Another month of 2024 in the bag.

Weather is starting to warm up here, but with that comes cedar pollen, and with that comes my allergies. I’ve been on a sublingual immunotherapy treatment for the past 9 months, but it appears to not be completely effective at preventing my symptoms, at least so far. Until the pollination season passes in about a month or two, I try to avoid going outside too much and need to hang my laundry indoors. It’s one of the more annoying aspects of living in Japan, and I wish there was more effort to deal with the problem, but there’s not a whole lot that can be done about it at this point. The best time to cut down trees was 50 years ago.

Finance-wise, things have been going well this year. The Japanese stock market is on a tear, already up about 20% (in JPY terms) in 2024 and reaching an all-time high 30+ years after the asset bubble of the late 1980s. I don’t have too much specific exposure to the Japanese market in my own holdings, and the weak(ening) JPY certainly doesn’t help USD investors either. I suspect that a big driver of the high returns is the introduction of the new NISA investment vehicle, which is basically like an extra-large American Roth IRA. Compared to the old NISA, the new one has a larger annual contribution limit (3.6 million JPY, about 24,000 USD at current exchange rate), and no time limit on tax-free gains. The stereotypical Japanese saver keeps all their money in a bank account earning nothing, so this new, very generous account is probably enticing many people to invest for the first time. Of course, as an American I would have a very difficult time opening a NISA account due to the FATCA / PFIC rules which make investing outside of the US almost impossible. Land of the free! ๐Ÿ™„

Here’s a summary of my financial position this month:

Description 2/24
Total Expenses $2,929.23
Gross Income $4,900.48
Taxes $873.60
Net Income $4,026.88
Savings $1,097.65
Savings Rate 27.3%
Net Worth $466,692.04

Projected time to FI (assuming 6% growth and 4% withdrawal rate): 9 years, 5 months.