After being home in Virginia all of January, we were back on the road again in February. At the beginning of the month we left on a 2.5 week road trip down to Key West. The main purpose of this trip was to visit Dry Tortugas National Park south of Key West. Along the way we stopped in Fort Meyers to speak at the Florida PT Student Conclave. We also visited several friends and followers on the drive there and back in various places through NC, SC and FL.
We successfully made it to Dry Tortugas on this trip, unlike our first attempt at going in 2022! That makes National Park 61/63 for us! We were anxious that something would go wrong since our ferry was cancelled last minute when we tried to go last January, but luckily it all went smoothly. It was really cool to see Fort Jefferson and snorkel around the area.
I was nervous about our presentation at the FL Student Conclave, but that went very well too. It was our first real in-person presentation since early 2020 and was the biggest audience we’ve ever spoken to. The feedback was good though, and we enjoyed meeting and talking to many of the future travel PTs there.
Once we got back home to Virginia, we had only two days before our flight to San Diego for the APTA CSM conference where we spent the remainder of the month. We were sponsored by a travel company to go to the conference. We stood at their booth throughout the conference and also hosted a meetup one evening. We made some good connections at the booth, and the meetup was successful as well. In total about 75 people attended, which was our biggest meetup since 2020. We had a lot more people that wanted to come, but the venue options in San Diego were limited so we ended up having limited space. Many of our recruiters from various travel companies were also at CSM, so it was great to reconnect with them, in addition to many friends, former colleagues, former professors, and former classmates!
Income from our websites (FifthWheelPT and Travel Therapy Mentor) for February was only a little over half of what we earned in January, but this was expected. After such massive months in December and January, along with February being a short month and us being on the road for almost all of it, a quieter business month was due. Revenue for the month was almost triple that of last February though, which shows how quickly it’s been growing lately. February has historically been our lowest earning month for the past several years. If that’s the case again this year, then we’re in for another year of good growth.
February expenses were pretty high due to all of our traveling. Flights to San Diego were expensive and the lodging around the convention center was absurd due to the demand from the conference. Most hotels in walking distance were charging $400/night or more! We found an Airbnb that worked pretty well for about $200/night which felt like a lot at over $1000 for 5 days, but compared to the hotels was very affordable. Gas and food on the road trip to Florida added up pretty quickly, but we were lucky to have friends to stay with for many of the nights which saved us a lot. We only spent around $600 for all of our lodging on the road trip. In total my savings rate for the month was about 60%.
The S&P 500 was down by about 2.6% in February. The choppy market continues, and more downside is expected as the year goes on. Recent inflation indicators haven’t been good, which is making investors question how long the Fed will have to keep rates elevated. There is also concern that rates will have to go significantly higher than expected to reign in inflation. Housing prices are declining in our area, but food prices continue higher and gas is starting to creep back up again too, so it looks like the inflation story isn’t over yet.
Bitcoin was pretty much completely flat on the month after some variation to both the up and down sides. Bitcoin continues to behave mostly as a risk asset but is occasionally diverging from equities some weeks, which hasn’t been seen for quite a while. I ultimately think that Bitcoin will be seen as a risk-off asset in the future, but who knows how long in the future that will be.
Financial Independence Progress
My net assets increased by 1.8% in February. This is due almost completely to my savings rate since my investments were relatively flat during the month. This increase puts me at another new all time high which is very exciting! I’m hoping for a lot more new all time highs throughout this year, but we’ll see how that goes. 2022 was a pretty tough year for me financially, so it would be nice to have a big year in 2023. My net assets are now equal to 63.5 times my average annual expenses.
In March we’ll spend the first half of the month at home before leaving again on another trip. This time to Mexico and the Virgin Islands. If all goes well, we’ll make it to the Virgin Islands National Park which will be our second to last US National Park! We hope to finish visiting all of the national parks this year, so stay tuned for the update on that!
How was February for you financially? Let me know in the comments!
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