April 2020 Financial Update

Another month in the record books. What a month it was! During these “interesting” times we are taking it one month at a time and remaining flexible about our expectations for the near future. It appears we are on the cusp of everyone giving up on the whole “stay at home” thing and doing whatever they want. So maybe everything will be okay. Or maybe we’ll be in Lockdown Round 2 in another month or two. Just have to adapt and stay flexible at this point!

At least while we are stuck at home, the weather here in North Carolina is beautiful so we have been able to enjoy the outdoors a lot. We also celebrated another kid’s birthday, held an immediate-family-only Easter egg hunt, painted a bathroom, and homeschooled our kids. I’m ready for a vacation! 

From a financial perspective, April was an incredibly great month for us. After a devastating March, our net worth skyrocketed by $134,000 to end April at $1,953,000. Our income was very high at $8,548 while our expenses were low at $1,324 for the month of April. 

Let’s jump into the details from last month.

 

Income

Investment income totaled $1,338 in April thanks to the quarterly dividend payments from our index funds. Our equity index funds and ETFs pay dividends quarterly at the end of March, June, September, and December with some payments arriving at the beginning of the next month. Here’s more on our dividend investments.

Blog income, shown as “other income” in the chart, totaled $1,452 for the month. Blog income has dropped lately for everyone since advertisers are spending less money on advertising right now. 

My early retirement lifestyle consulting income (“consulting”) was $275 for the month of April which represents a single two hour consulting session. This level of revenue is the same as March. After two very good months in January and February with ten or more hours of consulting booked each month, the work rapidly dried up as people tightened their spending and refocused attention away from early retirement. 

With the blog income and consulting income down by half or more, I am very glad I didn’t factor those two income streams into my long term early retirement financial plan. We’re still living very comfortably on $40,000 per year and I won’t be ruined if the blog and consulting income drop to zero. 

The “deposit income” totaled $5,482. The biggest chunk of “deposit income” was our $3,900 stimulus payment from the federal government which showed up in our checking account in early April. Calculation of the stimulus payment is based on two adults ($1,200 each) and three qualifying kids ($500 each). Most Americans will qualify for some level of stimulus payment if they earn less than $100,000 individually or less than $200,000 if married filing jointly. 

I also received $1,500 in my IRA at Citibank. I transferred a half million dollars worth of ETFs to my new Citibank IRA in late 2019 in order to qualify for a $1,500 sign up bonus. Mrs. Root of Good will receive a similar bonus in June since her Citibank IRA account was funded in the same way. 

The deposit income includes $82 that came from cash back and incentive bonuses from the Ebates.com and Mrrebates.com online shopping portals (some of which was earned from you readers signing up through these links). 

If you sign up for Ebates through this link and make a qualifying $25 purchase through Ebates, you’ll get a $10 gift card. 

 

 

If you’re interested in tracking your income and expenses like I do, then check out Personal Capital (it’s free!). All of our savings and spending accounts (including checking, money market, and five credit cards) are all linked and updated in real time through Personal Capital. We have accounts all over the place, and Personal Capital makes it really easy to check on everything at one time.

Personal Capital is also a solid tool for investment management. Keeping track of our entire investment portfolio takes two clicks. If you haven’t signed up for the free Personal Capital service, check it out today (review here).

Tracking spending was one of the critical steps I took that allowed me to retire at 33. And it’s now easier than ever with Personal Capital.

 

Loving this great spring weather!

 

Expenses

Now let’s take a look at April expenses:


 

In total, we spent $1,324 during April, which is down slightly from March’s spending of $1,600. The $1,324 spent in April is less than half of our target spending of $3,333 per month (or $40,000 per year). Groceries and gifts topped the spending categories for the month. 

 

Detailed breakdown of spending:

 

Groceries – $635:

Grocery expenses are slightly higher than normal. One contributing factor is the purchase of a $150 Walmart gift card from Raise.com that I will use in future months. 

