Progress to Financial Independence- March 2019

More Exploring!

In March we had several busy weekends with more adventures. We are still living in Fredericksburg, VA for our current Travel PT contract, so we’ve been exploring this area but also took some fun weekend trips.

The first week in March, we had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic with a group of other travel healthcare workers! This is a trip we had been looking forward to for nearly a year, and we specifically had to plan our work contracts around being able to attend. It was a free trip that we earned from one of the travel companies that we work with and was a really great perk! We spent 5 days in Punta Cana at a wonderful resort where we got to meet tons of other travelers and enjoy some fun in the sun, which was a nice change from the cooler weather in Virginia in Jan-Feb.

In March we also spent a weekend in Elon, North Carolina at the North Carolina Physical Therapy Student Conclave. At the conference, we set up a booth and participated in a networking event. We got the chance to talk to tons of physical therapy students interested in travel therapy after graduation. We’re always happy to talk about travel therapy and promote this alternative travel therapy lifestyle that we’ve enjoyed so much over the past 4 years.

We also explored a couple of trails around the Fredericksburg area to take advantage of the natural beauty in this area, the history near old civil war battlefields, and the weather as it started to warm up. I’ve been surprised at how many nice trails there are in this area to spend some time outdoors.

For St. Patrick’s Day weekend, we met up with some friends at a beer festival in downtown Fredericksburg, and we also spent some time walking around Alexandria that weekend with our other friends. It’s been great being back in Virginia for a couple months to be able to catch up with old friends!

Overall we’ve really enjoyed our time in this area so far, even despite the traffic and busier environment that we generally try to avoid. We’re about an hour south of Washington DC, so it’s just big enough without being a huge city.

Income

This website continues to do well in terms of revenue, and the Travel Therapy Mentor website is picking up steam as well. Between the two websites, my income more than doubled my expenses in March. In addition to the income from the websites, I had my first full month of work paychecks in March since semi-retiring in July, 2018. My current travel contract, while not ideal in terms of patient caseload, pays really well (my second highest paying job of all time) which has been wonderful.

Expenses

I have continued to keep track of all of my expenses for the year, and in March my spending was slightly higher than February. But it was still significantly less than I anticipated, especially in this higher cost of living area. I’ve enjoyed tracking my expenses, and it has encouraged me to be more frugal, although I have made some splurge purchases lately including a new nice pair of headphones for the gym. Personal Capital has been a wonderful tool in keeping track of not only my monthly expenses, but also my investment returns.

Investments

After the huge increase in equity prices in February, I was pessimistic that the increases would continue in March. Fortunately, my investment portfolio was up about 2% in total in March which was awesome and much higher than I anticipated. Even with the increase in prices, the S&P 500 still hasn’t reached the historic all time high that was achieved in September 2018, so hopefully we’re in for continued increases in equity valuations through the rest of 2019.

Financial Independence Target Date

With the higher income, low expenses, and good investment returns in March, I’ve moved to within three months of my financial independence date! It’s amazing that it’s getting so close at this point, and I’m not sure how I feel about it honestly.

Next Month

April should be another month of great income with four paychecks in addition to income generated from the websites. My expenses are projected to be about the same as they were in March. It’s hard to say what will happen with my investment portfolio, but if there’s any increase in value at all then my projected FI date could potentially advance to May 2019! If I could reach my FI target net worth before we leave for our European adventure in May, I’d be ecstatic!

How was March for you? Are you making steady progress toward your own FIRE date? Let me know!

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