My main goal* was to build an investment and cash portfolio of $1,120,000* ($1,000,000 to retire on and $120,000 to pay off the house) in 1500 days**, starting from 1/1/2013 and ending in February of 2017. I made my goal in 2016, my 1500 Days are over, and I’ve left my job. In the interest of openness, I’ll continue to share my numbers.
The big news is that our investment portfolio passed $2,000,000 for the first time:
When I was a kid, I never dreamed that my life would turn out like this. Millionaires were people who lived in another universe. They lived behind gates and drove fast cars.
When I started at my first real job almost exactly 21 years ago today, I never dreamed my life would turn out like this. I was $60,000 in college and credit card debt and making $37,000/year. I was an insecure, deeply introverted, fearful human. Regarding that last point, public speaking caused me so much fear that I’d shake whenever I had to do it.
When I started this blog almost 7 years ago today, I never dreamed my life would turn out like this.
- A healthy stock market and some lucky stock picks propelled our investment portfolio from $586,000 to over $2,000,000.
- I’m a small business owner.
- I had never planned on my silly hobby (this blog) making money. When you’re doing what you love and someone wants to give you compensation for it, life is pretty awesome. The money isn’t much more than $1,000/month, but that covers the mortgage.
- I also had never planned on Mindy going back to work. If she did, it would be because something went horribly wrong. Instead, she went to the wrong session at a conference I dragged her to and ended up getting her dream gig as a result.
- And above all of that, I’m a better person. I don’t fear interaction with other humans like I used to. In something I NEVER saw coming, I now enjoy public speaking.
When I was a kid, I never dreamed that as an adult, I’d still be playing with plastic dinosaurs.
Life works out funny sometimes.
December Spending ($6,689.12)
December was the second spendiest month of the year. After the mortgage and HELOC ($2,038.49), we blew $1,037 on miscellaneous home and auto (new radiator) stuff, $872 on groceries, and $842 on gifts.
2019 Spending ($64,954.71)
2019 was the first year that we diligently tracked our spending and it was surprising. We blew through $64,954.71, more than we would have guessed. Without mortgage payments, it would have been $48,538.31. Here are our five biggest expenses:
Although we could pay it off, Mindy and I happily keep our 3.25%, 15-year mortgage. There is a very strong chance that we’ll be richer in the long run by keeping this debt. It’s worked out very well so far.
Household And Auto: $10,633.90
This is kind of a catch-all for stuff like auto repairs, furniture, and toilet plungers (a critical tool in the 1500 household). This spending is a bit of a head-scratcher considering our cars are paid off and needed little work. We did move though and since we’re going to Airbnb our previous property, we had to buy some new furniture. I feel like we’ll do a lot better in this category in 2020.
No regrets here except that we weren’t as efficient as we could have been with leftovers. We throw too much food out.
We spent a lot of time away from home including almost 1 month over the summer. I think travel is totally overrated, so we’re going to stay closer to home this year.
We sh*t the bed on this one. I had no idea we were blowing this kind of money on restaurants. In 2020, we’re going to do a better job here.
Home Remodeling: $4,797.14
Note that I don’t include rehab expenses in our normal update/expenses. We’re currently rehabbing a severely dated home and in 2019, we spent $4,797.14. For this, we got an updated office:
A nice bathroom:
Lighting/fans in the bedrooms:
And light fixtures that currently await installation:
December Performance Update
December was another great money month. Our investment portfolio (stocks, rental home, coworking space, trailer park, and other real estate deals) started the month at $2,000,156 and ended at $2,035,040 for a gain of $34,884. Add in our primary residence and our net worth now sits at $2,400,040:
2019 (as of 12/31/2019)
- Days elapsed: 365
- December gains: $34,884
- 2019 investment portfolio gains: $485,600 (including 401(k) and HSA contributions of $52,859****) Note that the $485K number is large because of our move into a much cheaper house. Because I now rent the old, more expensive home, I account for it as an investment. Our net worth increase, a more accurate measure of gains, is up about $350,000 for the year. Still, nothing to sneeze at.
Since the Start (1/1/2013)
- Days elapsed: 2555
- Gains since 1/1/2013: $1,448,997
Portfolio and Net Worth
- Investment portfolio and cash value: $2,035,040
- Net worth (primary home included!): $2,400,040
Real Estate Income: $4,564.36
- Rental house: $1,800
- Coworking space: $1,000
- Mortgage notes: $866.68
- Private loan #1: $541.67
- Private loan #2: $293.51
- Private loan #3: $62.50
In 2019, we earned $66,975.79 in real estate income. I expect this to be well over $100,000 in 2020.
I think 2020 will suck. However, I also predicted that 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 would suck too. 2018 did suck, but the rest did not. The only things that really suck are my predictions.