In terms of safety concerns, I’m still shopping at the grocery store or Walmart while trying to keep frequency of trips to a minimum to limit potential exposure. In the past we often visited three stores during the course of a week to shop the best deals at each store. Now I shop solo and I only visit one or two stores during the week. 

I also “quarantine” all the non-perishable items for at least three days before putting them away or consuming them.

Another big change I made to the grocery shopping routine is using Walmart Grocery pick up service. It’s totally free and tipping isn’t customary. You get the same prices as what you normally pay inside the Walmart store. The main advantage is they fill the shopping cart for you, check out, bag your items, and bring it to your car and load it for you. All you have to do is pull into a Walmart Grocery pick up space and notify them through the Walmart app to let them know you’re ready to receive your order. 

I tried Instacart several years ago and it was a disaster. My main complaint was poor substitutions of items that were out of stock. They subbed the more expensive name brand items that cost more for for smaller package sizes. 

I have used Walmart Grocery twice now and their substitutions work MUCH better than my Instacart experience. Walmart substitutes name brand items or larger quantity items yet still charge you for the cheaper item you originally ordered. Or if they are out of one size of item, they will substitute several smaller items to get the right total weight or volume you ordered, yet charge you only for the cheaper bulk package.

For example, I got three 1 pound boxes of macaroni elbow noodles for the same total price as the one 3 pound box I actually ordered. They will email you the proposed substitutions ahead of time and allow you to accept or deny the proposed substitutions. The process is very smooth and user-friendly compared to my past experience with Instacart online grocery ordering. 

Bottom line:

  • you save time because someone else shops for you
  • less exposure to potential sick people
  • every day low Walmart prices

If you want to try Walmart Grocery, you can take $10 off your first $50+ order with my referral link. Enjoy! 

 

Ribs, zucchini, and sticky Laotian rice

 

Fried rice, a great stay-at-home comfort food

 

Gifts – $226:

During April we celebrated our son’s eighth birthday. We baked him a cake and had family and friends livestreamed into the party. His gift from us included a Lego play set and some other small toys (purchased in prior months) plus $100 cash (reflected in this month’s expense summary).

He bought 2 shares of Vanguard’s “VT” ETF with part of his birthday money. It was his idea, not ours. But of course we are excited! He even calculated how many shares he could buy with his birthday money.

 

Happy 8th Birthday!

 

We also gave $126 to our kids for good grades in quarter 3 of school. Each A is worth $5 in elementary or middle school and $10 in high school. B’s are worth $2.50, and C’s subtract $2.50. So far the kids have avoided D’s altogether.  

 

Utilities – $190:

The city water, sewer, and trash bill was $123 for April. We are using slightly less water than normal even though the kids are home all day. My guess is that less laundry and fewer showers more than offset increased dishwasher loads and toilet flushes. 

The natural gas bill (for the water heater and furnace) totaled $67 for the month. 

In February I paid $602 for electricity which left us with a huge credit balance. The utility charges a $1.50 convenience fee to use a credit card so I usually charge a big lump sum at one time so that the convenience fee is negligible as a percentage of the payment. These big payments help me hit credit card minimum spending requirements for new sign up bonuses too. 

 

Healthcare/Medical – $142:

Our 2020 healthcare premiums are $123 per month thanks to very generous Affordable Care Act subsidies that we receive due to our low ~$40,000 per year Adjusted Gross Income. The benefit of being “poor” on our tax return. 

I paid $19 for my monthly dental insurance premiums for 2020. 

 

Our sister in law, a professional seamstress, made all of these masks for our family. Just add your own elastic or tie strings.

 

Clothing/Shoes – $82:

Two pairs of shoes for the older two kids for $82 total. Now if we only had places to wear these new shoes to… 

 

Restaurants – $30:

$30 for a huge 20 piece fried chicken order from Bojangles. This meal was requested by the birthday boy. He didn’t really care what we had for lunch, but I think he selected Bojangles because his mommy loves it so much! 

 

Cable/Satellite – $18:

We pay $18 per month for a local reduced rate package due to having a lower income and having kids. 30 mbit/s download, 4 mbit/s upload.

