365 Days…

Ugh…don’t you just hate these 1 year blogiversary things??  I’m with you!!  I have only read a few (and one in particular) that hit the nail on the head but those are such a rarity.  Overall, I am not huge on self congratulating indulgences, however, for historical purposes of my own interest (it’s all about me, after all 😉 ), I feel it necessary to future me to have this post to look back on so feel free to humor me or move on…I promise my feelings won’t be hurt!

Cupcake decorated with colorful sprinkles and a sparkler
~ via ~

It’s official.  Today is one year since my very first blog post as Miss Mazuma.  I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by!!   I have read that first post a few times over the past year wondering what the fuck I was thinking starting a blog in this genre in the first place.  Reading it again just now, I realize my intention to help others steer clear of some of my own financial mistakes was well intentioned but, in some ways, completely missed the mark from what I’ve actually experienced.  I thought my purpose was to help others but it turns out I needed the help more!

Blogging is a unique platform because it gives you a place to state your own ideas while also giving you a timeline to look back and reflect…but, let’s face it, we could do all of that in a private diary.  So why blog??  There is something about putting your diary out to the public that makes it a lot more…real.  Knowing people are reading what I write makes me want to be as authentic as possible.  I don’t want to fill the space with fluff, I want to add to the conversation and learn from it as well.  The bonus to going public is the community that you build is somewhat focused around the same beliefs and values that you write about.  I mean, if I don’t like to diet I am not likely to read a blog on dieting.  If you like to read about random people’s finances then you read blogs about random people’s finances.  So here we are.  Me writing, you reading.  But that isn’t where our relationship to one another ends…right??  As much as I have loved seeing my page views creep up over the past year, the real gold is seeing the increase of comments with each post.  The relationships that I’ve built due to this blog and the personal finance community in general are more cherished than the words I have written.

So, without further ado, I’d like to take a look at some of my finer achieving moments from the past year and perhaps share a few of my more lame posts you may have missed along the way…

Total posts written: 57 (Here is the ARCHIVE page in the event you missed a few)

Total drafts on the back burner: 51 😉

Top 3 Posts (no shock due the fact they were all featured on Rockstar Finance!) :

Why My Savings Rate it So High – Obviously you are a bunch of voyeurs!

That Says a Lot About You – Apparently you enjoy my softer side.  😉

My Vow Of Financial Celibacy – Guessing you were hoping to learn about my sex life?

Least Popular Blog Posts (Hey, they can’t all be winners!) :

5 Frugal Ways to Beat The Summer Heat – With summer nearby, I stand by this post!

John Oliver Explains Termites and Retirement – A bit of fluff but good nonetheless…

Be Where You Are – Still my most favorite mantra and a post I really loved!

My Favorite Posts:

Rise and Fall of My Empire  – My 3 part series on my adventures in real estate

Goldilocks and The Three Bears Tiers – My 3 tier plan for FI

The “How” & “Why” of FI – No point in going for FI if you don’t have a reason!

And that’s it… I am not going to bore you with stats and crap that doesn’t matter.  I’m sure you’ve noticed that I post quite randomly because I have realized that quantity is not as important to me as quality.  I have no intentions to do any kind of SEO bullshit to maximize distribution or financial gains.  I didn’t start this blog to make money so I don’t want to chase it.  If some fabulous opportunity should come from MM, I want it to be because of the writing and not because of the audience.  Perhaps that will change if I ever get desperate to leave my job!  😉

Going forward, I don’t have any big plans to change the pace or direction of the blog with one exception…I shan’t be sharing my quarterly net worth any more (after my update below!).  In the beginning, I thought I needed this financial diary to keep me accountable.  Turns out, I don’t.  I am pretty accountable all on my own.  What I needed was to start tracking my spending (which I do and will continue to do) but posting my numbers does nothing to accomplish my main goal here – community.  In fact, of all my posts, the net worth ones get a ton of page views but very few comments.  There is a disconnect between the numbers and the commentary and…I get it.

When I first got on this path to FI, I would read other bloggers financial posts and immediately compare myself to their journey.  Am I behind, am I ahead, or am I just stagnant?  What can I do to up my game?!  As I said before (and with each of those posts), my intention was never to make my journey a factor in anyone elses.  I think it is human nature to compare but it isn’t always healthy – especially when we are talking about something with so many variables such as age, income, family, location, etc.  We are all in a different phase of our financial journeys so there is NO possible comparison.  With that in mind I am removing the number factor all together.  There are greater things to focus on that interest me sooo much more, specifically, the psychology of personal finance (why we do what we do) as well as my FI plans for the future.

