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January 2024 FIRE Portfolio Update: More All Time Highs!

January 2024 continued the part of the previous month. After starting off my inaugural portfolio updates in November 2023, the markets have just been unstoppable. You could no wrong buying up pretty much anything. If you haven’t already read my posts before, I achieved Financial independence back in late 2020 early 2021 with a portfolio of roughly $1.3m invested in mainly ETFs. This ballooned to $1.7m during the peak of the markets in early 2022 before coming back down to Earth later in 2022.

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This post will be part of a monthly series of portfolio updates that summarizes how my portfolio performed, what trades I executed, what my monthly expenses were, and my general outlook on the economy/markets. This is by no means financial advice so do not look look at me for sage advice. I make stupid trades and make even worse losses quite frequently.

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This is simply the performance of my portfolio and how it has performed on a month to month basis.

Monthly Highlights – January 2024

  • Net worth is near $1.8m as of December 2023 Month end
  • +$60k for the month
  • Went back to Cape Town for the first time in years which was always an amazing time.

What is in my portfolio?

My portfolio is quite simple and straight forward. I have my holdings primarily spread out between a few ETFs, fixed income, and various single name stocks.

Fixed Income

Due to rising rates, I’ve also allocated a small part of my portfolio (<5%) to fixed income products. I’ve been purchasing 5.5% yielding treasury bills with a 3-6 month expiry. I currently have about ~$60k invested in a 3-mo T-Bill that will expire in Dec ME. I plan to buy another 3 month T-Bill upon maturity.

This is guaranteed money with zero risk which I decided to take advantage of while waiting for better entry points. However, it seems like this money probably would have been better used just buying the market but this is opportunity cost I’m willing to sacrifice.

I also purchased I-Bonds in 2022 at the height of inflation peak when I-Bonds were paying 9.5%. The rates have come down significantly since then as inflation itself has come down. The optimal time for me to sell these bonds were on Dec 1, 2023 as that would have been the last month I was eligible for the higher rate of 6.4% (still higher than what treasuries paid). As you must forfeit three months of interest upon withdrawal before 5 years, in total my blended rate of return was around 8% for 15 months which is definitely something I can live with.


Again, my primary holdings are in a few ETFs. My primary holdings are in VTI, VGT, and VCR. I’ve always been a big proponent of big tech and have been heavily invested in the Nasdaq for over a decade. This has paid off very well for me given the massive bull market of the 2010s and is essentially what allowed me to FIRE so quickly.

I used to hold more dividend generating stocks as I was really into this type of investing at a period of time. I currently do not have many dividend specific ETFs as I prefer growth more than income. This kind of goes against the ethos of financial independence but I have enough money coming in from other sources that I don’t need to focus so much on income.

I added to my ETF positions in January 2024 but not so much as I typically do not like buying more stocks at all time highs. Often times this is not good market advice as the prevailing sentiment has always been “time in the markets trumps timing the markets”. Nevertheless, I like to think I know a thing or two more.

Single name stocks

Some of the single name stocks I own are the following

  • Tesla
  • BRK.B
  • Netflix
  • RITM
  • ASML

These single name stocks make up less than 10% of my total portfolio. I tend to not buy much single name stocks anymore as there’s no point to take on unnecessary risks when I’m already so diversified with my ETFs.

Real Estate

I currently own no real estate. I used to own property in the US but have sold it in 2022 before rates started rising. I am not a big fan of real estate. While it definitely can be a good investment, I don’t think it beats investing in the markets. In addition, real estate is highly illiquid with high transaction costs that few people consider.

Finally, as someone that travels around the world and does not like to be tied down to one location, real estate doesn’t make sense as managing it from afar creates a bunch of headaches. I much prefer to have my money liquid and in the stock market.

Market Commentary – January 2024

January 2024 was another month for the ages. Statistically speaking, January is typically a positive month when the previous year saw net gains. Markets don’t really even kick off until the 2nd week of the month given most traders are coming back from the holiday break.

January was more or less an uneventful month. The meltup of December continued into January as the jobs report and inflation report both came back favorable for bulls.

Markets rallied to all time highs in the DOW, S&P, and the Nasdaq to levels never seen before with. Tech drove the rally as it has done so for the past decade with my favorite ETF VGT rallying a staggering 7% in a month to over $510 before coming down the last few days of trading thanks to the Fed saying it wouldn’t cut rates in March.

While new all time highs seems like a big deal, consider that it’s been 2 years since the market was last at these levels. We’ve had record inflation during those two years so if we inflation adjust the stock market returns, the levels we see today are not that unreasonable. This is especially true if you look at Forward PEs.

VIX remained super low and subdued with little to no fear in the market. I suspect this party cannot continue like this but do not try to time the market.

Market Value of Portfolio

Here is a history of my portfolio value. As you can see, it’s moved in line with the markets as should be the case since most of my holdings are in ETFs that track the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

In total, my portfolio is sitting somewhere around $1.8m but this probably would have been closer to $1.9m if it weren’t for my covered call MTM losses.

Here is a summary of my stock holdings as of December ME. As you can see, most of my holdings have ventured deeply into tech which has been the main driver of my returns this year.

TickerQuantityMarket Value

Trades executed for the month of January 2024

January was a very quiet month for my trading regime. I sold covered calls on my holdings of VGT, VCR, and VTI in December which was already rolling the strike of a previous call I had sold since the epic stock market rally meant all my all calls were in the money. January was not good for my stocks as the markets kept rallying meaning my MTM gains were capped since my covered calls are all in the money.

I currently have sold 10 calls on VGT with a strike of $480. This means the underlying is capped at $480 and any rally past that point, I won’t see the MTM gains. I sold these calls with a March 2024 expiration date and it’s likely I will have to roll that again to June or September with a strike of $510 or something.

I don’t like my theta to be that long dated as you just never know what can happen in a half year. I suspect we will see pullbacks because markets never go up in a straight line (and it already has been so for 2 months). With the rolling of all my contracts, I made no money this month on my options selling and have essentially limited my passive income for the next three months since I rolled out my contracts for that long. This is the major risk of selling covered calls is that your contracts go so deep in the money that you have to roll it many months out and limiting your potential gains.

I bought very little stock this money which turned out to be a mistake as the markets kept rallying to new highs but I probably should have anticipated that better. Normally when markets rally back to all time highs after such a long hiatus (2 years), the markets will continue that momentum and rally to higher highs.

Summary of stock and ETF purchases


Portfolio withdrawals and expenses

Withdrawals from my portfolio is an important part of the financial independence ethos. The 4% withdrawal rate rule is one of the main concepts of the FIRE movement which I try to adhere to. Generally, I prefer to sell from my portfolio when markets are near or at all time highs to capture, and only when I actually need the cash.

Cape Town Vespas signal hill

For the month of January 2023, I traveled to Cape Town, South Africa which if you don’t already know, is one of my favorite places in the world.

I made no withdrawals from the portfolio as I had enough cash coming in from my blog as well as leftover cash from other sources. My blog generates money every month to the tune of ~$3k and I cover exactly how I earn money from blogging in other posts.

Dividend Income

For January, I collected a total of $1k in dividends. I typically reinvest my dividends which has served me well during the market downturn of the last year or two. I think I will probably stop reinvesting dividends in the near term as I like to keep a cash pile while stocks are at all time highs to reinvest when markets eventually dip.

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