Performance Update 46/50: The Epiphany

My main goal is to build a portfolio of $1,120,000* in 1500 days**, starting from 1/1/2013 and ending in February of 2017. I made my goal earlier this year, but believe that it’s a worthwhile exercise to continue with my financial updates until the end of 1500 Days, so I continue.

It’s time to take a look back at October. But first, I must talk about kicks to the groin. Oof!

Kick me in the Nuts (and The Epiphany)

So, I just returned from Ecuador where I attended the annual party put on by Jimmy Collins and friends. I am working on an epic, three part writeup about the experience, but today I’ll be talking about the equator.

The first day of the trip, we visited the middle of the earth:


Frugalsaurus and Spendosaurus pose at the equator

I first spied pictures of the equator sometime in elementary school. I thought it was awesome. Visiting the equator was on my bucket list before bucket lists were even a thing. As I sat there at the middle of the earth, two thoughts occurred to me:

  • Holy crap, this is awesome! I’m at the friggin’ equator!
  • I was happy to be seeing something I’ve been wanting to visit for years, but then another thought washed over me: I haven’t been happy in a long time. I’ve had short spurts of happiness, but I haven’t had deep, consistent happiness.

And I deserve a swift kick in the nuts for that last bit because I’ve had a great life:

  • I’m 42 and have enough money to never work again: Sure, it was a lot of hard work (I had $60,000 in debt less than 20 years ago), but I’m fortunate to have been born in a place where effort is rewarded.
  • I have a fine marriage and good kids: Sure, the wife and I fight sometimes and the kids fight all the time, but family life is solid.
  • Bucket list!: Besides visiting the equator, I’ve done all kinds of other cool stuff:
    • I’ve visited 39/50 states. I’ll knock most of the remaining 11 out in 2017.
    • I’ve ran with the bulls in Pamplona.
    • I’ve stood on top of Mt. Whitney, Half Dome and the Eiffel Tower.
  • I’ve built some awesome shit: I’ve turned ugly houses into beautiful homes with my own hands.
  • I’ve convinced my daughters that marshmallows are a tree fruit. Ok, this one isn’t so great, they they all can’t be winners.
From top left, clockwise: The cables going go the top of Half Dome, me at the summit, Marshmallow Farms, a badass railing that I installed

From top left, clockwise: The cables going go the top of Half Dome, dorky me at the summit, Marshmallow Farms, a badass railing that I installed

In Ecuador, one of the presenters (Cheryl) gave a talk on happiness. She mentioned that 50% of happiness is determined by genetics. I lost the gene lottery on that because I’m not a happy person by nature.

UPDATE! Shut your complainy, whiny, mouth 1500!

Since writing the first draft of this post, I had an epiphany. Something happened in Ecuador that was a wake up call and made me realize that my life needed to move in a new direction. Big changes are on the way. Very soon. This deserves its own post, so you’ll have to wait a couple weeks while I wrap my mind around it.


Performance Update

My winning streak came to an end in October. After 5 straight months of portfolio increases, I took one on the chin this month. My portfolio went from $1,230,542 down to $1,219,095 for a decrease of $11,447. It’s all good because it’s silly and dangerous to expect your investments to increase in a steady, linear fashion. While the long term trajectory is upward, like a lot of things in life, the stock market is cyclical.


Personal Capital will make all of your wildest dream come true.***

2016 (as of 10/31/2016)

  • Days elapsed: 305
  • Days remaining: 61
  • 2016 gains: $161,134 (including 401(k) and some after tax contributions of about $30,000)
  • 2016 401(k) contributions: $51,000****

Since the start (1/1/2013)

  • Days elapsed: 1398
  • Days remaining: 102
  • Gains since 1/1/2013: $633,052
  • Needed to quit work ($1,120,000 in investments): Mission accomplished!
  • Net worth*****: $1,469,095


Another kick in the Nuts (Black Trumpeter Swans)

I don’t like discussing politics. You’re not going to change anyone’s mind, so what’s the point in bleating your beliefs? It just leads to alcohol infused spats at Thanksgiving. Uncle Larry knows he’s right and anyone who thinks different is an idiot. We all have an Uncle Larry, don’t we?

