2022 was the first year of my semi-retirement and I learned a ton! I’d love to focus on all the fun things I got to do, all the trips I got to go on and the extra time I got to spend with friends and loved ones. But this post is about the financial picture and if I’m maintaining a lifestyle which will allow me to continue to be “retired” indefinitely. And that’s a much more complicated answer than just yes or no.
I waaaaaay overspent! Zach, get a hold of that spending! I used to have a financial blog which allowed me to publicly post all of my finances and keep me accountable every month. It looks like I’m going to need to start doing that again. So here goes.
The big kicker for 2022 was I got slapped with $70k in taxes I wasn’t expecting! Usually, I get a refund around $4k, so I definitely wasn’t expecting to owe, not to mention $70k! To be “fair” I did make a lot of sales at my old job in 2021 and I made a lot on the stock market uptrend during the Pandemic so that’s what ended up hitting me hard on the tax front. Plus, I spent $15k down for a new car, so that’s $85k over my normal budget right there. I also started a new company in 2022, Zoracle LLC, under which I’ll have Zoracle Games for publishing board games like BloodRunes and Enenra (coming soon), and Zoracle Press for publishing books and other media like Visions (also coming soon). That endeavor cost me a little over $4k. Then tack onto that another $10k of just plain overspending, and you get the result of $99,890 OVERBUDGET for 2022! ?
Needless to say, that is alarming, but there is some good news! Come 2023, I will be making virtually ZERO MONEY. Yes that’s “good” news because I won’t be paying much in taxes AND I can get a government subsidy on my health insurance which should drop that payment from $480 a month to around $100 a month, I hope. So no unexpected tax hits and I’ll save $4560 over 2023 in healthcare payments.
If you’ve been watching the stock market at all this year, you know this number is not going to be good. I’m pretty good with the stock market, in the last 3 years I made 27%, then 85%, then 27% gains every year. It’s really helped a lot with this whole retirement thing. But in 2022, phew boy, -24%. ? That means a quarter of everything I had invested is up in smoke. So you sit down at a blackjack table with $100 bucks and leave with $75. That’s what happened to me this year. The only difference is I can leave my cards on the table and watch them change over the year and hopefully come back over the course of 2023, which is what I’m expecting will happen. BTW, if you have some extra monies, Q1 and Q2 will be good times to put money in the market IN MY OPINION. I am not a stock analyst or market expert; just one man’s outlook. Here’s hoping for a bull year. ?
As you can see from the chart on the right, my net worth was all over the place in 2022. I got propped up a little by my last pay checks from my old job, but then could not get the right picks in this downward market and took a dive in the last half of the year. Overall, however, I am slightly up over the year, amazingly. I went from $1.653 million to $1.663 million, a $10k up-tic.
When I started my financial blog in my 20s, the whole purpose of that blog was to pay off my $120k in student loan debts. As I went along that journey, I found so many others focused on their financial futures and the goal of joining the Millionaire Club became an additional pursuit of mine, which I finally accomplished in 2020. Now that I’m a member of that club, I feel a little hesitance to post these updates because it might make me a target and/or others could judge me for not using my money as they would use it, or just plain jealousy. I wrestled with it for a bit but finally decided to keep up the transparency for 2 very important reasons:
- I want to help others accomplish the same goals and see a financial path that will lead them to their definition of success. To that end, this branch of the blog (the Finance category) will be dedicated to that end, and I’ll be posting tips and tricks to build wealth over the long term.
- To keep myself accountable. I’m now on a fixed income and I’m coming from a really good job where I no longer needed to look at price tags at the grocery store (like I always used to). Well, now I need to start looking again and make sure I’m not going overboard on spending.
Is this Plan Still Viable?
The point of this retirement was to be what I like to call a well-fed artist. I never wanted to be a starving artist, but I do love to make art. I started two businesses in my 20s and quickly realized I am BAD at running businesses. Knowing that, I knew I was going to need ALOT of room for error if I was ever going to go out on my own and try to make art that supports itself. So that’s what I’m here to do. 🙂
So, given the tumultuous turns of 2022, is this plan still viable? After crunching the numbers, I’m happy to say it’s still worth pursuing! Obviously, my stocks need to turn around this year and I need to stick to my frikkin budget! But it is still doable. I had to reduce one cushion, however, that I wasn’t super happy about. I had an inflation cushion of 1% in my calculations, however, if I kept that in, then my money would run out at 75. I like to call my money-run-out date my death date. So, I’d have to die at 75. That’s not ideal. But if I remove that 1% cushion then I’m back at an infinite upward trend, so there is no limit. I calculate inflation by an avg of the last 3 years, which puts it currently at 5.1%. Will it be that high for the remainder of my 40 (hopefully more) years I have left? Probably not (again hopefully), so maybe there’s already a cushion built in with the inflation being that high anyway. Only time will tell. 🙂
If you have any questions or comments on anything I’ve talked about here, please feel free to reply or comment below. I welcome questions about my process as well as attempts to poke holes in my methods. Always good to get other minds looking at my ideas to make sure they are as sound as I think they are.
As it stands, I am underperforming my expectations, but still within the realm of success. I just need to make sure these artistic endeavors start making money soon so that I can move away from this model, to one of a comfortable income creating things I love to create. And I hope to bring you all along with me on that journey. May we all live long and prosper, and have fun doing it. ?