Financial Independence Update- September 2020

A little late getting this update posted! Better late than never :D!

We were in the process of finishing up our 8-week cross country road trip in September. It was an awesome trip, but we were excited about getting back home by the end. All the driving (12,800 miles) and hiking (310 miles) really started to wear on us after 6 weeks or so. Future road trips like this will likely be 4-6 weeks instead of 8 and a lot less total ground covered, which should make them even better.

On this trip we saw the best views of our lives and can’t wait to revisit some of our favorite national parks in the future. The minivan did very well for us, and we spent a total of 30/55 nights camping in it. This saved us a lot of money on lodging costs and is clearly reflected when comparing costs this year to our shorter road trip last year. I’ll be writing an article with the full expenses breakdown for this trip and publishing that very soon!

Income

Income from the websites (FifthWheelPT and Travel Therapy Mentor) for September was the lowest it has been in the last couple of years. Payouts were less and fewer than expected, which made it a very tough month on the income side. We did cash out some Chase Ultimate Rewards points as outlined in this article which meant a few hundred extra dollars each for both me and Whitney. I also had a checking account sign up bonus post which was good timing.

Expenses

My expenses were slightly higher than last month but still very reasonable overall when considering fixed expenses back home and costs incurred while on the road trip. I was worried that this would be my first month in 5+ years with a negative savings rate, but luckily that wasn’t the case. I was able to barely squeeze out a 5% savings rate to keep the positive streak going despite the exceptionally low income in September.

Whitney and I are considering renting part of our townhouse in the coming months to offset some of the fixed expenses while traveling. We aren’t sure yet if it would be short or long term tenants, but it seems like a waste not to with a space much bigger than we need and being gone so often. So time will tell on that if we can get it going!

Investments

The S&P 500 was down 3.9% in September. Fortunately, my own portfolio was only down about 1.2% on the month due to a more conservative asset allocation. This is the first down month in the past 6 months so it will be interesting to see what October has in store for investment returns. Was this down month just a fluke or the beginning of a bigger downturn?

Financial Independence Progress

My net worth decreased by about 1.1% in September when all was said and done. I was really enjoying seeing the new all time high net worth numbers each month, but I’ve been expecting a correction of some sort for a while now– so this drop wasn’t a surprise. I’m still well past my financial independence number and don’t expect that will change barring any crazy events. You can’t rule out anything in 2020 though…

Next Month

I turn 32 years old in October. Where has the time gone?! Speaking of time flying, It still baffles me that I’ve been doing these monthly updates for over 4 years now!

We don’t have any set plans for the month besides catching up on recording videos and writing articles for the websites. We’re considering either looking for travel contracts or taking temporary PRN jobs in our hometown for a couple of months depending on what’s available. Another quick trip is also on the table if the job market doesn’t cooperate, but we’ll see what happens.

Income in October will be much higher than September. We have some referral payouts coming due as well as a quarterly affiliate payout. Things are starting to look up across the board in terms of business revenue, although still not even close to pre-Covid unfortunately. Hopefully the fourth quarter of this year continues the positive momentum!

Until next month. Stay safe and healthy!

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