (surprise, surprise :D). I promise that we will eventually make it to the west coast like we’ve been saying for the past two years. Our AZ licenses are still pending right now since we haven’t taken the Jurisprudence test for the state yet, but we aren’t really in a hurry to take it since we won’t be using the license until January 2019 at the earliest due to our international trip coming up.
Thanks for continuing to read the blog and all the support you guys have given me the past year and a half. I plan to post more in 2018 both about travel PT and finances. I’m excited about what is to come with this blog and with my and Whitney’s lives this year!