One Life To Live is our new quarterly update on how financial independence plays an integral part in fueling our true happiness. We all have one life to live, but the question is, are we making the best of it? Are we living it in the richest way possible? We hope that our lifestyle answers those questions as we continue to optimize for happiness. Carpe Diem!
Welcome Enchumbao readers,
We’re excited to bring this quarterly section where we drop a few lines and provide some essential FIRE updates. For our “numbers lover” readers, you can expect to see a high-level update on our main passive income streams and essential expenses in One Life To Live. By concentrating on these two categories, we’ll explore how our income would’ve covered those expenses, if we were already retired. This way of thinking will give us a glance of how we’ll cover our bills with passive income after early retirement.
For the “lifestyle” readers that want to follow our journey beyond just numbers, we’ll provide updates on what we’ve been up to for the last quarter, including challenges, goals, fun stuff and life adventures.
There are fun parts to blogging. I love getting up in the morning with a post idea in my head and being able to write about it. We also get a high on a day with higher than usual traffic, when someone leaves a nice comment or when you share the post on social media.
Those are rewards of blogging. However, there are times when things break down and you need to show up to fix it even while on vacation. I check the Enchumbao emails even while on vacation because it’s fun for me. If Enchumbao felt like work to me, I wouldn’t get up every morning excited about what to do on the blog. Enjoying some form of work doesn’t need to involve getting paid.
J. Money and Grayson to the rescue!
One of those emails that hit my inbox, while taking in the sun in Punta Cana, was from J. Money. Rockstar Finance recently added the feeds from all the listed blogs on the directory. By the way, if you haven’t checked it out, go pay the Rockstar Directory a visit. It’s an awesome list of all the personal finance blogs out there.
So, J. Money emailed me because my feed wasn’t updating when they were trying to add the blog to the feeds section of the new directory.
As a matter of fact, it hasn’t been updating for a year!!! I knew something was off about the feed and I tried many tips I found online to fix it, but had no success. In the end, we went on vacation and I figured I’d find a solution upon our return.
I responded to Jay that I would hire a developer the following week upon my return to look into it. But he also recommended that I reach out to Grayson Bell, since he fixes WordPress sites in the PF blogging community.
Even though I was on vacation, I decided to reach out to Grayson, so that he could at least take a stab at it. After a few email exchanges, and $42 later, the feed was fixed! Grayson found a bunch of old codes left from plugins that were turning on server caching. (Techy geek moment) 🙂
Plugins can cause trouble on your site. I’ve been staying away from adding unnecessary plugins to avoid these kind of issues.
Seeing that fixed was such a high. I had been trying for so long, without any results, and I should’ve hired someone a long time ago to take care of the issue.
The fact that we got this resolved while we were on vacation was so empowering! All I had to do was check my emails now and then, review the feed and provide Grayson feedback.
I learned three lessons from this:
1) Jay wasn’t going to let it slide. lol (Thanks for bringing it up!)
2) If it’s not a quick fix, hire an expert to do the job. Outsource it!
3) I can get used to “working” or hustling, as Jay calls it, while on vacation. 🙂
We’re already seeing an increase in traffic due to the feed working properly and can now increase our followers in feed readers such as BlogLovin. If you aren’t a member, please get the app and subscribe to us! We need some Lovin. 🙂
Moving on to other topics, we hope you enjoy One Life To Live as much as we do. Now, that the second quarter is behind us, let’s take a look at some of the ways we tried to optimize for happiness.
18 days in the Dominican Republic
Coworkers can’t get enough amazement from our long vacations. It must be so expensive for us to slow travel.
Well, not really. It’s not the way we roll.
In late May, we headed over to the Dominican Republic and spent 18 days there. We started our trip by visiting Dad and Olas Pollo.
In our opinion, Olas Pollo sells the best pollo al carbon (charcoal-grilled chicken) in Santiago.
Then, we rented a car and drove to spend two weeks in Punta Cana. We had an awesome time and it was great to be away from the cubicle for this long. We’ll take that Dominican beach and sunrise all day over a cubicle!
Road to retirement
We did well on our savings for the house last month. We have two years to figure where we want to start our early retirement, so we’ll be exploring cities down south in the near future, since we don’t like the cold. Early retirement is inevitable!
Passive income and expenses
We’re streamlining these reports as much as possible, so that it takes very little time to produce, therefore, giving us time back to get back to living our lives. It stays within our theme of having one life to live and maximizing our time for happiness.
We enjoy blogging, but we also enjoy other things in life, and we want to continue keeping a nice balance between blogging and other life’s pleasures.
What’s included in these reports? At the end of the day, people need food, shelter, mobility, the ability to pay the bills and take care of debt payments (that’s not me anymore). So, these are the expenses that we’ll concentrate on.
