It’s been a year since our last update.
The S&P 500 fell by ~19% in 2022. At 4446 today, it is 7% below it’s zenith at 4796 (Jan 3, 2022), and 24% above it’s lowest last year at ~3577 (in Oct).
As such, as of the end of Q2 2023, our nest egg (401k/457/403a/IRA + taxable brokerage accounts) has grown. Our portfolio rose by ~14% to the S&Ps 16%. The delta has to do with our our position in VYM (high yield dividend fund). Take that out, and our nest egg slightly outperforms the S&P 500.
I’m under no illusion that this is merely coincidental. I’ve long since appreciated the benefits of buying and holding the S&P 500 index funds. Indeed I believe it is the best approach for almost all folks – for 95% of investors per Charlie Munger.
As such, 87.5% of our investment holdings are in S&P 500 index funds. As for our Net Worth allocation, 37.5% is in real estate (primary residence and a rental property) and rest is in stocks.
We do not hold any bonds or international funds at the moment.
We need to strengthen our cash position to 3-6 months of expenses. This will take some doing given the rise in our expenses. Much of it is due to inflation and our new home.
But I’ve also had a philosophical shift with regards to spending. I turned forty last year. My daughter is three, and my wife has been very understanding of our need to live below our means for many years. So it’s time.
A lot of ‘older’ folks regret not spending when they were younger. With that wisdom, and the fact that we do not actually think we’ll ‘stop’ working anytime soon, we believe we can sustain a life style upgrade that still allows us to save a healthy 30-34% (just not the 55% we were between 2018-21).
The big downside of this mindset shift is that we now rely on both our incomes.
So where’s the money going?
We’ve had things we couldn’t avoid – plumbing, dental work, taxes, gifts (including charity, how wealthy?).
We also indulged in a few ‘fancy’ things. I learnt skiing last year (black diamond in my 8th trip to the mountains). I’m planning to teach my wife and daughter this winter. I hope they take to skiing as much as I have. It’ll be a wonderful family activity. I got seasons passes for all of us for this winter.
We got a new SUV in March. With my wife’s nursing schedules, we’ve needed an additional car for a while. We also need a stronger car to keep us safe. There’s a surge in reckless driving, and driving our small Honda Fit on the interstates is nerve wracking.
We made a refundable deposit on a Toyota Rav 4 (Hybrid, XLE Premium, Lunar Rock, $45K) last December. However, Tesla decreased the price of its Model Y in January from $66K to $55K, qualifying it for federal tax credits ($7.5K) and state tax credit ($2K for CO). That lowered the total cost of the Model Y to ~$48K (after charger installation, and Xcel Energy credit ~$500). So we cancelled our Toyota, and got the Model Y instead.
This is a significant upgrade for us. Our old and faithful Honda Fit has driven us all over the country and even to Canada in the last 12 years. I will forever be grateful for it’s services, and continue to believe that it is the best car in the world.
As a side note, my wife has never filled gas in a car. With the Tesla, she never will need to. I’m not sure I know of any driver who has never filled gas. Do you?
We also plan to travel every year. We’re going to Dublin and Amsterdam in Sept. I was willing to go anywhere outside the US so long as the tickets were cheap. About a month ago, I saw a few options – Lima (Peru), Santiago (Chile), Mexico City and Dublin (Ireland) – all priced around $1350 for three. We choose Dublin, then realized we can get to Amsterdam from Dublin for $234. So now we’re doing both in 9 days.
These are the searches from this morning. Remember, this is for a family for three.
All in all, we upgraded our lives. We’re still saving at a healthy rate, buying and holding S&P 500 index fund, and we are still not spending needlessly.
Case in point, after nearly four years of remote working, I do not have a single pant that now fits. I refuse to part ways with them because I’m determined to fit back in. I’m very comfortable in my shorts and tracks.
Other then a $30 running shoes I got last year (which is very comfortable and looks like a thousand dollars when I step out of the Tesla), I don’t remember the last time I bought any clothing item. I’ve had my main winter jacket since high school, which makes it about 22 years old and it still looks new.
Did I mention I do my own haircuts? I only wish my wife let me do hers and my daughters.