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…


There it is…right at the bottom right-hand corner!  $263,737!!  Subtracted the beginning of the year’s total (162,842) equals $100,895!!!  Ok – this may be small potatoes to some but to me it is absolutely shocking…  Why?  Because I only made $80,882 this year plus my side gig that brought in 11k – total earnings $91,882.50.

Now, does it seem shocking to you?  You may be asking yourself, “How did she save more than she earned?” or “What were her actual expenses this year?”.  Glad you asked.  My expenses were $18,152 this year (give or take a few cash transactions I tend to forget to record!) which is slightly over the $1500/month I budgeted for.  Even with that small budget, I managed to visit Thailand for two weeks (yes, I bought my plane tickets!)!  Travel is always possible if you know how to plan in advance.


Anywho, back to the numbers…  The following is my savings and at the bottom my savings rates over the past 6 months…


What isn’t shown is the overall savings rate for the year.  I set a goal of 75% and pretty much hit the nail on the head at 75.32%.  If you want to know how I am able to save so much you can check out my post (made famous by my friends at RockStar Finance) HERE.  🙂

If I haven’t lost you yet, I’ll continue…

Total savings for the year was $62,955 including 401k contributions (NOT including company match of $7292). Subtract that from earnings minus expenses and still, there is no way possible to save 100k!  You guys can feel free to do the math on that if you like but, trust me, no way possible…   Au contraire…

What got me to this number was a low-cost of living, a 10k boost in profit-sharing earlier in the year (April), my company stock jumping to the highest it has EVER been per share in history, the market alive and well across most of my stocks and investments (WTF Chipotle???), and COMPOUND INTEREST!!!!  

I have poured over my numbers time and time again this year and have been amazed at how quickly these accounts have grown.  I am not saying it has been easy…but it definitely hasn’t been hard.  It took working more, spending less, taking accountability, some sacrifice, and a lot of common sense to get here.  For those of you who feel discourage (and I know there will be a few), please do not be.  I have seen a shit ton of financial failure in my life…you can feel free to read all about it HERE.  If you make it all the way to the end of that series you will see that it is possible to turn it all around.

So – now that I am sitting pretty for the new year to start, what are my plans for 2017??  It is so simple.  In 2017 I plan to do EXACTLY what I did this year.  Work more, spend less, and enjoy my life.  I may not have met some of my goals…


…but that is OK.  If I have learned anything in these past few years it is that being perfect is boring.  The goals in BLUE are ongoing things I’d like to work on…maybe I did some but not all(I consider hitting one country still a success!).  The RED I basically failed at…again – still OK!!  And the GREEN are items I kicked ass at…especially if you consider the amount of reading I did of others blogs based on all the new friends I made at the Rockstar Forums the past few months!  My eyes hurt!! 😉  All worth it.  Do I have things to work on, yes, of course.  But I consider this year fulfilled beyond my wildest dreams so I won’t get down about not learning a single new Spanish word this year.  Life is too short – I am going to enjoy this moment for a few more hours and then it is on to kicking 2017’s ass!!

Happy New Year to all of you.  This wouldn’t have been as great a year if I didn’t have this blog and all the new friends that came with it.  Sincerely, thank you.

Until next time…

50 thoughts on “2016 Financial Year In Review

  1. Pingback: The Net Worth of Personal Finance Bloggers

  2. Chris @ KeepThrifty

    Way to go! That’s awesome progress!

    We had our honeymoon in Punta Cana – 8 can imagine you’re really enjoying it there!


  3. You’ve done amazingly well MM and from looking at your goals, it looks like you’ve truly hit the main ones well. You smashed your financial goals and did decently on your family goals. Nice job 🙂

    I can’t wait to see what’s in store for your in 2017!



    1. I keep trying to get some concrete goals down for 2017 but I can’t imagine it getting any better than this! I guess I may have hit my “enough” wall. Now I just want to maintain and see what comes next. 🙂 Happy 2017 to you both!!


  4. Congrats on an awesome 2016 and saving so much! That’s impressive! We fell short of our savings goal whatever it was set at, but we quadrupled our cash on hand, anticipating layoff(s). Since that hasn’t happened yet,that $ will get invested this year instead of sitting around losing value. Beyond that though, we’re doing alright. Because we lived on less than half our take home, we were able to get Mrs. SSC into a way lower paying but higher happiness inducing job and that changed all of our schedules for the better. Win, and win!

    We figured out that this year, we will essentially be using her income as investments and then some of mine as well. Living on less opens up lots of options. 🙂 Happy new YEar, and hope your 2017 goes as splendidly as 2016 did for you!


