Mr. Market is Mad!
Whew, December was a rough month for my net worth. The S&P 500 was down over 13% during the month, which makes it the worst month ever since I started investing seriously in 2015. Luckily I was overweight in cash, so my portfolio wasn’t hit as hard as it could have been, and I actually took advantage of the drop to deploy some of that money into domestic equities. I also received dividends from my index funds near the end of December, which was the perfect time to buy more shares at the lower prices. This is dollar cost averaging of sorts, even though I’m not currently working and haven’t been since I semi-retired in the middle of 2018. (Good thing I’m smarter than I was in 2008 and didn’t repeat my past investing mistake.) With the drop in equity prices, going into “semi-retirement” in mid-2018 could prove to be pretty bad timing on my part… Oh well no one can predict the future, and I wouldn’t change the decision now even if I could. Our around the world trip was amazing and worth the financial risk!
Speaking of our trip, we finished it and flew back home in the middle of December. We were sad that it was over, but also really glad to be getting back home to see family and have some consistency in our lives. The holidays were awesome at home, and we were so happy to see everyone. After a week or two of rest, we were ready to start thinking about future travel plans. We have already started planning our next long trip for the summer of 2019, so stay tuned for more info on that :).
Expenses and Income
My expenses stayed pretty low in December even with the week we spent in Hong Kong, which was much more expensive than SE Asia where we spent the majority of the 5 month trip. We were able to get most of our Christmas presents for friends and family in Bangkok where things were much cheaper than in the United States, which saved us money on gifts.
In December, the blog, again, brought in more income than my expenses were while traveling, which I was very happy with. Every month during our trip my income from this blog exceeded my expenses, so even though I wasn’t working I didn’t have to use any money from my savings or investments. This was quite a relief, especially with the drop in equity prices. I would have been much more nervous if I was actually drawing down money from my portfolio while the prices were dropping.
2019 Work Plans
We planned to find travel assignments as soon as possible after the holidays with a start date preferably around the beginning/middle of January. As of the middle of January, this hasn’t worked out. Jobs are much more scarce right now than we are used to, but we are still looking every day for contracts that will work for us in either VA, NC, or AZ. If we don’t find anything in the next couple of weeks, we will likely start applying for PRN jobs in our hometown to make a little money before our next long international trip. At this point, I believe I’d be fine without working at all anymore, but I actually miss treating patients some days, and some extra money to invest while asset prices are lower would be wonderful.
Due to the drop in asset prices, my estimated FIRE date was pushed back to August 2019. I expect that this will be a temporary drop (prices have already rebounded so far in January) and that I may actually be in better shape because of this temporary drop. Getting some more money in the market at lower prices is always a good thing!
Thanks for reading! How did your portfolio do in December? Did you take advantage of the ‘Christmas sale’ on domestic equities?