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.
Rays Of Light
Sitting around in one place doesn’t make me happy. I hate being cooped up. But last week, Mindy, me, and the girls finally got a chance to get out of the house for a spell. We traveled west to see family and our first stop was Moab.
Our destination was Las Vegas.
In Las Vegas, we went to Omega Mart.
On the way back, a county in rural Colorado that we happened to be passing through had excess vaccine doses and was offering them to everyone. Mindy and I stopped and received our first sharp pokes.
It was good to get out of the home and see friends in Moab and family in Las Vegas. In the time of COVID, we haven’t had a lot of interaction with other humans. Despite being a pretty severe introvert, this trip reminded me that spending time with others makes me happy.
I’ve been in a funk, but the world seems to be opening up as COVID recedes. It’s just small rays of light now, but they’re getting brighter and more numerous.
The big news in February was that we sold our old home. We had planned on hanging on to it as an Airbnb, but since decided that we needed more time than more money. With the real estate market white-hot, we put the home on the market and had multiple offers within 24 hours.
I’m not sure how to write about the home from a financial perspective. We bought if it for about $175,000 back in 2013. By the time we sold it, we had close to $300,000 into it ($125,000 in remodeling) and sold it for close to $600,000. Perhaps those numbers sound great, but the remodeling was cheap because I did much of the work myself. Looking back, I gave up too much time. If you asked me what the main benefit of owning this home was, I wouldn’t say it was the money, but the experience. I learned loads and gained confidence from the remodel. Now, I don’t find any projects around the home intimidating.
We netted around $500,000 from the sale and are dumping the proceeds mostly into VTI. Interactive Brokers allows a $100,000 deposit every 7 business days, so we haven’t completed the process yet. Good problem.
Side note: In case you missed it, we had could have paid cash for this home, but got a mortgage instead which worked out spectacularly well financially. See the numbers here.
For net worth purposes on this blog, I had been conservative and valued the home at $550,000. Despite selling it for more than expected, February was still a downer. We started the month at $3,756,567 and ended at $3,672,156 for a loss of $84,411.
2021 (as of 2/28/2021)
- Days elapsed: 59
- Net worth gains: $152,410
Since the Start (1/1/2013)
- Days elapsed: 2980
- Net worth gains: $2,946,113
Living A FI
Living A FI (LAF) is the purest FIRE blogger I can think of. He doesn’t monetize his work and writes thoughtful posts. After a layoff of years, he just provided an update that has a lot of wisdom:
LAF talks about when his life went sideways:
That discomfort did exactly what it was supposed to do. It prompted me to make some major changes that moved me in the right direction.
Discussing early retirement:
If you are yourself working on becoming FI and you have any specific takeaway from this post, let it be this: You are making future plans based on what your current life looks like. Your current job, your current income, your current partner, your current percentage of savings, your expected market return, your housing costs, your location, and so-on. You’re assuming large parts of your life will remain static over the next X years, where, for many early-retiree hopefuls, X is 30+ years, perhaps even fifty.
They may not be static. It might be a mistake to think that things will be as smooth as you believe they will be. The ability to recover from changes and disruptions — to be adaptable and resilient in the face of adversity — will show itself to be perhaps the most critical Early Retirement skill of them all.
Happiness is spending as much time as I possibly can with my partner.
Happiness is thinking about growth and joy and changes in the days to come.
Happiness is a mix of thinking about now and ten or twenty years from now — pleasure in the moment, satisfaction through the week, and some sense that you have a lot to look forward to as the world continues to turn.
Check out the rest here.
LAF, you went through some hard times. We’ve never met, but it sounds like you’re in a better place now or will be soon. Thanks for the thoughtful post.
*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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Subscribing will improve your life in incredible ways*.
*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.
Mr. RTTS says
I actually gagged when I saw that picture of the cheese drink!
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Mr. 1500 Days says
Try it, you might like it! https://shop.meowwolf.com/?fwp_paged=3
We did our first trip since covid. Vegas with a trip up to Zion/Bryce for 3 days in the middle. 3-15 to 3-22.
People were really good about mask wearing. Plane and in/around Vegas.
