Monthly Financial Snapshot: April 2023

Booked some upcoming weekend travel for this spring and summer. I’m trying to figure out whether I can do a US trip this summer / fall, but the flight prices are so expensive now that Japan has reopened for tourism and now apparently everyone else in the world must be traveling here. Even award flight availability is pretty scarce as the airlines would much rather fill the plane with people willing to pay a premium to be there....

May 1, 2023 1 min

Monthly Financial Snapshot: March 2023

Not a whole lot to report on for this month. Got quarterly dividends; I noticed that payouts seemed lower than this time last year, possible indication of upcoming recession? Also, finished filing my US taxes. I owed a couple hundred dollars because I went over my deductions for my Roth conversion last year. Here’s a summary of my financial position at this point: Description 03/23 Total Expenses $2,692.76 Gross Income $5,910....

April 12, 2023 1 min

Monthly Financial Snapshot: February 2023

New design for the site! I changed the site generator from Jekyll to Hugo, and also found a nice theme to use. The styling looks much better than the previous one, plus there’s some nice quality of life features like search, dark mode, etc. On the backend, Hugo is much simpler to run locally, and deployment builds are much faster than with Jekyll. Finance-wise, it looks like the market dropped a bit, and on top of that the yen also lost quite a bit of value against the dollar, so that explains the ~5% drop in assets compared to last month....

March 5, 2023 2 min

Monthly Financial Snapshot: January 2023

I finished doing the prep work for my US taxes, but as I will owe a small amount ($255) I am in no hurry to file early, so I’ll probably file sometime in March or April. Once again, I Roth-converted slightly too much which is what triggered my tax liability. I’m not letting it bother me though because I’m averaging a 1.38% tax rate on my Roth conversions so far, and once it’s converted all future growth will be tax-free (as far as the US is concerned)....

February 19, 2023 2 min

Monthly Financial Snapshot: December 2022

I’m back from my US trip, having visited with family for a couple of weeks. JPY has started strengthening slightly from its lows of last year, but I was still glad to have USD reserves to use during my trip. My impression of the US was vaguely post-apocalyptic at times (my trip to a Reno Walmart especially comes to mind), but it was still good to see family after more than three years apart....

December 4, 2022 1 min

Monthly Financial Snapshot: November 2022

Looks like both the market and the Yen have made a pretty good recovery this month! USDJPY is now down to about 134, so about 9% strengthening in the Yen compared to last month. Similarly, the US market went up about 5% in the same period, so a nice boost all around for me. Since it’s getting towards the end of the year, it means it’s time once again to start thinking about tax optimization....

December 4, 2022 2 min

Monthly Financial Snapshot: October 2022

Once again, more of the same. Yen has fallen to about 145-150 range, so my income and expenses both continue to drop in USD terms. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, this is ok for me in the short term because I have a lot of USD savings which I am able to spend on daily expenses. However, if this situation continues long-term it makes it difficult for me to invest my earnings in the US market since the exchange rate is so unfavorable (and unfortunately as a US citizen it is extremely difficult to open investment accounts outside of the US thanks to FATCA regulations)....

November 6, 2022 2 min

Monthly Financial Snapshot: August 2022

So, once again, not many changes to report. The market went down quite a bit at the end of August, erasing all the gains it had made since last month. It’s pretty frustrating to see the market staying nearly flat (or down) for a year, but it’s also probably a good thing in the long term. The CAPE ratio for the US market in August 2021 reached a peak of 37....

September 3, 2022 2 min

Monthly Financial Snapshot: July 2022

Financially, not much change to report for this month or last. Inflation is still pretty high (although maybe it’s starting to taper off?), the Yen is still pretty weak (although it’s slightly stronger than it was last month), and the market is still pretty much doing whatever it wants to do. My investments made a pretty good recovery in July, increasing by about 4.8%, and it basically returned my position to where I was at the end of February of this year....

August 7, 2022 2 min

Monthly Financial Snapshot: May 2022

Not a whole lot of change compared to last month. Inflation continues to rage on, JPY continues to weaken (currently at 134 JPY/USD as I write this), and market continues to fall. Japan is slowly preparing to re-open to tourism, probably targeting a full “reopening” for later this summer, but no official announcement yet. As of mid-June they have resumed “tourism” with North Korean-style chaperoned fixed-itinerary tours with handlers and strict supervision....

June 12, 2022 3 min