I have so much to say I’m not sure where to begin! One thing is certain, 2022 was one of the best years I can remember. While it involved lots of adventurous trips, the greatest reason for my satisfaction learning how to change priorities. In years past, I prioritized work and everything else that I thought I should do. I routinely deprioritized my immediate happiness for some future promise. While that paid off for me, I spent many unhappy years just trudging along.
Now I am in a position to no longer let the *shoulds* take priority. In 2022 I started prioritizing self-care and choices that enhance my life. I explored therapy for the first time, and also splurged on laser-hair removal. Both of these improved my life, albeit in different ways. I tried yoga, but was surprised to learn how fast-paced and difficult classes are. After nearly passing out twice, I decided I’ll stick to my daily walks instead.
My attitude around work changed immensely from a few years ago. I emphasized work becoming a tool to provide the life I want, not the cornerstone of it. I focused on growing my Amazon business so that I don’t need traditional work. In October, I outsourced that business so that I can travel more, longer. In addition, I freelanced with a UK-based company 20 hours/week, and I rented my house to travel nurses. All of these decisions allowed me to earn a good living without sacrificing too much of my time. In 2022, I averaged about 25 hours of work/week.
End of Year Finances
I could gush on and on about how great a year it was (and I will more later). But for now, I want to transition to other year end activities: capturing my year end actuals. At year end I always do a financial summary and compare it with my forecasts. This year was rough. My actuals were almost $200k short of my projections due to a down market. Ouch. Thanks to some wise advice from somewhere in the FI-verse, I decided to focus on shares instead of values. Value is temporary, shares are permanent. In 2022, I bought 250 more shares of VFIAX and VTSAX, bringing me to a total of 3036 shares.
I also found a fun little history of my Vanguard account, which is where I’ve been making all my contributions except for my 401k since I began investing. The “Performance” tab shows up to a 10 year history of my investments at Vanguard. In my case, it’s only missing my first 3 years of my total investing history. What makes this fun is that it tells a story. I steadily contributed to my Roth IRA and brokerage until I quit my job in 2019. My car purchase in 2014 made a ding, followed by a bigger one in 2016 when I paid off a chunk of my mortgage. My last sale of shares for my mortgage came in 2018.
In 2019, I barely contributed to my brokerage, choosing instead to pay off my house and seed Retirement 1.0. Early in 2020, essentially the same time as Covid, I rolled over my 401k from Merrill Lynch to Vanguard. From there, my contributions have been fairly flat until the end of 2022.
Another chart shows only the returns on my investments during that same span.
Imagine saving diligently for retirement, but failing to invest. The above chart would be a flat $0. Right now roughly half of my investment value is from market gains, while the other half is from my contributions. This is why it’s so critical to invest. Even at the end of a down year I’ve still doubled my savings.
Connections in the FI Community
It’s hard to believe that prior to 2022 I barely knew 7 other people in the FI community. I met many, many more thanks to the encouragement from Diania to attend CampFIs. I went to my first of three in January, where I caught many new friends in addition to a second bout of Covid. Good thing they were worth it!
All of these friends encouraged me to take the leap and go to Mexico, which I explored for a month. There I also met up with some acquaintances that I had only just met 1 month prior at CampFI. They also introduced me to other FI people who I’ll meet up with in New Zealand later this year. My friend and fellow Mastermind amiga, Deb, met up with me for a week as well. CNBC featured her and her husband recently, too!
In just a few days, fellow CampFI alum Amy and I will hang out in Thailand. I might even see Travis, Stephanie and Tri there, too! It’s pretty incredible being around people who have the same passion and motivation to maximize their lives!
Here’s one of the first presentations at CampFI that had me hooked:
Also, James is going to be speaking at Econome in Cincinnati in March! Can’t wait to see what else he has in store for us!
Sharing the Financial Independence roadMap
Earlier I mentioned that I started renting out my house to travel nurses. Through the year I got to meet three wonderful young ladies all working to reach the next stage of their careers. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting each of them, and secretly wanted to guide them towards a more financially secure future.
I gave them all The Simple Path to Wealth in hopes that it will help them lay the foundation for financial independence early in their careers. Even if they tuck it away and find it years later, it’s still a valuable tool to help them on their journey. This will continue to be my parting gift for all future tenants.
A Year of Adventure
While sometimes data capture can be creepy, I like when it’s presented back to me in a meaningful way. The above map is the location data captured by Google from my cell phone. As you can see, I got around. Loads of stories are beneath every dot. This isn’t exhaustive, but a few highlights include:
- Bearcats v Alabama in CFP in Dallas
- First of many CampFIs where I made lots of friends with intriguing, intelligent and ambitious people
- COVID round 2 💀
- Tried yoga
- Grew my business
- Hiked many miles with Diania… combination of talk therapy, exercise and ideation 💡
- Hosted 2 optometry students and 1 dialysis technician
- Met Adrian, Nathan and Harlan
- Amy and What’s App messages, staying in touch across the world
- The Bengals went to the super bowl!
- Mexico 🇲🇽
- Mastermind trip to Arizona. Laughing with Elaina about the unlocked door 🤣
- Asheville NC, paid lots of money to rich people to see their expensive house. Chocolate and the best spicy bloody Mary. Sierra Nevada brewery. ☀️
- Travis RE:travel and Portugal. FI people everywhere! Travel more!
- Realizing I am preparing to move abroad. Live!
- Celebrated nephew’s first birthday and niece’s 6th birthday
- Reconnected with many former coworkers: John, Nathan, Nate, Peggy, Dave, Shane, Adam, Lauren, Ram, Raj, Jeremy, Doug, Tom, etc.
- Deepened friendships that brought energy, compassion and love
- Stupid mental health walks with Theresa
- Repaved the driveway
- River floats, including an uninvited dead deer 💀 and a canoe rescue 🛶
- Fixed gutter. Thanks for nothing, Little Tikes golf ball!
- Braun beach vacation 🏖️
- Started therapy
- Laser hair removal
- Camped with Amy in Rocky Mountain National Park ⛺
- Camped with family at Winton Woods campground ⛺
- Bike rides with Carrie 🚲
- Started attending Fintalks
- Built my nephew a toddler bed with Kara 🔨
- Local FI meetups
- Greta Van Fleet concert with Doug 🎸
- Changed manufacturers for my business
- Wrote the FI healthcare cost calculator with Lynn
- Bryce Canyon, Antelope Canyon, the Bend, Zion National Park
- Kayaking the Colorado River with Theresa
- Outsourced my business
- Key West. Theresa broke her flip flop, beach and sunshine in December ☀️
Late in the year I started capturing short video clips each day using an app called 1 Second Everyday (1SE) endorsed by Diania. I enjoyed finding that even normal days usually have something interesting or unique about them. Here’s what I captured from late September through year end.
This year I’m doubling down on last year’s adventure, starting off with 2.5 months in Singapore, Thailand and New Zealand. I’ll be publishing more content related to this adventure, including meeting up with some of my FI friends. Suffice it to say I’m working on compounding the success and happiness of 2022!