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.
Does it feel like 2018 is flying by? Less than two months to go until 2019! We’ve been busy during the month of October. We spent the first part of the month aboard the Caribbean Princess cruise ship. Once we returned to Raleigh, we tackled several projects around the house and enjoyed the nice weather outside.
In financial news, you may have heard that turbulent times have returned to the stock market. At one point, our portfolio was down almost $200,000 for the month before recovering to $1,988,000, a loss of “only” $98,000. Income for the month remained strong at $5,352 while expenses remained rather low at $1,784, or exactly one third of our income. In conclusion, our net worth dropped by a significant margin, however our diversified income streams outpaced our spending.
Better late than never, right? Since we’ve been cruising the Caribbean without internet, this monthly financial update and slice of early retired life is about two weeks late. I’ll work on the timeliness in the future. If I have time 🙂
Aside from having fun on the cruise, I’m extremely excited that it finally feels like fall here in North Carolina. The air conditioning is off and the windows are open after a long, hot, humid summer. Time to enjoy the outdoors before it gets cold!
Financially, September was an okay month. Income exceeded expenses, which is always good. We brought in $2,829 in September while only spending $1,342. On the net worth balance sheet, we shed $12,000 in value to bring our net worth to a still respectable $2,086,000.
When you have kids it’s impossible to retire early, right? I found out that may not be true in all cases. Like my own. We have three kids and still managed to retire early. But how is it possible when kids are soooooo expensive?
The US Department of Agriculture publishes the “Expenditures on Children By Families Annual Report” which examines the cost to raise children in America. The headline number that gets a lot of press is the total cost to raise a child from age 0 to 17: $233,610. And that doesn’t include the cost of college!
Almost a quarter of a million dollars seems really high to me, so I’m diving into our kid-spending to see what it actually costs to raise our three kids.
And just like that, our summer break is over. The kids have been back in school for a week already and us parents are enjoying our peace and tranquility during the middle of the day. The summer weather, however, lingers on. It’s been hot and humid for the past week. I’m looking forward to real fall with it’s cool mornings and lower humidity.
Financially, August treated us very well. Our net worth went up by $14,000 to $2,098,000 thanks to mildly positive stock market returns. Our income remained very strong in August at $5,923 while our expenses remained rather modest at $2,565 for the month.
Any month where your income exceeds spending and your net worth goes up is a good one! Now let’s jump into the details.
Well folks, today marks five years of early retirement for me. Flashback: on August 26, 2013 I spent the morning sitting in my office at work, catching up on emails after a week long vacation. Then my boss walks in, says “you’re fired”, hands me the dismissal paperwork and I’m on my way. I spend the rest of the morning at home puzzling over my spreadsheets to verify that I am, in fact, financially independent.
Analysis result: I was financially independent. Our initial budgeted spending of $32,000 per year was only three percent of our total investment balance. In other words, way less than the 4% rule dictates.
Fast forward five years and here we are. Five years older and five years wiser. Our kids were age 1, 7, and 8 when I retired and now they are 6, 12, and 13! They are very different people than they were five years ago.
Right after I quit working, I was still in production mentality when I started this blog. I always wanted to do something internet-y and the blog was the first thing that came to mind. After a weekend of googling “how to start a blog” and other extremely basic search queries, I had figured it all out. I registered the rootofgood.com domain name and published my first article on September 11th, 2013.