HAPPY NEW YEAR! WELCOME, 2021.
Thank you to those of you who prodded me and asked if I was going to put up an end-of-year post this year. It’s a bit late, but here it is.
2020 GOALS REVIEW
Back in January of 2020, I only named two goals for the year:
ONE. Max out all tax-advantaged and employee benefit spaces available 401k, Roth IRA, HSA, and ESPP (employee stock purchase plan).
VERDICT: PARTIAL PASS. I managed to max out my 401k, Roth IRA, and HSA. I did not take advantage of the ESPP because by the time the purchase window opened, COVID hit and I had other priorities.
TWO. Stack cash! I plan to add at least $20,000 to my existing emergency fund in order to have a total of at least $30k by the end of the year. I still haven’t determined what my fully-funded emergency fund total will be, but I know that at $10k, it’s currently nowhere near where I want it to be. I want to have enough cash that if I lose my job, I won’t have any stress. Instead of panicking about how I’m going to pay my bills, I’m going to be giddy thinking about the sabbatical I’m about to take from work and getting ready to buy plane tickets.
VERDICT: FAIL. I was on track to meet this goal until I moved out. My emergency fund is now $21,200.
Also from my January 2020 Goal Post:
“That’s what I’m planning. But then again, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. (A pearl of wisdom from the philosopher, Mike Tyson.) We’ll see what 2020 has in store for me.”
Prophetic words to be sure. And boy, did COVID have a mean left hook.
There were a couple of reasons that caused me to move out of the room I was renting, but the more immediate driver of the two was simple – bedbugs. The last roommate to move in brought bedbugs into the house.
The other woman roommate (before she moved out) and I had some reservations about this guy moving in, but there didn’t appear to be any other options available and Landlord liked him because he would only be staying at the house for part of the week. It now appears he was splitting his time between our house and a halfway house. When I said that Landlord didn’t care who he put in the house as long as they paid rent, I was serious.
The Landlord’s decision ended up biting me in the ass, literally. The new roommate’s bedroom and mine were right next to each other. After repeatedly waking up with mysterious bites, I did some research and finally put two and two together. I had to ditch A LOT (~80%) of my stuff, heat-treat the rest and get the hell out of there asap. I was already primed to leave for other reasons, but the bedbugs were the final straw. I showed up at my new apartment with a few boxes and a backpack.
The Fates sent me a loud message it seems. It was time to move on and start living life. Moving expenses, furnishing an apartment from scratch, increased rent, have taken my entire cash flow since then. At the close of 2020, I’m just about caught up now and will be able to start saving money again soon.
Despite the utter shit-show that was 2020, my net worth somehow managed to increase. At the end of 2019, freshly out of debt, my net worth was $207,414. It is now $295,076 – an increase of $87,662. That’s one bright spot. Most of that increase was clearly stock market gains. The stock market is a fickle friend, however, and these days it seems completely divorced from reality.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR ME?
This blog had one main purpose, to chronicle my journey out of debt. That mission has been accomplished.
Assuming I can keep my (stressful) job in 2021, I’m going to build my emergency fund to at least $25K or $30K, then put whatever is left into my Life Fund. I haven’t figured my life out yet, but I can start saving for it anyway. So I’m putting that part on autopilot for a while.
I’m a year older (mid-40s) and feel like the clock is running out. I feel like I need to make big decisions, but I’m not entirely sure what they are and how to make them. I know I want to focus on growing relationships (easier said than done) and improving my health (also easier said than done).
While I plan to leave this blog up for the foreseeable future, I won’t be posting here much unless something major happens. I just have other priorities right now. I can still be reached via “Contact Me” and comments.
Thank you for reading this blog over the years, and offering support and advice. It has been a journey.
Many thanks for updating us on things. I have mixed emotions of being very pleased for you that you have freed yourself from a terrible burden but also a tinge of sadness that this will be the end of hearing from you. But life has to move forward and I wish you gerat success and prosperity this year and beyond. Good luck and best wishes.
Thank you, Paul, for reading over the years. I have mixed emotions as well. Thanks for the well wishes. Best wishes to you also.
