Blog Post

May 2020 Net-Worth Update

Another month passes and my Net-worth continues to rise. With states reopening across the United States, investors appear to be hopeful the economy will return to normal soon. This optimism is causing the markets to rise.
I’m not as optimistic.
The American government isn’t taking COVID-19 seriously, leaving the market vulnerable to huge swings if the pandemic continues to get worse.
However,short term, my investment accounts continue to grow with this recovery and my net-worth is looking better, month after month.
Vietnam, like many countries, has taken a ‘closed borders open country’ approach to containing the spread of COVID-19. No foreigners are allowed in the country, but domestic travel is ramping up.
I will admit, they are doing a damn good job of fighting this virus. Unfortunately, it is too soon to assume the country is in the clear.
Domestic travel and almost all domestic businesses have returned to normal. The low case numbers and closed borders gives us some feeling of safety, but I’m nervous about a ‘second wave’.
I started a summer teaching job at an international school in DaNang. Management wants me to continue on for the 2020 – 2021 school year, and I’m thinking about taking them up on the offer. It all depends on if China opens its borders to non-Chinese citizens. My girlfriend has an amazing job offer in the city of Guangzhou.
Unfortunately with cases rising in the West, returning to China seems less and less likely as each day passes.
But let’s get to it. here is my Net-Worth for May 2020.

Assets

Investment Accounts

My investment accounts made a turn around this month! My balance ended at $11,719, growing by $582.57.
With the unemployment rate going through the roof (13.3% ), I’ll be happy to have any gains this year.
Fortunately, other investors and corporations have a positive outlook on the future of the economy regardless of how bleak situations look today.
The investor in me wants stock prices to fall, and the humanitarian in me is afraid to see what will cause them to fall. How much worse could things get?
  1. My ending balance included my $100 monthly contribution and dividends paid out for the month.
  2. For the new readers, I have three investment accounts; a traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and a brokerage account.
  3. The majority of my contributions go to the Roth IRA, because of the long-term tax free growth. Vanguard has some of the lowest fees, therefore my accounts are all held there.

Cash

My available cash increased by $215 by the end of May. I’m not sure why this is the case, but it wasn’t planned. Hopefully I didn’t forget to pay a bill. Either way, I won’t complain about having too much cash.

Debt

Student Loans

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, my debt has been in forbearance under the Cares Act and I haven’t made any student loan payments. I want to use this forbearance to save more cash.

I know this isn’t the most optimal way to approach my debt. In a perfect world, I would use this opportunity to pay down more debt, interest free. If I made more money, I would do just that.
Since I have a low cash balance, I need the extra cash to make make it through these crazy times without going into more debt. I believe that short term goal is more important than the interest savings.

Credit Cards

I’m one responsible guy! I paid my credit card off 6 months ago and I haven’t gone into credit card debt since. Even through the pandemic and my job loss in China.
I’ve been paying the card off in full every month. Most of this success is due to budgeting and tracking my expenses. I’m going to keep this up, and hit my goal of not paying a dime of credit card interest in 2020.

Net-Worth

A recovering stock market and an increase in cash savings caused my Net-worth to grow by $890 this month! I can’t complain. This growth is more than I was expecting in the middle of a global pandemic.
My total networth is now $4,676.00.
I’ve come a long way from a net-worth of almost -$40,000.00. I enjoy writing these post every month because it give me time to reflect on how far I’ve come. I’m truly motivated every time I see that my net-worth has grown, even if it is just by one dollar.

April 2020 Net-Worth Update

My girlfriend and I have been able to get into a decent quarantine routine in Vietnam. In the morning, I run on the beach and she does Yoga.
The sunrise during one of my morning runs.
Most of our afternoons and evenings are spent teaching online, but thank God we still have an income! The remainder of our time is spent trying new restaurants (by delivery only)  and streaming a few TV shows like, Avatar: The Last Air-bender, The Last Dance, and The Fresh Prince (Yes, they are all streaming on the Vietnamese Netflix).

