2016 Financial Year In Review

2016 has come to a close…almost.  As I write I am sipping a daiquiri from a beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  No, I am not yet retired, but after a boost in income via a bit of hard work I am quite a bit closer than the start of the year…over 100k to closer!!!  What?!  Yes, I said it…I am $100,000 richer than the start of this year.  It is incredible.  But what is more incredible is how full my heart is…

This blog is new since June of this year.  Without it I would never have been able to accomplish half of what I have.  I credit this community and the people in it (everyone who has commented!!) for giving me the support and courage to speak my truth whether it is bad, good, or indifferent.  Coming from being in a ton of debt it is hard to put yourself out there again – especially among a bunch of 30 year olds (plus the Groovy’s!!) who have already retired!!  So so happy for everyone who has learned their financial lessons in life much earlier than I and I can’t wait to stand right there next to them…but until then I will continue to read, learn, and enjoy the ride along the way.  🙂

So back to the numbers… How the heck did that happen??  How did my net worth jump 100k in one year!!?  Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

You can read all about my half-year review HERE but in an effort to sum things up, see the numbers posted below.  At the start of 2016, I had $162,842 in total assets (remember I don’t include my house or car in my assets)…

This years goal was to max out all of my retirement accounts (including the IRA I started this April) and work 100 hours a month…I accomplished both…kind of.  The financial goals were met with no problem.  Working 100 hours a month didn’t happen precisely how I wanted but averaging my hours over the year made up for a few months I fell short….ahem, October I’m talking to you!  No worries, spending two weeks in Thailand was well worth it!!

Now back to the second half of the year – here are the numbers for all you voyeurs…

Continue reading “2016 Financial Year In Review”

The “How” & “Why” in FI

This week there was a bunch of interesting topics floating about the blogosphere that really got me to thinking – What are we all trying to accomplish?   Will financial independence really change our worlds and our futures?  What is our purpose?  Ultimately focusing on the “Why” of FI (which we discussed in the RSF Forums this week-my answer below).  Of course, we will all have different answers to these questions, but for each of us, knowing that purpose helps to lead us in the right direction.

Tuesday, Chris from Keep Thrifty posted about his Financial Compass.  How his wife and him found direction for their finances.  Reading his post made me think back to my own compass.  The same compass I have worn around my neck for the past 15 years…

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A little worn down but always on me…I didn’t even take it off for this pic!

At 23, I was a brand new flight attendant and struggling financially …like most 23 year olds tend to do!  Though I have never been in debt (until the 500k in mortgage debt!), the $14.61 I was making didn’t quite cover the bills and I was using precious savings to bridge the gap.  This job was waaaayyyy different from any I had before.  In the first 6 months, I bounced from city to city, hotel to hotel, and paycheck to paycheck.  I LOVED my new job but trying to balance home life and work life was difficult. Continue reading “The “How” & “Why” in FI”

Money & Morals – Using Your $$ For Good

A few months back I had the experience of a lifetime – I spent an entire week volunteering at an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  This trip is one that I had been wanting to do for 10 years.  I first heard of The Elephant Nature Park from a flight attendant who had gone there on her honeymoon.  Though I thought it an odd choice at the time, as my honeymoon was spent sipping rum punch on a beach in Jamaica,  I have since come around to realize her experience far outweighed my gluttonous week of all you can eat restaurants and sand in my crotch…as far as honeymoons are concerned, she won.

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The result of 800 lbs of food each day…times 71 elephants!

I arrived at ENP unsure of how the experience would shape me.  I knew the basics of what we would be doing – prepping food (Did you know elephants eat 800 lbs of food a day?), picking up shit (400lbs a day…each!), and cleaning the park of the discarded corn tusks the elephants deemed inedible (picky, picky, picky).   I had no idea there would also be 460 dogs there (most saved from the flood of Bangkok in 2011), herds of water buffalo, endless cats, goats, chickens, and any other type of animal that has needed rescuing in the past 25+ years.  I also had no idea what the tourism industry had done to these magnificent creatures including torture, mutilation, and murder of many of the mothers in order to take the young.  That week I learned a lot.  I saw more than what I thought my heart could handle.  That week, I became a voice for those who can’t speak… Continue reading “Money & Morals – Using Your $$ For Good”

Your Mind is Speaking – Are You Listening?

**Nothing money related to see here…unless you see following your mind to be a better idea than following your wallet.  In that case, stick around!  Otherwise, if you want to talk money, check out these money posts of like following the KISS rule, Thanking the Money Gods, or Why Beyonce is a Bad Ass.**

 

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It’s Monday!!  I am writing to you in real time because, as I posted last week, I am excited about my “Comment Convo” format and this chance to talk about a post I read today.   It totaly brought me back to my mid 20’s state of mind..and not in the fun, socializing, and making bad decisions kind of way.  It took me back to a scary place that I think many feel (even as we age) but try not to dwell on.  Unfortunately, not dwelling (or listening) to those feelings can cause them to turn into something bigger.  So let’s take a moment to address them and set them free…

I am new to Amanda’s site Dream Beyond Debt.  We are intertwined in the same group of personal finance bloggers and, in the last few weeks, we have begun to build a friendship via twitter.  Today Amanda published a post with an intriguing title – It’s a Gift.  Since other awesome bloggers are writing about frugal ways to save and give during the holidays or no gift Christmases, I truly thought her post would be in similar light hearted relation.  It isn’t.  Amanda has taken this golden opportunity to write about the emotional aspect of the season and the gift of anxiety that comes along with it.  Gift?  Yes, gift.

Continue reading “Your Mind is Speaking – Are You Listening?”

A Lesson in Judgement From My First Hater…kind of.

I have been a bit absent in the past week or so.  I have been working (a little), but mainly, I have been obsessed with my latest outlet for money talk…the Rock Star Finance Forums.  I have been spending  an extreme amount of my time chatting with other money minded peeps, reading all their blog posts, responding to comments.  RSF Forums is like having a new job – but a job I really really love and don’t get paid a dime to attend.  🙂

Well, yesterday someone on the forum asked a question in regards to debt:

“How necessary is debt to your wealth building strategy?”

I was the first to respond with “not necessary” in regards to my own tragic story of debt:

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And, due to that link, I brought in a new reader and today received the first negative reaction to that post.  The reaction I have been waiting for since the day it was published… Continue reading “A Lesson in Judgement From My First Hater…kind of.”