I avoid the topic of politics like the plague unless I know I can have a thoughtful, conflict free conversation. However, I need to discuss the effect of the president-elect on my portfolio because it’s a black swan event black trumpeter swan event:


If ever there was a black swan, Trump is it!

The election of Trump has kicked my portfolio in the nuts. While I’m an indexer now, I still have stocks left over from my stock picking days. Unfortunately, Trump has previously declared war on some of my biggest holdings including Amazon and Apple. While the rest of the stock market soared after the election, my tech heavy portfolio has dropped almost $50,000.

I’m not optimistic about what the next 4 years has in store for my holdings. Most of the companies in my portfolio have values that are at odds with Trump. For example, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple are all supportive of clean energy. Trump denies global warming, so coal mining companies may fare better over the next four years.

Enough Trump talk. I won’t bring it up again. If you’re in it for the long term (and you should be), four years doesn’t mean much.


Optimism (Now it’s Time for Change)

I’ve been so negative lately. On Monday, I complained about health care. Today, I’m complaining about not being happy. Waaa waaaa waaaaaa!

I can’t let the cat out of the bag about my big epiphany yet, but the Ecuador trip convinced me that my life has been in a rut. Lack of time has taken me away from the things that matter. I had been working out and getting results, but I gave it up because I had no time:

P90x 4 back

Currently, I’m back to looking more like the guy on the left. Not for long though. Brace yourself for more naked torso pictures in upcoming posts!

I haven’t been reading much.

I let my Diet Mountain Dew habit get out of hand (3 cans per day, really?).

Most of all, I forgot about doing work that really moves me (the epiphany has to do with this).

However, it’s all about to change:

  • The home improvements are done: No more evenings and weekends swinging a hammer.
  • This week is my last week of full-time work for the man: After this week, I go down to a Tuesday-Thursday schedule. No more 40 hour weeks for The Man. Ever.

Now that I have time, I seek to do nothing less than reinvent myself. I want to start attacking the reading list that’s grown out of hand. I want to learn to play Rocket Queen on my electric guitar. I want to get rid of my stomach flab and crank out 20 pull-ups and 100 push ups in a row. I’m a builder and I want to work at things that move me. It’s time to destroy the person I’ve been and start over.

Life is too short to not follow your passions.

Sunrise in Salida, Colorado

Sunrise in Salida, Colorado



*My goal isn’t to have $1,120,000 at the end of 1500 days, but at any time before the day count was up. Why? It all goes back to the 4% Rule. Remember that our little friend, Mr. 4%, is nothing more than the most conservative safe withdrawal rate. So, if I were to quit my job now, I could spend about $44,000 in my first year of retirement. I’d stick very close to that number too because market valuations are ambitious. Let’s say that Mr. Market caught a cold tomorrow and my portfolio dropped down to $800,000. No big deal. This would mean I’d be safer stretching my spending a little north of 4%.

**My original goal was $1,000,000 and no debt, I later raised the goal by $120,000 to $1,120,000 because I will have debt in the form of a mortgage and I firmly believe in not paying it off. My compromise is to have enough money put away to cover the mortgage at the time of retirement. So, to retire today, I would need about $1,120,000.

***This is an affiliate link. If you sign up, the blog (me) makes some cold, hard cash. Personal Capital is a totally free and awesome way to keep watch over your investments. It’s worth it for the fee analyzer alone. I would never recommend anything that I don’t personally use and completely believe in, so give it a try. If you’ve already signed up through the link, please know that you are a fine person of above-average intelligence.

****My 401(k) contributions include my own, Mrs. 15oo’s, and the contributions from my corporation. Self-employment with a solo 401(k) is a very powerful savings tool. I should have done this years ago.

*****The numbers on the right side of the page only reflect my investments and cash. Net worth includes, but is not limited to

  • Home equity
  • Cars
  • Bicycles
  • Fun dinosaur pictures! In Ecuador, if anyone left their phone unattended, I “borrowed” it and discretely photographed Frugalsaurus and Spendosaurus. I didn’t photo-bomb everyone’s phone, but I got most. Here are a couple samples that I snagged from the event’s facebook group:




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*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.

