2017 is fully underway. It is strange – at the start of the new year, I had experienced equal parts excitement and depression regarding my quest for FI. The excitement was based on a high due to the insane accumulation and addition of 100k to my 2016 net worth. I was floored! All the tiny boxes from my spreadsheet were filled in with various colors and calculations that could make even the most deaf tone numbers geek sing a solid Do Re Mi. Beautiful. And then the depression hit. I flipped to my new spreadsheet with all its blank spaces and wondered if I could ever repeat what I had just accomplished. Hmmmm… I imagine this must be what it feels like to be the Cubs facing opening day after winning the World Series last year. Expectations. They are the best and, sometimes the worst, motivator…
So here we are 3 months in and I’m curious to see how things have stacked up. Are you?? Well, I am pleased to report that so far they are stacking up quite nicely if I do say so myself. Here is how 2017 has played out thus far:
- JANUARY started the year out with a “bonus” of sorts. It really isn’t a bonus at all but retro pay for having worked 3 years past our contracts end. The bonus amounted to around 8k (minus taxes) leaving me enough money to fully fund my Roth IRA for the year. Sweet!
- FEBRUARY began my new position which required paid training bumping my normal 100 hour month to 115. Not bad!
- MARCH brought me $651 in tax returns, $743 for cashing in my savings bonds, and a great month for my side gig trading flight attendant trips…apparently, no one wants to work during spring break! March also marks the month my net worth hit 300k making me halfway to FI!!!
Shall we look at some numbers??
It is so nice to see the new spreadsheet filling in!! Perhaps from this, it is obvious that I am not one who thrives well in black and white. 🙂
As far as reaching the same jaw-dropping results as last year…I am on track for that as well!! My end of the year NW was $263393 and my end of 1st quarter NW is $306453. For those without a calculator that is a difference of $43060. Um, yeah, I’m almost halfway to 100k already!! It is with this knowledge that I have decided to push myself and try to reach 400k total NW by the end of the year. It will be difficult, for sure, but I am throwing it out there as a goal to meet. Making your goals public goes a long way in making them happen. Accountability is huge but so is public shaming and embarrassment. 😉 That being said, should I not hit my goal, I have no plans to cower with my tail between my legs. This goal is the absolute stars I am aiming for – I will be just as happy landing in the clouds. Let’s face it, being debt free and halfway to FI, I am already there.
So what about the savings rate? Last year was the first year I paid any attention to savings rates. Until then, I had never considered how much you save compared to what you spend is exactly the calculation and measurement of FI success. If I can earn more, spend less (therefore saving more), I am doubling down on a fantastic future. Last year I aimed for 50% later realizing I was underestimating my savings and bumped it to 75%. My actual savings rate for the year turned out to be 75.03% based on an average of my savings rate with (78.11%) and without (71.95%) 401k contributions. I do not include my company match (9.3%) to these calculations as I have this weird hang up that I didn’t really earn it. This is no way means that others should not include theirs, it just isn’t my bag. Whatevs, to each their own.
This years savings rate goal has carried over from last year – 75%. So far I have surpassed that due to the increase of income mentioned in the Net Worth portion of this post. Here are the numbers…
My rate has fluctuated from month to month but the rate not including my 401k is currently 81.4%. I have been asked MANY times how I can accomplish this rate of savings so, being I have many new readers this year, I feel the need to explain in detail. The simple answer is to make more and spend less. Right?? But my explanation goes a bit deeper.
- The BIGGEST reason I can save so much is that the greatest expense in life is covered – I own my home outright so my monthly cost of living is cheap…dirt cheap.
- I also am quite frugal when it comes to groceries (I love you, Aldi!). Though I rarely go out to eat, when I do it is ALWAYS with a Groupon or some form of Happy Hour. When I am flying, I pack my food for the entire trip and only in a blue moon will I eat at the hotel…even then the hotel bill is discounted 30% or more with our airline discount.
- Travel?? I fly for free or cheap and often my trips revolve around long distance hiking (CHEAP) and/or volunteering.
Here is the thing, even with this high savings rate and flourishing NW I am still WORKING my ass off to accomplish it. A few years back I was in desperate need of motivation. I had lost everything I had worked for and was starting fresh again. It was terrifying (perhaps that’s why my blank spreadsheet freaks me out?!) and exhilarating. I knew I only had one place to go and that was up. If you are in debt or just getting out, do not take my today and compare it to yours. I have been there and one day you will be here as well. The point of all of these numbers is to hold ME accountable for MY today. What are YOU doing for YOURS??
Until next time…
PS – It is clear I am on my way to achieving my 2017 financial goals, but I am proud to report I am still kicking ass at my personal goals…but, seriously, will I ever be able to do a big girl push up??? Ugh…2 months straight and I’m still a wuss!!