 

Mrs. Root of Good’s purple clematis

 

Home maintenance – $3:

$3 represents the cost for slightly more than a gallon of gas for the lawn mower.

Not reflected in the home maintenance costs for April was a $3 toilet valve gasket I bought using Amazon gift card credit purchased a couple of months ago. Prior to the repair, our toilet tank would barely refill after flushing. The replacement part took less than 5 minutes to replace and it’s running smoothly now. 

 

We finished up the wallpaper removal and repainting of our half bathroom in late March and early April. The end result is much better than I expected! 

 

Kid craft project: painting light switch wall plates

 

Total Spending for 2020 – Year to Date

 

After four months, our spending totals $8,223 for the year. This is $5,000 less than the $13,333 we budgeted for four months of our $40,000 annual early retirement budget

2020 continues to be a very low spending year for us. Traveling is our main discretionary expenditure most years. The odds are stacked against us for our summer travel so I’m expecting 2020 travel expenses to be minimal. We may start booking something in the fall or winter for 2021 but time will tell whether that is a realistic time frame for us.

 

Afternoon adventure on a local nature trail

 

Upcoming spending over the next year might include a second car and a new water heater. These are included in our annual $40,000 spending target.

In the intermediate term, our two oldest children will start college in the next 3 to 4 years.  We think college costs will be manageable as I laid out in this article

 

Monthly Expense Summary for 2020:

 

Summary of annual spending from all years of early retirement:

 

Great blue heron hanging out on the lake

 

Our friendly backdoor neighbor – a bald eagle!

 

Net Worth: $1,953,000 (+$134,000)

Wow! How crazy is it that we’re in the middle of a global crisis yet the stock market recovers so strongly? That’s why it’s hard to get market timing right. Nobody knows when it’s time to buy or sell until after the fact. Passive index fund investing is incredibly easy and simple in contrast, which is why I’m a fan. 

Thanks to strong stock market gains, our net worth climbed $134,000 to leave us with $1,953,000 by the end of the month.

 

 

The one financial move I made during April was tax loss harvesting. I sold some ETFs in my taxable brokerage account at an $11,000 loss and reinvested the proceeds into similar (but not substantially similar) investments. The new ETFs should closely approximate the returns of the investments that I just sold. And in 31 days if the market is even lower, I may switch those new investments back to the old investments and book additional tax losses. The 31 day waiting period is required in order to avoid the wash sale rule. 

These capital losses will allow me to offset any capital gains during the year plus I can write off $3,000 of the losses against ordinary income this year (and in future years until the losses are exhausted). That means I’ll be able to convert $3,000 more from my traditional IRA to my Roth IRA while still hitting my optimal $45,000 AGI target. 

 

Hunting for Easter eggs in the back yard

 

Kids’ Easter baskets

 

Life update

Life is going pretty well, all things considered. We have a big house, a big yard, a big neighborhood, and plenty of outdoor spaces nearby when we need to escape the monotony of self-isolation while still avoiding people. 

We don’t usually go out that much anyway, so the current stay at home order doesn’t impact us a ton. The biggest change we have experienced is the homeschooling. Instead of the kids getting up early and going to school all day, we now wake up later and tag team the homeschooling – or “distance education” as the school system calls it. 

 

Homeschooling in the mornings

 

I still go out on a long bike ride at least once per week with some shorter rides to run errands mixed in. The bike trails are definitely more crowded compared to normal times, but not to the point of forcing me to avoid them altogether. 

I’m finally almost done with my last hard copy book from the library that I checked out pre-shutdown. I’ll be whittling my way through my own collection of books and relying on e-books from here on until the library reopens. 

I don’t know what adventures (if any) summer will present to us. I have cancelled the first segment of our summer trip through South America. Panama and Peru won’t happen this summer, but perhaps we’ll still get to visit Chile, Argentina, and Brazil later in July and August. I’m not too optimistic but we’re taking it a month at a time at this point. 

