Financial Independence Update- February 2021

At the end of January we flew to Mexico and spent all of February there starting our Mexican adventure. The weather is great, the cost of living is low, and the tourist areas are fairly empty right now, so the trip has been exactly what we were hoping for so far. One thing we didn’t fully anticipate is how much the local people in the tourist areas would be struggling due to the significant drop in tourism. Even though we always do our best to travel on a budget, we’ve purposely spent more on activities and been more generous with our tipping on this trip as we are very aware that the locals here need the money more than we do.

Whitney and I also surprised our moms by inviting them to join us for a couple of weeks in Mexico! We spent a week with them in Playa Del Carmen as well as a week in Riviera Maya. We had a great time, and they seemed to really enjoy the trip as well. They also got to avoid the massive snow and ice storm that hit most of the US in mid-February which they were happy about.

In Mexico we’ve spent a decent amount of time relaxing at the beaches and pools but have also stayed on top of our work online. A big part of that was getting our online travel therapy course, Becoming a Financially Successful Travel Therapist, finalized while making changes based on beta tester feedback. So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, which we’re really excited about after all the time we put in over the past couple of months. We know this course is going to help a lot of people not only in their travel therapy careers but also in their financial lives, which is something I’m very passionate about after all the learning and writing about finances I’ve done since graduation. We didn’t want to get our hopes up too much on course sales, but we had a goal number of students in mind that we hoped to hit within the first year. Amazingly, we already surpassed that goal within the first two weeks with our preorder and launch sales! I’m extremely grateful to all of you for all the support and encouragement over the years to get to this point. When starting this blog almost 5 years ago now, I had no idea what it would eventually lead to, and our online business has far surpassed my expectations.

Having our basement rented back at home while on this trip has worked out really well. The rent collected has helped to offset some of the recurring expenses for the house, plus having someone there to keep an eye on things has given us more peace of mind on this trip. Hopefully we’ll be able to continue to find good tenants to rent while we’re traveling in the future!

Income

Income from our websites (FifthWheelPT and Travel Therapy Mentor) for February was even higher than January due to the course sales, in addition to helping more travelers get placed in assignments recently. Income has steadily increased over the past 6 months and is now getting back close to where it was prior to the impact of Covid last year. The travel therapy market has really picked up lately, and we’re optimistic that it will continue to improve throughout this year.

Expenses

Expenses for the month of February were the highest they have been in the last year due to traveling and spending more money in Mexico in addition to having fixed expenses back home. On this trip I’m purposely spending more than on prior trips for things like lodging and activities. With our income growing and our investments doing very well, I have much less of a need and desire to travel as cheaply as possible anymore. This still feels weird to me, but having a little nicer accommodations and participating in more excursions has certainly been a change for the better. Whitney and I also paid for the flights and hotel stays for our moms, which meant higher costs than normal, but it felt very good to treat our family.

Investments

The S&P 500 was up about 2.6% in February. Meanwhile Bitcoin was up about 36% on the month in total despite another ~30% drop during the month from it’s high of around $58,000. I continue to be pretty heavily exposed to Bitcoin and believe that it will continue to perform very well throughout 2021. If you missed my article on why I changed my opinion on it in 2020 and decided to start investing in it, check that out here. I have a smaller percentage of my assets in alt coins which have done very well recently too. With the massive returns in crypto recently, I have begun to gradually sell to lock in gains and reduce risk. 

My investment portfolio return was about 11% in February, mostly from my Bitcoin exposure.

Financial Independence Progress

My net worth increased by over 11.7% in February! If I’m not mistaken, this is by far the biggest net worth increase in a single month that I’ve ever had. The additional income from the course definitely helped, but the biggest factor in this jump in net worth was definitely the performance of my crypto investments. This increase leaves me with assets equal to about 42.5 times my anticipated future annual expenses. Absolutely insane!

My net worth has now actually more than doubled since I first “semi-retired” less than three years ago. When I left full time work back then, I never could have guessed that the growth of my net worth would actually accelerate.

Next Month

In March we’ll continue our adventure in Mexico with another week on the east coast before heading to the west coast for a few weeks. Right now we’re planning to fly back to the US at the end of March to regroup and decide what’s next. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to spend a few weeks at home before embarking on another trip for a couple more months, but that will depend on what’s going on with Covid at that time and which countries are opening their borders.

How was February for you financially? Let me know in the comments!

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