We spent the month of March traveling through Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru, continuing on our Latin America Trip. By the beginning of March we were mostly recovered from Covid after a couple of weeks. That is besides general deconditioning from a significant reduction in activity while sick. After being stuck in Mexico City much longer than expected while quarantining there, we were more than ready to get back to our regularly scheduled trip plans with as few modifications as possible.
Around the beginning of March we arrived in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala which was by far our favorite place so far on the trip. It was a very laid back area full of very nice local people and incredible scenery. We ended up spending a full week there but could easily have stayed for a month or longer enjoying the moderate weather and quiet. From there we flew north to Flores, Guatemala to visit the Mayan ruins at Tikal, before taking a detour back to Mexico for the Core Medical Group annual trip in Playa Del Carmen. After that we were off to Colombia, first to Medellin and then to Cartagena for about a week in each city. We finished the month in Lima, Peru which was the first time that either Whitney or I had been to the Southern Hemisphere!
Outside of all of the traveling, we did our best to keep up with day to day website work including responding to emails, messages, and comments, biweekly newsletters to email list subscribers, updating our hot jobs list, checking in with recruiters, course member phone calls, social media posts and stories, Facebook Live videos, following up on payments due, and occasional article writing. We did well keeping up with time sensitive communications during the month but new content was scarce due to being busy exploring new areas most days. Although there are challenges with running a growing business remotely, we feel extremely fortunate to be able to earn a very good income from anywhere in the world right now.
Income from our websites (FifthWheelPT and Travel Therapy Mentor) for March was better than February but still not close to the really high earning months in January and throughout Q4 of 2021. Despite February and March being lower earning months, Q1 ended up being our second highest earning quarter of all time second only to the insane Q4 of last year. Q1 is historically our worse quarter of the year by far, so hopefully that means some really high earning months and quarters later this year if the trend continues. We’re always doing our best to diversify our income with as many new income streams as possible. Usually that is a pretty difficult task, but we actually added an unexpected new income source in March that wasn’t even on our radar. Facebook informed us early in the year that our business page was eligible for monthly bonuses based on post engagement. Initially I thought this was a gimmick that wouldn’t amount to much but surprisingly it looks like this will mean an extra $400-$600/month while the promotions last. While that isn’t a huge amount of money by any means, it’s a really nice extra bonus each month for absolutely no extra work on our part since we make regular Facebook posts anyway.
March expenses were very high due to lots of flights, more expensive Airbnb stays, and various activities we did in each place we visited. Fortunately, due to paying cash for our townhouse in 2020 and having a roommate there, my fixed expenses back home are negligible while traveling. Due to this, my savings rate for the month was still over 50% despite splurging quite a bit on our travels.
The S&P 500 was up about 3.6% in March, erasing the losses from February. Meanwhile Bitcoin was up by another 5.4% in March. I haven’t made any significant changes to my investment allocation lately which remains heavy in crypto, mostly Bitcoin, at about 35% of my total assets. This means that my investment returns are still pretty heavily influenced by the relatively high volatility of crypto, but I’ve become much more comfortable with that after riding the ups and downs of the last couple of years. In March I took the time to create a spreadsheet to keep track of all of my crypto buys and sells as well as my cost basis and total return. Despite the total crypto market being significantly from the highs in 2021, I’m still up over 100% on my investment and at 6 figures in unrealized profit right now which makes handling the gyrations in the market a lot easier than it used to be.
Financial Independence Progress
My net assets increased by 3.4% in March, continuing the uptrend started last month. With this increase, my total net assets are now equal to 56.0 times my average annual expenses.
In April, we’ll finish our Latin America trip and spend at least a couple of weeks at home getting caught up on things before figuring out what our plan for the summer will be. Financially, April should be a very good month for income but with year end taxes and Q1 estimated payments due, I’m expecting some really big cash outflows. With some luck, it’s possible that income and investment returns will offset that to a large degree, but we’ll have to see how the market plays out.
How was March for you financially? Let me know in the comments!