Performance Update 49/50: Samoan Invasion

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

January was a month of struggles in the 1500 household. I’ve been trying to spend less money, drink less alcohol, eat less food, weigh less and P90x more. I had mixed results. With respect to the eating less goal, the forces of the universe conspired against me. This happened a couple of weeks ago:

Mrs. 1500 is the Girl Scout Cookie Manager and it’s her job to store all of these at our house. It’s my job to try not to store them in my stomach. I love all Girl Scout cookies, but I love Samoas more than almost anything else on earth. I’d sell my soul for one and our house had over 1,000 of them for a couple of days.

I’ve been trying to stay strong, but it isn’t easy. The Samoas call my name. Every. Waking. Hour. They invade my thoughts and infiltrate my dreams. I see them everywhere:

The situation is slowing driving me insane. Just kidding! Maybe…

Anyway, to help with my goals, I’ve started tracking everything (except Samoa consumption). I share my numbers later in this post.

 

Performance Update

January was a great month. My portfolio went from $1,258,128 to $1,316,646 for a gain of $58,518. $10,00o of this gain was from a solo-401(k) contribution and will be one of the last big ones because I work part-time now. This makes me a little sad (I love deploying money), but my new free time makes me very, very happy.

Personal Capital*** Click it so I can get some more money. Hey, at least I’m honest, right?

2017 (as of 1/31/2017)

  • Days elapsed: 31!
  • 2017 gains: $58,518, (including 401(k) contributions of $10,000)
  • 2017 401(k) contributions: $10,000****

Since the start (1/1/2013)

  • Days elapsed: 1491
  • Days remaining: 9
  • Gains since 1/1/2013: $730,603
  • Needed to quit work ($1,120,000 in investments): Mission accomplished!
  • Net worth*****: $1,686,646

 

Exercise and the Beer-O-Meter

My weight was a high point, or should I say low point in January. I started the month at 170.3 and finished up at 163.6, for a loss of 6.7 pounds. I’m very happy with these results. My bulbous gut is melting away:

Left: December 2016. Right: January 2017.

My P90x routines got off to a slow start. The exercises are difficult and I struggle to make it through the hour. However, I’m starting to see results. On January 1. I could barely do two pull-ups. I did seven in my most recent workout.

By the way. I HATE posting these pictures, but I do it anyway:

  • Transparency: The proof is in the pectorals. It’s one thing to tell you I’m getting better; quite another to show you.
  • My awesome underwear: Your eyes don’t deceive you readers, my underwear has pictures of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger on them.
  • Humiliation: Knowing that I have to post these every month is very motivating.
  • It’s part of the routine: The P90x manual tells you to take pictures of yourself once a month to see your progress.

January 2017

I decided to restrict my beer consumption to social situations. It turns out that I had a healthy social life in January, so I ended up drinking 18 beers. Ack! I’ll do better in February.

Beer-O-Meter

 

Spending

We’ve recently started keeping track of our spending. We spent $3,033.85 this month. This includes everything but the mortgage. We try to stay around $2,000 per month, but two items blew the budget out of the water:

  • ChiliPad ($450): We bought a memory foam mattress a couple years ago and my sleeping has been pure misery ever since. I sleep hot and foam mattresses don’t help. I often wake up drenched in sweat. I was close to buying a new mattress and then I discovered the ChiliPad in Tim Ferriss’ book, Tools of Titans. It wasn’t cheap, but it’s still cheaper than a new mattress. And good sleep is priceless.
  • Ski lessons: Skiing isn’t cheap either, but we do our best to keep costs down. We bought an unlimited family ski pass to our local mountain (Eldora) earlier this year for $999. I’ll never apologize for spending money on activities that I really enjoy. However, the girls don’t know how to ski, so we spent $450 this month on ski lessons. They are getting pretty good and only need a couple more.

Bleh.

 

My $10,000 Experiment

I devised an experiment to wean myself off of my old stock picking ways. I created a portfolio of stocks I like and hoped that they would crash, finally crushing my stock picking ambitions. I bought $10,000 of my portfolio.

Green line is the S&P, blue line is me.

It’s not going so well as my holdings moved back into the win column. I’m now beating the S&P 500 by 1.5%. This experiment is less than a year old, so it’s silly to think too much about the results now, but in the interest of transparency, I’m going to post the results monthly.