Both wife and I got our first Pfizer on 3/23 after we returned. I agree. A nice first step. Vaccine pace is really picking up. North Dakota is fully open to anyone 18 and over as of today.
Mr. 1500 Days says
Zion is so beautiful. I hope your trip was a great one!
I love that vaccines are rolling out to everyone. It will never feel so great to be back to “normal” life.
I…what? This Omega Mart place looks like a joke of a store that you can actually buy crazy stuff in. Wild. Will have to take a look next time we’re near Vegas. I love that one aisle contains “?????”.
And of course, another congrats on the house sale. But I almost think the bigger news is the vaccination for both of you. I know that’s a weight off the shoulders. Awesome. Since it was a rural place that sounds like it might have been kind of far from home, how will the second dose work for you all? Will you need to return to the same place or can you schedule the follow-up closer to home since you have proof of the first dose?
And indeed—LAF/Dr. Doom’s post was such a great read—even though I think it doesn’t really have *that much* to do with FIRE, it has a lot to do with life and the surprises along the way. Really enjoyed it.
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Mr. 1500 Days says
So, if you’re ever in Albuquerque, Las Vegas, or Denver, this is a must: https://meowwolf.com/visit/las-vegas I didn’t know what to expect, but it ended up being completely awesome.
The vaccine was a weight off the shoulders, despite the shoulder pain for 2 days! 🙂 If we can’t find one locally, we have an 8-hour round-trip in our near future!
Agreed about LAF’s post. But, I think FIRE revealed an incompatibility in his marriage. Tough, but probably better for him in the long run.
Ohhhh, cheese drink, yeah, like Mr. RTTS said, that just, well, oof. I love me that Personal Capital although I’m like the only blogger in this space that actually lets them manage some of my money, because their fees are definitely higher than a robo and most of you guys are managing your money yourselves and doing an awesome job of it. I just hate doing that so until I can’t stand the fees anymore I’m letting them and Vanguard and Betterment all have a shot at parts of my portfolio. Moab also has an out of this world off road park and will rent anyone, even rank amateurs, four wheel side by side ATV’s and turn you loose on a course that could easily kill you. It was awesome!
Mr. 1500 Days says
I love the “could easily kill you part!” I need to go back to Moab.
You have to pick your battles in life. If you truly hate doing something, pay someone else to do it!
David @ Filled With Money says
I was going to comment on how your month went but instead I will comment on how great and life changing of a post that livingafi’s was. Wow. It opened my eyes to the dark side of FIRE. Even though I wholeheartedly believe in it and will continue to work like a dog towards it, I shouldn’t be blind and discount the bad stuff that can happen throughout the journey.
It was a phenomenal post.
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Mr. 1500 Days says
But, his bad stuff wasn’t necessarily bad. He may not have been divorced if they both still worked, but maybe FI revealed a fundamental incompatibility issue?
Charlie @ doginvestor.com says
Great finds! Yes, sometimes getting out is just great for clearing the head – especially post Covid. I’m busy getting involved with some activities with friends again, it feels too long and a bit like trying to interact with strangers. Luckily all of our social skills are a bit pathetic so it isn’t just me that’s become a bit introverted.
Great that you guys are getting vaccine rollouts. We’ve got an incredibly long wait ahead, so we’ll probably need to deal with life a bit differently until the developed world has finished vaccinating their population and let’s us poorer countries purchase some supplies.
Until then, enjoy the spring!
What an amazing return on your investment! Thank you for being so transparent. I have so much to learn! 🙂
Greenbacks Magnet says
Agreed ?Excellent return here.
I read housing market has gone up as homes have appreciated 11% over tha past year. Definitely a good time to sell.
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Greenbacks Magnet says
That is a good ?plan to invest the proceeds. I have been dumping all my money into the VTSAX. I recently did a $10,000 transaction.
$100k is Vanguards equivalent of check holding eh ?? Good to know as you do wonder about investing fund limits.
Love the blog Mr. 1500! Congrats on the home sale and your vaccine! Even though the net worth was a loss in this month, you still found plenty of wins and things to be happy about! Keep up the great work!
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This is awesome! I agree with the comment above – thanks for the transparency here. Love this post!