My main goal* was 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 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.
Has anyone ever said this to you?:
Just treat yourself!
You deserve it!
How about this:
You’ve got it, so spend it!
I have. Many, many times. I’ve seen the other side and it’s not so great.
Spending Is Overrated
December was a suboptimal month for efficient and thoughtful deployment of money. And don’t let the prefix sub fool you. What I really meant to say is that Mrs. 1500 and I went bonkers in spending. We blew a total of $7668.14. Subtracting our mortgage, we spent $6,241.02 or $201.32/per day. Oof.
We have no excuses. We didn’t pay for a new roof and didn’t buy a car. No major expenses. Just a lot of big spending.
I feel dirty. I feel naughty. Isn’t this blog supposed to be about financial responsibility? Let’s see how we got to this point.
Money, Money, Money
Travel ($1,526.96): We spent $700 on a rental car and it felt like we spent a similar amount on toll roads in the great state of Florida. Around Orlando, there is a toll approximately every .8 miles. I love you Florida, but you and Mickey Mouse sure know how to separate people from their wallets!
Dining out ($592.31): We mostly stayed with friends and family while on vacation. As a gesture of appreciation, we took each of them out to eat on one night. The best (and priciest meal) was at Frontera Cocina in Orlando.
Waterpark ($600): We took our girls to a fancy indoor waterpark:
Upon arrival, Younger Daughter declared that she no longer liked waterslides. #FML.
Gifts ($547.43): We bought some small gifts for friends and family. Some of it felt good, some of it felt forced. I think they all appreciated it, so maybe I should just focus on that?
Thoughts On Blowing $8,000 In A Month
$8,000 is a lot of money to spend in a month. We knew December would be the most expensive month of the year, but we didn’t expect this. But more importantly, it didn’t feel like we spent $8,000. If I hadn’t been keeping track of my spending, I’m sure that I would have estimated much less.
We’ll do much better the rest of the year. In January, we’ll spend under $3,500, mortgage included.
Two more random thoughts on our spending:
- It’s nice to know that if we had to dial it back, it would be easy. Just spending $3,000 this month feels pretty luxurious.
- It was fun to be in Florida and being by the beach was definitely nice, but I wasn’t really that much happier in December ($8,000) than I am here in January ($3,500). You don’t have to burn money to be happy.
Sadly, I know plenty of folks who spend more than $8,000 per month on average and I’m pretty sure that I’m living a more satisfying life.
The main lesson I learned from all of this is that spending is overrated. On our trip, we went to luxurious restaurants and had some nice experiences which were all fine. As much as I like
Most Bizarre Purchase
While in Florida, we visited an exotic animal sanctuary called Amazing Animals. Our younger daughter is obsessed with sloths and this non-profit lets you get up close to them. It made her year and I was OK giving $130 to a good cause. Sloths gotta eat after all:
December Performance Update
December went out on a sour note. Our net worth started the month at $2,127,108 and ended at $2,064,440 for a loss of $62,668. I feel like Santa kicked me in the groin with one of his big black boots.
2018 (as of 12/31/2018)
- Days elapsed: 365
- Investment portfolio gains: $21,739 (including 401(k) contributions**** of $37,860.97)
- Net worth gains: $71,739 (investment portfolio gain of $21,739 + home appreciation of $50,000)
Since the start (1/1/2013)
- Days elapsed: 2191
- Investment portfolio and cash: $1,549,540
- Gains since 1/1/2013: $963,391
- Needed to quit work ($1,120,000 in investments): Mission accomplished!
Astute readers will note that while we ended the year with more money than with which we started, it’s only because our 401(k) contributions exceeded our losses.
We have a diverse portfolio (full listing here) that includes real estate:
- mobile home park (elevated home living to the easily offended and politically ultra-correct)
- private loan (only one outstanding)
- syndication deals
And stock market holdings:
- individual stocks (old thinking)
- index funds (most money goes here now)
Both sides of our portfolio saw increases, but they were minor. Most of our gain this month was related to blog money that I transferred from a business account to a personal one.
- Stock market: $764,191
- Monthly gain: –$61,585
- 2018 gain: –$25,597
- Real estate: $755,349
- Monthly gain: –$982
- 2018 gain: $37,434
- Cash reserve: $30,000
We’ve already made some big moves in the new year. We sold off some stock to purchase a small business right here in Longmont.
More on that soon…
*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. 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. 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.
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