In July we finally felt fully settled in on the Big Island of Hawaii and well acquainted with finding our way around. We did a ton of hiking in July including two of the most difficult hikes on the island. On back to back weekends we hiked to the summits of Mauna Loa (the largest active volcano in the world) and Mauna Kea (the high point of Hawaii and actually the highest mountain in the world when measured from base to peak). Both of the summits are close to 14,000 feet in elevation which was by far the highest points we’d ever hiked to, and that combined with the elevation gain and distance made them probably the two hardest hikes we’ve ever done. Mauna Kea is actually so high that we ran into snow and sleet at the top… in Hawaii… in July (!!) which was a surprise and apparently pretty rare. We also did a few other shorter and less difficult hikes including the hike down into the stunningly beautiful Waipio Valley.
Besides the hikes we did some snorkeling along with lots of swimming and hanging out at various beaches. We really enjoyed exploring the Big Island and took full advantage of our time there to explore some amazing spots.
Whitney finished her contract at the end of the month. She had arranged a short, 8 week contract so that we’d have time to explore the other islands and still be able to get back home in time to plan and leave on our next road trip at the beginning of September. She really enjoyed the contract though and by the end of the 8th week, leaving was bittersweet. We were both excited to check out the other islands but also wished we had a little longer on the Big Island.
As you may have noticed, I changed the chart at the top of this post. For 5 years now I’ve tracked my “path to 4%” and projected the future months on that chart. Recently I realized that doing that is a little pointless now that I’m well past my FIRE goal, and my monthly income is much more variable than it was while I was working full time as a Travel PT. Instead, I’ve now chosen to track my net assets as a multiple of my annual expenses, showing the change over time in the past instead of trying to project the future. All in all, I think this will be a better way to chart my progress going forward and hopefully you all like it better as well.
Income from our websites (FifthWheelPT and Travel Therapy Mentor) has really exploded lately. The beginning of this year was already going really well, but the last few months have blown away any expectations I had, and it looks like this will continue for the foreseeable future. The travel therapy market is booming, our social media accounts and email list are growing quickly, website views are at all time highs, and we’ve had more course sales than I anticipated. Things have been going so well this year that we’re on pace to earn more income from the websites this year than the first 5 years combined! It really seems like everything is coming together this year, and I couldn’t be more thankful. The biggest issue these days is making time for all the questions and comments we get, in addition to putting out frequent content. July’s actual income was at about the same level as June, but would have been even better if we had more time to stay on top of past due payments. Those should all be coming in throughout August though, which should make August the new best month of all time in terms of website income.
July expenses were similar to June as well. Despite spending a minimal amount on activities (just about everything we did was free- including hiking, snorkeling, sightseeing, lounging at beaches, etc.), with the high cost of housing, car rental, gas, eating out frequently, and my fixed costs back home, I’ve been spending multiples of my normal monthly expenses. Hawaii is very expensive, but it’s also an amazing place so it’s worth the cost in my opinion. My savings rate on the month was at about 35%.
The S&P 500 was up about 2.3% in July. Bitcoin was up over 18% on the month and some alt coins were up even more than that. This gave my investments and net worth a big boost in July. With the price being down the past few months and my income higher than normal, I’ve been slowly adding more money to my crypto holdings. So far this is paying off with the prices starting to recover. I continue to be very optimistic on the long term outlook for Bitcoin and to a lesser degree some of the other alt coins I own as well. The short term fluctuations are hard to predict, but I’m pretty confident we haven’t seen the highs for this year yet and expect a continued recovery over the next few months.
Financial Independence Progress
My net assets increased by about 9.6% in July, mostly due to the recovery in crypto prices. These large swings can be difficult to stomach at times, but I’m willing to take the risk of having a high portion of my net worth in high volatility crypto due to my long term conviction, the safety net of having a lot of money in more stable investments, as well as consistently earning enough from the websites to not have to withdraw any money from my investments. At the end of July, my net assets were equal to slightly over 45x my annual expenses, as displayed on the chart above.
In August we’ll spend the majority of the month traveling between Oahu, Maui, and Kauai to see the rest of the major Hawaiian islands before heading back home to Virginia at the end of the month. I expect August to be my highest earning month of all time, but also my most expensive month of all time. While planning these weeks on the other islands, we’ve found that they’re even more expensive right now especially in terms of short term housing and car rentals! I’m anticipating that crypto prices will continue to rally back toward all time highs as well and would love to see a new all time high in my net worth, but that may be just wishful thinking 🙂
How was July for you financially? Let me know in the comments!