 

If we’re stuck at home we might as well enjoy life as much as possible

 

I like to focus on the good parts of life instead of dwell on the negatives. While our life is somewhat limited today, we do have a lot to be thankful for. We don’t have to worry about jobs or finances. Our house and car are paid off. We have plenty of fresh food on the table and adequate access to plenty more of it. We have ample recreation and leisure opportunities indoors and outdoors. Overall, there isn’t a lot to complain about! 

Until next month, stay sane and healthy my friends! 

 

How was your April? How are you hanging in there? 

 

 

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75 comments

  1. Wow your son is off to a great start with his investing career. I’m envious of the financial education he is getting. I only got to know what VT ETF was in my late 20s and this guy is stacking shares on his 8th birthday! Holy molly!

    Cheers and let’s hope we can travel again soon.

    1. It should be a good lesson over the years. He already got to see the value drop a bit on a few shares he recently purchased (but the bulk of shares still show a profit).

  2. Justin, your son’s choice to spend his money at Vanguard is pretty impressive!

    Our 11 year old had an April birthday, too. He used his money on some Legend of Zelda toys and books. They’ve kept him busy and creative during quarantine!

    1. I’m sure those toys will be fun too! We try to keep it a mix of money and fun stuff too. And he enjoys buying things with his money gifts as well!

  3. Great details and positive updates. Great that your son is investing! Your blog, especially your numbers, has been my inspiration, and it keeps me reminding that you don’t need a huge amount to retire, as I had thought earlier. I keep reading your piece of the final number you guys arrived at when you decided to retire and it helps me to keep things in perspective because I keep thinking I need more than that. Your blog, especially your details on spending, helps me to rethink these numbers! Thanks so much!

  4. First time on you blog. Great details. Wondering how you came up with the name.

    Looking forward to future details.

  5. while I’m still waiting for my stimulus check. This is what happens when you only have to pay taxes and never get a refund, you have to wait at the end of the line and it can take 5 months they say. I’m being evicted meanwhile for lack of rent payment.

    1. No prohibitions on evictions where you are? Locally I believe they are holding up evictions for the time being. Partly because the courts aren’t hearing cases right now.

  6. I love the pic of the kids homeschooling. It looks like they’re planning a high tech bank heist or something! Oh, and regarding birthday ETF shares: “It was his idea, not ours.” Sure it was 🙂

  7. April was a phenomenal month for investment assets, something like the best month since 1987. Another lesson for those who got out earlier in the year trying to time the market.

    Like yourselves the current times did not impact us much financially except for the hit earlier in the year to our liquid assets. Being retired we have much to be thankful for as many of your readers can attest. It has impacted our travel since our April cruise was cancelled and the one we substituted in late June was also cancelled. We have set up some land-based trips for the rest of the year and will stick with the cruises we currently have scheduled over the next couple of years, the next being November 2020.

    Here in TN we are opening back up. Many restaurants have gone back to dine in; the ones that surprise me are the fast food chains, the only one of which in our town that has opened dine in being the DQ. Some have done a bang up drive thru business so perhaps they will milk that as long as they can.

    Our stimulus payment courtesy of our fellow taxpayers is scheduled to arrive tomorrow but we won’t enjoy it for long. The fridge is finally giving up the ghost so we will be shopping for another this week. Easy come, easy go. Stay safe, my friend, and enjoy the time with the family.

    1. That’s too bad about your cruises. We’re about to cancel the August 2020 cruises we booked. 🙁 Hopefully your November cruise happens as scheduled! It’ll be fun!

  8. Justin,

    I found your comment about the trails amusing. I live in northern Wake and saw so many more people on the trails (I’m a runner) in the last month than usual over the last seven years! Funny, though, that the day after the county stay-at-home order expired, the trail traffic was back down to almost nothing. Have you experienced that?

    Also, happy birthday to your son! Smart guy, investing already!

    1. That’s seems odd. Wake Stay-at-Home expired, but the county is still under the State’s Stay-At-Home so nothing really changed. Moreover, where would people be going? It’s not like anything has changed in regard to playgrounds, parks, restaurants, etc.

