July was a relatively busy month for us with road trip planning, researching vans to buy for the trip, working on the websites, and spending a lot of time in the gym. We eventually found a van that worked for us after spending a lot of time looking. Although it was more costly than I anticipated, I wanted to play it safe and get something newer to have less chance of a break down during the 10,000+ miles we’ll be driving over the next two months. Once we got the van, we had to remove the seats, build a platform to sleep on, and get some shelves to store things while traveling. The road trip is all planned out now- including the first seven nights sleeping in the van! I’m actually more excited for this trip and all the national parks we’ll be visiting than any of our prior international trips. If you want to follow along with our trip, the best place will be on the Travel Therapy Mentor Instagram page. (Follow us @TravelTherapyMentor on Instagram!)
We’ve been putting out a lot more content on Travel Therapy Mentor including two live videos per week for the past six weeks. These videos are also being uploaded to Youtube and the podcast which is turning out to be more time consuming than we anticipated. The additional content as well as responding to emails and messages meant we spent more time on the websites in July than ever before. Realistically we had a lot of time on our hands and knew we wouldn’t be able to do as much on the road trip, so we wanted to get as much content out and backlogged as possible prior to leaving.
Income from the websites (FifthWheelPT and Travel Therapy Mentor), was higher in July than in prior months due to a quarterly affiliate payout and a couple of past due payments from travel companies. Things are starting to look a little better for the future now that travel therapy jobs are beginning to pick up a little. Income is still down between 75-85% compared to pre-Covid levels though.
Taxes were due in July, and I owed a significant amount due to 1099 income from 2019. Luckily I had money set aside for this, but it was still tough mentally to part with the money. Fortunately, I was able to pay the taxes with a reward credit card and meet a sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred which will offset some of what was due. I’m hoping to do a little better with my tax planning for 2020 and reduce my tax burden by contributing to a solo 401k.
The S&P 500 was up 5.51% in July. My own portfolio was up about 2.1% on the month. I’m continuing to maintain a pretty defensive position with my investing for now due to high equity valuations and less income coming in monthly. Since reaching FIRE last year, it seemed prudent to gradually reduce my equity exposure and be more diversified in my investing.
Financial Independence Progress
My net worth increased by about 1.2% in July despite the big tax payment. This puts me at a new all time high net worth with a total of over 30x my annual expenses! This is an exciting milestone for me and gives me more peace of mind regarding my future financial security.
In August, we finally embark on our road trip! This has been the longest we’ve gone without traveling for over five years now, and we can’t wait to hit the road and see some amazing sights. We have no idea how staying in the van will work out, but we’re up for the challenge and adventure. Worst case scenario, we start booking hotels/Airbnb’s along the way, but I’m optimistic that we can make it work. Be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram for all the trials and tribulations!
Income in August should be lower than in July and expenses will also be higher than normal due to gas expenses and eating out regularly while traveling. With a little luck in my investment portfolio, hopefully I’ll still be able to increase my net worth for the month though.
Until next month. Stay safe and healthy!