I was so excited to see a new blog post from you, but my jaw dropped as soon as I read the title!
You have been such an inspiration to me (and I’m sure to many others as well) for the last couple of years in paying off my debt.
My only regret is not finding your blog sooner and following your journey from the very beginning.
While I am so incredibly happy that you’ve accomplished your goal of getting out of debt, it is a bittersweet ending as I love reading your blog.
I’m glad you’ll keep us updated with any major events in your life. Perhaps you can do an occasional monthly or quarterly check in on the blog even if there are no major changes? 🥺
Regardless, I wish you all the best as you move forward in this new chapter of your life!
Thank you, Avery. I appreciate the kind words. I’ll consider a quarterly post. Who knows. Maybe there will be something to write about. 😉
Likewise. Best wishes, Avery. 🙂
I am very glad that you accomplished you main mission (getting out of debt) and have done such an admirable job at increasing your financial security.
I am sad that you will be moving away from blogging but it sounds like there are changes you need to make. Good for you – putting priorities ahead of whims.
Wishing you the very best in your future endeavors!
Thank you for reading! Yeah, I’ve got to figure out some things. Who knows what the future holds these days.
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I think most of us saw this coming even if we didn’t want to admit it…
First, congratulations on a pretty significant 2020 financially and in terms of your investment in your personal well-being. I am always impressed with actions taken to prioritize your health and well being as it is never externally incentivized. Regardless of the incentive.
Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I have been stalking…er…following your blog since 2013. Your journey and writing has kept me company domestically, and abroad, at moments that found me financially hopeful, and in moments of financial despair. I don’t know that I would have had the courage to begin blogging about my own journey (and the shame, embarrassment, and challenges that go along with it) if it weren’t for your blog (and Stephanie over at SixFiguresUnder), so all I can say is THANK YOU.
I wish you the best of luck with this new chapter in your life. It is most deserved. I will remain a faithful subscriber and any post, at any point, in the future will certainly be welcome.
Much love, AP
Hey, Afro Penny! I’m glad that this blog has been helpful to you over the years. It really served as therapy for me as I was able to constructively deal with all the frustrations and impatience of being in debt, by writing it out. Keep up your battle. I don’t know what’s next for me, really. Maybe I’ll come back to blogging at some point after a long hiatus. I’ll keep tabs on your journey. 🙂
ugh – so sad. Glad you got out of debt. I’m just miffed because you were one of the few well written blogs out there. You also were a nice niche of being in a lot of debt but having a decent paying job so I was able to relate (most bloggers seem to have folks making under 40/50k which is interesting to read but I don’t get as many takeaways.
It would have been nice to watch you start to build and blog about the challenges of switching the mindset from debt payoff to building assets and the challenges that come with that but as someone said upcomment, it was beginning to show your heart was not as into it anymore so understandable. Wishing you the best in the future and if any readers have suggestions of other blogs similar to this – please drop in the comments.
Thank you for reading, debtor. I’m glad you’ve gotten value from this blog. After blogging for over 8 years, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling burned out. I may return to blogging at some point in the future, but I need a break. I wish you the best in your debt payoff!
Congratulations on your amazing accomplishments! I’ve absolutely enjoyed being on this journey with you, and while I’m so proud of both of us for kicking debt’s ass to the curb, I will miss you! Best of luck with the rest of your debt-free life, my friend!
Thanks, TT! Another big congrats to you as well. Likewise. Your journey kept me inspired. 🙂
I’m sorry you are stopping your blog but delighted you are out of debt and have savings. You’ve achieved so much and good luck with your next steps in life.
Hi, Jane. Thank you for visiting and reading. 🙂
I feel the same way the other commenters do. So happy for you that you’re finally out of debt, and that you finally have your own place! So sad that this might be the end of hearing from you. I’ll miss you! You’re my very very favourite blogger, I’ve followed you for years. I’ve said it before, I feel like you’re an old friend (that I’ve never met.) 🙂
If you ever decide to blog again, either a little or a lot, either here or maybe if you want to create a new blog about your fabulous debt free life, I’d be thrilled. Reading the other comments, I know I’m not alone in that.