    1. That’s awesome! Good for you guys – as they say, “Happy Wife, Happy Life.” 😉 Its great you were able to live on less than half and make that change for her. Now going forward you have a great plan to truly succeed. Layoffs are never easy but with the lifestyle you are living it makes it easier to deal with things as they come when you have been preparing for the what ifs. Thanks for coming by to comment. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Everything about this post is awesome. Congratulations Miss Mazuma! A 100k jump in NW and that incredible savings rate, with elephants thrown in for good measure. I don’t see how you can possibly top that in 2017, but I look forward to finding out.


    1. Haha – I am trying to figure that out myself! I have a trip to Cuba planned but a bit nervous about the visa situation…as in, I don’t have one and have no reason to be there! Besides that, I too am looking forward to a happy healthy 2017 and all that comes with it. Happy New Year to you and your family!! 🙂


  6. Nice job saving and investing during the bull market! It gets addicting seeing your money grow doesn’t it? The growth is why I’ve felt so guilty spending money in the past.

    But now, I’m planning on going the other way for 2017!




    1. Oh my, I have felt that guilt to. I am finally coming around to it…then again, knowing what I am capable of it is hard to let up! Hopefully the market keeps on keepin on and we all have a prosperous year ahead. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by to comment!!


  7. @DivorcedonFIRE

    Congrats and nice work! I like your spreadsheets- straightforward and comprehensive. I’m going to use these as inspiration for filling the holes in data tracking I’ve found using Mint.


    1. Thanks! Yeah I tried Mint and Personal Capital but I don’t like having to go in and re categorize my spending (I didn’t include that spreadsheet because it is big and detailed). Plus some of my spending is broken down to work or home expenses – not for tax purposes but just because I like to know how much out of pocket I spend on my trips. This way I have complete control. Google docs is the best!!

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @DivorcedonFIRE

        I am finding the categorization in Mint somewhat limiting as well. I need to decide exactly what I like/don’t like before I swap it out for another tool, so I don’t trade one set of issues for another. I do like having so much data entry automated.


        1. Ultimately that is why I made my own spreadsheet. This way I can see things as they are happening and I KNOW they are being imputed correctly. Plus – I really like inputting it all! 😉


      2. @DivorcedonFIRE

        I do NOT like data entry! 🙂 Not even a little bit! It’s part of why my past financial tracking/budgeting attempts have FAILED.


    1. Thank you!! It is nice to hear things like that because I often feel I am flailing about trying to get my bearings. After seeing this accomplishment, I am certain I must be doing something right but to be considered focused made me pause. Yes, I think you may be right. After tracking my expenses in 2015 it really opened my eyes. Now that I have a specific date in mind I am definitely more focused. Thanks for making me aware – sometimes you need to see it from another persons perspective. 🙂


      1. You’re very welcome! The thing is … if you are doing the right things (and you are), and have the right structure in place (you clearly do), then I guess one doesn’t have to be hyper-vigilant 24 hours a day. I’ve been recording my daily spending for about 15 years, and checking my net worth on a very regular basis. It’s become kind of a game, and the clarity this practice provides, and the better habits I’ve developed are ingrained to the point that I don’t agonize as much over my financial decisions. And trust me, I’ve arrived at this point relative later in life, but I am very grateful to be here.

        I especially like the fact that you were still able to get some wonderful travel in … balance is sooo important! Progress towards financial independence shouldn’t feel like a death march or drudgery … but maybe … a dance? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow… 15 years of tracking!! I am so geeking out right now! I have tracked my assets for the past 4 years but my spending only the past 2. Lord knows what I would do with that much of my financial history at my fingertips!! I look at my spreadsheets multiple times a day – for no reason, just because. I can feel myself starting to loosen up a little, especially after this years big accomplishment. I feel like if I can do that again (and it will be easier with compounding interest) then I will be satisfied. If I can’t, it will just make me push harder the next year. I honestly feel very at peace with where I am now…so, yes, I think a dance is a better term for it. 🙂 Thanks, again, for your insight!


  8. 75% Are you kidding me? That is beyond Rockstar worthy. That’s Hall of Fame worthy. Awesome job especially keeping your expenses down. Keep up the awesome work as I love following along your financial journey!!!

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful 2017 🙂


    1. My goal was 50% but after a few months I realized just how much more I could save. 😅 So happy to have you a part of this journey and am thankful for all your kind words! Happy New Year to you and yours. 🎊

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Glad to see everything’s coming up roses (I’ll keep trying. Is this musical reference alien to you?),

    You had an amazing year. We’re so glad we connected and got to know you better. Wishing you all the best in 2017. Now, kick back, take a sip of your umbrella drink, and get a little extra suntan for me, since I don’t tan. AND, thanks for the mention!


