This post will focus on my personal situation instead of tips on improving your finances. If that’s not your cup of tea, I get it. Feel free to check back this Friday for a “real” post.
Why the Update?
Part of the purpose of this blog was to document my financial journey toward financial independence and growing wealth through investing. Even if no one but myself reads this, it will help document the process and where I am.
It has been several months since my previous financial update. A lot has changed in that period, and I see a lot changing in the future.
At the beginning of my journey, I was not investing outside of my 401K. Though this is a great start, it was by no means maxed out. I should have taken advantage of the opportunity to build wealth through this or another investing avenue.
Since then, I have added a taxable investment account, Roth IRA, crowdfunding real estate, and high-yield savings account and upped my 401K contributions. I have yet to max out my 401K contributions. The reason for this is that I plan on retiring early. Though a 401K allows for fantastic tax-free growth, it is also incredibly restrictive regarding withdrawals.
On the other hand, these different forms of investments are far more flexible. A taxable investment account can be withdrawn from at any time. Contributions from Roth IRAs are the same, though gains must wait. And a high-yield savings account can be withdrawn from just as quickly as a standard savings account. The least flexible is crowdfunding real estate through Fundrise, where funds are locked up for at least a year. But I don’t plan on withdrawing these contributions soon as they aren’t substantial.
To learn more about fundrise and real estate crowdfunding, read this post.
Spreading out my investments into these additional accounts makes me feel much more confident in my ability to retire early. Not to mention the mental release when you feel like you are far more in control of your finances than you were previously.
I have been thrilled with my investing performance thus far, especially since none of it is due to excellent stock picks. Instead, I mean that my choices to invest in blue-chip, dividend-paying stocks have performed well. The few “risky” investments I have made have performed relatively poorly.
As of mid-February 2023, the S&P 500 is down 9.65% over the last year. My portfolio is currently up 1.76% over the same period. This is exciting, considering that the market hasn’t fully recovered yet. By the time it does, I will be pushed to gains far above the market itself.
I attribute this success to continuing to buy in heavily when everything is on sale. I pushed hard not to be scared off when I saw huge companies down 20% and instead continued to contribute. This led to downtimes, of course, but it’s all building up like a spring ready to jump when given the opportunity.
In addition to these gains, I have been pleased with the support of consistent dividends and high-yield savings account returns. These returns are far closer to guaranteed than market returns, so I can rely on their steady progress even when I incur losses. Plus, dividends are even more powerful when the underlying stock is cheaper.
Personal Finance Progress
Outside of investing, I have continued my career as an engineer. I have gotten a few raises since beginning this blog, though nothing major. I have been enjoying my job more, though I still have the goal of turning this into my full-time job.
A focus of mine, along with these raises, is not falling into lifestyle inflation. When I get a raise, I make sure that nothing changes. At most, I will celebrate with my girlfriend for one dinner, but nothing more. And to be clear, this version of a celebration is Olive Garden for dinner, not something crazy.
As for this blog, it has been an incredible amount of fun. I have also seen more success, though slowly, of course. Blog posts take 6-8 months to “mature” and generate significant traffic. I did see a nice boost, though, from the podcast I was on.
Thus far, I have earned around $4.36 from the blog. That’s sick to me. The fact that I have made anything from doing something I’ve enjoyed is incredible to me.
It will take time to earn anything substantial from this, but that’s okay. I’m here for the long game, not to burn out quickly. Plus, I am lucky enough to have a well-paying job to lean back on in the meantime.
For the time being, I have decided to stop uploading YouTube videos. I really enjoyed it and am excited about the opportunity to interact with viewers in a different way than a blog. But with other focuses in my life, like family and basketball, I have found that this is too much of a burden to have on top of the blog. I plan to get back to it when I can put more time into content creation.
The future is what excites me. The present is great, but the future holds excitement and possibilities. I see so many future opportunities for this blog and my finances.
Saving and investing until I achieve financial independence is inevitable. I can see the path of wealth building slowly at first, coiling up, ready to speed up over time. I want that future of having freedom from being bound to a structured career. Instead being able to focus on what I want when I want.
As for the blog, there are an infinite number of possibilities. This could spread into other avenues of content creation, and niche focuses. In addition, the skills I am learning now for this blog will be beneficial for any number of future endeavors.
I won’t be stopping any of this any time soon. It’s too much damn fun.
Thank you so much for reading. I’ll talk with you next time.
Leave a Reply