2019 In Review

Like all financial nerds, the end of the year is a fun time for me. A time to see how plans panned out, a time to set up projections & goals for the new year.

This year had some notable financial changes.  Husband’s company laid of their engineering staff as they were running out of money.  He found a new job making considerably more money, though he had to return to full-time hours which hit our quality of life hard.

I didn’t end up blogging as much as I expected (though my handwritten journaling hasn’t been affected), so many of my non-financial goals never got shared.  Something to work on for 2020, as I’m repeating many of those goals and have another opportunity to share them.

I completed the items on my 2019 Savings Order of Operations, with minor adjustments:

  • We ended up over-contributing by a small amount to Chad’s 401K due to a midyear job change… this excess deferral will have to be withdrawn before we file 2019 taxes.
  • I ended up pulling some money out of my HSA due to a belief that we’d be unable to fully fund our Roth options this year.  I’m not entirely displeased with the decision (poor receipt retention + multiple HSA accounts has made paperwork for this somewhat of a headache), though I doubt I’ll repeat it going forward.
  • The pass-through deduction on sole proprietorships nearly negated the benefits of the SEP IRA, so I haven’t contributed this year.
  • Mortgage prepayments, and the seeming inevitability of our mortgage brought that goal to a higher importance than contributing to a taxable investment account.  I suspect that will continue to be true in 2020.

My spending projections were fairly accurate, with a few miscalculations:

  • We spent more on gifts than projected.  I am actually fairly happy about this – it is consistent with my money values .
  • We were well under projection on childcare – the daycare rate drop when Kiddo #1 started kindergarten was delicious.
  • For complicated reasons, I had to offload all of my stock shares from my previous employer.  I ended up putting about $16,500 into our Donor Advised Fund, in addition to other donations we made.  I am extremely happy with this choice, though it will be a few years before we are able to repeat such a feat. 2020 donations will come from the DAF, especially since I think we will not itemize taxes.

Total spending was at $133,000, with the increase over projections driven almost entirely by our increased charitable donations.  Our “bare bones” spending (i.e. total spending, not including mortgage payment, childcare, travel, or charity) was just over $45,000.

Our net worth grew an astonishing 30% this year, and just like that, we’re over THE net worth milestone.  It’s hard to take it seriously, though, since it can easily be undone by a market correction.  I remain forever scarred by 2008.

6 Responses

  1. Scars from 2008 – WHEW. Yep. YEP.

    I started a new way of spending and saving tracking most of the way through the year and I refuse to go back and figure out what our total spending was after all because it’s too much work for right now. I will get curious at some point and decide to do it, I leave it for a procrastination or rainy day 😉

    We’ll need to increase our annual gift budget, it’s a new (higher) normal that we actually can afford, a fact which I had been ignoring because “LIFESTYLE INFLATION!” Insecurity from 2008 makes me this way.

    Congrats on THE milestone! Not sure if it’s what I think it is but I hope it is. Our first Major Milestone was reached in 2016, and we’re now slowly creeping up on our second Major Milestone net worth.I think it’s possible to hit that next year if all else stays ok but who knows. *Looks at the Iran situation*

    Which of you has the SEP?

    • It’s likely the one you’re thinking of. Chad’s opinion is that it’s meaningless until we double it (1 for each of us!), and I don’t consider it real until we survive the potential market correction. So it was anticlimactic.

      The SEP is mine, though I just can’t prioritize my yoga side hustle enough to put in a meaningful amount. I rolled the money into a 403a account to execute a backdoor Roth, so it currently has no money in it.

      • Hehe my philosophy is the same as both of yours – I don’t consider it real until there’s 1 for each person AND it’s been recession-tested.

        Ah, I didn’t realize you were doing a yoga side thing, that’s neat!

        • I like to teach, but it’s hard to do as well as I want while I also work full time. Plus I have some concerns about how I embody all of the bad stuff about the yoga industry (white woman, teaching for fitness, already naturally flexible) so I mostly only teach when someone asks!

  2. Happy new year! Happy new job to Chad! Is reduced hours an option sometime in the future?

    Do you do after care for Kid 1?

    Our “bare bones” spending was about $55k (including a very very modest travel budget), although that is not very bare bones at all.

    • It seems like part-time work around here is just… not done? We asked for a ton of extra money when he was interviewing (his old company had not yet announced the layoffs), but we didn’t expect to accept any full-time hours for him. The universe had other plans. We often talk about him becoming a SAHD when the youngest starts kindergarten – I dream of having the flexibility some of my male coworkers have!

      Yep – he is picked up from kindergarten and goes to the daycare our youngest is at. It was nice for continuity (and ease of pickup). The pickup time is otherwise too early (3:30pm).

      Our “bare bones” number is based on our un-frugal spending patterns, but I suspect we’d spend more on certain things if we weren’t working.

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