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35 Responses to Performance Update 46/50: The Epiphany

  1. Trump was definitely a black swan to many portfolios and you were either on the right side or wrong side. Bank stocks up, international mostly down, materials and industrial companies up, tech down, pharma up, hospitals down. I can go on and on, some very wild corrections across the board. But like you said the broad market was up so index funds did great.

    Congrats on hitting the huge milestone of no more 40 hour work weeks! I look forward to hearing more about the epiphany.

  2. Mr. RIP says:

    Congratulations for your 60% workweek and for the other goals reached 🙂

    Regarding the black swan event… S&P500 actually went up after Drumpf has been elected. Tech is losing few points, I know, I have a tech ETF who lost 3-4%,… but so far it’s not been a disaster.

    I’m less pessimistic than I was “the day after”

  3. Todd says:

    Can’t wait to read the Ecuador stuff – I’ve gotten permission from the wife to go next year, really hoping to make it happen!

    Also looking forward to the upcoming epiphany posts!

  4. Sounds like a sweet new schedule! And nice underwear pics 😉

    That extra time will get sucked up quick. I am just getting around to doing some more reading now that the outdoor activities are cooling off. It’s hard to understand how I did everything while working 40 hours a week.

  5. Congrats on the reduction in working days. No black swan here as I largely do index funds for reasons such as this. That being said I doubt tech will stay down as it’s not like trump has anything specifically named targeting them in the pipeline. The only question in my mind is do they come up before the entire market goes down.

  6. I look forward to reading about your experiences in Ecuador. I also look forward to hearing about your next adventures in life

  7. Team CF says:

    Lots of cliffhangers, lovely. Certainly looking forward to the future posts!
    Congrats on the part time work week and finally finishing the home improvements.
    Enjoy are your newly found spare time. Which you probably are able to fill up in no time at all…. 😉
    Team CF recently posted…Real Estate Investments – History, Yields, Risks and StrategiesMy Profile

  8. Congrats on the final week of full time work! And so glad you’re having a blast in Ecuador. The missus and I went to Cuenca a few years ago, got to see a soccer game and ride horses in the mountain trails: it was a lot of fun. One of these years, we’ll make it to the Chautauqua (once our PTO isn’t all spent up on future trips before the year has even begun).

  9. Mrs BITA says:

    Congratulations on the reduced work week, that is huge. But much less exciting than the epiphany! I want to hear more about that. Mr. BITA isn’t genetically a happy person either, he works at it, so I’m always interested in perspectives on actively seeking and finding happiness.

  10. Hahaha, I love the marshmallow bit. I used to think marshmallows rained from the sky as “cloud leftovers” and no one corrected me.

    I don’t think we all need to be “happy” all the time. If we felt happy constantly, there would be nothing to conquer. Sure, we can look back and be satisfied about the direction of our life, but a constant grin on your face just isn’t realistic. I’m trying to come to grips with this as well, as a person who feels restless despite having a pretty damn good life.

    I do hope that you find what you’re looking for, and I can’t wait to hear about these changes. 🙂

    Aghh, I’m nervous about the stocks as well. Historically speaking, stocks tend to take a dip after presidential elections, so hopefully this is just all temporary rises and falls. It still sucks, but maybe it’s a good time to buy? 😉
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…My Ten Favorite Kitchen GadgetsMy Profile

    • “Hahaha, I love the marshmallow bit. I used to think marshmallows rained from the sky as “cloud leftovers” and no one corrected me.”

      Oh my, that is hilarious!!!

      “… but a constant grin on your face just isn’t realistic.”

      Completely agree, but what I realized is that I’ve been in a melancholic daze the past couple of years. I’ve been lower than most and it wasn’t good. I think I finally figured out why, but you’ll have to wait…

  11. I can’t wait to hear about your Chautauqua experience! I’m so glad you found value in going.

    One of my coworkers convinced his kids marshmallows came from the giant rolls of hay in the fields. They get wrapped in white plastic and look like giant marshmallows. They believed it for a shamefully long time haha!
    Gwen @ Fiery Millennials recently posted…One Year with Project FIMy Profile

  12. Off months will happen especially around an unexpected election result! Looking forward to hear what happened in Ecuador and where you’re looking to take your life

  13. I don’t know Carl…do you really need to remake yourself? It sounds like your life is pretty awesome!

    You’re loaded with money, you just got back from Ecuador, you’ve only got a week left of work (congrats on that BTW), you’ve got an awesome website…

    Wouldn’t it be asking too much for life to get even better? You’ve already reached epic levels of awesome!

