“I’m Good At This…”
The first quarter of 2021 is officially behind us and I have a huge sense of relief, financially speaking (no market drama). This time last year, the market was crashing and the world was literally shutting down. I, along with the rest of the country, found myself at home with my emotions running between two extremes, happy (to be home) and panicked as I watched more cable news than ever before.
March 2020 was also the first time that I researched and bought stocks from the comfort of my own home, on my home computer. All previous stock purchases took place on my phone during a hasty walk from the train station to my office or during lunch in a crowded break room.
“I’m One of Them Now“
March 2020 was also the first time that I had enough money to take advantage of a market crash by loading up on stocks at bargain prices. I was actually doing the same things that the “FIRE” people that I’ve admired for so long have been doing to reach FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early).
It was 2015, a few years before my FIRE journey started that I came across a blog called “My Open Wallet.” And like any newbie to the world of FIRE, my appetite for information on the subject was insatiable. I read her entire blog in two days. I was impressed and intimidated by her ability to track her finances so closely and make one disciplined decision after another. I didn’t think it was something that I could really accomplish. Hence, the two and a half years before I started on my journey.
I read how she invested her money through the 2008 crash and how hard it was to keep investing as she watched her portfolio drop month after month with no end in sight. But fast forward, I watched her money grow exponentially with hard work and frugal living. She was able to retire in 2019 with a net worth of $1.4 million. In a recent update, she expressed how amazed she was that even without a job for a couple of years, her net worth had grown to more than $1.6 million.
Recently, Purple from A Purple Life highlighted the same thing happening to her net worth. Purple FIRE’d with $500,000 and even after not receiving a paycheck several months into her retirement, she has watched her net worth shoot up to more than $650,000.
I continue to sit at the feet of the FIRE community and learn. I continue to work on all the habits that have taken so many of them to a successful FIRE. And I’m finally comfortable telling anyone that will listen that I’m pursing financial independence with the option to retire early. I no longer have to think about saving, investing, avoiding lifestyle creep and growing my income. I do it all as naturally as I breathe and it turns out, I’m actually very good at this game of FIRE.
How Good?… In Half-The-Time Good
When I pulled up the old Excel spreadsheet it shows that it took me three years to save my first $100,000 and buy a home. I’m on track to add another $100,000 to my net worth very soon. How soon? According to my rough calculations it will have taken 1.6 years this time around. That means I managed to save my second $100,000 in exactly half the time it took me to save the first.
Okay, time to see how close I am to that $200,000 milestone.
Wow! This was a great month. I saved and invested every dime that I could and with a little cooperation from the stock market, my net worth is up more than $9,500. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of investing. The increase that you see here is the result of stock price appreciation, dividends and interest–all of which continues to compound and put me on the fast track to FIRE.
Checking $ 500.00 (no change)
Savings $ 5,650.00 (+$25)
Business $ 30,233.00 (+$1,481)
MM/E Fund $ 29,421.00 (+$781)
Taxable Investment Accounts
Ally Brokerage $ 32,213.00 (+$3,348)
Investing MM $ 100.00 (+$100)
Vanguard $ 3,263.00 (+$353)
Acorns $ 2,330.00 (+$97)
SEP IRA $13,776.00 (+867)
Bonds $ 20,700.00 (+$256)
Traditional IRA $ 45,816.00 (+$2,636)
Liabilities: Credit Cards: $685.00
- Credit Card: Due on April 10, and will be paid in full
- Checking: No changes here
- Savings (P to P): I actually borrowed from myself this month and managed to put it all back before the month was out. It was my first time in a long time that I needed to do that. I was reintroduced to the value of this account when I borrowed from it. I certainly didn’t want to go into my emergency fund and this account prevented me from needing to do so. I think we should all strive to keep one month of our bills or one month of our salary in an account separate from our emergency fund.
- Traditional IRA: Very happy with this account and will keep doing more of the same, which is buying more shares of solid, dividend-paying growth companies.
- Business Account: This account is now serving as a back-up for tax season. I learned what I owed on my taxes and I managed to save enough in a separate account. So, I won’t need to touch this money at all.
- The E/Fund: Interest rates are now 0.40% and my CD has expired. But this account is not about growth, it’s about being able to sleep at night. I plan to research CD rates for a higher rate, but if nothing is worth the commitment then the account will just continue earning 0.40% for now.
- Ally (taxable): Working on SPG and MDT over the next couple of months but it’s hard with everything being at all-time highs.
Remember, it is a fight to build wealth no matter where you are in the process. Everything around us conspires to take money out of our hands. But you must fight the good fight. Continue to save, invest, and grow your net worth even when it seems impossible. Save your pennies (copper) until they become dollars (cotton).