 

Tracking

I have found that tracking my behavior with online spreadsheets is a fun and useful exercise. Knowing that I have to write down purchases keeps me from buying stupid things. Knowing that I have to answer to the Beer-O-Meter causes me to drink less. And knowing that I have to weigh myself every night convinces me to skip the Samoa. Most of the time…

 

 

*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 $48,000 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, beautiful, 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 ($350,000 after the appraisal!)
  • Cars
  • Bicycles
  • Samoas: Some of them are still here… Calling to me, screaming at me, tormenting my soul. Resistance is waning. How much longer can I hold out? Is there a Betty Ford clinic for this? The voices are growing louder…

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44 Responses to Performance Update 49/50: Samoan Invasion

  1. Team CF says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of cookies! Best of luck to Mrs. 1500 to help sell all of these Samoas.
    Good luck getting your beer-o-meter down from January, “hope” for you that February will not be as social 😉 But seriously, it’s interesting how excel sheets can help keep your behavior in check, whether it be eating, working out or spending.
    Team CF recently posted…January 2017 Savings RateMy Profile

    • “…it’s interesting how excel sheets can help keep your behavior in check, whether it be eating, working out or spending.”

      I know, right? Having to answer to The Sheet is a powerful motivator…

  2. Those Samoas are irresistible. They don’t last in my house so I should probably avoid all temptation and not buy them…but it is for a good cause…Ok I’ll buy a couple more boxes!

    9 days left! I can’t believe the countdown from 1500 is almost done! How’s it feel?
    The Green Swan recently posted…The Swan Life: January 2017My Profile

  3. P90x is no joke!!! I have done it a couple of times through and every time I start at the beginning I feel like I’m going to die. I feel sore almost the whole 90 days but end up getting terrific results which is clear by the almost 7 lbs that you lost in January. Awesome job.
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Why Winning the Lottery May Not Be So GreatMy Profile

  4. Greg says:

    I’m with you on the samoa’s…love, love, love them so I will not buy them. Beer has also been an issue with me from a weight standpoint. I finally quit brewing my own when I hit 270 pounds several years ago. Now at a healthier 200 pounds I limit myself to michelob ultra normally (only 2.6 grams carb and it can scratch the itch for a beer) leaving those delicious ipa’s, wits and sours that I love for special occasions only. Thanks for posting your progress…it take guts!

  5. Brian says:

    Samoas are my favorite too. Tough to resist when you have cases sitting in your house.

    Looks like a good month investments up, weight down, beer consumption…..

    So here we are in February of 2017, we going to get that big reveal soon? or are we just going to show up here with a website unavailable message? 🙂
    Brian recently posted…Spending Habits of Our TeenagersMy Profile

  6. Mr. SSC says:

    Fortunately/Unfortunately I live in the crappy girl scout cookie bakery zone which means I get caramel delights as my “Samoa wanna be”. Which means I don’t buy them or the thin mints, becuse they’re just not the same. Unless the inlaws are bringing some from Kerrvillle or one of my colleagues is bootlegging some back from a trip out to Denver, I just forgo those 2 cookies. Seriously, google it, they look and taste totally different.

    Nice month for you guys! The beer o meter wouldn’t fly with me. Well it would but it could get up there pretty quickly. Although maybe that would be a good way to curb some alcohol consumption – shaming, lol. I’ve cut back to 3 days a week hoping to get rid of the gut that came along with being in a walking boot for a month during the holiday snackfest… Plus I want to drop some lbs before a race in a few more weeks. We’ll see, I’ve lost about 5 so far, but don’t think I’ll hit my goal prior to the race. Oh well…
    Mr. SSC recently posted…January 2017 Spending: Our Money Went Where?My Profile

  7. ambertree says:

    I would love to taste Samoa cookies. Great that you now work half time only

  8. Tim says:

    My friends runs a logistics company that has a contract with said cookie makers. He sends me pictures of airport hanger sized warehouses filled with cookies.

  9. Mrs. BITA says:

    Those are some nice returns for January – both on investments and on the exercise front. I tried P90x nearly 4 years ago (actually more like P60x, I never did make it the whole 90 days). It was definitely effective but who knew that there are so very many ways of failing at push ups? The one handed push-ups were just ridiculous. I am convinced that anyone who can do those has to be a different species than me.

  10. Amazing journey and congrats on an outstanding 1491 days so far! Any thoughts in to what you are doing post 1500? And just one request from you, can we get a last rant, I always enjoyed those posts the most given their special look into human nature. Kudos to you on an outstanding path to FI!

