Financial Independence Update- April 2022

In April we finished up our nearly 3-month Latin America trip. We spent the beginning of the month in Peru and Costa Rica then got back home in the middle of the month just in time to do our taxes. The trip was really awesome overall despite running into more issues than any of our prior long international adventures. I splurged much more on this trip than on prior trips, but with things going really well in my financial life, this wasn’t a big deal like it would have been in the past. The full trip expense report is coming soon.

While in Peru we actually had interviews for potential travel PT jobs in Anchorage, Alaska. The interviews went really well and the manager offered us the positions. These jobs were exactly what we were looking for to be able to spend the summer in Anchorage. Whitney and I will each be working 2 days per week at a private practice outpatient clinic with 1:1 patient care in south Anchorage. The one downside to these jobs was that they needed us there as soon as possible, so that meant very little time at home before we needed to head out on the nearly two week road trip from Virginia to Alaska. This will be my first travel contract since early 2019 when I reached financial independence. Although I have no interest in working full time as a PT any longer now that I’ve reached my financial goals, I’m excited to spend a couple of days each week treating patients again. Although there are downsides to working as a PT, I often miss helping people and interacting with patients, and this will be a great way to see if I can find a balance between “work” and leisure that I enjoy, or if I just want to let my PT license go completely.

After getting back from Latin America, we spent the rest of April at home spending time with family, finding housing in Anchorage (where options were extremely limited and expensive), unpacking, repacking, and generally getting ready to be gone from home again until September.

Income

Income from our websites (FifthWheelPT and Travel Therapy Mentor) for April broke our all time record again! This was really unexpected after what seemed to be a perfect storm in December that I thought wouldn’t be broken for a long time. Interestingly, income from April this year was almost exactly 3x higher than April of 2021, which was actually an all time monthly high back then. It’s mind blowing for me to think about what this business has grown into from just a blog writing about personal finance and my financial journey 6 years ago. I don’t know how long the success will last, but Whitney and I are thankful for every day that it does.

Expenses

April expenses were pretty high overall. Finishing up our trip and getting back home meant some pretty expensive flights, and our time in Peru cost a lot due to us taking several guided tours. The second half of the month wasn’t as bad, but we had to send a pretty big deposit for our place in Alaska, which will hopefully be refunded when we leave. Despite the higher expenses, I still ended the month with over an 85% savings rate due to the really high business income this month.

Investments

The S&P 500 was down 8.8% in April which is the largest monthly drop since the Covid crash in March 2020. Inflation has proven to be harder to get under control than many anticipated, Jerome Powell included, and economic activity is slowing down as shown by the negative Q1 GDP growth number. Between inflation, GDP contraction, war in Ukraine, continued Chinese Covid lockdowns, and Federal reserve tightening, the market was very bearish in April and for pretty good reasons. Bitcoin had a much worse month than the S&P and was down 17.3% in April. All things considered, I was surprised it didn’t drop more than that with some tech stocks now down 80% or more from all time highs now.

Financial Independence Progress

My net assets decreased by 5.7% in April. With my investments down so much, I was shocked that this number wasn’t much worse. The things that helped cushion the blow were my large savings rate on the month, the value of real estate continuing to increase, and that I’ve been holding an increasingly large amount of my assets in cash and cash equivalents lately. I’m using these drops in equity and Bitcoin prices as an opportunity to gradually deploy some of that cash in the coming months. After this 5.7% drop, my net assets now equal 52.9 times my yearly expenses.

Next Month

In May we’ll spend the month driving to and getting settled in at our place for the summer in Alaska. Keep an eye on our Instagram for all of the best pictures. I’ve been looking forward to the drive to Alaska on the ALCAN for years now!

I expect another pretty bumpy month for equity and crypto prices but would love to be wrong about that.

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

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