All that being said, I figure at this point I might as well go out in a blaze of glory.  In an effort to show you how stupid numbers can be, I will transport you back to 2012 when I first began tracking my assets.  There are some major holes in these numbers, like not counting my liabilities (which were HUGE!), so it doesn’t give the full effect.   On the plus side I had no credit card debt and, in the 2 years prior, I had put appx 130k in cash down to buy multiple properties (which, of course, I lost!).  On the minus side my 401k was PITIFUL for someone who had been at the same company for 11 years (with a 9.3% match!).  Seriously, brutal…

2012 NW
January 2012 Net Worth

Since 2012, that number has changed drastically.  First plummeting down (thanks real estate market!) and finally skyrocketing up.  In the past 5 years I cashed out (!) one Roth and opened another, switched to a HSA, opened a brokerage account first with individual stocks and now my beloved VTSAX, and in the past two years have maxed out every tax advantaged account possible.  It’s hard not to play the what if game, but I know that all the financial hardship I went through brought me to this very moment today.  And where is that, exactly??  Just about halfway’ish to FI (It’s complicated).

Here are my numbers this year compared to last:

Screenshot 2017-06-09 at 8.35.09 AM - Edited.png

As you can see, my net worth has gone from $210218 to $331247 which, by my calculations, is an increase of $121029.  What?!  Again, just seeing the numbers doesn’t tell the whole story.  It doesn’t show how hard I had to work to achieve them, what my expenses were and where I cut them, or what the market has done with my particular investments in the past 365 days.  What it does show is that the growth was far more than my income which motivates me to keep up my ridiculous savings rate in an effort to continue with the upwards trajectory.  If you are not tracking your net worth (AND your expenses!), please start NOW!!  Tracking alone won’t get you there, but paying attention to your finances will.

 Again, I credit my increase in net worth to various factors, including:

  1. Track your spending!!  Duh, I just said that.  See where your money is going and…
  2. Cut back on your expenses.  Do some research and start saving on energy costs, housing, phones, cable/internet, groceries, restaurants, vacations.  Be intentional with your spending and your savings will start increasing.
  3. Make it a goal to max out all taxable accounts.  This will help to increase your…
  4. Compound interest!  Besides owning my home outright (low-cost of living), compound interest alone has plumped my net worth at a ridiculous rate.  Yes, investing in the market can be a crap shoot, but not investing is far worse.  See where I was at in 2012??  Don’t be me.
  5. Work more!  To say I wasn’t applying myself from 2012-2014 is an understatement.ss wages  I was coming out of a terrible rut and lacked the motivation to kick my own ass.  In early 2015, I decided it was time to make some changes and sought advice from the internet to lead the way.  Rarely does the internet lead you to anything positive (Web MD I’m taking to you!) but, in this case, I got lucky.  It led me to a variety of personal finance blogs, eventually leading me to the idea of financial independence and the 4% rule.  I had no idea such a thing existed!!  Late 2015, I set a goal to work a minimum of 100 trips per month and this past year (chart courtesy of the SS website) showed the fruits of my labor.   Again, why did I wait so long??!!!??  If you can’t work more hours at your job (I am hourly, not salary) then perhaps you can find a side hustle?  In addition to my full-time job, I have a lucrative but hard to explain side hustle.  Figure out what you are good at and make it marketable.
  6. Find your tribe.  When you surround yourself with people who have the same interests and values your life you fill voids you may otherwise fill with purchase.    We all know what happens when boredom strikes…we eat, shop, and search for ways to spend our money.

Speaking of my tribe, this past year has been AMAZING with the help of my internet friends…YOU!!  I can’t believe it has only been a year!!!  A few of you I have met in real life, but in time I hope to meet all (Who is going to Lola Retreat, FinCon, or Camp Mustache SE??).  It is rare to find friends in this world that will be there for both your highs and your lows.  You people have given me words of encouragement, support, and love when shit was tough but also celebrated and congratulated my wins along the way.  Whether you know me or not, I appreciate your wisdom, friendship, and the possibility for both in the future.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Until next time…

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42 thoughts on “365 Days…

    1. Thanks, Penny! I am guessing you know exactly how I feel…not on the blog front but how much can change in a year!! I can’t wait to hear all things baby when Half Pence pops out. 🙂

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  1. ChooseBetterLife

    Congrats, MM! I love following along on your journey and am excited to see where the next year takes you.
    Also, every time I get on a plane I wonder if I’m meeting you. What do you think of a secret signal or wearing a special brooch so that your readers can recognize you and give you a high-five?

