May 2022 Early Retirement Update – See Ya Later, America! Edition

Ok folks, it’s June and the year is almost half over. Where does all the time go? 

May was another busy but fun month for us. We celebrated some birthdays with family. We went on a cruise. Our kids have finished another successful year of school. And next week we watch our oldest kid graduate from high school! 

Meanwhile, we are researching and planning the final details for our big eight week summer vacation in Europe. In a week, we will get on a plane and head off to Zagreb, Croatia where the adventure begins once again. Busy, busy, busy! 

Financially, May was a great month for us. Our net worth rebounded by $103,000 to end the month at $2,770,000. Income during the month totaled $4,718 while expenses were $2,972 during May. 

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Mount Rushmore, Badlands , and Air Force Museum – Cross Country USA Road Trip (Part 13)

On the final leg of our six week summer road trip, we spent six days driving the 2,200 miles east from Gardiner, Montana back home to Raleigh, North Carolina. Along the way, we visited Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and the National Museum of the US Air Force.

Mount Rushmore was a quick stop where we checked out the massive carved stone heads of four former United States Presidents. 

We spent a lot more time touring the Badlands National Park. The colorful rolling hills dotting the landscape were a sight to behold! 

After leaving the Badlands and getting some sleep, we headed east and took a break in Sioux Falls, South Dakota at the Falls Park in downtown. The Big Sioux River bisects the city and produces a series of small waterfalls or rapids as it cascades over the rocks in the riverbed. 

Our final destination of the road trip was the National Museum of the US Air Force. We spent several hours wandering among the massive jets and other military aircraft, missiles, and smaller planes from the last century of aviation history. Whether you’re an aviation junkie or just like cool stuff, this museum has a lot to see for everyone. 

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April 2022 Early Retirement Update

Another busy month comes to a close! We spent Spring Break on a cruise. Upon returning to Raleigh, the older kids prepared to take their Advanced Placement exams. And now, we are getting ready to go on another cruise! 

After we get back from our next cruise, we’ll have about a month before we leave home for our two month summer trip through Europe. I need a vacation from vacations (ha ha)!

While we were at home in April, we were able to enjoy the nice mild spring weather. We had some friends over a few times and had a big family get-together for Easter. 

Financially, April was a mixed month with heavy stock market declines but very low spending. Our net worth declined by $139,000 to end the month at $2,667,000. Income during the month totaled $3,666 while expenses were a mere $1,321 during April.

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Yellowstone National Park – Cross Country USA Road Trip (Part 12)

We spent three days exploring the vast wilderness area known as Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming. 

The first day, we visited Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful geyser, and the Fountain Paint Pot area. We saw dozens of geysers, hot springs, and mud pots throughout the day.

On the second day, we revisited the Grand Prismatic Spring from an overlook that required a couple miles of hiking. After that, we walked among the geysers and springs by the West Thumb area of the Yellowstone Lake. To close out the day, we visited the waterfalls of the Yellowstone River in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in the eastern section of the park. 

We devoted our third day to exploring the Mammoth Hot Springs in the northern section of the park. These mineral formations were different than the geysers and hot springs we saw elsewhere in the park. 

Throughout our three day visit to Yellowstone National Park, we saw tons of wildlife including bison, elk, and even a rare black wolf!

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Salt Lake City, Utah and Idaho Falls, Idaho – Cross Country USA Road Trip (Part 11)

During “Part 11” of our six week road trip across the USA, we visited downtown Salt Lake City where we toured around the public area near the Mormon Temple, the State Capitol, and other parts of downtown. 

Once we left Salt Lake City, we headed north toward Idaho Falls, Idaho. On the way there, we stopped for several hours at the Antelope Island State Park just north of Salt Lake City. Inside the park, we toured a historic sheep ranch and hung out with a herd of bison. 

Upon arriving in Idaho Falls, we enjoyed a few days of rest and leisure. We walked along the waterfront of the Snake River in downtown Idaho Falls. We visited the Japanese Garden in the middle of the Snake River, then toured the rest of downtown Idaho Falls on foot.

After Idaho Falls, we continued our road trip north and east toward Yellowstone National Park.

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March 2022 Early Retirement Update

The first quarter of 2022 is in the history books, and spring is here! We’ve had a busy spring so far. We’re cranking up our summer travel planning. And we booked not one, not two, but three new cruises during March! It’s starting to feel a lot more normal-ish these days.

In the meantime, the mild springtime weather means more time outdoors relaxing and enjoying nature. Hopefully the nice weather hangs around before summer heat moves in! 

Financially, March was a great month for us. Our net worth shot up by $87,000 to end the month at $2,806,000. Income during the month totaled $9,124 while expenses were $5,356 during March.  

Let’s jump into the details from last month.

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February 2022 Early Retirement Update – Early Spring Edition

Another month flew by! Here we are in March and spring is slowly making an appearance. I definitely like the warmer days but it’s almost too hot right now! 

The nicer weather means spending more time outdoors. We got out the hammock on one particularly nice day. And we enjoyed several hikes last month. Hopefully the temperate weather is here to stay for a while before the summertime heat sets in. 

Financially, February was a mixed month for us. Our net worth dropped by $40,000 to end the month at $2,719,000. Income during the month totaled $2,312 while expenses were a modest $2,535 during February. 

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January 2022 Early Retirement Update – Snowy Winter Edition

Welcome to my first monthly update of 2022! It’s been a busy month for us. We had a nice snowy weekend during January which is rare for us here in Raleigh. The snow was just deep enough to offer some decent sledding. Then it melted the next day and it was bright and sunny and back to business as usual. 

During January and the first few days of February, we finalized our big two month summer trip through Croatia, Slovenia, and Hungary. Here’s to hoping that we are able to commence on this adventure successfully once the time comes!

Financially, January was a mixed month for us. Our net worth dropped by $71,000 to end the month at $2,759,000. Income during the month totaled $4,378 while expenses were a mere $1,193 during January. 

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December 2021 Early Retirement Update – New Year’s Edition

Another year all wrapped up neatly with a bow on it! Where does the time go?

We had a great 2021, both financially and personally. We managed to squeeze in a bunch of travel in spite of global difficulties. And we were able to relax at home a ton as well. Another glorious year of early retirement! 

For those wondering, we were able to embark on our Christmas cruise successfully. After two years of being landlocked and skipping international travel, we finally got back to the crystal clear Caribbean waters and enjoyed a warm week floating around the islands.  

Financially, December was an incredibly bountiful month for us. Net worth jumped $115,000 to end the month at $2,830,000. Income during the month totaled $21,970 while expenses were a mere $3,312 during December.

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A Week in Las Vegas, Nevada – Cross Country USA Road Trip (Part 7)

After a busy three weeks on the road, we enjoyed a leisurely one week stopover in Las Vegas, Nevada. While we were there, we visited a dozen casinos and watched many free shows and performances presented by the casinos. 

None of us gambled at the casinos, but we did spend a little cash at some of the shops in Las Vegas. We also visited several restaurants since we had plenty of downtime during our one week stay. 

And after over three thousand miles of driving, I needed to take the minivan van in for an oil change and tire rotation. 

Overall, our stay in Las Vegas was great. We relaxed, took in the glitzy experience of the Las Vegas Strip, and got some good food! 

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