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Most of my thoughts recently have been on money instead of travel. Now that I have aggressive financial goals, I want to meet at least a few milestones before I take another big trip.
I’m seeing the juncture of points & miles with personal finance so clearly. I’m understanding how much you can really save on travel by accumulating credit card rewards – and sinking the extra funds into investment accounts.
Of course, I’ve always known how awesome points are if you’re passionate about travel. And you bet your bottom dollar I’m gonna treat myself to a nice big award (!) trip to celebrate soon enough.
This month, I was waiting for the right time to post this update. But there is no perfect time and things will always be in flux.
With that in mind, let’s dive into what happened in January!
January 2020 Freedom update
There’s no magical time to post these updates. I was waiting for that time when:
- All credit card payments have posted
- Direct deposits are in
- Transfers are in and done
- 401k contributions have posted
- Mortgage is paid for the month
- All balances are updated to reflect activity
I managed to kinda sorta catch it for previous updates, but it wasn’t happening this month. But that’s OK, because it’s also given me time to ponder my overall strategy as I inch ever closer to my goals.
In This Post
Switching focus to Roth IRA instead of credit cards
Even though I still have a balance on my 0% APR card, the cutoff to contribute to 2019 Roth IRAs is April 15 – less than three months away!
My 0% rate also expires in April, but you know what? I get those balance transfer offers all the diddy dang time. And I don’t want to lose the opportunity to invest in my Roth IRA. It’s an important retirement vehicle.
With that thought, I’m hitting the pause button on paying down my credit cards until after I max this out for 2019. Then I’ll go back to paying them (once and for all!). Afterward, I’ll max out my 2020 Roth IRA. Then I can focus on padding out my emergency fund of $20,000.
The stock market has been doing so well. I don’t want to miss getting in on this historic bull run. But even with the recent slight downturns, I wouldn’t want to miss the chance to buy more stocks at a discount – the other side of the coin. Whichever way it flips, I don’t want to miss my shot. I’m putting every penny into my 2019 Roth IRA until it’s maxed. Here’s the fee-free Fidelity fund I’m investing in.
I’m up over $11,000 toward net worth!
Yussss! I have to remind myself that paying off my credit cards *is* building my net worth. Because losing debt cuts down liability, even though if feels like stalling progress.
My ultimate goal is to reach a $500,000 net worth. And I don’t think the way there is to focus on one thing at a time. Rather, a hybrid model of saving, investing, and paying down debt – a little all at once – seems to keep things chugging along nicely.
For all the times I feel like I’m stalling out or not progressing quickly enough, I…
I think of all the (literal) mountains I’ve climbed. Those moments when you can’t see much in front of you because of all the switchbacks. Am I getting anywhere? How many miles have I climbed by now? But then you turn around and…
…I’ve really gotten so, so far.
So here’s where I’m at:
|Roth IRA 2019||$1,800||$0||+$1,800||$6,000|
|Roth IRA 2020||$0||$0||xx||$6,000|
|401k||$5,425||$3,331||+$2,094||As much as possible|
|Overall investments||$82,212||$74,169||+$8,043||As much as possible|
|Net worth in Personal Capital||$127,320||$115,806||+$11,514||$500,000||Track your net worth with Personal Capital|
I’m so excited to get started on my Roth IRAs, even if it means dialing back the credit card progress for a sec. I’m just gonna go down the list:
After all this is done, I will ramp up my 401k contributions to the max. And treat myself to an award trip as a reward for coming so very far.
I’ve been thinking of picking up another Citi Premier card to add 60,000 more ThankYou points to my balance. Between Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Amex Membership Rewards points, Citi ThankYou points, and all my Hilton points I should have pleeeenty saved up to do something epic. Like bucket list epic. Already so excited thinking about it!
Eventually, the bulk of my savings will be in stocks as opposed to property or cash – and I guess it already is. I just never want my value to be locked up in my primary residence, or one stock account. Again, I think a hybrid approach is best. Lil of this, lil of that.
It’s also cool to think of my stockpile of points as an investment of sorts – one with a very high risk and constantly declining, but also with the potential for big payoff. Especially if I think of it as supplanting/replacing my cash travel budget.
I’m so over HOAs and thinking of leaving Dallas
Yeah. Dealing with a property management company and a BOARD has been hell recently. I currently have two leaks in my bedroom that need repair and getting it done is through a COMMITTEE of people and bureaucracy. My whole complex needs basic shit done that’s constantly neglected. And I’m soooo over it, dude. If I had a single family home, I could do whatever I wanted to with it. Instead, I can’t even rent out my place without PERMISSION.
This whole condo thing has done wonders to show me what I don’t want. I sure as hell don’t want this any more. Freaking stupid.
Which leads me to… life. I’ve been in Dallas for 5 years by now. I feel like I grew into my final adult form here. It’s been a great chill down after leaving New York. If I sell this place, I’d probably rent for a while. And I can rent anywhere. I’d basically just be in Dallas to work at a job.
My current job is fine. But if I’m gonna go rogue, I wanna go really rogue. And explore every option.
But nothing is going to happen any time soon. I have too many financial goals keeping me in place here. Head down, go to work, pay down cards, save save save. That’s prolly gonna be my life for another year or so.
In that time, hopefully my property value will rise even more than it already has. If I can cut and run with at least $50,000 tax-free dollars, I’ll consider Dallas a success.
Until then, I’m dreaming of meeting my goals, that next award trip, and the next iteration of the funniest, weirdest, twistiest-turniest thing I’ve ever experienced: ya know, life.
I’m that benign office worker with lofty goals and big dreams. I daydream about being in mountains while I’m in my cubicle. Music transports me to other worlds. My energy goes into living, mostly. And sometimes creating. Writing. I love writing here so much and always want to approach it with humble energy.
I started this blog back in New York, and it’s been with me through extreme profit, depressive episodes, adrenal fatigue, multiple jobs, burnout from said jobs, and countless trips (I guess I could technically count ’em, but suffice it to say a LOT of trips). What’s happening to me now is both a settling down and a growth period all at once.
I’m finding my WHY. As long as I stay grateful and gentle, it’s gonna be pretty cool. For now, plugging away. ⚡️* 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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