2017 Mid-Review: Calm After The Storm

The Calm After The Storm

It has been a long time since my last post, apologies. The beginning of this year proved to be one of the most difficult and crazy times for me at a personal level, and I was not able to keep up with this blog.  It got so bad that I finally decided to tackle something I had not done before – declutter fully at an emotional level, figure out who I am and what I want, then rebuild from the inside out.

And so I began a journey of inner exploration where I literally wrote down what success looks like for me along with my priorities. I then matched that against how I actually spend my time and energy and got rid of everything and anything (inclusive of people) in my life that were not lifting me up, aligned with my goals and definition of personal success, while adding new habits that better represented my new focused direction (amazing what % of my time/life non-essential time was taking!).

This hard work has paid off substantially; I have never experienced such personal transformation! I am probably in the most peaceful (light!) and happy place I have ever been in decades. Of course there are always ups and downs, but I feel I now have the tools and habits to keep me going.

I will also hit a big birthday milestone soon and feel the sudden urge to go do all the things I need to do in this life as time is going fast. And so, for 2017 and beyond, my life plan and focus will be on the following areas, with the caveat that I deserve the right to change my mind at any moment:

  • Health: inner peace, mental health and physical fitness.
  • Relationships: focus on my closest 1-2 friendships and immediate family.
  • Travel & Experiences: Both with my kids and 1-1 with my husband. Bucket list established.
  • Work: I would like to get 2 more promotions between now and FIRE day.
  • Wants: three things: 2 cars; one to own (electric) once one of our current cars dies (3-5 years), one to rent a few times (cheap midlife crisis alternative!) and tattoos (eight!).
  • FIRE:  Retire at 51 or 52, with a 3% or less SWR (well, following the market but this is a max). Live a nomadic life once that happens with as little possessions as possible.

How Are We Doing So Far?

I am happy to say that the first half of 2017 is keeping right on track with our plans.

I am healthy on all fronts and continuing to establish good habits for my emotional, spiritual and physical well-being, I feel connected with the most important people in my life – though I have to focus more on the relationship and time spent with my kids in this bucket. As for travel – we have been doing a lot of fun things, especially with the kids. We are trying to offer them great experiences of different types. So far this year we did an all inclusive abroad at the beach (our first one!), we rented an RV to sleep over night, we did proper tent camping as a family and we are about to stay in a tree house and a small anchored boat overnight in the coming months.

I have started on my tattoo list and finalized the design of the others I want, and found the car I want to rent at Turo, so we may give it a shot in the next few days. As for work, not sure how soon the next promotion will come, but I feel very competent and happy about the work that I am doing and I have been good about starting my internal networking work towards my next role. I think I am on track but have no rush. As for physical de-cluttering, we got rid of about 20% of our possessions. It felt amazing! It definitely becomes addictive though….

What about financials? 

As you may recall, our goal for end of year is to finish at $528k, with a debt burden of $118k and about $26.5k each on 529s or $53k total. We also wanted to keep our expenses under $75k for the year, of which $12k are devoted to travel. As of the end of June 2017, this is where we stood:

Assets: $502.5k. We are $25k away from our 2017 goal. Pending a crazy market correction, we should be able to do this and have established a stretch goal of $545k. I have already maxed my 401k and we are about to max the second one at the end of July. Most of our savings will be post-tax going forward.

Debt: $126.5k. We are on track to end at $118k without issues. So far, we are not planning on paying this off more aggressively as it is all in one car (0% interests) and our mortgage for which we are already pre-paying a few hundred bucks a month to finish paying in 8 years.

529 combined: $53.6k. End of year goal completed, unless market correction.

Expenses YTD: $40.6k. On paper, it looks like we are going to be way over budget, and it is going to be very tight to get to the $75k goal. That said, it is still doable to stay within our budget as we have pre-payed most of our vacations already (almost $9k of the $12k budget), along with a few other things like yearly kid classes, so the average should go down substantially (let’s hope!). On the other hand, we also got a dog, so that is stretching us a little more! I will be focusing here for rest of the year.

Lastly, I poked around the Social Security Website to figure out what my expected benefit would be if I worked for 8 – 10 more years, assuming the thing can still pay 100% of benefits. I figured it would be something like $1,800 per month or slightly more, which is not bad, especially considering that I am assuming best case scenario we get 60% of that or really (and what I actually base my FIRE plan on), nothing at all. Still fun to poke around with the numbers. 🙂

Hope your year is going well but most importantly that you are out there LIVING!

3 thoughts on “2017 Mid-Review: Calm After The Storm”

  1. I can soooooo relate! My blog content has drastically decreased this year. Mainly because I have taken on other projects that have consumed a lot of time. Sometimes I feel guilty but mostly I am just living my life and then I pop back in when I have something to say. Sounds like you are giving a lot of thought to how you want to live and trying not to focus to much on FI. A noble pursuit, but one that takes plenty of time.

    Liked by 1 person

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