In August we finished up our travel contracts in Alaska, and, in the middle of the month, headed back to Virginia on another long road trip. While it was very sad to leave Alaska and accept that our amazing summer there was coming to an end, we couldn’t wait to spend some time back at home before embarking on our next adventures. The road trip back was even better than the drive to Alaska since we could take our time and stop more often. We ended up spending three weeks on the road and covering 5,300 miles! You can read more about my spending and a summary of our time in Alaska and on the road trips here.
The last couple weeks at our travel jobs went very smoothly, and I will miss all of the great patients and coworkers I had there. This part-time contract was perfect for work-life balance and makes me wish I’d started doing part time contracts earlier. Ironically, I felt like I had more time when working two days per week than I do when not working at all, because I’m forced to take advantage of the days off to get work done on the websites, go to the gym, and to hike/explore. I feel like I’ve come a long way since writing about my struggles after reaching financial independence, but structure and routine are always helpful for me. The older I get the more I realize that either externally or internally imposed structure is vital for my productivity and my ability to feel content. For me, and probably many of you, happiness is derived from progress and accomplishment, and unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) that doesn’t change after reaching financial independence. So much for thinking life would be easy and carefree after achieving FIRE!
Income from our websites (FifthWheelPT and Travel Therapy Mentor) for August was just over half of what it was in July. This wasn’t a huge surprise since we spent most of the month on the road and not following up on payments, along with having business on the back burner. All in all, it was still a really good month income wise. As of the end of August, we’ve already significantly surpassed last year’s total earnings, and we’re on pace to more than double it by the end of the year again which is baffling.
In August my expenses were pretty high again due to half a month’s rent in Alaska, combined with gas and food costs while on the road. We had fewer expensive adventures in August compared to June and July though, so that meant total expenses were lower than the prior two months. I ended the month with a savings rate around 55%.
The S&P 500 was down by about 4.2% in August, erasing some of the gains made in July. Bitcoin was down by about 14% on the month, continuing the high monthly volatility. I’ve been continuing to dollar cost average into the S&P and Bitcoin with a few thousand dollars each month at these depressed prices, but still keeping plenty of cash on the sidelines to make bigger purchases later if the market continues to decline. This was actually the first month since I bought our townhouse in 2020 that the estimated value of the property has decreased, although only slightly. With the value of the townhouse up about 50% in two years, it definitely wouldn’t be a shock if the price continues to drop in the coming months to a more reasonable level as 30 year mortgage rates soar.
Financial Independence Progress
My net assets decreased by 1% in August which is better than I anticipated with the stock market and crypto decline this month. The high monthly income and heavy cash position I currently have continue to temper any monthly investment decreases. About 35% of my assets are in cash right now and have been throughout 2022, which has turned out to be a very good move with equities, bonds, and crypto all down significantly this year. This small decline puts my net assets at 52.2 times my average yearly expenses currently.
In September, we will finish our road trip back to Virginia and prepare to go to the Traveler’s Conference in Las Vegas near the end of the month. We’re looking forward to some time at home to catch up on business and to catch up with friends and family after being gone for over four months. September looks like another tough month for assets, but having the cash on the sidelines makes me look at drops much less pessimistically. It should be a pretty good month for business income as well, which always helps.
How was August for you financially? Let me know in the comments!