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March 2020 Net-Worth Update

No one could’ve predicted the COVID-19 epidemic would escalate so quickly around the world.
It’s been a crazy month for everyone!
I still haven’t returned to China. China officially closed all borders to foreigners. I couldn’t go back if I wanted to. Even if I could go back, there’s a mandatory “centralized” 14 day quarantine waiting for me on the other side. I’ll pass for now.
Therefore, I’m “hunkered down” in Vietnam.

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February 2020 Net-Worth Update: My Net-worth Decreased

The last time I rode a roller-coaster I was 21 years old, dumb, and definitely NOT sober. Today, I’m a little older, smarter, sober, but on a different roller-coaster called the coronavirus (A.K.A COVID-19) pandemic. COVID-19 has taken the World for a wild ride and I don’t see anyone getting off anytime soon.

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January 2020 Net-Worth Update: My Net-worth Increased!

The last four weeks have been some of the most exciting in my life.
With growing hysteria surrounding the coronavirus, staying in China meant facing travel restrictions. As a person who’s chasing financial independence to gain ultimate flexibility, the idea of being “locked-down” in a Chinese city doesn’t seem too appealing.
Therefore, I left China, temporarily. I have every intention of returning once there is a realistic solution to this virus.
I’m not concerned about my health. At least not when I glance at the reported statistics.
However, when I read an article on the news or social media, I walk away thinking this is the beginning of the next zombie apocalypse. I have to stop myself from panic buying water, guns, and bullets.
I could be wrong, but I think we are far from a reenactment of the Walking Dead.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go: Fleeing the Coronavirus

The power of social media is much stronger than many of us realize. We are constantly comparing and sharing our lifestyles, ideas, political views, fashion sense, and even our money beliefs.
These forms of sharing information can have tremendous benefits, but they can also be detrimental to our process of decision making.
For example, we are in the middle of making a decision to leave Shenzhen early in order to avoid potential travel restrictions due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, every time we think we’ve made a decision, we notice a post on social media that makes us reconsider our choice.
Logically, the only variables that should matter in our decision making process should be the number of cases of the virus. The number of cases in our area would tell us our exposure to the virus, and then we can decide from there what steps we need to take.

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Running In China: Update 3

It’s been an eventful week of news about the coronavirus. Currently, Shenzhen has 31 cases of coronavirus and 0 deaths. The province health department has implemented a mandatory rule that any one in public must wear a surgical mask. I hope this helps stop the spread of the virus. The Chinese New Year holiday has also been extended an additional 3 days. I can only assume this is to limit in unnesscary travel while the
All of this new information is very frightening and has limited me to running only on a treadmill in my apartment building. Even with this little set back I’ve been able to keep up with my daily running routine.

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Fasting, Viruses, & Cabin Fever: Escaping the Coronavirus

When news of the coronavirus broke in China, my girlfriend and I were in the middle of a religious fast for the new year. The fast consisted of commitment to no social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and no streaming: YouTube, Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu etc.
Unfortunately, precautions to survive the coronavirus include another list of commitments. The list includes: minimum exposure to humans, religiously wearing surgical mask, avoiding large crowds, and spending 98.7% of our day in the apartment.
The combination of avoiding the coronavirus and fasting has created cabin fever beyond measure. This blog post is going to be about how we’ve been spending our time in the apartment.

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Pros and Cons of Getting a Teaching Certificate in China

Teaching English in China has been an amazing and life changing experience thus far. So much so that I’m thinking of alternative ways that I can make this experience last next 5 – 10 years.
After speaking with people who’ve been in the International Education Industry for quite some time, I realized that the most opportunities are awarded to the teachers that have teacher licenses. In other words they are qualified to teach in the U.S. Public schools (Or the equivalent in Canada or the United Kingdom).
For someone who doesn’t have the teaching license it isn’t cheap, in dollars or time, to acquire.
Therefore, this article is weighing the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of going through the process of getting a teaching certification to teach abroad in international schools.

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My Plan to Survive the Coronavirus

I usually don’t respond to news headlines to often, if I did I probably would have moved back home 12 months ago. However when I got wind of a deadly virus that could be affecting my area and, more importantly, my health, ‘my ears perked up’.
So much is still unknown about this ‘coronavirus’ and its severity, that I prefer to err on the side of caution.
Therefore, this article is a summary of my plan to avoid this virus at all cost.

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