But more than anything, you gotta do what’s right for you, and if that means no more blogging, so be it. I wish you ALL THE VERY BEST regardless! ❤
Best of luck with everything, sending you as much love as is appropriate from a blog reader. 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤
Hey, Maria! Thanks for reading and for your support over the years. Wow! Favorite blogger? Awww, thanks so much. ❤ The future is unknown. I may return to blogging in the future. This may be a hiatus. I don't know what I will do, but I do know I need a break for a while. If I come back, I'll let you know. I plan to keep this blog up indefinitely. 🙂
There are not many bloggers who write as well as you. So I thank you for writing for the single ladies, the single ppl, the ppl renting a room. You’ve touched many ppl. I wish had found your page sooner, but since 2020 was so crazy, well I am surprised that I found you at all. Yes, after the last post, I knew you were going to stop, but at least I can go back and revisit. Thank for all of your posts!
Hi, Jillian. I’m glad you were able to find my blog and have found it worth reading!
After 8 years of blogging and with 2020-2021 being what they are, I just need a break. I may return to blogging at some point in the not too distant future. I don’t know. The future is unpredictable. 99% sure I’ll still be single though. lol.
In the meantime, thank you for the kind words! I wish you well in your financial journey. 🙂
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DDSW, It’s been a most inspiring run of years since I discovered your blog in 2016. I’m a little glad about the bed bugs as a push to upgrade your lifestyle to something more worthy of your character. That COVID(iot) roommate seemed like a real trip.
I tend to be too inert myself about necessary changes such as in my case a stable career path, but like you, have made progress in 2020 in my net worth (though nowhere near the figures you are citing). I finally ACTUALLY have a Roth Account and a Fully Funded Emergency Fund ($23.5K). I even saved some money for a replacement car after the one I have gives out in about a year. And I dumped a bunch of $$ into my condo equity. So, per the net worth calculator, I am with the closing of 2020 legitimately MIDDLE CLASS (44th percentile for my age).
Anyway, I’ll still hold out hope for more blogs from you even if they get scarcer, and in the meanwhile wish you only success and achievement of all your goals. Happy New Year!
Hey, czanclus! Thank you so much. I’m still waiting for YOU to start cranking out some posts to your blog, girlie girl! lol.
I’m so happy that your financial situation has improved so much!! WOOT! High five.
I may return to blogging at some point, so I can’t say anything for certain. Thanks again for your support and words of advice over the years. 🙂
I have followed your journey through debt since you were the lowest ranked blogger on Rockstar Finances net worth list (how I found you). Over the years I have sometimes commented that I will be following along until you are done with debt.
I never posted when you acheived your goal, but want to assure, there has been a lot of people cheering for you!
All the best in the future,
Thank you, Karl. Wow, that was a long time ago! Thanks so much for reading all this time. I appreciate it and your support. 🙂
It’s been great to watch your progress. Will miss you, but still cheering you to more success. Best wishes.
Thank you for reading over the years, AW. Wishing you the best as well. 🙂
Hi! I’ve been following your blog for many years and I will miss reading your updates. Yours was one of the few personal finance blogs I felt like I could really relate to. Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you the best in the future! I’m sorry that your last roommate was so so bad, but I’m happy for you that you finally have your own place – you deserve it!
Congrats! You have accomplished so much in less than 10 years. Your journey was both impressive and inspiring. Best of luck going forward!
Thank you for the positive words.
Thanks for all that you shared over the years. You really slugged it out. And yes, I believe it is time to live your life. It will all work out!
Thank you, Isabella! 🙂
There does always seem to come a kind of natural stopping point when you just run out of stuff you feel like writing about. I so loved following your journey, but I’m also enjoying picturing you in an apartment on your own with no roommates and no bedbugs (eesh). You were really inspiring in your commitment and dedication to your goal. Hope you do get the energy to check in every once in a while!
Thanks, C! I’m loving having my own space. Who knows. Maybe I’ll post something quarterly. 🙂