If you’re new to my story, let me quickly catch you up. Nine months ago I was fired from my high-stress high-profile career. It’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since. Here I am, nine months later, feeling spectacular! Here’s my 9-month report.
Making my way to the Summit
I’ve spent months in the world of overwhelm as I embarked on this entrepreneurial journey. It’s incredibly challenging working from home each day and building an enterprise of one. And since I did not have a business background, the learning curve has been steep. But you know what? I have been climbing a mountain and I know I can reach the summit. I see it closing in and I’m just so excited!
Finally, I see progress with the Early Exit Academy. The website looks pretty darn good and I’m making the course engaging and interactive. And I’m gradually wading through some of the technical issues. I had to laugh yesterday as I shared my day’s activities with my sisters, and one of them told me that I was speaking a foreign language. She’s right! I have had to become fluent in an entrepreneurial language and sometimes I don’t even recognize all the jargon that comes out of my mouth!
My other big venture – Better Life Challenges – has a new website presence and look. But this project remains a money-sucker. I provide a free 30-day challenge each month (January is the Sugar Challenge) and offer Kindle books for purchase. Guess how much money I make? Not a dime! I spend a small bit of money for Facebook ads, which are less and less successful. And very few people have purchased the Kindle books. I haven’t yet figured out how to market these products, but I remain optimistic that it will be a profitable endeavor in the long run. For now, the Early Exit Academy is my priority.
No Money … No Worries
Income. Here’s my income since leaving the workforce – $305.26. That is NOT a typo! More than half of that income came from a proposal review that I did shortly after I was fired. The rest is primarily Amazon affiliate income. It’s sad, right?
Expenses. In addition to my living expenses, I’ve invested $21,300 into my business. I own my home outright, so the other major expense in 2018 was my COBRA health insurance. I paid $796.50 each month for 8 months – $6,372 for the year. Add up those two expenses alone and you have $27,672. So you can see that my balance sheet looks TERRIBLE!
Net Worth. I should be totally depressed and run out to the nearest store to grab a job. Instead, I’m writing this with a big smile on my face! Why? Check out my net worth. I started at $1,098,892 and nine months later, I’m at $1,115,229, an increase of 1.5%.
How is it possible? So here I am, investing in a business and living off of my savings and investments. And yet, my net worth increases? Part of the explanation is based on my starting point. My retirement account certainly plummeted in the fall and winter, but since the starting point is April, it’s actually risen by $17,549. For whatever reason, the house fluctuates in value, but stays around $300k. And surprisingly, my savings and investments dropped by just $1,662. Here are the details.
A Closer Look at Savings & Investments. My goal is to avoid tapping into my retirement funds for at least five years – I’ll get a job before that happens. So one of my big worries has been how to make $77,112 last as long as possible. Now I sit here in amazement! Nine months later and I still have over $75,000 in Savings and Investments. What the heck?
One of the factors that made this all possible was the accumulation of my sick/vacation leave, which led to a big payout when I left. So in May, my final paycheck with the leave included, was $25,094. And I made that money last quite a long time.
I hold my savings and investments in three accounts – traditional savings, Betterment, and a dividend reinvestment fund – Welltower. And that’s the order in which I withdraw funds. I’ve been particularly pleased with the performance of Welltower since April. My dividends are reinvested automatically and between that and the higher stock price, my balance has jumped by more than 12,000.
Why Share? I am not sharing to brag. I know there are many others out there in my shoes who strive for financial freedom. And when a potential disaster strikes, like being fired, it helps to see how others have managed their funds. I hope this gives you some inspiration.
Excitement down the Road!
My stress levels have plummeted. I’m back at the gym, where pilates is kicking my butt, and I’m taking better care of my body again. Plus, I am so loving this course creation “job.” Things are going well and while I’ll be tapping into my savings and investments for several more months, I will be okay. And the thing that really blows my mind is that I now have launch dates for my courses. It is no coincidence that my first course, Early Exit Academy for Young Escape Artists will launch on April 10, the one-year anniversary of my firing. A fitting tribute!
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Dr. Brenda is a financial coach, educator, researcher, and sociologist. In addition to blogging at The Five Journeys, she writes 30-day challenges at BetterLifeChallenges.com. Her passion is guiding people on their journey to financial freedom through coaching at DrBrendaMoneyCoach and online courses at EarlyExitAcademy.com.
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