March was a good mix of travel, work, and working on our health/fitness. We were at home working and dieting for the first two weeks of the month, and then back to traveling for the second half of the month. We went to Mexico for about a week for the free all-inclusive Core Medical Group trip (we qualify for this incentive trip through sending referrals to the company), followed by a week spent in the US Virgin Islands.
The Core Med trip was a lot of fun and we did much better this year in moderating our food and alcohol consumption, along with leaving some time to get at least a little work done during the day. It’s hard for us to make smart choices at all inclusive resorts, but each time we get better.
The US Virgin Islands were incredible. Our main reason for visiting was to go to the National Park there (our second to last US National Park) but we were pleasantly surprised by the beauty and amazing weather there as well. We stayed on St. Thomas and went to St. John for the day to visit the National Park. We spent a lot of time swimming and snorkeling, including at the National Park, but also made time for some exercise including a cool hike on St. John. Neither Whitney or I had been to any of the Virgin Islands before so we didn’t exactly know what to expect, but we loved it. It reminded us a lot of Hawaii but easier to get to and with lower prices. We’ll almost certainly return at some point in the future.
We got a lot of work accomplished over the month on our business. We’re always looking at new ways to drive traffic to the sites and for new partnerships to increase revenue. Two great partnership opportunities that we weren’t expecting popped up in March and will lead to a meaningful amount of revenue in Q2 of this year. As our social media following and email list grow, more and more companies are reaching out to do some sort of collaboration to reach our audience. In some cases it’s a perfect fit, but often the offers don’t make sense for us either practically or financially.
Income from our websites (FifthWheelPT and Travel Therapy Mentor) for March was indeed just slightly higher than in February as we expected. March income was just a little under double the income earned in March of 2022, and also our total Q1 income for 2023 was just a little under double Q1 income for 2022. If that trajectory continues I’d be incredibly happy, but based on the way things are trending, I’d be really surprised if Q2-Q4 are anywhere near twice as much as last year. So I’m just hoping that they can match last years numbers. Overall, I’m very content with the income we’re bringing in right now even if there is no future growth, especially with the limited time we put into the business most months.
March expenses weren’t bad. The Core Med Trip was free, and we found a reasonably priced Airbnb on St. Thomas that kept our costs in the Virgin Islands in check. We spent quite a bit on food and activities, but those expenses were well worth it. My fixed costs at home remain very low each month due to not having a mortgage on our townhouse. Between the HOA, property taxes, insurance, and all utilities, I’m usually paying less than $500/month. Food costs at home are low since we cook most meals at home, and activity and transportation costs very low since there are lots of great hikes and free things to do nearby. In total my savings rate for the month was about 75%.
The S&P 500 was up by about 3.5% in March. The choppy market continues, and while I do still anticipate further downside in the market later this year, this rally has been pretty persistent so I could certainly be wrong. I still currently have about 45% of my assets in savings, money market accounts, and I-Bonds. The yields are around 4% on these safe investments which isn’t bad, and having the cash gives me a lot of flexibility. We’re currently casually keeping an eye out for our “forever home” which we plan to pay cash for when the time comes. While I’d rather wait to buy until we get back from our honeymoon in the Fall (more on this trip to come), if the right opportunity popped up right now, we wouldn’t hesitate to jump on it.
Bitcoin was up 23.1% this month which gave me a big boost on my investment returns. All of the indicators are suggesting that we’re in the early stages of the next bull run going into the halving year in 2024. While I hope that’s the case, I wouldn’t be surprised with a correction later this year back into the low $20k range or even a retest of last year’s lows. With that being said, I think there’s a good probability that the lows are in and Bitcoin will move much higher in the next 1.5-2 years. I have the largest Bitcoin position that I’ve ever had right now and am prepared for whatever happens.
Financial Independence Progress
My net assets increased by 7.7% in March. Since February was already an all time high for me, a 7.7% increase this month is huge. With the S&P 500 still over 15% off of it’s highs and Bitcoin still over 50% below its all time highs, putting in new net asset and net worth all time highs right now feels particularly exciting to me. I’m hoping the good months for investment returns continue, but with my 45% cash (and cash equivalents) allocation, I’m well positioned to keep slowly dollar cost averaging and buy more heavily on dips. With this increase, my net assets are now equal to approximately 68.4 times my average annual expenses.
In April we’ll be spending most of the month at home continuing to wedding plan and work on our health/fitness goals. I’m also planning to do some more honeymoon planning and writing for the websites. In the middle of the month we’ll be attending the AOTA national conference in Kansas City. We’re being sponsored to go by a staffing company to talk to the students and clinicians about travel therapy as well as to host another big travel therapy meetup! April will most likely be pretty hard on my finances with both 2022 taxes and Q1 2023 estimated quarterly taxes due, so I’m not expecting another big monthly increase, but would be ecstatic if it happened.
How was March for you financially? Let me know in the comments!