Financial Independence Update- August 2019

In August, Our 15 week Eurotrip came to an end. Honestly, we were equal parts sad and relieved. We had an incredible experience traveling to so many new places, seeing so many wonderful sights, and enjoying the history, but by the end of the trip we were exhausted from constant action and moving from place to place. We saved some of the most awesome, although expensive, places for the end of the trip though. The biggest chunk of our time in August was spent in Croatia, which we absolutely loved! The Croatian coast definitely moved near the top of our favorite places in the world. Our last country before returning home was Italy. Italy was one of the countries I was looking forward to the most due to part of my heritage, including my last name, Casazza, being from Italy. Exploring the history and architecture in Rome was baffling to me and was certainly a highlight of the trip!

Income

August was great in terms of income from the websites. It was the highest earning month that I’ve ever had from sources other than my normal job as a physical therapist. The Travel Therapy Mentor website continues to gain traction and followers at a rate much quicker than I anticipated in only a year’s time. Part of this growth has been due to Whitney constantly updating our Instagram account with pictures from our travels. Other therapists and students see the pictures from all of our crazy travels and want to find out how they can design a similar lifestyle to what we’ve created over the past 4 years, and thus they reach out for help. We’ve also been doing weekly Facebook live videos on the Travel Therapy Mentor Facebook page which have garnered much more attention than we were anticipating.

Expenses

In August my expenses were the highest of the entire year to this point and as much as double some previous months earlier in the year. This was due in large part to the expensive prices along the Croatian coast and in Italy. We did our best to keep costs low when possible, but even so there were some activities that we weren’t willing to skimp on and decided they were worth the price. Despite expenses being so high in August, income generated from the websites surpassed that amount, and I was able to end the month still having a decent savings rate.

Investments

According to my investment tracking on Personal Capital (a great free resource for tracking your net worth and investments) my portfolio was down about 1.2% on the month. Down months happen frequently, so I wasn’t too upset about the decrease in my investment account value. There was continued talk about recession in the media throughout August, and that’s certainly a possibility. Anytime I begin to worry about this, I remind myself of my biggest investing mistake and remember that no one can predict the future, so buying and holding is the strategy that I’ll stick to no matter what happens in the coming months or years.

Financial Independence Progress

Despite the poor investment performance and high costs in August, I was still able to manage a slight increase in my net worth due to the income from the websites which brought me down to 3.9%. This means that my projected future yearly expenses are only 3.9% of my current net worth. Being below 4% and still financially independent feels great. I love to watch that number gradually decrease!

Next Month

After a very short few days at home at the end of August, we headed out on a three week road trip to Las Vegas and back (starting in Virginia). No rest for the weary here! This took up most of September for us, before having a longer period of time back home at the end of September and throughout October. We’d never explored the middle of the country so we were really excited to see some of the sights, cities, and national parks along the way. I’m optimistic that my expenses will be lower for that period of traveling in the US compared to my expenses in August, so hopefully a reduction there combined with continued growth in income from the websites will lead to a good month for my net worth in September! Stay tuned!

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