Progress to Financial Independence- February 2018

February may be the shortest month of the year, but this February was eventful. Whitney and I found out that our current contracts would be extended until the end of June, which is perfect for us since we won’t have to look for new jobs before our big trip in July. The one stipulation for extending the contracts is that Whitney had to change clinic locations within this company. Luckily the location that she had to move to isn’t too far away, so that wasn’t too big of a deal. Although she was sad to leave her coworkers and patients. Her last day at the old clinic was February 28th, and she is settling into the new location currently.

Also in February we took and passed the Jurisprudence tests for our Arizona licenses! The Arizona board of physical therapy was waiting on us to take the test to issue our licenses, since we already had completed all the other requirements. We had initiated the licensing process back before we knew we’d be taking our international trip. After months of working on the process, within two business days of taking the test we were licensed in AZ. Arizona is definitely our top choice for where to work in December or January once we get back to the United States from our trip. The test ended up being a little harder than I was anticipating, and we had to drive about two hours to the nearest testing center, but we made the best of it. We spent that weekend in Wilmington and Southport, NC after we took the test. Both were beautiful places.

Another weekend, my and Whitney’s moms came and visited us at our assignment location in Eastern NC, which was a lot of fun. They got to see this beautiful area that we’re living in currently. Whitney’s mom had been here a few times before when we were here last time, but it was my mom’s first visit. We showed them around town, including a short drive to Atlantic Beach to walk along the ocean.

Also this month, Whitney talked me into taking a beginners shag dancing class in Atlantic Beach. I was pretty skeptical at first, but it ended up being fun. We took four classes in February, and we learned a lot even though it was just the basics of the dance.

Financially, this was the first month that my projected FI date actually moved a little further into the future compared to last month. The primary reason for this is that we had a market correction at the beginning of February. The S&P 500 dropped from a high of 2,872 on 1/26/2018 to 2,581 on 2/8/2018. There was temporary panic in the market that another 2008 situation was coming, but I wasn’t worried as I have expected a correction for quite some time, and a big drop was unlikely due to strong economic indicators. Since the correction, the indexes have been inching back up toward all time highs again. Despite the end of the month finishing better than the beginning, my portfolio had the first negative month in quite some time.

Another contributing factor in my net worth not keeping up with the projection for February was Whitney and I booking flights and AirBnBs for our trip. We now have the first 5 weeks booked including all flights and lodging, which cost us about $1,500 each. That obviously increased my expenses for February, but will directly decrease my expenses for later months, so I’m not worried about it. I plan to write several posts in the future about the total costs of our trip for you guys that are interested. Luckily, I’m still solidly in April 2019 for my FI date and coming months are looking good.

March should be a good month for my finances for several reasons: we are getting a small bonus for extending our contracts; we moved to a cheaper campground at the beginning of the month which is a shorter drive for me; I’m expecting 1-2 referral bonuses from travel companies; the equity market should continue to rebound; and I’m also working on several bank account sign-up bonuses which should be posting soon.

Stay tuned for next month!

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4 thoughts on “Progress to Financial Independence- February 2018

    1. A small bonus ($300-$600 or so) should be expected since the company doesn’t have to pay for the upfront costs associated with credentialing and travel associated with a new contract. Those costs were factored in for the original assignment length so they should be given to you as a bonus on the extension.

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  1. I am tossin around the idea of buying a camper to tow. However I currently have a Subaru Forester which has a very low tow capacity (1500). In your opinion would it be worth the extra money to get a larger vehicle to tow a better camper or should I just stick to renting rooms and save until I can pay in cash? I’m worried that between campground fees, worse gas mileage and camper payments, it would end up being a money suck instead of helping. So far the only thing I can tow with my Forester is a Happier Camper and I’m worried that wouldn’t make for sustainable living?

    Would love your input!

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    1. The main consideration should be how long you plan to travel. I generally recommend that someone only go the camper route if he/she plans to travel for 1.5 years or more. The reason for that is the up front costs and depreciation involved. With a camper, you will save money each month but it takes 1-2 years before those monthly costs outweigh depreciation and transaction costs.

      If you are planning to continue traveling for a while and decide to go the camper route, I’d get at least a used SUV to pull a bigger camper. You don’t want to get one so small that your miserable and regret it which could easily be the case when towing one that weighs 1500 lbs or less.

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