Here we are at the end of another year of navigating my journey to FIRE. It has been a great year with a lot of financial growth. As usual my expectations remain conservative when compared to the results achieved, and I will keep it that way. This means, at least to me, that I am being objective, managing risk properly and setting up clear and attainable financial goals.

Inflation

Inflation was supposed to be transitory according to Janet Yellen. But that was not transitory at all and it was a horrible low punch this past 2023. However, with no car payments on any of our vehicles the elephant in the room was food cost. It seems like a far away past when we used to spend about $300 in groceries every two weeks, whereas now we are at about $900 for the month at least.

We also had a lot of repairs that were kind of pending and we tried as much as possible  to spread the expenses out through the year. One of them and probably the most costly was the repair of our house’s fireplace chase cover. It is just a stainless steel sheet that sits on top of the chimney. We were getting water all the way down in the basement every time it rained. A simple repair, but expensive. That ended up shaving $2,000 off our hard earned cash. 

My old, trusty Corolla that is now in the hands of my oldest daughter also cried out for some repairs in the amount of $650. That was the cost of a new gas tank and the labor to install it. It also needed the oxygen sensors replaced which came out to about $350. That car has just turned into the world of 200,000 miles!

One of my rentals fences also required some attention so I ended up spending $1,600 to replace the old, raggedy, wooden fence for a snazzy vinyl white fence. The best of all? I paid someone to do the job and my back didn’t suffer one second of stress.

My other rental also had a plumbing issue that was out of the ordinary. The bathtub got clogged… potentially from the previous tenant who was very careless with her kids. That came out to $350 for unclogging the tub and later coming back for a replacement of the whole drain underneath. In the end it required accessing the tub through the wall in the laundry room behind the washer and dryer. It was a big job for sure, but again I did not expose my back and joints to the pains of contorting my body around the washer and dryer. I happily paid for the work and checked the work some weeks later. Luckily I have a plumber that I can trust.

All in all, it has been a lot of repairs and extra expenses including activities with our own family.

Inflation Mitigator

I never thought this would happen but my wife got a job!!! She decided to go back to teaching and that granted us extra 55K a year. After 17 years of living on one income, now we have all this extra cash which is a tremendous help; minus taxes that is. However, as I mentioned before, with the high cost of food and all the random expenses it felt like it was barely making any difference. Although, this extra money did put us in a position of “Thank God we have this extra money.”

The Numbers

I left off 2022 with a net worth of $528,000. By December 31, 2023 the closing number is…drumroll……An amazing total of $680,000!!!! An increment of $152,000. More than my take home or gross salary by far! A 28% increase!!

Rents this year have been steady and I am considering raising rent by very little with the intention of keeping the same renters, who have been reliable so far. I am planning to increase my contribution to my 457 and 403B plan. However, 2024 will be the first year when I face the huge hurdle of putting one of my kids through college. I already filled out my FAFSA part and it all points to the fact that I should not expect any help or aid for my child, because I am a millionaire on paper. The only thing that I can expect from the FAFSA is the possibility of contracting huge piles of debt… which I will not do. My kids all have great grades, 4+ GPA, honor classes, etc., but that has no relevance unless you have some sort of sports talent that will grant you a massive scholarship or a full ride.

Growth Prediction for 2024
Mortgage mo.Rent mo.Rent cash flowYearly
Mortgage A1283.0024001117.00$13,404.00
Mortgage B1760.002700940.00$11,280.00
Mortgage C1152.00Offset by short term renting$0.00
Savings from W-21216$14,592.00
Tax return$14,000.00
Property appreciation1,501,0003% growth$120,080.00
403 Plan974618% growth$7,796.88
403 contribution$23,000.00
457 contribution$3,900.00
Total growth for 2024$208,052.88
* If growth is similar to 2023, 28%, the growth would be $190,000. Cummulative Growth$888,053
Net Worth 2023$680,000
I believe I could be crossing the 1 million dollar line in 2025

According to my calculations I could be reaching far into  $800K. That is beyond my wildest dreams! And with that same token if things keep unfolding this way I anticipate I will be reaching the million dollar threshold at the end of year 2025.

Speculations 2024

The big guess to make being a presidential election year is who will win this election. Without getting too political I am afraid that Joe Biden may get the same kind of punishment vote that Trump received in the 2020 elections. I sense a lot of frustration with topics such as inflation, immigration, impunity for criminals, and the inclusivity agenda with the LGBTQ community-particularly with the trans and queer. Beware, I am not saying I agree or disagree, this is simply what I sense as important topics for voters. 

Abortion is another hot topic in my opinion that is playing against the GOP. But anyway, there are many different scenarios that may play out in these elections. If Trump actually runs against Joe Biden I think Trump will win or it’ll be a very close race. If Trump is disqualified and can’t run I believe Niki Haley will be the GOP front runner and for the first time in history a female President of The United States of America. I guess I don’t have a lot of faith that Biden is going to win the elections.

How will this affect the economy? I have great expectations for 2024 and even more so for 2025. The Feds already mentioned lowering rates 3 times for 2024. I think that as soon as the spring hits real estate is going to skyrocket some more. The housing inventory continues to be short of what is needed to meet national demand. I think that people will start trying to get in the market and buy with hopes of refinancing down the road, which will make demand for housing increase along with prices. 

2025, particularly with a Republican winning the presidential election will be perceived as a pro business administration with maybe some more extra perks for corporations and bring some form of economic expansion. If you have real estate investments I think this could push your net worth up significantly. But all these thoughts are nothing but speculations of mine and the economy.

More than anything, in these times of world chaos… I am hoping for peace in this world.

I would love to hear your thoughts, predictions, speculations or suggestions. How are your resolutions and expectations for 2024?