Progress to Financial Independence- February 2019

Back to Work

I’m pretty late getting this update out unfortunately. We’ve been pretty busy lately with some adjustments in our plans. At the end of February we found a couple of really good travel jobs! High paying outpatient jobs are always our main priority, and we found that this time close to Northern Virginia. It’s a relatively high cost of living area which is why we’ve always avoided this area in the past, but the jobs were too good to pass up. Originally we planned to live in the fifth wheel for this contract, but we got very lucky and found a furnished place on Craiglist (thanks to Whitney’s mom) for quite a bit less than the local campground would have been. We were a little nervous about the set up, but after a month of living there now, we have no complaints at all and are very happy we went with this place instead of the campground.

Currently our contracts are both set to end on May 10th which is exactly what we needed. That gives us enough time to make it back home for my brother’s PTA school graduation, and then leave for Europe for our 15 week trip a couple of days after that. After our longest and most challenging job search to date, we ended up in a really great position, so it turned out to be worth the wait. I’ll be working a total of 10 full weeks on this contract, and that will likely be the only PT work that I do this year. Luckily that 10 weeks of work should more than cover all of my expenses for the entire year including the time in Europe! Ah, the advantages of being a travel therapist :).

In February, we spent the first couple weeks at home in Roanoke, VA, then moved to our new place in Northern VA and spent a little time exploring the area. We’re really enjoying the city even with the higher cost of living… all except for the traffic. We ate at a couple of the local restaurants that were recommended to us, met some of Whitney’s PT school classmates at a nearby winery, found a great gym, and got settled into our new clinics.

Income

Financially, February was an awesome month even though at the end of the month it had been almost 8 months since I had gotten an actual paycheck. My income from this website was actually over 4x my living expenses for the month! It was by far the biggest month ever in terms of blog income which was pretty exciting for me. The new website (Travel Therapy Mentor) is starting to pick up steam as well and should be a significant source of income in the future as well. It feels great to be able to write and talk about things that I’m interested in and make money from it. For that, I’m extremely grateful.

Expenses

This year I decided to track every one of my expenses in order to get an actual idea of what I’m really spending each month and over the course of a year instead of just guessing. I’ve always avoided doing that due to how much work I thought that it would take. In reality it hasn’t been difficult at all. Using a website like Personal Capital to track all my purchases on various cards and then just taking a little time at the end of the month to tally them all up really makes me wish I had started doing this sooner. A side benefit of doing this is that it makes me reconsider extraneous purchases since I know I’ll have to account for them later. I’ve been very surprised with how low my expenses actually are so far. I’ve regularly been a couple hundred dollars below what I estimated I spent each month. If I based my FIRE number on my expenses over the past three months, my current portfolio is somewhere around 30x my current yearly expenses, which would put me well above my target. As I outlined in this post though, I’m including a pretty large margin of safety in my net worth goal in order to account for future increases in expenses for once Whitney and I decide to settle down somewhere and start a family. We’ll likely spend a little more on housing each month at that point and may even have kids at that point which would undoubtedly increase yearly expenses.

Investments

My investment portfolio did great in February with the continued increase in equity prices. In total, my investment account balances increased by about 6% during the month, which is ridiculous considering it’s the shortest month. The higher blog earnings mentioned above combined with the good market returns meant that I reached a new all time high net worth in February! That felt particularly great after almost 8 months without a paycheck from “real” work since semi-retirement in July of last year.

Financial Independence Target Date

That puts me at about 4 months of full time work away from reaching my true financial independence goal number, with June 2019 being the projected date currently. Since I’ll only be working full time until May, it will probably take a little longer than that and is highly dependent on how the market performs between now and then. It still looks pretty likely that I’ll surpass my goal at some point this year. As long as that’s before October, then I’ll have met my true goal of reaching financial independence at 30 years old! I’m keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that the stock market cooperates.

Next Month

March should be a very good month financially as well since I’ll actually be bringing in work income, which will really help out my net worth. I’m hoping that income from the blog continues to increase, but in reality I’d be more than happy if it’s even half of what it was in February.

Thanks for reading and following along with my journey. If any of you guys are in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area, send us a message and we’d love to meet up somewhere before we leave in May!

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