Financial Independence Update- January 2020

January has come to an end, and with it we’re now at less than 6 weeks until we leave for our next long international trip to Latin America (Mexico, Central America, and South America)! We’ve been doing more planning for the trip over this past month, and it’s been simultaneously exciting and tedious. This trip has been harder to plan than either of our prior trips, which is primarily due to the fact that the distances between each place we’re visiting is much further. That means that buses and trains are generally not an option. This combined with the fact that flights in Latin America are much more expensive than in Europe and Asia in general makes things difficult to keep travel costs low. Trying to find the most reasonably priced days to fly for every destination has caused me quite the headache, but I know it will be well worth the effort in the end!

In addition to trip planning, Whitney and I stayed pretty busy on the weekends in January with trips every weekend to various places including to visit friends, family, and to the beach. We also held a big travel therapy meetup in Raleigh, NC one weekend where we had the pleasure of talking to tons of current and future travel therapists and answer their questions!

We ended the month with a bittersweet moment, which was receiving a deposit to sell our camper and truck. Around the beginning of the month, we listed our fifth wheel and truck for sale in an effort to not have to store them for the next 6 months or more when we leave the country. We are both sad and relieved to be ending this chapter of our travel therapy journey. I don’t know what the future will hold for us with our future travel therapy contracts, but chances are that for at least our next travel contract we will be finding short term housing.


Income last month was much higher than the last couple of months from the websites (FifthWheelPT and Travel Therapy Mentor), which I really wasn’t expecting. We received some overdue funds, some money from a sponsorship, as well as an affiliate payout which pushed us well over our expectations.


As I mentioned last month, I’m no longer strictly tracking each of my expenses like I did last year. This has been a relief to not have to keep track of each transaction, but of course this means less clarity on my actual costs. Even so, the experiment of tracking my expenses made it clear that my estimates are pretty close to reality, so I have a pretty good idea of about what my expenses were for the month. There’s no doubt my expenses for January were significantly lower than they were in December, which included year-end bills and gifts.

Based on my income and expenses for January, I achieved a savings rate of about 80%! That may not being as high as my savings rate when I was working as a travel physical therapist full time (85%+ per month) but pretty darn close considering I’m only “working” 8-10 hours per week or so currently.


According to my investment tracking on Personal Capital (a great free resource for tracking your net worth and investments) my portfolio was up about .3% on the month. It was a little sad to see the big jumps from the last few months come to an end, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t waiting for it to happen. I temporarily have about 50% of my net worth in cash equivalents as I roll over my 401k to an IRA (which includes a signup bonus of course :D) so this equity slow down happened at a pretty good time for me in reality.

Financial Independence Progress

In total, my net worth increased by about 1.91% in January. That leaves my yearly expenses at 3.4% of my current total net assets. At one point during the month this dropped to 3.3%, but with a less than great last week or so for equities in January, it increased back to 3.4%. Hopefully I’ll make it back down there next month :).

Next Month

In February, Whitney finishes her travel contract, we sell our camper and truck (as long as everything goes according to plan with the buyers), head back to our hometown to visit family, go to Denver for a physical therapy conference (CSM) for 8 days (where we’ll be hosting a HUGE travel therapy meetup!), and double down on our next trip planning. It’s a short month, but it’s going to be busy for us!

Until next month! Thanks for reading!

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