      I’m hoping that the state parks will open up their Falls Lake boat ramps. We took our kayak out to Upper Barton launch (it’s managed by the NC Dept of Wildlife vs the State Parks) 2 weekends ago and it was a complete zoo of people, boats, etc. Decided we’d not do that again and just wait until Beaver Dam opens back up (under state park mgmt).

      1. I’m thinking that if my not-statistically-significant anecdotal evidence does ring true, people are taking the difference between Wake and State – “No gatherings with people outside of your household” to “Gatherings of 10 or less” as a sign to hang out with friends and family outside of your home instead of being on the trails. I just hope everyone is staying safe and smart!

    2. I went out riding this week and I noticed a lot fewer bikers and walkers on the trails, too! Even went after work hours in the late afternoon and not many out there.

      On the ride back home, I noticed the drive thru line at the Taco bell was SUPER long. Like wrapped around the building then split into 2 lines that forked off toward the (empty) Waffle House and backed up onto the main street. Guess everyone is getting take out instead of exercise! 🙂

  9. I live in Saskatchewan, Canada, and I can’t seem to find the good cash back rewards or flight points credit cards that you or Frugalwoods can find in the States. Would you know of any?

    1. I don’t know much about the Canadian credit card bonuses. I have heard from other Canadians that they aren’t as juicy as our US based card offerings.

    2. Just curious where you find such sweet deals like the ira rebated? Are there particular websites you look at or do you get emails from current business relationships with offers? Thank you.

  10. We have been working in our yard, planting a garden. Repainted and put a new floor in our bathroom. We are debt free also and my husband is still working. I try not to watch the news, too much doom and gloom. We are still in lockdown, starting stage 2 Friday. Our daughter lives on a large ranch. So we have been hiking, off roading
    and shooting on their property. My heart does go out to those that are in urban settings and can’t get out. Our vacations plans are nil till we see what is going to happen. Health and best of luck to you and all your readers.
    Lynd

  11. Good afternoon. I was curious how you’re able to find such sweet deals like the sign on bonus at Citi for your IRA. Is there a website you check for offers, or do businesses send you notices of promotions to get business. I dont ever seem to get offers like you do and thought maybe I’m just not looking in the right places. Thank you.

  12. “That means I’ll be able to convert $3,000 more from my traditional IRA to my Roth IRA while still hitting my optimal $45,000 AGI target. ”

    I’ve been wondering about your IRA conversion ladder since you make so much income with your blog. I haven’t read that post in a while, but I thought you were initially thinking of converting $30k a year. Has that changed?

    b) How do you predict/project your AGI?
    c) And if your goal is to reach $45k AGI, how do you know how much IRA you can convert since your blog income fluctuates? Or do you just convert at the end of the year?

    1. I figure out my rough income from the blog at the end of December and make the Roth conversions based on my other income estimates. I always convert a bit too much then I will adjust how much I contribute from blog income to solo 401ks Roth and Traditional during January or February once all my tax forms are in hand.

        1. Yes, you just need to open up the 401k during the calendar year you want to make contributions for. Funding can wait till April 15 (and presumably later this year in 2020 due to the delay in filing deadline but not 100% sure).

  13. That’s impressive that your son already knows how to invest with Vanguard and understands its benefits. I didn’t learn about index fund investing until my late 20s. My family is still reluctant to invest in them

  14. I didn’t realize your youngest is just 5 months older than my oldest. I think because there’s a grade difference, I thought it was more.

    I’ve been thinking about doing a big bucket of chicken from KFC (we don’t have Bojangles here). I feel like we could stretch that for most of a week.

    We’re not quite as frugal as you are, but we are getting closer with this.

