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.
If you aren’t willing to own a stock for ten years, don’t even think about owning it for ten minutes.-Warren Buffett
I’ve been thinking about these Performance Updates recently and how silly they are. Successful investors don’t think in weeks, months or even years; they think in decades. If I could sum up successful investing in one sentence, it would be this:
Buy an index fund and then do nothing.
Fidelity famously studied investors and found that the best performers are the ones that never take action. The dead are the most successful investors. Death is a steep price to pay for performance, but there is still a lesson:
Ignore the noise. Do nothing. The events of next week or the next 4 years of an administration mean nothing when you only care about performance over multiple decades.
It turns out that the Fidelity story may be fake, but the part about inactive investors being the most successful is true.
But here I am, publishing monthly updates. This one in particular makes me look like an investing savant:
However, look 3 months back and this number is much less impressive. I’m only up $120,484 when I go back to September:
Why continue these updates? I started publishing them because I wanted to be as transparent as possible with my financial journey. It drives me nuts when humans write about something great that they did and offer no proof.
But fast forward to today and the updates don’t feel quite right anymore. I’m throwing up big numbers and I feel like I’ve become mostly unrelatable. Some like Angry Andy have even accused me of bragging:
For now, I’ll keep publishing these updates. They help me churn my thoughts and stay honest.
Life In The 1500 Household
I’ve been neglecting this blog for much of 2020 for lack of time. COVID claimed some of it. Home improvement was the other time black hole.
I’m finishing up minor work on the kitchen now. We shoved the refrigerator back into a wall I moved and I’m installing cabinetry (yay IKEA!) around it:
I also painted, installed lights and receptacles in my basement last week:
I’m happy with the progress we have made, but it’s time to take a break.
A smart human once said that this:
Happiness is expectations minus reality.
I had big expectations for 2020 and my projects. In the spring I would:
- Remodel one of our bathrooms
- Complete the basement finish including a new bathroom
- Build a deck and pergola
In the fall, I would:
- Remodel the kitchen
- Start the remodel of our master bath
I remodeled the bathroom and was deep into the basement finish when COVID started. My remodeling mostly ceased when the girls started school at home but I tried to hang on to my projects and timelines anyway. Why? Because I’m an idiot! The earliest Mindy and I would sell the home is spring of 2022, but we’ll probably hang out here until our kids are done with school which is around 2030. Imposing arbitrary deadlines on myself and not letting go caused me unhappiness. No more.
I’m going to finish installing the kitchen cabinets and stop work in the basement shortly. I may complete some projects in the yard when the weather warms up, but the tools will mostly be in storage until COVID is over and the girls are back in school, probably fall of 2021.
Our net worth started the month at $3,078,350 and ended at $3,363,173 for a gain of $284,823:
This was a good month because of Tesla stock. I bought it on a silly whim in 2012 (Elon Musk is cool!) and held on. The big move was partly because of the 11/16 announcement of inclusion into the S&P 500. I believe in the long-term vision and potential of Tesla, so I’ll continue to hold the stock.
2020 (as of 11/30/2020)
- Days elapsed: 334
- Investment portfolio gains: $1,188,673 (Our gains are outsized because we took equity out of our home in order to increase our investable assets. The next number, net worth, which includes home equity, is more accurate.).
- Net worth gains: $963,133
Since the Start (1/1/2013)
- Days elapsed: 2890
- Investment portfolio gains: $2,637,130
I listen to a couple of finance podcasts and also loosely pay attention to market news. In the past week, I’ve heard:
We’re on the verge of a housing meltdown similar to the Great Recession! The smart money is moving to cash to pounce on deals.
The vaccine is out. COVID will disappear soon and there is so much pent-up demand from the quarantines, the economy will explode!
