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.
November Spender Bender
Mrs. 1500 and I haven’t kept a budget ever. We try to spend mindfully and don’t fret over every purchase.
However, we have kept track of spending, although it’s been years since we’ve done so. We decided to restart the habit in November using the spending tracker that Mr. WoW wrote about here.
The end of the year is expensive for us. We travel more and with the holidays, have lots of social engagements. Also, our bills go up a little when the cold weather sets in. Still, I didn’t expect that we’d spend $5,046. This does include a mortgage payment of $1,427. Subtract that and we’re left with $3,619 in spending, still a lot considering we don’t have car payments and we try to live on the down-low. How the hell did we do this? Luckily, a fancy pivot table is part of the WoW’s tracker app, so let’s dive in!
Household/auto ($944): After the mortgage, this category which includes home improvement and car expenses had our biggest spending.
Five and a half years later, we’re still working on our damn remodel. While it’s thisclose to being done, we still find ourselves at Home Depot buying paint, trim and wood on a regular basis
Groceries ($786): Holy hell! How did we manage to blow almost $200 per week on home-cooked food? We hosted Thanksgiving at our home. Bah. This was worth it. We like entertaining and it was good to see friends and family who we haven’t seen for a while.
Health care ($352): Ball scans aren’t cheap, but fortunately we have good insurance, so our expenses were small compared to what they could have been.
Dining out ($323): We spent a lot here. Left to our own devices, we mostly eat at home. However, we had visitors and spent a lot of time out of the home which caused us to eat out more.
We’ll be on vacation for 1/3 of December, so it will be another expensive month. Spending will settle down in January.
Most Bizarre Purchase
The strangest money I spent was $25 on a concert performed in a stranger’s living room. The lead singer of my favorite band of all time, Hum, played an intimate acoustic show and I wasn’t going to miss it.
Spender Bender, Whatever
While I’m not thrilled that we spent $5,000, it was an unusual month. And even if we maintained this level of spending, it wouldn’t break us. Per the 4% Rule, we need $1,500,000 in investments and we have $1,600,000. We also have two other big things going for us:
- $1,427 of that spending was on the mortgage. In a little over 9 years, the mortgage is toast. Our insurance and property taxes cost about $250/month.
- We also have $450,000 in equity in our home that we don’t count in the $1,600,000. This is a huge safety net.
To put it another way, we could spend $90,000 and pay off our mortgage. Then, we would have spent $4,000 in November instead of $5,000. If we maintained this elevated spending we would blow $48,000 per year. But, we’d still have a nest egg of $1,400,000 which allows for $64,000 in spending.
The blog makes a little money, so that makes our plan even safer. Biggest of all, Mrs. 1500 still chooses to work. We have a large margin of safety and I don’t lose a minute of sleep worrying about our financial outlook.
Despite my high level of comfort with our situation, I don’t like to spend just for the sake of spending. Every dollar should be deployed intentionally and thoughtfully. Wasting money is silly. And this brings me back to the WoW spending tracker.
I Love Mint And Personal Capital, But…
At this point, maybe you’re thinking something like:
Why not just automate your spending tracking with Mint or Personal Capital?
It’s because the exercise of recording spending changes what we purchase. Having to enter something dumb hurts, so I appreciate the behavior change that the manual process causes.
November Performance Update
After two down months, our portfolio recovered a bit. Our net worth started the month at $2,107,627 and finished at $2,127,108 for a gain of $19,481:
My first thought was:
$20,000. Meh. I was up $70,000 month over month in February.
And then I quickly caught myself:
STFU jerk! $20,000 in one month is huge! At your first job 20 years ago, you made $36,000 and this was for an entire year of 2,000 hours of work before taxes! You’re
The hedonic treadmill definitely applies here.
effort to continue to continually appreciate even the most fortunate circumstances in life.
2018 (as of 12/1/2018)
- Days elapsed: 335
- Investment portfolio gains: $84,407 (including 401(k) contributions**** of $33,110)
- Net worth gains: $134,407 (investment portfolio gain of $84,407 + home appreciation of $50,000)
Since the start (1/1/2013)
- Days elapsed: 2160
- Investment portfolio and cash: $1,612,108
- Gains since 1/1/2013: $1,026,065
- Needed to quit work ($1,120,000 in investments): Mission accomplished!
We have a diverse portfolio 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
- Stock market: $825,776
- Monthly gain: $2,223
- 2018 gain: $35,988
- Real estate: $756,331
- Monthly gain: $7,257
- 2018 gain: $38,416
- Cash reserve: $30,000
In December, we’ll spend more money than what we spent in November. We have all sorts of crazy adventures booked including an airboat ride and a visit to a sloth sanctuary. Again, I don’t lose sleep over big spending months. I worked too long which isn’t a good thing, but now we have excess padding.
Life is good.
*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. So, if I were to quit my job now, I could spend about $60,000 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 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.
***This is an affiliate link. If you sign up, the blog (me) makes some cold, hard, beautiful, cash. Personal Capital is a totally free and awesome way to keep watch over your investments. It’s worth it for the fee analyzer alone. I would never recommend anything that I don’t personally use and completely believe in, so give it a try. If you’ve already signed up through the link, please know that you are a fine person of above-average intelligence.
****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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