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.
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.
Out with the old and in with the new! 2018 proved to be another fun-filled and successful year of early retirement for us at Root of Good. I’m looking forward to 2019 being more of the same. Our oldest child will enter high school (!!) in the fall which means college is just around the corner.
We have several trips lined up for 2019 that will bring us to Mexico, Cuba, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia. We’ll be spending more than two months overseas exploring new places, eating new foods, and wondering how we ever had time for full time jobs.
Looking back on December’s finances, we saw a very significant drop in our net worth. Due to a major stock market correction, our net worth dropped $117,000 during December to end the year at $1,871,000. Compared to 2017, we were $166,000 poorer at the end of 2018, which represents an 8.1% drop in net worth versus 2017’s $2,037,000 year end balance. After a brief bout of volatility in January and February, 2018’s market was mostly uneventful until October when stocks went into decline. Tough times in the stock market, but that is to be expected occasionally.
Spending for the month of December totaled $3,878 with a year end total of $29,058 for all of 2018. Income for the month of December was very high at $21,030 due to year end dividend payments and several double payments from blog advertisers. Income for the year totaled $72,605 and was roughly half blog income, half investment income.
Ok, folks. 2018 is rapidly coming to a close. We’ve had a busy year and 2019 will be no different. I’m not sure how I ever had time for anything fun when I was working 40 hours per week!
Looking back on November’s finances, it was a month of holding steady. Out net worth remained the same at $1,988,000. It was a good month of income with $4,173. Our expenses remained moderate at $2,846. In financial terms we’re just fine even though we are still about $50,000 below our year end 2017 net worth of $2,037,000.