I’m writing my year in review post before Christmas since my mom will be in town Tuesday night, and truthfully I don’t have any good personal finance topics right now anyway.
This year has been both excellent and crummy at the same time. I think in general this year was really tough for a lot of people. At least it does seem that the world has experienced a lot of turmoil, and I know so many people who have experienced a lot of hardship, trauma, and loss. And then there is President-Elect Trump (I just threw up in my mouth a little).
For me, in the professional and financial realm, it’s been one of my best years. As far as my personal life? Not so great. On to the recap.
Yang (“the sunny side”)
Let’s start with the positive aspect of my year. Like I said in my last post, my net worth has increased around $46,000 since the start of the year. When I wrote about my goals (a rebuilding year) in January, I wanted to:
- Get my emergency fund to $20,000 (check)
- Contribute the max to my ROTH IRA (will still do, although that IS coming out of my emergency fund – it was planned)
- Contribute 5% to my 401k (I’m at 11% now)
- Start saving for a travel fund and sh*t is getting old fund (ongoing)
- Regularly contribute to my investment account (ongoing)
Some other financial bonuses were a large tax refund, a general dip in cost of living from not being a freelancer anymore, and switching health insurance, which costs me $0 each month for premiums (so far I’m liking Kaiser Permanente OK).
I also paid off the last of my consumer debt. I still have about a 4k-ish auto loan.
I just completed my one year at GOBankingRates.com. During my year I went from a team of just me, to hiring 4 more people to make up the video department (and I’m still building the team!). I also got a big promotion in July and went from Video Manager to Creative Director – Video.
Last Friday was our last day in our old office, and come tomorrow we will be in a snazzy new office 1.6 miles away from my house. Yes, I plan to walk or bike to work!!
Since it was a financial rebuilding year, I only took domestic trips. I traveled back to Michigan in May to visit the family, and again in July (for a few days and NOT a vacation), went to Fincon and Nashville in September, which was one of the highlights (Nashville, not Fincon) of my year. LOVED IT!
I decided to cancel my trip to Austin and Camp Grounded in October. It was the right decision for me at the time since I had so many other things going on at work and with Nashville and Fincon. Luckily I recouped most of the cost.
Other little random yang thangs
To round out the other positives of the year, I got my bathroom painted, which made it look A LOT better, went on more local hikes, saw a lot of movies on the beach (free) and movies in the park, was really frugal most of the year (not this month though), successfully grew tomatoes and squash in my garden, and completed another Warrior Dash. I also bought a used bike!
I also did slow down a lot (and ditched most of my side hustles), however I’m still not sure I was very present this year, and honestly this year was kind of a blur and I felt pretty lost…
Yin (“the shady side”)
While you can see I have nothing really to complain about, there have been some dark times this year as well…
It seemed we lost a lot of good people this year (from celebrities to horribly tragic events like Nice, France, Orlando, church and work shootings, unarmed black men and Dallas police being shot and killed, club fires, and Syria. Sigh… (if you need relief go watch this video…I’ll wait)
But personally, I lost my second mom, my Aunt Bunny, this past June. I also lost a very good friend from Seattle, and a couple of classmates from college and high school. 🙁
I’ve also had a sick cat most of the year, which has resulted in a lot of vet visits, various kinds of medications, and ruined carpet.
The thing is he’s not sick enough to put down. He’s a good weight, he eats, he seems happy and cuddly…
Unfortunately, this is still ongoing and stressful, but I’ll keep trying.
Health, Weight and Sleeping
If there’s one thing that appeared to be a reoccurring theme (aka broken record) on my monthly reviews, it’s talking about how I HAD to get better about taking care of myself.
I think the one downside I can find to working in an office has been not being able to work out at my optimal time (8am-10am), and the availability of free (non-healthy) work snacks…a lot of them!
But, I have no one to blame but myself, because I’m a grown-ass woman.
Sleep, on the other hand, is just a bit less out of my control, and has been BAD on and off all year long, which of course does not help with making good decisions and/or motivation to work out. Why bad sleep? I have no idea, but I’m still working on it by trying new techniques and better sleep habits.
On the surface I’m sure people haven’t noticed much of a change, because it’s only been pretty much a 5-pound battle, but it’s so much more than that.
It just makes me feel gross and lethargic, and not in optimal….as optimal as I can be, condition.
I feel very, very fortunate that overall I’m in good health, but I don’t feel like the best version of myself unless I “feel” good, you know what I mean?
This WILL be an even bigger priority in 2017.
There is one area I haven’t talked about much, and that is this blog. I’ll be speaking more to that in my 2017 goals post, but I feel this blog has run its course.
One of my favorite books that I read this year called, Essentialism, has enlightened me to the importance on only focusing on those things that matter most in your life, and putting energy only into those things.
At one point my blog was my baby, but it’s kind of grown up now and it may be time to let it go. I’ve been feeling that way for awhile. I’ve also been feeling increasingly vulnerable and exposed, because my blog is public. I mean it partially led me to the job I currently have!
I’m not 100% certain what I’ll do yet, but I’m leaning towards just letting this blog hang out, and starting a new one…yet staying anonymous (and being selective who I share it with).
I have a new theme for 2017 (I’ll share that later too) and it’s about embracing change and not being afraid to start certain things over, or break free from old friends, habits, patterns, etc.
In the meantime, I hope you all enjoy your Christmas and New Year. Please be safe and take care of yourselves!
How did your year go? Do you feel it was bit of yin/yang?
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