  11. Are you really saying this is the second-to-last update we’re getting? Or will the updates just start numbering 51/50? 🙂 Well done on health and happiness and wealth this month… though I have to say I hate Samoas. sorry…

  12. Ning says:

    omg samoas!! they’re my favorite over thin mints any day. I mentioned that it’s girl scout season to my SO and he was like ‘NO!”. Just as well that’s good for both of us.

  13. Man, tracking beer consumption? Nihil Sanctisne?

    But kudos for pushing yourself in the new year. All the best, buddy.

  14. Brandon says:

    Yes to Tracking!

    You hit on what I see as the first step in personal development, which is awareness.

    You want to get better with money? Don’t make a budget! Simply track what you spend and I guarantee you will naturally start saving more.

    This same thing is true if you want to learn a new skill. Want to learn to play guitar? Get interested in it. Don’t just go through the motions of putting your fingers on the strings. Learn about famous guitarists, study different styles, find out the history of guitars themselves, etc… I guarantee you will naturally want to play more. It’s a learning goal vs. a performance goal.

  15. “…my underwear has pictures of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger on them.”

    You really had to share that?! LOL. Great post, love the “Samoa’s everywhere”, seems an obsessive trait. And yet, you lost weight!! Woot woot, what a month!!

    Love your updates.

  16. Mmm, Samoa Girl Scout Cookies! I loved purchasing girl scout cookies whenever they are available.

    And great job on starting to track your expenses and how much beer you intake! Definitely gets easier to reduce in areas you want when you have to manually write down each transaction.

  17. I tooooootally feel ya on that Girl Scout cookie guilt. My mom was troop leader growing up and we had to dedicate our garage plus a bedroom to storing the cookies. I might have snuck a few boxes of Tagalongs…

    This year we ordered cookies from my niece but I opted to donate them to the troops instead. This way I can still help my niece reach her goal, give the soldiers some love, and avoid extra calories in my pantry. 😉

    And your exercise goals look like they’re coming along! Way to go on that weight loss journey!
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…Be My Frugal ValentineMy Profile

  18. “This year we ordered cookies from my niece but I opted to donate them to the troops instead.”

    Awesome idea!!

  19. For me it’s not the samoas, its thin mints. I have three boxes on order. Mrs. FTF has stated they cannot enter the house if I know what’s good for me, so they will stay in a drawer at work. Inevitably one day they’ll call to me and I’ll eat half a box… oops did I say that out loud? As for beer consumption, keep posting pictures of old Warren and I may have to increase my intake inversely to you before I venture a look at these posts. 😉
    Fulltimefinance recently posted…The Secret to My Financial SuccessMy Profile

  20. That’s some nice spending there Carl! $3000 is nothing to shake a stick at.

    My most recent post details our January, and we were at $5561 (including mortgage and childcare expenses.

    Under $3k seems like a dream!
    Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes recently posted…January 2017 Dividend Income And ExpensesMy Profile

    • I confess that our $3,000 doesn’t include the mortgage/property taxes/insurance which comes in around $1200/month. I go back and forth about including this because I could pay it off…

  21. Wow! Only 9 days left until 1500!
    Freedom 40 Plan recently posted…Is My Rental Worth It? (Feb 2017 Edition)My Profile

  22. Joe says:

    Great job with your weight! That’s really good. I just took some pictures and I really hate them! Hopefully, I’ll improve throughout the year. Really good job with your 401k too. I’m still trying to catch up with my solo 401k for last year. 🙂
    We have a similar problem with the cookies. Mrs. RB40 loves baking and there is a tin of chocolate chip cookie in the kitchen for our kid. It’s tough to keep my hands off these little morsels.

  23. Jason says:

    The Do-si-dos are my weakness. Good thing I resisted the Girl Scout challenge. They have, however, been showing up outside our grocery store. It is hard to resist those smiling faces…..must resist.

  24. Ahhh, those evil Girl Scout cookies! Damn then to…you know where. Fortunately, I have NEVER had one, so I don’t know what I’m missing. Phew.

    Nice work on a successful January! I definitely have not done so hot with not eating as much. My appetite is something to be desired. Ha! Overall, I’m not a big lady, but I could demolish a large pizza. Alone. No apologies. Yep. 😛 But I try to be more civilized these days.

    I look forward to reading about your progress this year and keeping up with your investment trick to see which one “wins”. Although, I think you’ll need to track it for quite a few years/decades(?) to decipher a true winner. Hmmm…awesome! Sounds like I can look forward to 1500 Days posts for many years to come. WooHoo!

    Mad Money Monster

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