Retired at 33. I'm here to share some financial wisdom with everyone.
June was an incredibly busy month for the Root of Good family. We spent the first half of the month at home in Raleigh wrapping up the school year for the kids. Then we relaxed for a few days before packing our bags for our big eight week summer vacation in Southeast Asia.
We spent the second half of June in Vietnam where we visited Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Can Tho, a smaller city in the Mekong Delta region. I’ll have a more in depth update of that part of our trip in a future post, but read on to get a glimpse into the trip so far.
While we were hitting the road and discovering new parts of the world, our finances did a great job of taking care of themselves. June was a huge success financially. Our net worth climbed $92,000 to reach $2,114,000. Our income was strong at $8,412 for the month while our expenses totaled $4,343.
Today we have a guest post from Kristy from the blog Millennial Revolution.
“Anyone can become FI with a 6-figure salary!”
“Financially independent?! If you’re not American and privileged, forget it!”
“Try to become FI if you are living on $30K a year while raising a family! HA!”
These are some of the biggest criticisms of the FIRE movement. Apparently, we’re all a bunch of rich assholes and there’s no way you can become financially independent if you weren’t born with privilege.
I get it. Seeing other people succeed is excruciating when you’re struggling. It’s easier to dismiss their accomplishments so you can feel better. I was there. I used to be a hater too.
May was another successful month of early retirement. We took it easy and enjoyed a relatively slow month of leisure with family and friends. I spent a few days being a “real” blogger and influencer by attending Camp FI in Virginia where I gave a presentation titled “FIRE for Fun!”. That makes me a real blogger, right?
Our finances were a mixed bag in May. Our net worth dropped precipitously by $87,000 to end the month at $2,022,000. Fortunately our cash flow situation was much better. Income remained decent at $3,438 while our expenses dropped significantly to only $752 for the month of May. When income exceeds outflow, you can’t worry about finances too much!
Time flies when you’re having fun! We’re almost half way through May and I’m just now updating our April financial snapshot. We have been vacationing, volunteering, and enjoying the wonderful springtime weather. What can I say? I’m retired and don’t always have time to focus on this blog!
We had a great financial month during April. Our net worth climbed $47,000 to $2,109,000 thanks to great stock market returns. Our income for the month remained strong at $4,794 while our expenses were rather low at $1,591.
Here is a more detailed look at our April finances along with some pictures to show what the life of an early retiree looks like.
Spring is definitely here in Raleigh. Warm afternoon temperatures bring us outside while green clouds of pollen filling the air push us back inside. And everything is in bloom!
We had a busy March as you’ll see in this article. April will be no different. We are just a few days away from departing for our one week cruise to Jamaica, Mexico, and Cuba. When we return, the last week of April will be filled with volunteering at our kid’s school all week and a big birthday party to close out the month.
Our March financials look great. Net worth climbed $13,000 to $2,062,000. Our spending remained low at $2,299 while our income continued to be strong at $4,553. We just wrapped up another month where income greatly exceeded spending.
Unless you are an heir to a big fortune or you have won the lottery, you have to work hard to have money. To accumulate wealth, you have to make more money than you spend. The key is to keep your expenses low. And there will be sacrifices. Nothing crazy though.
At the Root of Good household, our clothes are not from the mall, we don’t dine out at Ruth’s Chris, or deck out our split level home with the latest from Pottery Barn or Williams Sonoma. We choose not to quench our thirst with Dom Perignon or Dasani. Yes, we have made sacrifices. At first we balked at some of these sacrifices, but we gave them a try. You never know until you try right?
We have decreased our expenses by carrying our lunches in disposable plastic grocery bags (which also make great suitcases). We refill disposable water bottles and reuse disposable straws and plastic utensils.
To celebrate our fifteenth wedding anniversary, we visited Mexico City for an 11 day vacation (without kids!). We have visited the city several times before, so we didn’t plan on hitting the tourist trail too hard while in the city.
On most days we spent a few hours sightseeing and many more hours relaxing, dining, and indulging in other forms of laziness. Some days were more successfully lazy than others, but overall we took it easy.
While in the city, we visited the museums and colonial buildings in the historic center of town, toured a half dozen districts on the edge of town, and took a day trip to the pyramids at Teotihuacan.
We’re back for another monthly update on the life and times (and finances) of Root of Good! February was a whirlwind of activity that had us out and about exploring the Raleigh area during periods of unseasonably warm weather. Then we hopped on a jet plane to go south of the border for the last half of the month. We spent a wonderful twelve days in Mexico City celebrating our fifteenth anniversary (and we left the kids at home with grandma!).
One of the magical moments in early retirement is when you head off for a couple weeks of vacation somewhere exciting and your net worth shoots way up. You don’t do a thing and you grow wealthier!
That happened for us in February. Our net worth climbed by $45,000 to $2,049,000 while we were traipsing around the woods in Raleigh and hopping on subways and eating tacos across Mexico City.
Income remained strong for the month of February at $4,430. Expenses dropped to $1,537 for the month which is somewhat surprising given we spent half the month living it up on vacation.
January was another busy month for us in the Root of Good household. We worked hard planning our summer trip to Southeast Asia. We got outside and played a bit when the weather was nice. And we bundled up against the cold when winter returned with full force.
Financially, last month was quite a blockbuster. Our net worth jumped $133,000 to re-cross the mythical $2,000,000 mark and land at $2,004,000 by month’s end. Income was strong at $3,779 while expenses remained within our budget at $2,937.
Let’s dive into January’s financial update!
Do you need to be productive in retirement? Or is it okay to screw around all day and live a life of leisure? Or does the secret to retirement success lie somewhere in between the two extremes of productivity and leisure?
There is no right answer to the question of how busy you must be in retirement to be fulfilled and content. It depends on what drives you and makes you happy. For me, the first six months of retirement were pretty busy as I was used to a decade of full time work and I continued the productivity trend straight out of the office and into retirement.
Within two weeks of leaving my full time job, I started this blog and felt compelled to maintain a strict publishing schedule of two or three posts per week. That meant I was spending a lot of time researching, writing, proofreading, and figuring out the technical and business side of the blog. All the while, I was the one watching our one year old son all day! Busy, busy times. And not much time for relaxation and fun.