Summertime is the best. The weather is nice and warm, and work seems to subside just a little bit over the summer. We’re back from our honeymoon very relaxed and slowly transitioning ourselves back into the working world. Disconnecting from co-workers, e-mail, conference calls, meetings, etc. was very satisfying and I found myself with plenty of time to reflect on life, where we are, where we want to be, and how we can get there. I like hearing my inner voice, and it was nice to not have that inner voice drowned out by the constant high-pitched whine of a stressful job.
One of the surprising things to me when I got back was how much the stock market had moved to the downside. As you may know, I resisted investing in the stock market after the downturn due to delusions that I could time the market. A few months ago, after being proved wrong time and time again, I said screw it and set in motion an automatic investment plan to regularly invest my cash hoard and earnings in the market. Over the last few months, the market has been doing great and the gains padded my savings to increase my net worth substantially each month. This past month, we had our first monthly decrease in net worth in quite some time. Our honeymoon expenses (just under $8k) plus investment losses exceeded our monthly savings. Now I know I have to stay the course and rebalance, but this is the first time I’ve had to deal with such large losses. For the next couple of months, I will have to get used to strong headwinds. I hope that my savings can at least exceed investment losses. It is also comforting to know that I still have a large amount of dry powder that can be used to dollar cost average. My optimistic estimate of hitting the 2 comma club by the end of summer probably won’t come to pass. Hopefully it will happen by the end of the year.
Looking over the longer term, it looks like both of us are on board to relocating outside of the Bay area in the future when we’re ready to have kids and/or when I’m ready to move on from my current position. I’m still engaged in the process of identifying a good area to move to. Seattle seems like a good candidate due to the diverse population and access to nature, but the weather is a downside and it is relatively expensive. Portland is less expensive, but the weather is still crummy and there is much less diversity than Seattle. Denver seems like a good option too, but we don’t have a good feel for the area and does not seem very diverse either. Lack of diversity alone is not a deal breaker for us — I am actually used to that environment — it is more about the prevailing attitudes of the local community. As a result of this long-term pondering, I’ve spent a good amount of time looking at real estate in these areas to get a better feeling about the respective markets. It’s nice to think that I can work for 18-24 months and save enough to buy a nice 3-4BR house with cash.