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This month saw more red in the stock market. All of our accounts, in Sweden, the USA, and the UK did pretty badly. The US accounts fell by 2.72%, Swedish accounts 1.07%, and English a staggering 3.14%. Of course, I have no idea how much of this is related to currency exchange fluctuations as I’m measuring in GBP.

We’re still chugging along contributing around £10,000 per month into our investments. It’s very discouraging to see our total net worth drop the last couple of months even with these contribution amounts. This is the product of having a larger sum invested. Usually my contribution amounts vastly outperformed the drop or gain in the market so I’m not used to it.

But, it’s practice for those $100k falls that we’ll inevitably encounter at some point in our investment lives.

And if I’m seeing big drops now, hopefully there will be some big upward swings later. I’ll just keep calm and carry on investing!

Travels Last Month

Last Savings Report I left it a bit short. It was because I was absolutely knackered. After 3 weeks of doing an insurmountable amount of walking around 6 Italian cities, our flight back to Boston got cancelled due to a strike in Milan airport. We went through the stress of getting it re-booked although on the new flight, we had a layover in New York instead of Amsterdam.

The flight from NYC to Boston then got cancelled as well because of floods in the city! So, we were stranded in New York at about 30h with no sleep, feeling sick and exhausted.

We ended up having to spend $600 for 1 night in a crappy hotel half an hour away from the airport and then the next morning get a 5h coach journey back to Boston, followed with a 2h drive home.

It was mental. I know we were just incredibly unlucky, but it’s made us not really want to go on big trips anymore to the EU. Not for a while anyway!

We enjoyed exploring Italy itself, and I feel a lot more connected to my home country. But, we definitely didn’t add enough rest days.

The food was amazing, eating out was expensive but buying things like wine and cheese from the grocery store was insanely cheap, even in the big cities like Rome.

I was taken back by how amazing the old architecture was in Florence, Rome, and Pompeii.

Pompeii was especially breathtaking. It’s literally a 2000+ year old fully restored city which is still in very good condition, you can walk around people’s houses and see the original kitchen along with counter tops. I thought it must have been re-built, but it’s all original, it was kept in such good condition due to the volcanic ash that it was buried under.

The St Peter’s Basilica in Rome was also way more breathtaking than I thought it would be. The place is massive and beautiful, it seemed like a wonder of the world to me.

A negative of Italy that I wasn’t expecting, especially after living and visiting New York a lot, is how smelly and dirty Italy is in these main cities, worse than New York in my opinion. Everywhere we walked, we were walking in cigarette smoke. It seems Italy hasn’t caught up with the rest of the world that smoking is bad for you, it’s too ingrained into their culture. Everyone was smoking, we couldn’t escape it. I even got 2 cigarette burns on my rucksack and clothes. Every crevice of the streets and on the train tracks is filled with cigarette butts. It was the same in Bologna, Rome, Florence, Naples, Turin. They have an epidemic of cigarette butts.

There are also a lot of old cars driving around bringing a big smell of gas to the cigarette smoke.

When we were walking around NYC before getting the coach back, we felt like we were finally breathing fresh air.

To continue the rant, a lot of Italians seemed rude. I know that I’m sounding more like an American saying this, but it definitely was noticeable. Bar owners didn’t want to serve us, they either gave us dirty looks or left us standing there for a long while. Some cafe owners were still smoking inside while making espresso. Bus drivers and subway workers who were there to help seemed pissed off if you approached them, a lot of them just pointing and then becoming exacerbated if you made them verbally speak. There were of course people who were nice, but most were aloof or rude, it was draining. When we went into a bagel shop while in NYC on the way back the difference was like night and day.

Back in New Hampshire (US)

We’re well and truly settled back in at home now. In the last few days we’ve started looking at properties again, this time in the cheaper range of $250k or less. We’ve seen a few pop up that are renovation projects and thought it would be fun to work on a property while living there.

If we bought a property for below $250k there wouldn’t be as much financial risk if we had to leave America and sell it again. There may also be the possibility of renting it out.

We’re keeping our eyes on the market and seeing if a deal pops up. In the mean time, I’m learning as much as I can about wells, septic systems, and propane system costs.

It will be a long while until we’d be willing to spend $500k plus on a house, a green card is probably 2 years away and the interest rates are still high. We miss owning though, so a smaller project may be better if we can find one, with the hope of it being a good investment.

Winter Has Come

The temperature has dropped to almost freezing now. We have the thick duvet cover on and the air conditioners have been packed away. Now we’ll see how much the propane guzzling gas furnaces cost us per month.

How are you coping with the red markets this year?