Just when the caterpillar thought that its life was over, it became a butterfly.-who the hell knows
Another review post?
Yep. How can we plan for where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been?
I like using reflection as a tool for self-improvement. By looking at what I did, I can figure out what went right and keep doing it. Much more interesting, I can analyze what went wrong and course-correct.
2018 was the first year since I started the blog that our stock market portfolio was negative. It ended the year up $21,739, but that included $37,890.97 in 401(k) contributions. The S&P 500 was down too, so not much to see here. Bad years happen. To the long-term investor, this means nothing.
On the other hand, our real estate holdings churned out $37,434 in cash, sweet cash. This isn’t such a great return though considering we had around $700,000 invested (~5%). The lower returns are because:
- The trailer park is our biggest real estate holding ($170,000) and we put all earnings into rehab. This was always the plan. It is in a much better place now and we’ll start drawing money from it any month now.
- We have $275,000 invested in syndications. These deals pay out most of the money towards the end (5-10 years) and all of ours are less than 3 years old.
So, real estate income should go up significantly in 2019. Not up like this though:
The truth about my financial situation is that I don’t think much about dollars and cents anymore. When I first left my job, I missed the big paychecks. I also worried about my investments. Now, I don’t miss the checks at all and I don’t worry about the stock market. Of course, it helps to have a spouse that is working, but I don’t think I’d be much different if she wasn’t.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t like the challenge of making money. We’re buying a small business in our town. We’re also looking at a triplex property. I still fiddle with the knobs every once in a while.
Verdict: Neither a win or a loss. I can’t control the stock market and my other investments are performing according to plan.
Blog Related Crap
I had the honor of speaking at Chautauqua. Going to this event as an attendee in 2016 was a bucket list item. Speaking at it was a bucket list item times 1,000. I’m thankful every day that a project I started only for myself and half as a joke (this silly blog) has let to opportunities like this:
At FinCon, I shared a stage with the Physician on FIRE, Jillian Johnsrud (Montana Money Adventures), JD Roth, and Mr. Money Mustache. The last two inspired me to begin my journey to financial independence. Hell, I didn’t even know anyone retired before their 60s before I found MMM. In any case, it was surreal sharing a stage with them. Life came full circle. And it was good.
This was the year that we had some serious media coverage, both print
Verdict: Win! 2018 was a fun year in my career as a blogger. I’m unsure that I’ll ever top it, but I’m also not quite sure how to measure success. I’m also not quite sure if I need to get anything more out of the blog besides weekly amusement.
Over 5 years later, we’re still trying to wrap up our remodel. It’s thisclose to being done, but we still have lots of little things to complete. Also, I keep getting distracted by new projects. Over the summer, I built these planter boxes in the front yard:
I also built this bed that folds into a wall. It’s great for reclaiming space in our home office:
Verdict: I’m putting this one in the loss column. It’s time to get this freakin’ house done once and for all.
2018 was the year I overcame my fear of public speaking. This was my biggest win for the year. I’m a different person; more confident and assertive in social situations. To tell you how far I’ve come, I used to be terrified at just asking a question in a group setting. As a kid, I had speech impediments and didn’t like opening my yap-trap in any way. Now, you can’t shut me up sometimes. Sorry world.
I never thought I’d be saying this, but I’m mostly at ease speaking to a group. Take that comfort zone!
I strengthened some friendships and let others go. Regarding the latter, sometimes people just evolve away from each other. In other cases, some reinforce bad habits. Either way, life too short to make time for everyone. I’m thankful that I have good people in my life.
I walked 6,685,801 steps or 18,317 per day. I’m not sure if I’ll match this in 2019, but I do enjoy mindful wanderings around town.
Running a half-marathon was hellish, but it felt damn good to have accomplished it. I also ran a 5k for the first time in under 30 minutes. Not great, but not bad either for an old dude with asthma and two torn knees.
Verdict: Win. I’m a better person. And while I still retain my unsightly dad belly, I’m in better shape than I was a year ago.
The Real Goal
2018 was a mixed year. It was really good in that we had no major health issues, our children are doing well, and Mrs. 1500 continues to love her job. While I made progress on some of my goals, I didn’t go far enough
The real goal is to grow every year. Life should be a journey of constant improvement. As new evidence presents itself, old beliefs must be burned down and replaced with better ones. At the same time, bad habits and bad people need to be left by the wayside. Growth requires determination, rationality, and open-mindedness.
I didn’t grow as much as I would have liked.
I hope to end 2019 with a smaller gut, bigger muscles, and a better brain.
Less internetting (new word!), more reading.
Fewer cookies, more broccoli.
Less travel, more home time.
Less sitting, More running.
Less bullshit, more living.
I swear I haven’t even been drinking. I’m completely sober over here. After all, one of my goals is to drink less.
Onward and upward friends.
Discipline is freedom.-Jocko WIllink
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