I published my first post on 1/1/2013. Here it is: https://www.1500days.com/start-here/ 10 years later, here we are.
Crazy. Time flies by. So cliche, but so true.
10 years is most likely more than 10% of my life. And the past 10 years are certainly some of the best years.
Some random facts:
- This blog was supposed to end at the 1500 day mark. I even wrote my last post around day 1,200. Then a couple things happened:
- Something went wrong with WordPress (this blogging platform) and about 5% of my posts, both published and unpublished, just disappeared. One of those posts was my final post. To this day, I have no idea what happened.
- As day 1,500 approached, I got a little sad. I love writing here and didn’t want to give it up. That and the Mysterious Disappearing Final Post inspired me to continue on.
- I never thought anyone would read this. This blog peaked in traffic a couple of years ago at about 5,000 pageviews per day. It’s now down to 1,000. But I never cared because I never did this for anyone but myself. Don’t get me wrong; if you’re reading this, know that I appreciate you. I admit my fragile ego gets a little boost knowing people read read my words. I hope that I’ve inspired some of you too.
- Even after I decided to continue on, I never thought this thing would last 10 years. I don’t write as often as I used to, but it still feels good when I do, so I continue on.
My Money Journey
This blog is supposed to be about money, so let’s start there.
When I was a kid, if you told me that someday I’d be a multimillionaire, I would have called you a nutter. I’m a recovering worrier and my father had issues with alcohol. So Young Me didn’t spend enough time thinking about what I was going to do when I grew up or how life would turn out. Instead, I worried that my dad wouldn’t make it home from his latest drinking adventure. He was a good person at the core, but struggled. Those struggles made for some very unpleasant childhood experiences. Not fun.
I knew that money could solve a lot of problems. As a teen, I thought that the best path to make money was to go to university which I did. I studied biology and chemistry which was not a good path to make money. Whoops. No matter as I eventually stumbled into computers. I went to a certificate program at DePaul in Chicago and learned COBOL/Y2K remediation.
1999-2013 (-$60,000 -> $586,000)
The DePaul computer program got me into a great job, but COBOL (an old computer language) wasn’t the future. I quickly learned object oriented programming (Java) and other modern languages and moved on.
I worked and saved. In addition to working a normal job, Mindy and I fixed up houses for fun and profit (mostly profit, the fun was questionable…). I paid off the $60,000 in loan and credit card debt and started saving.
In October of 2012 after a miserable stretch at work, I found Mr. Money Mustache. This led me to create the blog you’re reading now. I have always enjoyed writing and a blog would be a fun way to document my FIRE journey.
2013-2022 ($586,000 -> $5,000,000 -> $3,000,000): The Crapperhorn
I reached my goal of $1,120,000 in April of 2016, one year ahead of schedule. Thank you Raging Bull Market! I didn’t muster up the courage to quit for another year. At the same time I quit, Mindy unexpectedly went back to work. This sort of negated everything, but in a good way. We didn’t have to worry about sequence of returns destroying out net worth. We could continue to save! (It’s addictive!)
It was still difficult to leave my job. For most of my adult life, the biggest activity of my waking hours was work. That’s a big vacuum to fill.
But it would all be OK. My “Retirement To Do List” has tripled in size since I quit. I won’t get to most of it in my lifetime.
And the money part is great too. I’m an indexer now, but the tech stocks I bought (before I knew about VTSAX) had a great run. Our investments briefly crested $5,000,000 before getting knocked down by almost $2,000,000 this year.
Here is how our investments have done since the start of 2013.
2020-2022 has been an interesting time. Our money looks like the Matterhorn!:
I’m going to call it the Crapperhorn. The run-up part of the left is fun! The other side, not so much. We started the year with investments of $4,762,642 and are now down to $3,112,821 for a loss of $1,649,821. Yikes!
And this may not be the end. The PE of the S&P 500 is still aggressive:
And the Shiller PE is even higher! Yikes!!:
(Note: Some smart people think that the Shiller methodology needs an update, but it wouldn’t change the numbers much.)
To get back to historical norms (with the Shiller version), our portfolio would have to lose at least another million which would kick our investments down to $2,000,000.
But, I’m not worried. While this is a lot of money to lose on paper, it wouldn’t change our lives in any way. Life is good when you let go of The Game. Having a lot of money is fun. Having a great life with interesting projects, purpose, and loving relationships is a lot more fun.
I Caught The Car
And I still feel like the dog who catches the car:
But what makes it a little more fun is that for most of my life, I didn’t even know what I was chasing. I just worked a lot and saved. Money was (is?) my security blanket.
And that dog chasing the car has the wrong idea anyway.
Life is best when you’re not chasing anything. The best goals should be micro goals, not more than a couple of days into the future. Here are some:
- Go outside and walk
- Be kind to others and to the world
- If you still work, do your best, but don’t let other parts of your life slip by
- Don’t be distracted
- Surround yourself with the best humans that will have you
- Be positive
If you focus on today, everything else will fall into place. And, you’ll live where life is supposed to be lived, in the present. In retrospect, my 1500 Days premise was silly.
I’m really thankful that I found MMM. My life is certainly better because of FIRE. I have time to work on all of those bullet points because I have more time. It’s not obvious when you’re young, but time is everything.
Despite a crummy 2022, I’m confident that our investments will do well in the years to come. I won’t go into details because that just leads to combative comments, but I feel really good about where our money is invested now.
And I feel even better about life. 2023 will be the year I wrap up building projects and move on. Perhaps I’ll really retire? Hell no, what fun would that be?! But I do look forward to spending less time with my toolbox and more time playing the piano, guitar, speaking Spanish, and perhaps most of all, taking random walks with no destination or purpose.
Happy New Year and thanks for reading my silly words!
See you soon.
More 1500 Days!!!
You can also find me (and the dinosaurs) at:
Mile High FI podcast:
- Facebook: Facebook group and page
- YouTube: My channel is mostly devoted to home improvement, but I have some other material coming up soon too.
- Instagram: Pretty pictures of dinosaurs, sunsets, and nail guns!
- Twitter: Spontaneous, often insane, ramblings
- Coworking space: On the surface, MMM HQ is a coworking space. Look a little deeper and you’ll see that we’re really building community. The members of MMM HQ are some of the finest people I know.
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