Basic spending for Q2-2017
This is how we spent on essential needs during the first quarter. Everyone should at least track their spending on essentials to have an idea of their minimum amount needed to cover them in case of income loss.
2017 Monthly Average
|*Net Rent||$5,720.26||$807.88||Our rental property netted us $0 for the quarter. After accounting for taxes, insurance and repair expenses, we were in the red by $2,270.26 for the quarter.|
|Bills & Utilities||$479.56||$166.43|
|Auto & Transportation||$455.94||$240.32|
That’s it! It’s a very high-level, streamlined quarterly report of our basic needs. If you’d like to see our latest annual spending post, you can click here.
Our rental property really took us south with the repair expenses! We project on doing more repairs and upgrades this year, so we might not show a profit for this year. We’re purposely doing it now to lower our tax bracket. Our plans are to sell it right before we retire.
We received $4,758.94 in dividend income for the second quarter. Dividend income will be our main source of passive income in retirement.
We realized $2,087.79 in long-term capital gains for the quarter. We sold shares of a stock fund in our brokerage and put it into cash.
The fund earned us a 13% total return. We waited to sell these shares until they became long-term gains in order to take advantage of a lower tax rate. Selling within a year is not favorable as those gains would’ve gotten taxed as ordinary income.
Why did we sell?
Back in May, we reported that we want to keep our stock exposure to no more than 50% of our net worth. Selling some stock funds in the brokerage account became part of our strategy of shifting some assets into less risky investments, in preparation for early retirement.
Also, with two years away from early retirement and an overvalued market, we’re playing it cautiously until valuations come back to fundamentals. As stocks keep going up, that bucket of our asset allocation keeps getting refilled on its own with gains, so we’re putting our money in other investment vehicles.
We might use these funds to cover the first years in early retirement or as a cushion for the home purchase. As we soon will begin to explore other places to live in the U.S. after early retirement, we want to have extra dough available in case we can’t find what we want at our estimated budget.
Passive Income Main Categories
2017 Monthly Average
|Long-Term Capital Gains||$2,087.79||$977.84||Includes realized capital gains from Q1|
From the chef’s kitchen
Cooking your own meals is a great way to eat healthy and save money. A great advantage is that you can cook with better ingredients and know what’s going into your food. Here are some of the dishes we cooked last quarter.
Tuna fish meatballs with rice and beans (and asparagus)
Optimizing happiness through efficiency
Remember when we tried to make some cash by trying out new banks?
That was a nice way to bring in some income. We tried two banks in total and got $1,200. From that exercise, we decided to keep one account with PNC bank because we found it convenient to deposit cash. They have locations all over the place.
Now, we just need to close two accounts with the other bank we tried. It’s time to simplify the accounting system again! That would be two less accounts to worry about.
Trying new things
We’re struggling trying to get the miracle morning routine going, a few weeks on, a few off, so hopefully we’ll do a better job this quarter.
Mrs. Enchumbao got a new job in the company and needs to show up a little earlier than usual, but we still want to have the first hour of the day to ourselves before showing up to work, so we’re not giving up on this routine.
You know what’s nice about being financially independent and not having to worry about money on a daily basis?
Being able to treat loved ones to things that they might find hard to do for themselves. On the same week that we returned from the Dominican Republic, we went back to NYC to see a Latin legend, romantic pop singer Camilo Sesto, in concert.
I grew up listening to his music and knowing how much my sisters love that music from the 80’s we decided to treat the one that lives closer to the venue to the concert. What a memorable concert that was. We all had a blast singing along all night.
We also made it to Maryland for a weekend to catch a concert of Ricky Martin. His concerts are very energetic and you barely sit down for a break. From the minute he gets on stage, the space in front of your seat becomes your dance floor!
Mrs. Enchumbao is tempted to go to his Vegas Residency show in September. It’s a gamble!
Next, it’s a glimpse of the concert. Ricky singing his latest hit: Vente Pa’ Ca. The song’s video has over 1 billion hits on YouTube.
What kind of music do you like? Who’s your favorite artist?
Wow, we don’t have any trips coming up. However, we’re looking forward to attending a few concerts in the fall from this amazing Latin artist lineup: Marc Anthony, Ricardo Arjona, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull and Juan Luis Guerra.
It’s a rare year with many of our favorite artists in concert and we’ll try to attend as many as possible.
Even though spending money on concerts brings us happiness, we wouldn’t do it if we couldn’t afford it. And affording things in the Enchumbao household means that we are saving a chunk of our money to achieve early retirement, while not accumulating new debt. The key here is to enjoy the journey without sabotaging FIRE savings.