I’m very late on getting this article published, but that’s because we’ve spent the last month in Europe kicking off our 4-month European adventure! This trip has been much more busy than the last trip since there’s so much to see and do in each city, and we’ve been moving more often. There have been whole weeks here where I haven’t even opened my laptop once! We’ve been having a wonderful time on this trip so far and have seen so many amazing things. It’s hard to believe that we aren’t even 1/3 of the way through yet.
Now… on to the May update!
FI in May… Kinda
My last day of work as a PT for the foreseeable future was at the beginning of May. I might work another 2-3 months at the beginning of next year, but that’s completely up in the air right now. This last week of work coordinated extremely well with my financial situation, since I reached my FIRE goal number during that last week as well which was very unexpected!
On May 2nd, I received a paycheck from work, a referral bonus from a travel therapist who contacted me for recommendations through this website and took a job with one of my recruiters, and on the same day there was a decent sized jump in my investment portfolio. Those three factors combined on the same day pushed me past my goal net worth sooner than I expected!
I was extremely excited to finally reach this huge milestone, especially at such an opportune time! …until the next week rolled around.
From May 2nd until the end of the month, it was almost nothing but downhill for my investment accounts. I actually ended the month with my investments down almost 4%, which meant that I dipped back to well below my net worth target. Reaching FI was nice while it lasted :D.
This website and the Travel Therapy Mentor website continue to bring in a significant amount of income each month now, which looks like it will continue for the foreseeable future. Whitney and I have been making weekly Facebook live videos on the Travel Therapy Mentor Facebook page which has resulted in many more people contacting us with questions about travel therapy and requests for recruiter contact information. This is always a great thing, and although only a small number of those lead to actual bonuses, the bonuses are substantial when they do work out.
As I mentioned above, Whitney and I finished our most recent travel contracts at the beginning of May, which meant that I only received two paychecks from work that month. Even with the lower income from work, my total income was still several multiples of my expenses for the month!
My expenses in May were the highest of the year, but for good reason: we spent half of the month in Spain and Portugal! Even though both countries were surprisingly affordable, the nightly cost of Airbnb stays and transportation expenses add up quickly. If you’re interested in my actual costs incurred from the trip, I’m tracking them all and writing about them as we go during this trip. Here are my full expenses for our 15 days in Portugal!
As I mentioned, according to my investment tracking on Personal Capital (a great free resource for tracking your net worth and investments) my portfolio was down about 4% in May. While unfortunate and difficult to watch the number decline (especially after just reaching FI), I can’t say that it was unexpected after the awesome equity returns from the first 4 months of 2019. It’s impossible to predict what will happen on a month to month basis, but with quick gains or losses a reversion to the mean usually follows at some point.
Financial Independence Target Date
Despite the drop in my portfolio value, I’m on track to get back to my goal number again in June barring a further market decline. A taste of FI in May was wonderful, and I’m excited to get back above my target again… hopefully this time for good!
Even though I won’t be working as a physical therapist for the foreseeable future, I will continue to write on this website and the Travel Therapy Mentor website, which I hope will keep bringing in more than enough income to cover my expenses while traveling through Europe.
Despite reaching my FI goal, I don’t plan to withdraw any money from my portfolio anytime soon as long as I can meet or exceed my expenses from other sources each month, which seems likely right now. My June expenses will likely be higher than my May expenses since we’ll be traveling the entire month and through some pretty expensive cities (Barcelona, Paris, Luxembourg City, and Brussels to name a few). Despite that, I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to keep expenses within a reasonable range- but we’ll find out!
Thanks for reading. Let me know how your journey to financial freedom is going in the comments below!