  15. We started doing Walmart Grocery Pickup, too for the first time. We have picked up from there three times so far, with one scheduled this weekend. (We’ve also done Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, and Weaver Street.) Although their policy is not to accept tips, we have given $5 at every pickup. The first person said she couldn’t accept it but would donate it to a charity affected by Covid-19. The other two pickups, the person gratefully accepted the tips both times. These workers are generally low-income and are risking their health to earn money. If you aren’t already, please give them a tip. We leave it in the trunk, so when they put the groceries inside, they can take it without any contact.

    1. I absolutely agree that Walmart (and grocery employees in general) are woefully underpaid. But, my understanding is that Walmart’s policy requires workers to turn over any tip money to the store management to be donated to Children’s Miracle Network. Employees can be fired for accepting and keeping a tip because it violates Walmart’s “ethics” policy. I’d hate to put an employee in a bad situation, so I haven’t been tipping, but I feel bad about it. As soon as this is over and I can shop like normal, I’ll be going back to ignoring Walmart as much as possible in favor of local stores.

      1. I asked around about tipping @ Walmart Grocery pickup and no one said they tipped. I wasn’t really sure what’s normal since I had never used it before. I figure they get paid a full (and yes, probably small like $11-12/hr) wage unlike restaurant tipped employees that earn the $3 fed minimum per hour.

    2. Agree regarding tipping. You are in a better financial situation than virtually everyone you encounter, and definitely more secure than anyone working at WalMart or Bojangles. Try giving a $5 or $10 tip to the next service person you purchase from. I did at McDonald’s and the worker was clearly so grateful. People who are Out working and serving everyone else in this economy deserve much more than they are making. People who are working some of these jobs are making less than those on unemployment, which is completely insane. I do feel like those of us who can afford to tip and acknowledge that service really need to do so.

  16. I was just wondering if grade Cs are subtract $2.50 what do grade Ds subtract to? Great idea to motivate them by the way

  17. Have you looked into a tankless water heater? I’d be all over that if I had gas coming into the house; the electric version has been a lousy option historically.

    Happy Birthday to the financially savvy boy!

    1. Yes, we will likely go with Rinnai tankless once our current tank heater dies. Due to the arrangement of the gas, exhaust, and height of crawlspace my plumber suggested we would have to do so anyway to meet current code. We pay almost nothing for natural gas as is, and never run out of hot water, so I would prefer the much cheaper tank unit but tankless isn’t a crazy amount more.

  18. Totally agree with you that we have plenty to be thankful for! And it’s amazing how your son decided to invest his bday money instead of spending it! He’s off to a great start!

  19. Another informative post and interesting to hear about your son starting investing at 8! Mine are 10, 9 and 7 and I have been debating when to get them started. I also like the grade bonuses- definitely going to incorporate that into our routine.

    On the dental insurance, mind if I ask what company and what the basic coverage level is? I am in CT so it may not be available here. I looked into it a while back and the plan I looked at paid preventative and then like 50% up to say $1 or $2k depending on the procedure. Any pointers appreciated.

    1. Truassure is the dental company. 100% of preventive 2x/yr then 50% of basic procedures after a small deductible. Not great coverage but I only bought it to cover the 2x/yr routine visits at a slightly cheaper rate than cash pay.

  20. Awesome month Justin! I love that your *monthly* income was almost the same as your Year To Date spending. You guys are killing it!

    As far as taking life one day at a time… me too buddy, me too! I find myself telling the boys that “once COVID is done we can go do X”, but I wonder if that’s going to be true.

    The world is changing in some fundamentally weird ways. 😉

    1. Right, and will you even want to do X once it’s all over? If the kids are older I mean. We’re fortunate to be able to get out and do most of the stuff we used to locally. Just can’t feasibly travel overseas at the moment.

      1. Absolutely. Like, I have open questions about activities like taking the boys to the swimming pool. Is the bleach level at our local pool high enough to kill the virus so I could feasibly take the kids swimming or to swim lessons this summer?

        No flippin idea yet!

