Browse Category: Quarterly Financial Scorecard

Quarterly Financial Scorecard

Q3 21 Financial Scorecard: The Path Forward Slows

After five consecutive quarters making material progress on two of our primary FIRE goals, we were probably well overdue for some difficulties in the third quarter. While total returns for the S&P 500 were slightly positive in Q3 21, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq were both down for the quarter. Moreover, things got more challenging as the cooler weather arrived in September, which delivered the worst monthly stock market returns since the COVID-19 pandemic kicked into high gear around the world in March 2020.

The more challenging financial markets had a negative impact on our portfolio, and our expenses were also higher than normal. Some of those expenses were under our control, as we took our first family vacation in two years in August, enjoying several days in Maine while COVID cases were much lower than they are today. Unfortunately, the rampaging inflation the Biden administration has only reluctantly started to acknowledge took a big bite out of our wallet, as the townhouse we have rented several times over the years cost 60% more a night than it did in 2019! We also completed the HVAC project I mentioned last quarter, which was a much larger expense than our trip, but it will be nice to have reliable heating for the entire house as we head into what will almost certainly be another cold winter.

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Q2 21 Financial Scorecard: Nearing the Finish Line!

The ebullient financial markets continued to reach stratospheric levels during the second quarter of 2021. The S&P 500 returned 8.6% during Q2, pushing the market higher by more than 15% for the first half of the year. Those fantastic results boosted the ROMT family’s finances, moving us closer to our early retirement and financial independence goals!

As I noted last quarter, my mindset has shifted to “when” I’ll reach FIRE, from “if” I’ll reach FIRE, and strong stock market returns in recent weeks haven’t changed the way I’m feeling. That said, uncertainty in the U.S. remains elevated, with Coronavirus cases and deaths climbing again, a new administration that seems hell-bent on spending and taxing its way to higher inflation, and continued social unrest and increased polarization among our country’s citizens. While it seems like a strange time to potentially walk away from a steady paycheck, there’s always going to be something crazy happening somewhere, and the numbers suggest our financial position is sound. During Q2, I let my boss know I was unlikely to be around for the long term, so at this point, it’s just a matter of deciding when enough is enough!

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Q1 21 Financial Scorecard: The FIRE is Getting Hot!

While the Earth remained in the grip of the worst global pandemic in a century, the financial markets continued their inexorable march towards record levels during the first quarter of 2021. The S&P 500 delivered a total return of more than 6% over the past three months, in stark contrast to the 20% plunge during the same time period last year, when Coronavirus lockdowns started around most of the world.

Not surprisingly, it was a good quarter for the ROMT family’s finances. With the stock market continuing to climb over the first two weeks of April, we’re increasingly close to reaching our financial independence and early retirement goals!

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Q4 2020 Financial Scorecard: A Great Finish to a Crazy Year

2020 will likely be remembered as one of the craziest years in our lifetimes. A year ago, I never would have thought that going to the grocery store without a facemask could feel more dangerous than BASE jumping. For the record, I haven’t done either over the past ten months – but hope to head out in public without a mask at some point in the future!

Over the past twelve months, we’ve experienced the worst global pandemic in a century, the highest U.S. unemployment rate since the Great Depression, and the most contentious presidential election of my lifetime. While the value of the S&P 500 index dropped by more than one-third during February and March, the bear market was incredibly short-lived. By the second half of the year, the U.S. stock market was regularly hitting new record highs, and the S&P 500 generated full-year returns of more than 18%!

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Q3 20 Financial Scorecard: Heading Towards the New Normal

Another quarter of pandemic life is behind us, but life’s certainly not back to normal. New cases of COVID-19 are climbing around the country, and it seems like the dreaded “second wave” could emerge over the coming months. We’re also just weeks away from the U.S. presidential election. Regardless of whether President Donald Trump or Joe Biden wins, the result will ultimately have an impact on our personal finances and pursuit of FIRE.

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Q2 2020 Financial Scorecard: Time For a Change in Plans

My employer recently went through a round of layoffs. While my job was safe, many of my colleagues, and millions of Americans, have lost their jobs over the past several months. COVID-19 cases continue climbing in many parts of the country, massive social changes are taking place, and what seems like one of the most important presidential elections of my lifetime is just four months away.

The world has changed a lot in 2020, which has caused us to rethink our plans around our pursuit of early retirement and financial independence.

Part of me has been tempted to use the massive uncertainty as the impetus to walk away and focus on what’s most important to us.

But the more rational part of me thinks it would be crazy to abandon a good paycheck until we have a much better idea what life in the United States might look like in 2021, 2022, and beyond.

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Q1 2020 Financial Scorecard: A Whole New World

It seems frivolous to be writing our latest financial scorecard in the midst of everything that’s going on in the world today. The first quarter of 2020 will go down in history as one of the most eventful for the American economy, global financial markets, and society at large, as the COVID-19 coronavirus reached pandemic levels, impacting life around the world.

The coronavirus is closing in on two million confirmed cases, and has already killed over 100,000 people in what will likely become the most significant global pandemic since the outbreak of the Spanish Flu a century ago. In addition to the grim human toll, the coronavirus contributed to the worst first quarter performance in the history of the S&P 500 Index, which plunged 20% as fear of what the future holds ended the longest bull market in American history, triggering record jobless claims and a likely recession.

The result on our personal finances was, predictably, quite negative. While the ROMT family may have reached financial independence in late 2019, that’s no longer the case. But right now our family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues are all safe and healthy, which more than makes up for some smaller numbers in our financial spreadsheets!

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Q4 2019 Financial Scorecard: Kinda Sorta Financially Independent!

stock-market-2616931_1920The U.S. stock market finished the decade on a strong note, with returns of 8.5% for the S&P 500 during the fourth quarter of 2019. For the full year, the S&P 500 climbed 29%, its best performance since 2013!

Those great returns helped our financial situation improve more than expected over the last three months of the year. As a result, the ROMT family achieved one of the three financial goals we set on our path towards financial independence and early retirement!

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Q3 2019 Financial Scorecard: Slow But Steady Progress Towards Our Goals

amphibian-1850190_1920After a great first half of the year financially, the third quarter of 2019 was less eventful for the ROMT family.

The S&P 500 climbed 1.2% during Q3, which helped offset our spending being a bit higher than normal, as we took a few trips over the summer. Although our progress slowed from the pace we set earlier in the year, we continued to move closer to each of the three goals we are tracking on our path towards early retirement and financial independence Рnet worth, 529 account funding, and passive income.

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Q2 2019 Financial Scorecard: Halfway To Financial Independence?

IMG_4082After a setback late last year, 2019 has been good for the ROMT family’s finances.

During the second quarter, we continued to make progress on each of the three metrics we are tracking on our path towards early retirement and financial independence – net worth, 529 account funding, and passive income.

The resilient U.S. stock market was the primary driver of our good results. The S&P 500 rose by 3.8% in the second quarter, as strong performance in April and June offset a decline in May. During the first six months of 2019, the S&P 500 climbed 17% – its best first half performance in 22 years! As the second half of the year begins, the U.S. stock market is once again near all-time high levels.

It has been two years since we introduced our quarterly financial scorecard, and with our target early retirement date now just two years away, our recent progress has me believing we may really be halfway to financial independence!

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