Another crazy year has passed us by, and despite so much uncertainty in the world with continued shutdowns and staffing shortages, the stock market has once again performed very well.  The S&P 500 is up 27% for 2021, and small-cap stocks also increased. Although there were seemingly many knee-jerk investor reactions every time a Fed meeting was imminent, the market consistently bounced back from any drops. Anyone invested in the market, even the most simplistic market-tracking ETFs (which many investors will tell you is a wise diversified choice for many), did very well this year and last. Next I’ll take a look as always atRead More →

Time for a quick update on what’s been going on! I’ve been wondering about doing more vlogging as well, vs. the website posts. It always seems a bit weird to me when I talk to a camera, but of course, I consume plenty of that content myself on YouTube without ever reading a word of what they write online. Go figure. I didn’t get back from my summer CA trip until August, I was out there almost six weeks. I got in some family and lake time in August, and a trip down to PA to see friends for a long weekend at the endRead More →

Do you watch all of those renovation shows on HGTV? Flip or Flop, Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, Good Bones, House Hunters Renovation – a seemingly endless list of programming. And in every one of them, a massive renovation budget. $17,000 custom cabinets. $6,800 quartzite countertops. $13,000 appliance packages. Total budgets start to eclipse $200,000 even when they’re only doing a few rooms of the house. That’s just ridiculously too much for most people I know. Since the shows are meant to be entertainment, not instructional, that’s fine. But it’s not difficult to make a renovation look great for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s aRead More →

I haven’t updated since my “spring break” trip, so what have I been up to? Thankfully, a lot more than last year mid-pandemic! May 2021 Road trip: Nashville, TN and Lynchburg, VA When I drove cross country in 2019, I resolved to bring my mom and sister to Nashville, Tennessee. I really enjoyed it and knew they’d love the city, the music, and the scenery. Those plans were put on hold in 2020, but once all three of us were vaccinated, we decided to go for it. While my sister goes all over the U.S. on travel, my mom hasn’t gone out of state forRead More →

So much has changed since my last post in January! Vaccinations are way up, businesses are starting to reopen all over, unemployment is dropping and financial markets are at record highs. It really feels like things are on the road to normal again. Speaking of on the road, I went on my first trip since covid started, and decided to drive! I left on February 23rd and returned on March 8th two weeks later, after driving 3,115 miles. I was able to see a bunch of friends and family, and though I stayed in hotels and we practiced social distancing, it was so great toRead More →

This is the third year that I’ve done both a financial review at the end of the year, as well as a prediction of my own passive income looking forward.  Since dividends aren’t guaranteed and can fluctuate a lot (especially last year), there’s always some uncertainty and educated guessing required to work out your own specific numbers ahead of time. I delved into potential market recoveries in my update on 2020, as well as a preview of my expectations for 2021. In this article I’ll get into specifics on my own finances, and what I expect for 2021. (As always, these are just my personalRead More →

When I posted my 2020 predictions back in January, I casually threw in a typical financial statement of caution: “Everyone has seen those “the past is not an indicator of performance” disclaimers, which is of course true, so predictions are just that – estimates that could easily be affected by market changes.” Well, I think it’s safe to say nobody saw 2020 coming. Not even the guys from The Big Short.  Here’s my year-end look back at the market, updates on my financial experiment in generating income from dividends during my sabbatical, and a quick look forward.  Stock Market Performance in 2020 The National BureauRead More →

One of the few positives to come out of 2020 was that people found they had spare time on their hands, maybe for the first time in years. Baking homemade bread and cooking exploded in popularity. Home workouts and video yoga took off. Judging by social media, people were able to spend tons of time outdoors with their partners and kids, and even try new hobbies. I was unemployed this year on sabbatical, so instead of traveling as I’d planned, I had even more free time at home than most! One of my goals was to scrutinize and cut back on my spending without feelingRead More →

In my last update in April, I talked about the complete unknowability of the world’s financial situation. The stocks have been swinging up and down seemingly on a whim, and nothing seems safe anymore.  I’m a year and half into my experiment of living off dividend income while on my sabbatical, so in this completely terrible time to try such a thing, how am I doing? While some of my funds have indeed suspended payouts, including Carnival Cruise Lines (go figure), I’m actually doing fine with others.  I predicted back in January that I should be able to make $1,191 a month on average thisRead More →

It’s been about a year since I built a two (ish) car carport with my Dad. I documented that process here and wanted to give a followup on what worked, what I tweaked, and what I’d change if we did it again. The good First off, the carport performed great in the winter. I was worried that the 4/12 pitch wouldn’t be steep enough, but the snow slides right off in big sheets as soon as the sun warms it up. Even when ice forms, there’s enough of a roof overhang that the plastic on the sides hasn’t been damaged.  The 11.5′ width of theRead More →