Growth and FIRE Progress
2019 was a major year of growth for me, both financially and professionally and I’m just under a year away from my FIRE date (2021). I’ve spent this year saving money, and growing my investment income. I also discovered how much I enjoy travel, and did more of that this year than in the past. Our taxable FIRE account grew by 40%, the SP 500 was up an astonishing 29%. The difference is explained by the savings we’ve put into this account.
Taking a look at 2019 and we see a year of incredible growth and progress towards FIRE:
Compare this to the past four years and it’s clear just how crazy the stock market is right now.
That’s enough about money, now let’s talk about life.
January – March
In early January we visited Arizona. This is beautiful part of the country, and I love getting lost in the dessert. The only downside is every plant and animal out here is genetically built to withstand harsh conditions. The plant have spikes, and the bugs bite hard, but if you can deal with that you should visit. Arizona also has In-N-Out burger, which alone is worth the trip.
April – June
I stay local during the peak travel season from May to July, but my company sent me to Las Vegas on a work trip in April to Atlassian Summit. This conference is the best I’ve attended, therefore I’ll be back next year. It’s also the only time of the year when I’m given opportunities to learn from my peers, which is very important to professional growth. Although my care for growing as a professional has declined significantly since I’ve discovered FIRE.
At the end of Summit Atlassian hosts an incredible party at the Mandalay Bay beach. I spent the following weekend exploring Las Vegas with my wife. Our flight back home was cancelled, so we spent two extra days in town. This allowed us to go and see Penn and Teller, they gave a hilarious and mind bending show. I worked and saved for the rest of the summer.
July – September
In July we saw Weird Al Yankovic in concert. He gave the best live concert that I’ve ever seen.
In September I want to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort. This is my biggest splurge of the year, but the experience is definitely worth the price. I paid extra for an RIP tour, which got me a guided tour of the houses and front-of-line access. My wife HATES haunted attractions, so I use this opportunity to spend a little money on myself. I also met The Tim Tracker, which is a huge deal if your a theme park fan.
One of my biggest takeaways for 2019 is spending money is fine, if you spend it on things you enjoy. Five years ago, I would have never been able to justify spending money for a theme park premium tour, but since I know how much this adds to the my enjoyment, I’ve grown to understand the value that this has for me.
October – December
In October we took our biggest trip yet: Ireland. European travel in the slow month can be surprisingly inexpensive. We flew into Dublin, then rented a car and drove to Galway and Limrick. Our hotel in Dublin had a picture of what I assume is the queen of Ireland.
Ireland is a beautiful county, and is unbelievable green.
Continued Growth in 2020
Reflecting on 2019 reminds me of everything I am grateful for. I don’t anticipate the stock market’s 2019 growth to continue into 2020, but I also don’t expect a downturn to modify my FIRE plans. In 2020 I’ll continue to invest in growing and income indexes and steadily invest as the political atmosphere rocks the market up and down. I don’t know where the market is headed, but that isn’t changing my plans. 2019 has been a great year, let’s look forward to an even better one in 2020.