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.
Quick note: I’m on the Mad Fientist podcast again! Doug and I recorded a Mile High FI Takeover episode and it just went live:
In January 2020, I started to finish my basement. Back then, there were just cement walls, leaky metal windows, and no plumbing rough-ins. And mice. Lots of them. Ewwwww!!
Much has happened since then; a riot at the United States capitol, a pandemic, and the death of my father. Also, lots of dead mice. Fun times! Not at all, especially for the rodents. But life goes on. Until it doesn’t.
That was a helluva way to start the post! Let’s talk about happier things.
Earlier this month, I finally closed the basement permit and the work is mostly done. How long did it take you ask? In the video clip embedded below, I foolishly predicted that the project would take “a month or two”:
A better estimate in normal times would have been 12 months (working on it part-time and stopping completely when children are out of school).
But, the world turned against me and 12 months turned into 26. Materials shortages, home-schooling, and other projects drew my attention away. It’s all good though. I may sound like Mr. Complainy Pants, but I’m thankful that I was able to complete this job with my own hands and for around $15,000. If I had paid to have this done, it would cost well over $50,000. Life is good.
And we completed a lot of other big projects. I’ll write about them soon, but in the meantime, here’s an update I recently published on the 1500 Days YouTube channel (basement is at 15:14):
I have a hard time with life balance. When I’m deep in big home projects, I let other things go. Now, it’s time to refocus.
Is there anything more important in life than good health? You wouldn’t know it if you watch me! I’ve been a poor example in that I let myself go during the past 2 years. Before COVID, I weighed in at around 150 which is a good weight for my slim carcass. I was 25 pounds heavier at one point last year. Oof!
I have found that my weight drops off when I walk very fast, so since the start of February, I’ve been aiming for 20,000 steps per day (thanks David for keeping me accountable):
I was pretty silly to prioritize home remodeling above health. Dead people can’t enjoy a nice home! But, I’m on a better trajectory now.
I believe that most people can find investments that will beat VTSAX. It may be real estate, a business, or in rare cases, even individual stocks. However, there is a big trade-off:
Unless you really love whatever your market-beating form of investing is, you’ve just found another job. The main point of FIRE is to free up your life, not add more stuff.
We’ve had all sorts of semi-exotic investments during the last 5 years including a trailer park, syndications, and even a coworking space. None of them brought me joy except for the coworking space. We have since sold the trailer park and most of the syndications have now ended. I won’t be looking for an investment outside of index funds unless it can help a friend or it’s something truly fun to be involved with.
I don’t want to spend time researching deals and reading quarterly reports. I’d rather be outside. Keep it simple. I’m incredibly thankful that Mindy and I have reached a place where we can choose not to think about money. This is an incredible benefit of wealth.
After a decrease of $358,195 in January, our investments took another hit in February. We were down another $190,379:
2021 (as of 2/28/2022)
- Days elapsed: 59
- Net worth gains (actually losses): –$548,574
Since the Start of The Experiment (1/1/2013)
- Days elapsed: 3345
- Net worth gains: $3,628,025
The main reason for my suboptimal performance in February was Facebook. Mr. Market was unhappy with Facebook’s latest earnings report:
Social networks are trendy. They come and then they go when a shiny new one comes along. My children think Facebook is for old people. Mindy and me.
I bought it at IPO because I thought that it would turn into an advertising powerhouse. It did, but now what? It will decline. All empires die. But when? Or has it already started?
But back in 2016, I thought I was smart and sold Apple. That was a bad idea.
Is selling Facebook now a great idea or will I look back in 10 years and curse myself out?
Index funds free your mind from having to think about these things.
I’d rather write.
I’d rather build.
I’d rather randomly walk around town and observe. I was doing just this yesterday when I spotted my first ballbug (roly-poly?) of 2022:
These creatures crack me up. They’re all over the sidewalks here in Colorado as soon as the weather warms up. They have 16 legs, but don’t move very fast.
I have no idea where they’re going, but I’ll bet they’re not thinking about stocks.
More 1500 Days!!!
You can also find me (and the dinosaurs) at:
Mile High FI podcast:
- Facebook: Facebook group and page
- YouTube: My channel is mostly devoted to home improvement, but I have some other material coming up soon too.
- Instagram: Pretty pictures of dinosaurs, sunsets, and nail guns!
- Twitter: Spontaneous, often insane, ramblings
- Coworking space: On the surface, MMM HQ is a coworking space. Look a little deeper and you’ll see that we’re really building community. The members of MMM HQ are some of the finest people I know.
*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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