  21. Talking about uncertainty, it looks like the Tech/Silicon Valley industry has started to do some significant layoff as they are realizing that it might take a while for “leisure/transportation/travel” related activity to get back to the “new normal”. (Look at Uber, Airbnb for instance). Another signal that it is still hard to predict when things will get back to the “new normal”. But as you said, you guys don’t have to worry about looing your job or trying to figure out how to pay your mortgage at the end of the month, which is a very fortunate place to be in right now. And we are also extremely grateful to be in that same boat right now.

    On a personal note, we are quite lucky on our end, (as full-time travelers) since we landed in Taiwan last month (https://www.nomadnumbers.com/nomad-life-during-covid-19-exiting-bali-and-home-quarantining-in-taiwan/). As you probably know, the country has done a fantastic job to handle this pandemic. For us, this means that we can still travel, go on hikes, go to restaurants and do pretty much what we were used to doing before the pandemic. Another thing we are also extremely grateful for.

    1. Good thing you got to Taiwan! We are mostly operating as normal here since we didn’t do a lot of restaurant dine-in before. The biggest “business” I miss is our public library. Would love to get more hard copy books (for free!).

      1. I miss the public libraries too. I think this is the longest I have gone without setting foot into a library since before I could read. And I’m a grandma! Does your library offer ebooks via overdrive? Ours does, so I still have access to plenty of free digital books. But there is nothing like holding a real book and getting lost in a new story. What about the mini free libraries that are all over the country? It might be a fun adventure for your family to locate these little libraries near your home. (The first little free library I ever saw was is downtown Apex NC.). Stay safe y’all!

        1. Yes, I’ll be doing ebooks soon. But I miss the physical books. Hopefully they will do a modified reopening for at least express pick up of books in a hygienic manner.

          I check our local little library. Haven’t seen anything I want yet but I’ll keep looking. I’m sure I could ping friends/neighbors for some books and do some trading. I’ll also visit my own library in my house and see if I can find a few titles to read or re-read.

    1. Hmmm… That’s weird! It’s possible the internet ate it somewhere along the way. You can try to whitelist the email address it comes from (if you have an old email, or catch the next email). Spam folder might eat the email too.

  22. Justin, I just binged your blog (the CNBC article included). And I must say you’re an inspiration.

    Thank you for taking the time and breaking things down.

    I came across your blog as I was looking for a health insurance bill to include on an article that I am in the process of writing – regarding how to get lower health insurance.

    This is the picture that led me here lol.
    https://mobile.twitter.com/rootofgoodblog/status/1058555092528480256?lang=eu

    Is it possible that I can use it? I will provide compensation for it. If not, no hard feelings. I’m still subscribed.

    Keep it up Justin.

  23. During this pandemic I was tempted for the first time ever to start using a service such as InstaCart. My FIRE friends just south of me were using them for ALDI, and I figured it would be worth it to avoid the crowds. Turns out, my particular zip code doesn’t offer ALDI, even though the zipcodes south and north of me do. I decided it was better to just do it myself and save the money.

    1. Our Aldi is doing a shockingly good job of hygiene and the shoppers are all doing social distancing and wearing masks. Doesn’t feel too risky (if you aren’t a high risk individual).

  24. WOW! Feeling Blessed to stumble onto your site. A thankful struggling investor at 68 years young.Thank you all for sharing.

  25. Justin,

    Glad to see you’re handling things well in NC despite the pandemic! It’s a little chillier a state north, but we’re weathering the storm OK too. We’re pulling the plug on full-time work, according to plan, finally. It just happens to be right in the middle of this.

    What do you see as the greatest risk for fellow early retirees hitting that ripcord in the midst of an economic collapse?

    1. Biggest risk? Running out of money prematurely! Ha ha… But seriously, the biggest risk for early retirees pulling the plug now is that they are retiring at high valuation levels in the stock market that have historically been correlated with lower intermediate term stock returns over the next 5-10 year period.

      The second biggest risk is quitting a job in the middle of a deep recession and not being able to find a job if you really need to return to full time work to earn more money.

  26. We used our stimulus check to pay down debt. Probably not the best thing to stimulate the economy. Of course it is helping us on our journey of positive net worth.

    Just started reading your blog. Congratulations on the success

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