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    1. Haha – I love it!! Do you know how many times I have been tempted to take the mic and ask who is seeking FI?? If you ever get on my plane I will be easy to recognize…there are very few with “Bianca” on their wings. When I first started people were always saying they knew who I was and asking me about certain overnights. It didn’t take long to realize they were talking about the other Bianca…apparently she had a penchant for getting drunk and dancing on tables. Definitely NOT me!! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Congratulations on the 365 mark, Miss Mazuma! Seeing newer bloggers like you definitely helped to inspire Mr. Adventure Rich and I to take the plunge and start our blog last month.

    Also- what an impressive Net Worth gain in the past year… way to go!

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  3. Happy anniversary! I just started my blog two months ago, so it will be a while before I can write the one year anniversary post.

    I didn’t know you wrote such an interesting series about your real estate empire. I’m also very interested in rental property and like reading about it. Mr. FAF and I are trying to pay off our mortgage. Once we’re done, we will save up for a rental =)

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    1. Welcome to the blogging world!! I can almost guarantee your reasons for writing will change throughout the next 10 months. I thought I would write a bunch of real estate stuff but once I got it out I haven’t looked back. You guys have an awesome goal ahead of you to pay down your mortgage. Keep focused and kick some ass!! I’m hear for your if you need advice when it comes to rentals. I’ve done it all!

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  4. TheRetirementManifesto

    Happy BlogDay Cuz! I agree “the tribe” is one of the biggest (unexpected) benefits of blogging, and I’m pleased to be part of yours! Congrats on a HUGE year (+30% Net Worth!), and good call to stop publishing your numbers! See you in Dallas when you’re ~16 months old!

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    1. Thanks, Cuz! And really? 30%?? You know I don’t do math so thanks for figuring it out for me! I know most of that is due to the market being stellar this years so as Mr Groovy said I shouldn’t count on hitting my year end goal just in case. Keeping my fingers crossed regardless!! Also still pondering that gap year. Summer is here and I feel the need to take fight!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. TheRetirementManifesto

        Actually, I think it’s closer to 50% (100/200 = 50%). Appears I can’t do math, either! A real treat to meet you in Chicago this week! I’m now back in the N Ga mountains, typing this from our “Great Cabin”!

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  5. Happy one year! It’s been so great connecting with you over the last year and getting to know you even better in person and on the phone! I never never know how or when I get introduced to a new blog, but I’m so glad I did, and holy crap did your net worth jump in a year! #inspired!

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    1. Haha – I was wondering that also! I think I commented on your blog and when I heard your mom was flying swa I offered to send you drink tickets. Nothing starts a friendship faster than a free drink!!

      As for the net worth, right?! I had to double triple check. The year end results weren’t as good so I think it’s due to the “bonus” at the start of this year but regardless I’ll take it! If it continues to grow at this rate I may be slowing down my work schedule quicker than expected. I could use some California time!! See you in a few months. LOLA OR BUST!!

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  6. Thank you for sharing! I think people like seeing the numbers. Don’t know why, they just do. Like networth, expenses, income, etc. Especially in the FIRE community. You’re doing very well, and I agree that was a huge jump in your net worth in 1 year. Congrats!

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    1. I agree, we are a bunch of voyeurs! These days I don’t read many NW updates because I am more focused on my own goals and trying to accomplish them. Putting the NW posts together always felt a bit strange for me so I don’t mind ending in this high note. One I hit FI I will be curious to see how my nest egg will fluctuate and at that time I may bring back some numbers posts.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!! It’s nice to see a new face around here. 😊

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  7. Congrats on being one year in with your blog! I just realized my year anniversary date passed a couple of weeks ago. I guess I’m not into those blogiversary posts either! Maybe I’ll do some reflecting this summer. The tribe is key – and we can’t wait to meet more folks later this year too! And I love your “quality” over “quantity” too. I am over schedules for sure!

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    1. Thanks, Vicki!! Happy blogiversary to you as well then. 😊 Tribe is definitely key as well as letting it be fun and not so structured. I’ve never worked well in scenarios where something is demanded of me. I much prefer to keep it light, fun, and unpredictable. I’m glad we’re on the same page!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. mrsneed2save

    Congratulations! Stick to your honest and forthcoming style!! Do what you like and write about what interests you. Thats way more important than posting your exact numbers.

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  9. Congrats on one year in the bag! It’s so refreshing to read a 1-year post that doesn’t just list page views, affiliate revenue, etc.

