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I hadn’t thought about doing a year-in-review post like this until I started to read some of the other blogs out there and thought this would be fun. Since I didn’t start the blog until August 1st and hadn’t created any goals for 2016, shame on me. I thought I’d share the highlights and lowlights of my financial and personal life for the year instead.
- I’ll start with a new family member to the Mustard Seed Money extended family. My nephew was born December 19th, and I have to say he is a cute one. He was a few of days late but arrived just before Christmas, which was perfect, although his mama was ready for him to join a little sooner. We plan to spoil him with lots of affordable gifts.
- With the excitement of the new extended family member to Mustard Seed Money, I’m sorry to report that we also lost two members of the extended family. My Grandfather-in-law passed away in March, and my great Aunt passed away in October. While they both lived long lives, we definitely miss both of them.
- I just found out today that I won a contest that I had forgotten about. I got an email stating that I had won a $25 gift certificate to my favorite restaurant. When I say favorite restaurant, I mean a restaurant that I’ve frequented for the last 30 years. I’ve never won a contest before, so we’ll chalk this up to just another part of a great 2016.
- From a financial standpoint, our net-worth increased by 34% this year, excluding our home and 529. I exclude both of these since I don’t have any plans to use the equity to live off of, and with the 529 plan, I am hoping that my son is able to go to college and utilize it. While I understand that some people include this in their net-worth since these are assets, I prefer not to. If down the road we need to use them, I can be pleasantly surprised. In comparison to last year, we are behind the 40% increase in net-worth from the previous year. I’m definitely not going to complain as it makes sense when you think about it. Even with the stock market up and our savings rate staying about the same since our net worth increased from last year, it’s harder to see a bigger increase.
- Our savings rate was 66.5% which was virtually unchanged from last year’s 66.4%. I was hoping to see that this would creep up to 70% this year, but unfortunately December was a more expensive month than I had anticipated. Running through our expenses, I had forgotten to calculate the payment that would need to be made for our property taxes. This pushed us below the 70% savings rate, which we had been above throughout the year. I do believe if we can cut back a little bit on restaurants, that we can easily hit our 70% figure in 2017.
- I joined a gym in December and have already lost 4 lbs and 3 weeks. Not too shabby, right? More importantly, I enjoy going. Back in the day, I use to be athletic, or at least that’s what I told myself. I could run a sub-6 minute mile, dunk a basketball, and played AAU baseball. I even finished in 2nd place in the region for a weightlifting meet for my weight class. Those days are long gone when I could get away with devouring 20 McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets with fries and then washing it down with coke without gaining any weight. I can no longer do that. I am about ten pounds from where I should realistically be. For far too long, I was going to the gym but wasn’t seeing the results because I wasn’t pushing myself enough. On top of that, I didn’t enjoy the work out because it was pretty boring. Pushing weights on a machine and walking/running on the treadmill was pretty boring to me. This bootcamp that is next to my workplace has given me the push that I badly needed. My workouts are no longer stagnant.
- The fun 10% of my portfolio is beating the market by 4% for the year. This is a slight improvement from when I beat the market by 3% last year. The best three performing stocks for me were XLE (Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund) in February at the low and then continuing to own Berkshire Hathaway and AWK (American Water Works). AWK has been my favorite stock that I’ve ever owned. It has gone up 250% in five years. By far, the best stock that I’ve ever owned.
- I can’t mention my stock portfolio going up without highlighting my dud of a pick in Chipotle. Ugh. This stock still hasn’t turned around from the price that I bought it. I thought Chipotle would bounce back much quicker and the stock would quickly rebound. Clearly my hypothesis was incorrect. Traffic in stores remained down. They had to use a ton of promotions and giveaways to get people back in their restaurants. For a while, I felt like I was the only person in there. I tried to frequent it a lot myself, and have finally noticed that traffic in the stores has started to return. I went today at 1:30 pm, and the length of the line gave me some hope. So while I’m not happy with the performance to date, I still think that there should be an uptick with some of their future endeavors. The company plans to open a fast-casual pizza shop, Pizza Locale, and hopefully one day, serve breakfast burritos, and then maybe we will see the return of consumers to quality-sourced food.
- We went on our first cruise with our son to Canada/New England which was incredibly beautiful in September. My wife and I love to travel. I never traveled before I got married. Sure I went to Mexico once but really never went anywhere. Once we got married, I traveled to Brazil, Costa Rica, the Caribbean, and Europe. I caught the travel bug, but with a super active kiddo, we haven’t been able to do as much traveling. But, it’s okay. I love playing with my son.
- I started a blog. I’d been talking about it for years and have finally did it. No more excuses. Looking back, it’s one of those things that I wished I had started much earlier. I have been reading blogs for at least the last ten years but never had the guts to actually write myself. Since I started to share, I have found an incredibly friendly community and have learned so much more financially than I knew before. I have to say, blogging has become one of my favorite hobbies.
So readers how was your 2016? Share your highlights with me below.