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Personal Finances / Credit Cards and Consumer Debt
|Subject: Long Term Update||Date: 12/31/2013 11:15 AM|
|Author: jeffbrig||Number: 307645 of 309197|
I was looking at my year end numbers, and realized I haven't posted one of these in a few years. FWIW, I joined the fool way back in 2000 (fresh out of college), and started doing year end summaries in 2005, exactly ten years ago.
So, what's happened in the last 3 years? A ton. DW really came into her own at work (she's an attorney), and her salary started to outpace mine. We put away a lot of money in 2011. In 2012, she decided to venture out and start her own firm, and partnered up with a colleague she knew from law school. We sunk a solid chunk of money into that startup in 2012. It's always rough starting out, so 2012 was a lean year, which we totally expected. Then DW received an offer she couldn't turn down to join a larger existing firm as a partner. In my mind, the money we put into her business effectively 'bought' her that partnership opportunity. This came with another big salary increase, and significant profit sharing potential moving forward into 2014.
Despite the increases in our earnings, we've stayed in the same house we bought in 2002 (making about 1/4 what we do today). The mortgage continues to be paid down, I think it has under 6 years left. We have not accelerated payments, although part of me would like to write a check and pay it off before I hit 40 (I'm 36). We did buy a (used) car last year, and elected to carry a loan at 2.75% rather than pull funds out of our accounts to pay for it.
We both max out our 401k contributions, and each get a company match on top of that. I put another 15% of my gross earnings into an employee stock purchase plan (buys shares at a 15% discount) - which I immediately sell whenever it's granted. It's my easy automatic savings, and helps build up some funds in the taxable investment account. I feel like too much of our money is tied up in 'untouchable' retirement accounts, so I'd like to build up a larger taxable account.
What I'm really proud of us the trend we've made from being severely in debt in 2005 to where we are today. If I calculated my net worth back then, it was a negative number. Our net debt back then was $200,000. Ouch. We've moved the needle the right direction by $600k in 10 years. That's just crazy when I think about it. No golden tickets investing either. We've just consistently put away whatever we could afford, mostly in funds tracking the S&P 500.
Goals for 2014? Continue building the taxable account. Possibly increase my ESPP contribution by whatever raise I get in 2014. DW has money sitting in a 401k from a previous employer where the available investments have under-performed. I need to get this rolled into an IRA, so I'm taking that as a to-do for early 2014. I'd also like to reign in discretionary spending a bit, as we've gotten a little loose with it as our incomes have grown.
Most of all, I'd like to thank my fellow fools. I've received a lot of good advice here over the years. I could have made an awful lot of money mistakes along the way, but you've helped me keep it down to just a few. ;)
Hope you had a good 2013, and hope you see an even better 2014!
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