    Sometimes I think we chase visions of perfection that we’ve invented in our own minds. Don’t forget to practice appreciation for the awesomeness you already have!

  14. Mr. SSC says:

    Congrats on the 3 day work weeks, I’m pretty envious! I hope to maybe pull something like that off if I do a one more year kind of deal around here. I’m more hoping Mrs. SSC finds a teaching job in a couple years that’s somewhere besides Houston (and Florida) and I can just say, nevermind, it’s a zero day work week. 🙂

    Can’t wait to read about the epiphany and what’s to come.
    Mr. SSC recently posted…Our Flexible Spending Account Rules Suck: Do Yours?My Profile

  15. ChrisCD says:

    Yes, I am tired of your Trump whining. Many portfolios are winning, bigly, don’t you know. Of course it is your blog, so you get to write what you want.

    It seems like you have and will be taking some time to smell the roses which is great. And there is nothing wrong with setting goals to help you continue to push forwards. Pull-ups and Push-ups are a great start.

    I do hope you can find some rays of sunshine even from Trump so that doesn’t continue to be an irritant. Of course easy for me to say, since my guy won. :O)

    Keep it up. You are doing awesome.
    cd :O)

  16. Oh man I’ve always wanted to visit the Equator. Congrats on knocking something off on your bucket list.

    I am definitely looking forward to your happiness post. I tend to see the glass as 50% empty so I’m eager to hear what you have to say.

    Thanks for sharing!!!
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Are Messy People Better With Money?My Profile

    • “I am definitely looking forward to your happiness post. I tend to see the glass as 50% empty so I’m eager to hear what you have to say.”

      Me too! More on Monday!

  17. cool about work and reaching your goal. let us know how you like 3 days a week. whenever I have worked part-time it actually made me feel like working less. It’s strange. Once I’m in the work mode but when I am out it is hard to start again. And the multiple days off make me dread going back even more. I guess that has happened over time due to the habits I have formed. I guess you will form new habits and get used to it. Either way it is great and I am sure you will enjoy it.
    PatientWealth recently posted…Habitat for Humanity: A Great CharityMy Profile

  18. Working two days a week sounds pretty nice – well done! I’m looking forward to reading more about the big epiphany as well! Working out more, reading more and tackling a big project sound like a great start.
    Jon @ Be Net Worthy recently posted…Buying a Small Business: ClosingMy Profile

  19. The Roamer says:

    Well congratulations!!!! That is a big move in getting ready for FI. Short work week. I can’t wait to hear how you manage. I feel like kids fill all free time. At least that has been my experience since the lay off. But both your girls are in school so hopefully you get to actively pursue your to do list!

    Totally understand your politics policy but at the same time I think how are we going to understand each other if we don’t break down this taboo.

  20. Anne says:

    How can I get to posts you made along the way to meeting your goal? For example, do you discuss what you invested in along the way and why, both in stocks and real estate? I just found your blog and can’t figure out how to see your past progress.

  21. Congrats Mr. 1500 on the reduced work schedule! Sometimes you just have to take a step back and make sure your actions are in line with your goals. It’s very easy to let them drift apart, I know.

  22. No more 40+ hour weeks. This sounds so good! I’ve made some time in my life but not really had the urge to re invent myself, maybe just improve on what I’ve already got.

    I would like to say don’t beat up on the “old” you too much. He was the hard working dude who got you into this great position to be in. Having said that, you have got to work on your happiness so is good to hear you doing that now you have time for it. I’d like to think there is a way to balance chasing FI, working hard, and happiness though but it certainly is a tightrope balancing act for sure!

    Looking forward to what’s ahead as everyone else has said 🙂

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