Finding joy in the wobbles

My current yoga practice is SUUUUUPER restorative, but back when I did more “regular” yoga, one of my favorite teachers mentioned something about finding joy in the wobbles. We were doing ardha chandrasana (aka moon pose), and it was a moment of “yoga is life…life is yoga”, and in these very strange shaky times, this thought rings true. “Yoga off the mat,” as they say.

As many people are currently doing, I’m watching our little financial independence nest egg take a nose dive. At the end of 2019, we were about 1.5 years into our FI journey and were about 26% of the way to our investment goal, using the 4% withdrawal rule. Now our portfolio is at about 21%, even with our investment purchases so far this year. And who knows where it will end up after the dust finally settles.

2020 so far

While it will no doubt take a long while for our portfolio to recover, I’m currently finding joy in…dividends!

An IG acquaintance posted about making $12k in dividends last year, and at first, my heart cringed. “She’s my age! How the hell did she pull that off!” All the comparisons started sounding off. But once I took a look at our numbers, I realized that we’re doing a lot better than I think we are!

I calculated our 2019 investment dividends across our accounts:

  • my IRAs: $1143.46
  • DH’s IRAs: $590.68
  • our taxable: $351.01

Total: $2085.15

At first, it seems so pitiful and a long way from $12k, but it actually amounts to $173.76/month! For some people, that’s almost a car payment, a month’s worth of gas, a family gym membership, a few weeks of groceries or childcare, etc. etc. etc. In that light, it’s actually a pretty substantial amount, especially considering the amount of physical work involved (none)! It’s definitely a great starting point, and the only way from here is up!

It’s also motivation to keep staying the course, even during these very strange times. Our investments are fully automated and so far, we’re projected to invest about $60k across ALL our accounts. That amount includes matching for our HSA from my health plan and my 401k employer match. It’s turning out to be a very lofty goal, with everything going on right now, but it’s not too far out of the realm of reality, even with DH’s business taking a weird turn.

Our whole FI journey. It’s all about context.

Worst case scenario, I work an extra 10 years and still get to retire at 54 instead of 44. As my mom says, that’s not too shabby!

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