    Like some other commenters here, I just started my blog a few months ago and also post sporadically with no real intent to monetize. Thanks for having such an authentic writing style and can’t wait to keep following your journey in the months/years to come! Now off to read your archives… 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Kate! I live the photo you have as your gravatar! I loved to play Monopoly as a kid but no one ever wanted to play against me. 1, Because I hoarded cash/properties and 2. Because the game takes forever to play! I wonder if that is where my love of real estate began?! Well I am happy to have you here and reading – I’ll pop over to check out your site! Have a great weekend. 🙂

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  10. Frosty FIRE

    Happy anniversary and congratulations on your successes Miss Mazuma! I’ve been following along with your posts over the past few months and really enjoy your authenticity, which shines through. I stumbled into the FIRE community unexpectedly earlier this year and have begun following a similar path of my own… no blog for me (yet at least), but I continue to draw a lot of inspiration from you and a number of others. Thanks for all you do!!

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    1. Hey Frosty! Thanks for your kind words. I also stumbled into this community and I am amazed at how quickly it becomes your new life goal. Hey, are you on the Rockstar Finance forum? If not, that is a great place to get involved in the community. Many pf blogger and non bloggers on there and it’s a safe fun place to chat all things FIRE. If you can’t find it or want me to send an invite just shoot me your email. 😉

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  11. Congratulations on the anniversary! I actually enjoy these posts; I love seeing people be able to continue in doing what they enjoy. They also inspire me to keep working towards my own milestones, so maybe I’m not totally altruistic, haha! I’ve really enjoyed following your story, and look forward to seeing where the years to come take you!

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  12. Naughty, naughty! Just when I thought you were posting a little less frequently, you snuck one in there. I must have been preoccupied with our emails. And to celebrate your 1-year blogiversary, no less! Happy birthday!

    It’s been great getting to know you this year. Sometimes I feel like we’re long lost friends.

    Your writing is exceptional and I just love your intensity. The fact that you throw the F-bomb around only enhances my respect for you. Can’t wait to see what wisdom you share in year two.

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    1. I totally snuck this one in! This is the first post I have prewritten prior to its publish date in 6+ months! I love our emails so let’s keep that up!! We are definitely long lost friends which is why I knew you were my cousins from the get go. Thank goodness my swearing is a positive for you! I have tried to curb it over the years but I just keep coming back to a potty mouth. Whatever. Take what you want and leave the fucking rest. 😉 So happy to have you guys in my life!!

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    1. Thanks, Lily! And girl, you are part of the tribe!! It isn’t mine alone, it is all of us who want the same things our of life. I know the PF space talks a lot about money but FI goes so much further than that. Living a frugal life is one aspect, living an intentional one is another. You are doing both! 🙂 Happy to have you here!!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Miss Mazumama! Happy Blogiversary. We hope to make it to the one year mark as you have. We’re less than 1 month in and we quickly found writing quality posts as more stressful and time consuming than our day job! A tribute to you and your hard work over the past year on this blog. Consistency prevails in all walks of life. Looking forward to another year of your posts!

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    1. Thank you, Doll! I look back at some of my earlier posts and cringe (and have deleted a few!) because I didn’t have a unique voice. I was saying what I thought people wanted to hear instead of what I was really feeling. Now I throw all caution to the wind and let the crazy pour out. I know I am not everyone’s cup of tea but that’s why there are so many different flavors! 🙂 You’re right, it can be time consuming and stressful but when you take the pressure off yourselves to fit a certain mold it sure makes it a lot more enjoyable and, at times, rewarding…like when I get an awesome comment such as yours. Thanks for joining me on the ride and I look forward to reading more from you both!!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Congrats on the year blogiversary! When our 2 yr rolled around, I missed it by about 3 months, lol. Just forgot about it I guess. 🙂

    It’s funny you’re talking about not reading many NW reports anymore because that’s my 1 freebie post for the month. I’m like, “Oh thank-god, it’s the first of the month, I can just post a spending update, lol.” Yep, it’s kind of a throw away, but when you’re dealing with PF burnout (it’s real) it at least keeps me in the game. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Mr. SSC! Awesome podcast today on ChooseFI. Don’t you just love them??

      Freebie post is EXACTLY how I was viewing mine! And then I realized why do I need to do a freebie anyway? That would assume that something is expected of me in general which automatically makes me tense up and quiver. I do feel that PF burnout but mine is more in the line of a FI one. Trying to reach this number that is so far out and working towards it everyday? Ugh… This month I resolved not to focus that far out and started spending for the hear and now instead. Every journey must have ups and downs…my ups just got a bit more calculated! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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