My main goal is to build an investment and cash portfolio of $1,120,000* in 1500 days**, starting from 1/1/2013 and ending in February of 2017. I made my goal last year, but believe that it’s a worthwhile exercise to continue with my financial updates until the end of 1500 Days, so I continue.
January was a month of struggles in the 1500 household. I’ve been trying to spend less money, drink less alcohol, eat less food, weigh less and P90x more. I had mixed results. With respect to the eating less goal, the forces of the universe conspired against me. This happened a couple of weeks ago:
Mrs. 1500 is the Girl Scout Cookie Manager and it’s her job to store all of these at our house. It’s my job to try not to store them in my stomach. I love all Girl Scout cookies, but I love Samoas more than almost anything else on earth. I’d sell my soul for one and our house had over 1,000 of them for a couple of days.
I’ve been trying to stay strong, but it isn’t easy. The Samoas call my name. Every. Waking. Hour. They invade my thoughts and infiltrate my dreams. I see them everywhere:
The situation is slowing driving me insane. Just kidding! Maybe…
Anyway, to help with my goals, I’ve started tracking everything (except Samoa consumption). I share my numbers later in this post.
January was a great month. My portfolio went from $1,258,128 to $1,316,646 for a gain of $58,518. $10,00o of this gain was from a solo-401(k) contribution and will be one of the last big ones because I work part-time now. This makes me a little sad (I love deploying money), but my new free time makes me very, very happy.
2017 (as of 1/31/2017)
- Days elapsed: 31!
- 2017 gains: $58,518, (including 401(k) contributions of $10,000)
- 2017 401(k) contributions: $10,000****
Since the start (1/1/2013)
- Days elapsed: 1491
- Days remaining: 9
- Gains since 1/1/2013: $730,603
- Needed to quit work ($1,120,000 in investments): Mission accomplished!
- Net worth*****: $1,686,646
Exercise and the Beer-O-Meter
My weight was a high point, or should I say low point in January. I started the month at 170.3 and finished up at 163.6, for a loss of 6.7 pounds. I’m very happy with these results. My bulbous gut is melting away:
My P90x routines got off to a slow start. The exercises are difficult and I struggle to make it through the hour. However, I’m starting to see results. On January 1. I could barely do two pull-ups. I did seven in my most recent workout.
By the way. I HATE posting these pictures, but I do it anyway:
- Transparency: The proof is in the pectorals. It’s one thing to tell you I’m getting better; quite another to show you.
- My awesome underwear: Your eyes don’t deceive you readers, my underwear has pictures of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger on them.
- Humiliation: Knowing that I have to post these every month is very motivating.
- It’s part of the routine: The P90x manual tells you to take pictures of yourself once a month to see your progress.
I decided to restrict my beer consumption to social situations. It turns out that I had a healthy social life in January, so I ended up drinking 18 beers. Ack! I’ll do better in February.
We’ve recently started keeping track of our spending. We spent $3,033.85 this month. This includes everything but the mortgage. We try to stay around $2,000 per month, but two items blew the budget out of the water:
- ChiliPad ($450): We bought a memory foam mattress a couple years ago and my sleeping has been pure misery ever since. I sleep hot and foam mattresses don’t help. I often wake up drenched in sweat. I was close to buying a new mattress and then I discovered the ChiliPad in Tim Ferriss’ book, Tools of Titans. It wasn’t cheap, but it’s still cheaper than a new mattress. And good sleep is priceless.
- Ski lessons: Skiing isn’t cheap either, but we do our best to keep costs down. We bought an unlimited family ski pass to our local mountain (Eldora) earlier this year for $999. I’ll never apologize for spending money on activities that I really enjoy. However, the girls don’t know how to ski, so we spent $450 this month on ski lessons. They are getting pretty good and only need a couple more.
My $10,000 Experiment
I devised an experiment to wean myself off of my old stock picking ways. I created a portfolio of stocks I like and hoped that they would crash, finally crushing my stock picking ambitions. I bought $10,000 of my portfolio.
It’s not going so well as my holdings moved back into the win column. I’m now beating the S&P 500 by 1.5%. This experiment is less than a year old, so it’s silly to think too much about the results now, but in the interest of transparency, I’m going to post the results monthly.
I have found that tracking my behavior with online spreadsheets is a fun and useful exercise. Knowing that I have to write down purchases keeps me from buying stupid things. Knowing that I have to answer to the Beer-O-Meter causes me to drink less. And knowing that I have to weigh myself every night convinces me to skip the Samoa. Most of the time…
*My goal isn’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. So, if I were to quit my job now, I could spend about $48,000 in my first year of retirement. I’d stick very close to that number too because market valuations are ambitious. Let’s say that Mr. Market caught a cold tomorrow and my portfolio dropped down to $800,000. No big deal. This would mean I’d be safer stretching my spending a little north of 4%.
**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. My compromise is to have enough money put away to cover the mortgage at the time of retirement. So, to retire today, I would need about $1,120,000.
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****My 401(k) contributions include my own, Mrs. 15oo’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.
*****The numbers on the right side of the page only reflect my investments and cash. Net worth includes, but is not limited to:
- Home equity ($350,000 after the appraisal!)
- Samoas: Some of them are still here… Calling to me, screaming at me, tormenting my soul. Resistance is waning. How much longer can I hold out? Is there a Betty Ford clinic for this? The voices are growing louder…
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