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November was the first month I got down and dirty with my new financial goals. Having them in mind gave the month shape and purpose – I felt for the first time in a while that I was working toward something urgent and real and palpable that I could measure.
If naming things is empowering, creating a plan is getting superpowers. I watched as each dollar flowed into and out of my accounts.
Slow and steady wins the race, but I have an out-of-control, flaming emergency! I have GOT to pay off my credit cards by April 2020 before the 0% APR rate expires. And I’ve got over $14,000 left to go.
Last month, a combination of strong market and aggressive payments boosted my overall net worth to $115,806 – a full $20,000+ increase.
And while it’s nowhere near the $500,000 goal I want to hit, it’s an awesome start. And to that end, this is my first Freedom update (Freedom is what I call money). I hope I look back on these posts and marvel at my progress. One day…
I know “never say never” buuuut… I will NEVER have credit card debit ever again as long as I live. In the future, I’ll dip into my healthy savings account. Because this hurdle really freaking sucks.
December 2019 Freedom update
Like most peeps, I’m hard on myself. While I can clearly track and see my progress, the little voice always says, “You could’ve done better.”
That’s not something I would say to a friend. Instead I’d say, “Your progress was amazing! Keep it up and you’ll reach your goal faster than you ever dreamed!”
So I’m not going to admonish myself because I did a fantastic job. I’m replacing negative self-talk with:
- My progress was amazing
- Keep it up
- I’ll reach my goals faster than I think
Because really, fear about money is what got me here in the first place. Thoughts like:
- All it takes is a bad market, and you’re back to square one
- Your assets might not appreciate as much as you think they will
- You can’t always save – some expense will pop up eventually and then what?
- Owning a home is too expensive
- Your goals are too high. You might save a little, but $500,000? *laugh track*
And all these things might happen. I’ve never experienced a recession with investments, so I don’t know how my temperament would be. And my home could lose value, or end up costing me. But that’s fear talking. And I had a great month.
Let’s dig in.
A $20,000+ net worth increase in 30 days!
Holy wow, how’d that happen?
- I got three paychecks in November (usually only get two)
- Therefore, had more 401k deposits with company match
- And the stock market did really well.
- Reducing debt make my net worth go up
- Zillow says my home gained value
I was hoping to crack $100K net work, so this result surpassed all my expectations.
|Roth IRA 2019||$0||$0||xx||$6,000|
|Roth IRA 2020||$0||$0||xx||$6,000|
|401k||$3,331||$2,333||+$998||As much as possible|
|Overall investments||$74,169||$70,962||+$3,207||As much as possible|
|Net worth in Personal Capital||$115,806||$95,246||+$20,560||$500,000||Track your net worth with Personal Capital|
A few thoughts.
The stock market is a fickle thing. A 1% change can add or deduct $1,000s from my balances. Luckily, it was mostly additive as I begin this trek.
And I usually only get two paychecks in a month, so while this is great, I don’t expect my progress to be this great in December 2019.
Holy crap, I am slaughtering my credit card debt! It kills me that I can’t max out my 401k this year until I knock this out.
But I descended to this point over a long time. Each month, there was a little more. I barely noticed it until one day, I couldn’t believe how far I’d spiraled out. But I’m climbing out faster than I got in. I am so grateful to really clobber this thing.
I don’t fully trust Zillow’s “Zestimate“ of home worth. I’d expect it to be off by ~$20,000 give or take. But I’ve found it to be pretty close, so I’m comfortable using it for my net worth projections.
I can’t wait to build out my savings account, increase my 401k deduction to 25% (it’s currently set at 10%), and max out my Roth IRA.
I’m impressed that my mortgage dips so much each month – I honestly thought it was much less than that.
And man, I really do fear the next recession. If it happens while I’m in my tracking phase, it’s going to make me feel really behind and get to me. I need to develop mental resources to withstand that for a couple years or more. Because it could happen.
Having a big savings account is going to be my saving grace throughout this journey, so I can let myself breathe. I’m also afraid I won’t let myself ever use it. Because of that “back to square one” way of thinking.
As soon as I can settle these things in mind, I think I’ll feel more confident. So this is me baby-stepping into owning the goals I set for myself. I still keep turning around to see where I came from – not far enough down the path for the beginning to look distant. Yet.
I’m pleased with how last month went, and how I’m starting December. My progress won’t always be this strong, and any little fluctuation could erase a lot of my progress.
It’s amazing how money (freedom) has this energy, don’t you think? How we let it into our thoughts, injecting itself into our fearscapes. And the concept of “net worth” as if a number can ever really define that?
Starting this plan and turning my thoughts to freedom are bringing up mixed emotions of enthusiasm, lack of control, security, motivation, and honestly, primal freaking fear about losing the stuff.
It’s also an exercise in moderating my energy, doing my best, and letting the chips fall where they may. And also this sensation of… wow, I gained so much this month. Now I have that much more to think about losing. Isn’t that effed up?
What is this thing, this entity – and all these conflicting emotions somehow miscible when discussing a single topic?
Another thought that unsettles me: I don’t have a solid WHY yet about this plan other than – I just want to. I want to be able to take care of myself for a long, long time. (Is that my why?)
But for now, “I exist as I am, and that is enough.” – Walt Whitman
And that’ll have to do. So I’ve started the journey – but it’ll be a while until I feel like I’m cruisin’ along.
Does thinking about money stir up these things in you, too? I can’t be only one both amazed and petrified at the same time? Thank you for following me through this!* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!
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