This is the first time I have sat down to do a Quarterly update, so please let me know on Twitter on in the comments if this is something I should continue.
I discovered something interesting this evening when I sat down to calculate my Net Worth. Despite my investment portfolio increasing by ~$30k (including my full $6k for 2019 IRA contributions), my Net Worth is only up $16k. The difference can mostly be explained by the value of my primary residence (as estimated by Zillow), which dropped by $13k since January 1. I live in a Townhouse, and there is currently a unit listed for sale at $115,000, down from $130,000 when she initially listed. We’re all just hoping she’s able to sell for more than $110,000 (less than $100/square foot).
I am happy to have finally finished the master bathroom remodel. The final cost was a manageable $2,600-ish, thanks to a lot of free labor from my dad.
I was on the FireDrill podcast to talk about my plans to pay off my mortgage in 7 more years, around the time when my mortgage reaches 20 years old. Since listening to that episode, and hearing from other more seasoned investors, I have been contemplating refinancing my Adjustable Rate Mortgage to lock in a lower interest rate for 10, 15 or 20 years, and investing the difference. A part of me wants to own my house free and clear, but another part of me sees the power in borrowing cheap funds and maintaining a low monthly mortgage cost. This is further complicated by the recent yield curve inversion, which makes it even cheaper to borrow long-term funds like a mortgage. Stay tuned for an update on this…
My blog reached 1 year old in January, but I was too busy with my day job to really put some time into it until later in the month. Once I finally posted on January 30th, my views started to take off! At this time of this writing, I have 4,500 views for the year, more than I had in all 12 months combined in 2018. I was featured on CampFIREfinance twice, Money Middletons twice, the Plutus Awards showcase, appeared on the aforementioned FireDrill podcast, as well as the Marriage, Kids and Money podcast. I also wrote my first-ever guest post, which was an outcome from meeting J.D. Roth at FinCon last year. He offered to have me write on the pros and cons of driving rideshare, since that is a topic he’d never covered.
Despite not taking any official vacations, I’ve done quite a bit of travel in Q1:
In mid-January, I drove up to Gainesville, FL to attend my first CampFI Southeast (Week 2, which I’ll also be attending in 2020). There, I met up with FinCon friends such as Jillian Johnsrud from Montana Money Adventures, Deanna Broaddus (her Ms. Fiology recap linked), Brad Barrett from ChooseFI podcast, Seonwoo Lee, Coach Chad Carson, Nick True from MappedOutMoney, and Bianca DiValerio from Miss Mazuma. I also met lots of other folks I’d heard or read about, including Noah and Becky from MoneyMetaGame, Michael and Ellen from Uncommon Dream, Joel from FI180, plus Stephen and David Baughier. And I met some amazing new friends like Ashleigh, Lisa Duke, Ann, Don, Sylvia Moe Inks, Rebekah, Kim, Jess, Alon, Chris and more!
The next 4 weekends were spent on the bathroom remodel with my dad, and then I had 2 trips in 15 days to Orlando for work. In between those two weeks, I took 2 personal trips. First, I did a roadtrip around the Southeast during President’s Day Weekend, and visited Helen, GA, Clemson, SC, Charleston, SC (where I met the blogger SC from MissFunctional Money). The next weekend, I flew home to Indiana to watch my high school’s girls basketball team play in the State Championship game for the 2nd year in a row.
Travel resumed the last week of the quarter, as I went to Daytona Beach for the annual Florida Floodplain Managers Association conference. I serve on the Board of Directors, so there was a lot of behind-the-scenes work to do, and I also hosted a hospitality suite for the week, so I came home and crashed for 13 hours when the conference was completed.
I was able to schedule 2 meetings (so far) with Vicki from MakeSmarterDecisions and WomenWhoMoney, along with her husband Jeff. It’s fun to visit with my friends from around the country when they are here in Southwest Florida on vacation.
I also recently stumbled upon Matt and Brad Ruttenberg from TheMoneyTwins while visiting Babcock Ranch with my dad. They are locals here in Southwest Florida, but I met them at FinCon in Orlando.
This upcoming week, I will meet with Brad Barrett and his family, along with other local members of the ChooseFI Fort Myers group, so that will be fun!
For the second year in a row, I purchased a good quality projector to donate to the Florida Floodplain Managers Association, to help offset the costs of A/V for our annual conference. This year’s purchase was “lost” or “fell off the truck” in delivery, so I had to contact the company and plead for a rush delivery of an equivalent projector in time for the conference.
Back in November, I came up with the idea to sponsor a student to take Dumpster Doggy’s Invested Development course, and when she shared the idea with the world via her website and social media, the generosity of this community poured out. Suddenly, we had scholarships for 8 women to take the course and I provided additional funding for 1-on-1 coaching for 4 women to work with Tori Dunlap of HerFirst100k.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our little buddy Uriah, who is fighting metastasized pediatric neuroblastoma. I’ve been making sure to use his Amazon affiliate link each time I use Amazon, donated through the link at the bottom of his page, and sent a wireless UE Boom speaker so he can listen to his favorite music anywhere. I urge you to support this strong little fighter and his momma who is in this personal finance blogging community.