    1. Haha – That one I had to Google! 😉 I am so looking forward to your karaoke solo at FinCon!!

      Happy New Year to you both – enjoy the retired life while I pretend to live it. 😜


  10. Well done!
    I looked at the charts and just couldn’t figure it out until you dropped that savings rate at the end, 88% is something to be proud of. If you keep that up your growth will be exponential.
    2017 will be exciting for you that I am certain.
    Happy New year


    1. Thank you!! Yes, the savings rate makes all the difference. Had I not started tracking my spending a year ago who knows what it would have been. So glad to be one year older and wiser. 🙂

      Happy New Year to you and I look forward to seeing more pics!! You have a real gift for capturing beauty.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Super job on the jump in net worth, Miss Mazuma! All your hard work paid off! Thanks for sharing!

    Starting a blog was one of the best things I’ve ever done from so many perspectives – financially and otherwise. I LOVE the supportive, generous, amazing community. Like you, I’m a little late to FI (at 41), but better late than never!


    1. 41 is better than 65! I’m only a few years behind in age but as you said, better late than never!! Looking forward to seeing what the new year brings to you an all the rest of our PF buddies. Cheers to 2017!


  12. I’ve been waiting for your year in review post! All I can say is, “WELL DONE!!” Seriously, 75% savings rate? That’s insane! Every time someone tells me that it’s just not possible to save money in today’s economy, I’m going to point them your way. Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right?! Insane. And thank you for your support! Sometimes I don’t know if these numbers posts are all that interesting for other people to read but I love that they keep me accountable of my goals. Living in such a limited budget has in NO WAY made my life feel small. I have lived large this past year and am looking forward to living even larger next year…on the same budget. 🙂 Send the naysayers my way!!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s so sweet of you to say! ❤ Thanks, PP! (I can’t remember if you’re public with your name…don’t want to blow your cover!😉) Happy (official) New Year!!!


    1. Awww – thank you!! I know how huge this is for me (and many others) so i definitely don’t take it for granted which I believe is the whole point. It wasn’t a goal (obviously – I can’t even wrap my brain around it!) but to know it is possible is so inspiring to ME! Thank you for all your kind words and comments through the past few months. Talking money in real life can be weird and I am so thankful I have an outlet like this to come to!! 🙂


    1. Thanks!! It is interesting to see the changes once you start tracking. I have tracked my net worth since 2012 and, let me tell you, there have been a few bad years!! But I kept on keepin on and I am so happy to see it turning around. If it all goes to shit at this point I would still be smiling because I know what is possible in the future…crazy or genius? Hard to say!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. TheRetirementManifesto

    75% savings rate! You CRUSHED IT, Cuz! Proud of you. Can’t believe you missed on the stretching and Spanish, tho! Tsk tsk. Great getting to know you in the Rockstar Forum this year, look forward to meeting you at FinCon! A sincere congrats on a great year! Enjoy the Dominican Republic, you’ve earned it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CUZ!! Can you believe it?? Walking down the stairs from the library yesterday you could have knocked me over with a feather. The number isn’t what gets me, really, it is the possibility. It is what that accomplishment represents! I thought I had 6 years to go…at this rate, it may be 4! Either way, I am so happy (and still in shock) that these things are possible. A girl with 500k in mortgage debt sinking in depression could 3 years later be moving towards “retirement” at lightening speeds. Only in my wildest dreams. Thank you for being a part of my journey!!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Sweet! Rock and Roll Miss M! Been a rad time joining you along your ride. Would love to see a post listing the ways you have grown and matured in the last year too. Numbers are cool, but I think the really cool stuff is how the soul grows to better appreciate and make use of those bigger numbers. Way to go, and you’re Minnesota friends will keep the beats rocking and the dance floor warm for when you visit up here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point – I definitely will have to do that. For now, I can honestly say that starting this blog was one of the best things I could do. I have met awesome people (like you!!) and have realized that I am not alone in this journey. No matter where I am, someone has been there, is there, or soon will be there. My hope is to inspire those behind me, walk with those who are with me, and catch up to the ones ahead of me. I realize this journey is my own, but I find inspiration each and every day in those around me. Cheers to 2017 and all that it will bring…most certainly, I hope it will bring me more friends like you and for that I am grateful! 🙂


    1. Can you believe it? I seriously still can’t. I was at the library yesterday when I tallied my final numbers and had to check and recheck. Unbelievable! And then I start to think Why didn’t I do this sooner?! But today is the day to take stock in. Thank you for your kind words and I wish you the best in 2017 as well!!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Way to go, friend! I had a similar jump in NW, it’s pretty fun when it goes up by more than your income….but that also means the opposite is theoretically possible. Yikes.

    Keep up the good work!


    1. YES!! So happy to hear yous NW jumped as well! I don’t bother looking at the downside of it…I still have 6 years to go until I am near FI so I figure I have time to relax before true worry sets in. 🙂 In the meantime – what a sight!!


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