I complained a lot about the economy in 2021. I didn’t like the trillions in debt-driven government spending and the ensuing inflation. Still, I acknowledged that the markets continued to rise – as the ‘Trump Bump’ became the ‘Biden Bump’.
Yesterday, I tallied up how we finished the year with our portfolio. Our retirement savings were up an impressive +15%. Our gains were led by our equity holdings (S&P 500 +29% in 2021), but tempered by bonds, cash, and real estate loans.
I went into the year not expecting too much. After two years of fantastic returns in our portfolio (+42% from 2018 to 2020), I felt like we would probably finish flat. I should have guessed all of the money the government handed out would fuel equities growth.
So where do we sit after (almost) 6 years of early retirement? I’m happy to say we are well ahead of our (conservatively planned) goals. Our retirement nest egg is currently more than 1/3rd bigger than we expected it would be at this point.
That savings cushion has made it increasingly easy to pull the trigger on bonus vacations, home improvements, and even an extra vehicle. Our spending was about 20% higher in 2021 than I had planned. In the future, the majority of the surplus will be the basis of investing in our Florida Project, although we won’t likely jump into that for a couple more years.
All in all – with the pandemic continuing and economic challenges on the rise in 2021 – I am very grateful for where we sit. I sometimes cringe at the economic decisions our government leaders make, but I’m thankful we are well-positioned in our own finances.
How did your 2021 returns come in? Going to change your spending plans at all?
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