Quarterly Update – April 2020

Well, it’s early April, and the market’s appear to be starting the long “slog” back up to where they were. The economy is still frozen, awaiting the orders from each state’s government to free it up and let all of us get back to work. The Chinese Corona Virus is still around, but it appears that we have “bent the curve” somewhat, and are heading into the home stretch of getting past this. We will see.

Most folks goals for the year have seen a dramatic shifting from the lofty days of January 2020. For many, survival was a key goal over the last couple of months. How did we do for the 1st quarter?

My Goals for 2020 (some financial, some not):

Finance:

  • Save $28K in tax-advantaged accounts (saved over $75K in 2019 – but a lot of that was in the Deferred). 401K, and Roth IRA.  Grade A. Saved $4K in our 401Ks for the 1st qtr. Plan to put my $14K bonus into the Roth in 2nd Qtr.
  • Save $41K in regular accounts (compared to $5K in 2019). As I noted above, we’re going to be taking about $3K per month and sticking it in regular investing, after paying taxes on it versus putting it in pre-tax with the company’s deferred. Starting to build that bucket of funds we’ll need prior to hitting age 65. Grade A: Put $9K into accounts in 1st Qtr, plus the $5K rollover, so appear to be on track.
  • Increase dividend income from all accounts to $27K/year (compared to 29K in 2019). Grade A. Dividends up slightly ($5.9K vs $5.7K in 1st qtr 2019). Should be able to hit the dividend goal.
  • Passive income covers 30% of base living expenses in retirement, estimated at $78K per year (previously, I was using $72K, but after meetings with our finance guy and Mrs. 39 Months, the budget ended up being $78K).  My long-term goal is to get my dividend/passive income up to where it covers over 100% of my expected retirement living expenses, so my investments can continue to grow. Grade C. Hard to say at this point. With dividends up only 2.6% for 1st qtry, this has my dividends coming in a little over $30K for 2020, which would only be about 38.8% of the annual $78K in spending. Now with interest rates the way they are, its possible that dividends will drop in the second half of 2020.
  • Beat net worth growth rate of 6% (it was +20.1% in 2019 with the stock market run up). This is my historical growth rate for the last 10+ years, so I want to beat my average. As I stated earlier in January, I’m expecting the market to be flat this year, since we jumped up so much in 2019. Grade F. Ouch! Like just about everyone, my net worth took a beating in 1st qtr, down roughly $218K, or 12.8%. Starting to come back, but I think it will be a push this year to hit a 6% growth rate.

Business:

  • While not getting a membership, I want to attend six (6) of my local real estate investors association meetings this year. I’ll probably join permanently in2021. They hold a regular monthly meeting, a monthly meeting for new investors, and a monthly meeting for my specific county. All three could be interesting. Grade F. Haven’t attended one yet, and now we’re not having meetings due to the Chinese Coronavirus.
  • Double the number of blog visitors in 2020. Last year it was a little over 6,000. I want to get at least 12,000 this year, so I need to put myself out there more (i.e. comment) and write interesting topics. My thanks to everyone who stopped by, and I try to return the favor, and comment as well. Grade F. Not seeing a real jump on this – sort of staying stable. Guess I need to get out more, link and comment.
  • Create TKD Woodworking (my side-hustle name) with an LLC, website, finance tracking, etc. Sort of a trial method for running businesses. Grade B. Incorporated it, began building projects, established a website(pretty bad one). Still need to upgrade website, complete about 3-4 more items to sell, and begin marketing. Still, coming along.
  • Make $1,000 in sales (not necessarily profit) on items with TKD woodworking. Grade F. Haven’t sold anything yet.
  • Write/publish a book on finance.  I wrote one for new graduates in 2017, but I have identified an area of the community which hasn’t been served as well in the past. Hopefully I can assist with something here.  I’ve got the first five chapters outlined/partially done, but still have a ways to go. Grade F. With all this extra time, you’d think I could make progress on this. A little lazy I guess.

Personal:

  • Increase weight lifted by 10% from 2019. Was able to exceed this in 2019, need to continue to push it. Grade B. Jumped up about 7% in 1st qtr, but haven’t been lifting in March, so my bet is that I’ll drop back down. If I keep at it, I should still be able to hit this.
  • Average 2 hours of cardio per week, which is about what I’m doing now. Grade A. Walking daily , so hitting this.
  • Backpack over 90 miles on AT (did around 80 miles in 2019). The trail that I haven’t hiked is getting further and further away, making it impossible to do weekend trips. Going to get harder. Incomplete. Had to push a scheduled trip in April out to September. Plan was to hike for a week in May, but that may get pushed off as well.
  • Continue volunteering at Pennsbury Manor at their joiner’s shop (woodworking). Really enjoyed this. Incomplete. Site is closed down
  • Reduce weight by 20 lbs. from Jan 2019 (lost 2 lbs. in 2019). Again, I want to get in better shape as I get closer to financial independence. Grade D. I’m down 3 lbs in 1st qtr, but still have a long way to go, and the virus is keeping me from eating as healthy as I’d like.
  • Read at least one book a month. I surpassed this goal in 2018, and re-learned the joy of reading. Grade A. Five books in 1st qtr, and I really enjoy it.

Travel:

  • Visit three national parks (that is the plan, right now). Incomplete. Trip planned for June
  • Visit family in Tennessee, Vermont and New York. Family is very important to me. One of the things I am looking forward to with financial independence is the opportunity to visit family more often. Need to get up to see my brother in Vermont. Incomplete. Trips planned, but haven’t done them yet.
  • Take a week at the shore and just relax with family. Currently planned for July, but we’ll see how many family members can come. Incomplete. Trip planned for July.
  • Visit Ellis Island. Still want to do this – its so close. As 50% Czech from immigrant great grandparents from the turn of the century, I believe they went through there, and I want to see it. Incomplete. Closed for now.

Overall, I’d say I’m doing OK, not stellar. A lot of travel is dependent on the next 3-4 months and the status of the virus, so we will see.

How was your first quarter of the year?

Mr. 39 Months.

2 thoughts on “Quarterly Update – April 2020”

  1. Sounds like you’re making pretty good progress, especially in the context of the unprecedented situation we’re all living through! Congrats!

    I hope you’re right about hitting your dividend income goal for the year. I had a good Q1 also on that front, but am getting more concerned that the longer COVID-19 is killing people and slowing the economy, the more likely companies will have to start cutting dividends to preserve cash.

    Stay safe!

    1. Thanks. Looks like you are doing OK as well.

      It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. My bet is that more manufacturing is coming back to the US, especially the medical equipment and drugs. More will be shifted away from China and probably the Far East as countries pay more attention to their supply chains. It will make stock picking an interesting profession!

      Stay healthy!

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