It has been a wild few months since my last post. I am still lurking around the interwebs, reading all blog posts that Dividend Diplomats, MMM, Mr. Free at 33, Captain Dividend, etc have been publishing.
Long story short -- We took extended vacations, Enjoyed time with family and friends, renovated our house and most importantly for a financial blog....
We are completely debt free!!!
My wife and I took a 15 day roadtrip from Seattle to San Diego in early December which was incredible. The only thing I can say is that I now completely understand why people who move to the west coast never move back. Oregon was by far my most favorite location. The redwoods, the driftwood on the beaches, the shear size of the wildness, was breathtaking. I could easily go back there for an extended stay.
San Francisco was by far my most favorite big city we visited. I cannot understand why anyone would have a car in LA. It took us 35 minutes to go 1.5 miles EVERY single day when we headed out sight seeing. San Diego was nice, but the weather was not ideal so it was hard to fully appreciate the area. My wife's family lives in Seattle and that would be one of the only reasons why I would return to that city. I would love to slow travel the Pacific North West one day, because I think I would enjoy the scenery around there but I would not want to be in the big city. Other stops along the way included: Monterey, CA, Grover Beach, CA, Arcata, CA, Williams, OR, and many more.
After that trip, we did five days in New Hampshire/Maine with more of my wife's family. Once again, the scenery, the outdoor lifestyle, the closeness of friends and neighbors are all incredible.
From all of our travels, I have definitely figured out that I am an outdoors, slow travel, scenery loving type person. I loved being able to drive 10 miles without hitting a traffic light. I loved taking hikes through the woods. I loved the simplistic lifestyle that comes with living outside the city limits. If I had to do it again, I would love to buy a camper, tow it with my truck and slow travel from San Francisco to Seattle. Primarily staying in Oregon and the Islands around Seattle.
Switching gears - after traveling for about a month, my wife and I did some pretty extensive renovations around the house. Such renovations include: ripping up all the old carpet, refinishing wood floors underneath, ripping up all the trim around doors, windows, baseboards and putting up brand new trim including crown molding, all new windows and doors, new - white outlets and switches and I think that's about it.
With all that being said, you can understand why the blog has taken a back seat.
I know I know, I put the only thing you came for till the end...
We are debt free! It's true, but unfortunately it has currently turned into a great mistake...
In September 2016 my wife and I made the decision to sell about 75% of our stock holdings and pay off our mortgage. At the time, it appeared to be a wise thing. Market was up for 7 straight years, and a new president was going to be elected in the US. Who could have ever imagined that voting in Donald Trump would make the stock market go in a straight line up for all of these months.
We sold half of our holdings in September, more in October and November and finally a bit more in January. Due to the aforementioned traveling and renovations, we were not able to sell everything in September and pay off the mortgage all in the same month. Therefore, we made the final payment of our mortgage in the middle of February.
All told, my wife and I would be roughly $25,000 wealthier had we not sold our holdings when we did. But, we have no debt. The only bills we have to pay now are self imposed. Things like food, water, cable/internet, phone, taxes, insurance.
I have not had the time to update the portfolios but the taxable account is at $62,000 and the 401K is at $65,000. We have zero in savings so stock purchases will still be a couple months out.
Unfortunately, my company has changed the funds that are available for purchase from Vanguard and they do not give out dividends like they did before. Everything is "reinvested" back into the fund instead. Not sure how much I like that but not much I can do. Therefore, we are only looking at about $2,000 in dividends per year right now.
With no mortgage, $2,000 should cover a full months of expenses if we stay lean.
The great thing about not having any debt is that literally from this point forward, every single penny we save is going strictly towards retirement. There is no guessing, there is no large bill looming over us at this point.
Every $50,000 we save, is one month closer to retirement at 4% yield at current spending levels!!
Now that we have no mortgage, please send in suggestions to save on taxes next year! We are going to max out both of our 401K's, our HSA, and I will open an IRA this year. Are there any other suggestions?
So that's about it. You are all caught up. I can't guarantee I will be blogging more regularly now but I will try my best to get something posted occasionally.
How was your winter!? Let me know!