While I frequently predict short-term pain, I’m a long-term optimist. This is why I continue to be a buy-and-hold forever type of human. I’ve sold stocks on January 2nd of 2019 and 2020, but it was to:
- Buy something cool: In 2019, we were raising funds to buy into MMM HQ. In 2020, we’re paying down the line of credit that we used to buy our new-to-us home.
- Rebalance: I own way too much facebook, so I’ve been selling and rebalancing into index funds.
Other than that, I’ll hold my stocks with a death grip until I need to buy more Romex, food, or dinosaurs.
There you have it, another great year in the bag and a fun year in the blog.
I hope your 2019 was even better and your 2020 is the best yet!
*My goal wasn’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. Since my investment portfolio now sits at $1,550,000, I can spend about $62,000 in my first year of retirement.
**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 (LOOK at the MONEY I’m MAKING!). My compromise was to have enough money put away to cover the mortgage at the time of retirement.
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****My 401(k) contributions include my own, Mrs. 1500’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.
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Ryan Schlomer says
Do you just track your spending, or do you budget and then track it? It doesn’t seem like you budget based on what you wrote, and maybe I missed you talking about this a while back.
The house pictures look awesome!
Ryan Schlomer recently posted…Handling a Three-Paycheck Month
Mr. 1500 Days says
Spending: We don’t set limits, but we try to do everything thoughtfully. I don’t think we were thoughtful enough in 2019 though!
Mr. Bo Dangles says
Wow, it’s weird to see how small the dinos are when they’re sitting on your desk. I guess your heroes always look more impressive with the right lighting and camera angles 😉 Congrats on the awesome year!
Mr. Bo Dangles recently posted…Does A Master’s Degree Make Sense For Early Retirement?
Mr. 1500 Days says
Haha, yeah, they are little guys. Don’t tell them that though!
Congrats on the great year!
You should pay those Dinosaurs before they gang up on you
Your spending doesn’t look bad to me. At the risk of getting kicked out of the aspiring FI community, I spend about $50k/year as a single person in a HICOL area. I’m comfortable with how I spend most of it, but am going to work on restaurants too.
Mr. 1500 Days says
The dinosaurs are threatening to eat me. Uggh.
Spending isn’t crazy, but I think we could do a little better too. With that said, 2020 will be the most expensive year of our lives. I just paid $4,000 for braces a couple of hours ago and we also have a HELOC to pay off now.
In the end, it doesn’t matter much. The difference between living a super frugal life and going nuts is like $10,000. 10K is a big chunk, but won’t make much difference to us since we drastically oversaved.
Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life says
Maybe your predictions are working like reverse psychology!
I love how your unexpected stuff has mainly been good.
We had a good 2019 in terms of money but life was rough as some of our loved ones are fighting to get out of or through crappy situations. It’s a weird balance but I’m glad we did ok financially or I’d be a nervous wreck.
Because I didn’t have access to a 401k for several years, I didn’t start investing seriously for retirement until late 2018 after I finished going no contact with my biodad and reclaiming a significant part of our income that was supporting him. That made 2019 the first year I invested aggressively for retirement and it felt really good to finally do something about my own future and not just worrying about everyone else. For 2020, I’m balancing my need to stash cash to have it available for any market correction with my desire to keep putting money into investments regularly so I don’t try to time the market.
Best of luck to all of us for a good 2020!
Mr. 1500 Days says
“It’s a weird balance but I’m glad we did ok financially or I’d be a nervous wreck.”
Money sure as hell isn’t everything, but it sure helps build a solid foundation for living.
Absolutely LOVE your blog! Your enthusiasm and sense of humor are so apparent – I smile every time I get one of your new posts in my email. Keep up the great work and happy 2020 to you and your family!
Mr. 1500 Days says
Tracey! Thank you so much for the kind words and Happy New Year right back at ya’!
Rising tides raise all ships. Looks like you had about 17.5% increase in assets. Good job! We did about the same. What percentage increase was it for your real estate investments? I use the Vanguard REIT Index fund as a benchmark and it returned ~30% in 2019, of course it’s lower over longer time periods.
Mr. 1500 Days says
Real estate! With the trailer park and syndication deals, it’s very difficult to know what they’re worth until you sell. Also, I like to err on the side of being very conservative. Therefore, I just value these investments at the price that I purchased them.
My primary home is a cookie-cutter model, so it’s pretty easy to assess the value. I’ll reset it on 1/1/2021 if I have at least 2 comp sales this year.
The rental home is trickier since it’s unique. For the past two years, I’ve kept it at $550,000 since I haven’t seen strong evidence of price movement.
Brian Kehm says
Impressive portfolio! Your hard work – and frugality – is paying off. I’ve set $750,000 as my retirement goal and I’m hoping to hit it by age 35 (currently 27). Although, if/when I start a family I’ll be bumping up that amount by a substantial amount. Thanks for all the insight into your financial freedom journey. It really help others find a better path to FI.
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