While these views are opposite, both came from smart humans. Who will be right? No one knows. One thing I do know is that trying to make money based on what you think is going to happen next quarter is silly. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes on the subject:
Far more money has been lost by investors trying to anticipate corrections, than lost in the corrections themselves.-Peter Lynch
Far more money has been lost by investors trying to anticipate corrections, than lost in the corrections themselves.-Pete Lynch
*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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JS Smith says
You could just tell Angry Andy that he’s under no obligation to read your blog 🙂
Mr. 1500 Days says
Very true! I often wonder why people are harsh like that? If you want to have a polite debate, I’m all up for that! Let’s get to the truth!
If you’re going to get all mad, just click the X on your browser tab or navigate over to something more awesome like this.
Please keep providing the detailed updates. There are only a few sites that offer investment details along with commentary. I find your updates useful and greatly enjoy them!
Mr. 1500 Days says
Thanks Joe! If I ever come across as a braggy a-hole, kindly call me out on it.
David @ Filled With Money says
That comment was interesting. People will always figure out a way to criticize you even if you have the best and kindest intentions in the world. Especially when it comes to money. You even talk about money and you’re either bragging or ashamed, ha. Unlike Angry Andy, we appreciate your updates!
revanche @ a gai shan life says
While we may never agree on Elon Musk (I can’t stand him) :), I do hope you’ll keep publishing these. I appreciate the consistent transparency!
Our version in CA is SlugBug! I was shocked the first time I got slugged for absolutely no reason. I was going back in your archives to see why you picked $1M in investable assets specifically as your goal post but I haven’t found that part yet, is there a post where you discuss that? We have somewhat similar demographics (2 adults, 2 kids, but also 2 dogs in a HCOLA) and I’ve been playing around with what our number should be if I were being reasonable vs my paranoid self and wanted to read up on your reasoning for your number.
revanche @ a gai shan life recently posted…Good Things Friday (97) and Link Love
Mr. 1500 Days says
Elon Musk! Regardless of him and his personality, what he’s accomplished is incredibly important. I don’t think that there is an auto manufacturer that isn’t working on electric cars. I doubt this would be happening now if it wasn’t for Tesla which made electric cars sexy. It would have happened eventually, but Tesla has pushed up the timeline considerably.
$1,000,000 was an arbitrary number I pulled out of my keister guessing that we could live on $40,000/year. When I actually ran the numbers, it came out to mid 60s. Whoops! Good thing the Mrs. still bring in money and we oversaved. With all of that said, we could live on 40k, we just wouldn’t want to.
Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life says
Your point is totally valid. I just can’t separate the art from the artist, if you know what I mean. (Looking at Orson Scott Card as an example)
LOL thanks, that makes sense now! I thought that your spending numbers seemed to be north of 40K annually so I wondered what kind of behind the scenes numbers-wizardry I might be overlooking. I know what we could probably live on but I don’t wanna, either 😉
Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life recently posted…Good Things Friday (98) and Link Love
Interesting you say this! We hover around 40K a year. No kids here so I am sure that is a couple of 1000 extra for your family. But perhaps you could do a post in what the difference between living on 40K vs living on 60K would mean for your family? Honestly, yes there are a few things I could buy and am not buying now but I really do not see how I could spend an additional 10K per year. But again, no kids here, and perhaps also the whole Europe versus USA thing ..
Personally, I really enjoy the financial updates and look forward to them so please keep posting them. I think Andy is probably jealous but that’s his problem. Whenever I see Tesla have a big day I will often think I wonder how 1500 did today. Ha! Good for you. Keep going. I hope to catch up to you one day.
Yeah PLEASE keep posting updates. I find it very motivational to see where you and others started with and where you have gotten to.
I would be interested in hearing what Andy’s blog would be about lol
I appreciate being able to learn from your financial successes and home projects, as well as being enlightened by your unique approach to life. Please continue to share. Here’s to a hopefully awesome 2021!
JRobi recently posted…2020 Book Review
Please keep posting these updates, my family hopes to be in your shoes in a few years and it is very helpful to see what life is like after hitting the magical FI number! It’s like getting a glimpse into the future!
Mr. 1500 Days says
Haham deal! Just don’t forget to enjoy the present!