Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I ain’t got no friends, so I thought I might as well post this now. In case you’re just joining us, here’s a little bit about me. I am a single 30-something, openly Christian, hesitantly immigrant-y, human woman. I love watching TV while eating takeout, and I want to retire early. I currently work as a consultant in a tele-health call center making around $40/hr. I started my professional life in 2015 at the ripe ole age of 31 after a few false starts. I spent 2016 paying off about $10,000 worth of credit card debt. I spent 2017 paying off about $20,000 in private student loans; I still have about $300,000 in federal student loans for which I am currently on an income-based repayment plan for the next 25 years, give or take. I started really getting into savings and investing late 2017 when I stumbled upon the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) community. In 2018, I made the decision to try to save for a sabbatical and maybe if all goes well continue the journey to early retirement. Along this journey, I give all sorts of updates, just like this one.
This is the December 2018 Update of my savings and investments balances, i.e. my personal capital. I don’t call it net worth because my massive student loan debt keeps me at a negative net worth and frankly that’s discouraging.
I am getting a little faster at Excel, so this update did not take quite as long to chart as my September 2018 Savings and Investment Update. We’ll utilize a similar structure here as well. Let’s get into it!
Let’s quickly recall some budget items:
2018 Savings goal: $37,000/yr (2017: no goal)
Monthly savings contributions: $3115/mon
My projected investment goal for the end of 2018 was $90,200. I contributed as planned, but I lost a significant chunk of my contributions as of 12/20/2018. It kind of sucked honestly, and it made me doubt this investing thing. I had been planning to update my stock allocation since my first quarter update, but since it was doing well, I didn’t feel as compelled. Once I saw the loss, I got a little more motivated. This is NOT what you are supposed to do, but I did. My brokerage’s advice blog said not to react emotionally to market fluctuations, but if you do, then do half of what you want to do. I heeded that advice. Both my 401k and brokerage accounts were allocated at 90/10 stock/bond. I changed my brokerage to the recommended 68/32 allocation (based on an early retirement age of 42).
That being said, you’ll notice the dip in my investment balance.
Investment Losses – $10,000
It’s been a hard pill to swallow. By my calculations, I’ve lost about $10,000 in four months. This is a lot considering I just started and it seems as though people with much larger investment portfolios haven’t lost as much proportionally.
Investment Balance (08/30/18): $83,981
Contributions (Sep to Dec 2018): $9,956 (not including employer contributions)
Investment Balance (12/20/18): $83,815
Savings and Investments
When you add in my Safety Net Fund + Regular Savings and Checking, my savings and investment balance is bumped up a bit.
My savings goal was $37,000 this year, I did contribute at least that much, but because of market losses, that is not necessarily reflected in the end of year balance.
For some perspective, here’s how far I’ve come.
Dec 2017 (investments only): $51,333
Dec 2018 (investments only): $83,815
Difference: $32,482 (contributions of at least $37,401)
This is actually a little bit less than where I was at my September 2018 update. Womp, womp. I still have about $5,000 in savings that need to be transferred to my investment account, but I’m holding on to it for now until I get used to the loss. And as I have all year, I still have about 1 year of expenses as a safety net, in case of job loss or if I lose my mind and make a run for it!
So that was 2018, my first year in FIRE, my first year blogging about FIRE and my first year with a defined savings goal. How did your 2018 go?