Did your 2016 turn out like you had anticipated? Or, did you uncover a year of unexpected fortune like I did?
Let’s take a quick look at some of my wins and misses for the year.
For many of us, our portfolios increased healthily these past 12 months despite a downwards trend earlier in 2016.
The S&P 500 for 2016 ended up 9.53% and the Dow Index was up 13.28%.
Our net worth increased from $1,549,657 to $1,741,171 this past year. That’s a $191,513 increase, or 12.4% by percentage.
I did sell off some equities along the way to build up some cash and plan to invest some of these proceeds into municipal bonds.
I can’t complain much considering I was preparing for a down year, however, even at a 12.4% increase, it still isn’t moving the needle at all towards my goal of $10M. So, I’ll be doubling down efforts this year to increase income.
Am I worried? Not so much. I’ve got 10 years to bridge the gap and I assume the chunk of this will come exponentially.
We saved a little over $10,000 this year which is better than a loss (considering my limited income and ongoing investments).
We didn’t really save as much as I would have liked in large part because of my limited income. It would be nice to have $25,000 this coming year as our income increases and get back to significant savings again just to keep the saving habit fresh.
As you probably know, the largest reason I took an early retirement was to spend time with my family without restriction.
2016 was again a huge blessing, with a ton of time spent playing, laughing, yelling, with (and at) my kids. Ages 4 and 2 are an incredibly fun age. There are so many great things to do in San Diego and the surrounding areas (beaches, lakes, & mountains!).
Sometimes it’s the little things that are the most memorable – trips to Costco, story time with our good neighbor friends, or dancing around the house to Kidz Bop. This time is finite, so I’m sucking up every last bit of these precious moments!
I was also blessed to take some time to re-connect with my wife in February. We took a relaxing trip to Sedona, AZ, and spent some quality time hiking, eating great meals, and enjoying a couples massage. A few months later we did a stay-cation in San Diego over the weekend. We are very blessed to always have my wife’s Mom to come watch the kids during these little getaways.
Finally, we had an epic summer vacation in Mammoth, CA with our neighbor friends and had the chance to do some trout fishing with the kids.
I do struggle with frustration sometimes and at times it can come out harsh with the kids or wife.
I’m reading a new book called, Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child, as recommended by my coach, Cathy.
Although I enjoy giving money away to special causes close to my heart, I decided to go one step further this year. I volunteered as a youth coach over the summer at the Global Youth Leadership Summit.
If you have kids that are in their teens or close to, you owe it to yourself to check out this incredible program. It teaches kids about self-confidence, leadership, compassion, and so much more.
I can honestly say it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve done in a long time.
I was also happy we took the time as a family to tour the San Diego Rescue Mission in person. I’ve been donating here for well over a decade but finally took the time to see their facilities in action. My wife and I felt it was important for our children to have this experience too in hopes they will realize how lucky they are.
This, of course, won’t happen instantaneously (especially with kids), but over time I’m hopeful they will find the natural compassion that lives inside their hearts.
I would have liked to do more random acts of kindness.
Exercise & Wellness
After a relatively sedentary lifestyle in 2015, I started playing tennis again after a several year hiatus. It’s been great to get back into it, not only because it’s a good workout, but because it’s fun! Remember me talking about pulling yourself to a goal vs. pushing?
Starting mid-January, I will be continuing my tennis classes once a week, and I also plan to play at least one additional day.
Although I’ve been exercising regularly, I haven’t been necessarily been eating as healthily as I could. I’ve started decreasing my portion sizes recently, but I have a suspicion that I’m pre-hypertensive based on my most recent blood pressure readings.
I am planning to attend Life Mastery next Fall which focuses on wellness and energy.
Financially Alert continues to grow slowly, but surely. I’ve learned a lot about blogging this past year and feel very fortunate to be a personal finance blogger during these times. I continue to see a huge opportunity as I build the site and create related services or products along the way.
The blog has allowed me to share my voice in a manner that I was never really comfortable doing before. And, just the past month, I started experimenting with video and intend to expand this medium further.
The blog also has given me the opportunity to turn my dream of becoming a financial coach into a reality. Helping others to breakthrough is as satisfying as I thought it would be. I also realized some key distinctions this year about the differences of coaching vs. consulting. This year I may explore some consulting opportunities as well since I have some pretty good experience under my belt related to small business.
Although I’ve been focusing on creating longer post these days, I still need to bump up my content creation this coming year. I’m hoping to do some of that video as it will take less time than writing a full 1500 word post, but still make an impact (hopefully!)
I also didn’t make a ton of money with the blog, but I at least cleared the thousand dollar milestone. I am definitely exploring some additional affiliate opportunities for products/services I already use (eg. Personal Capital).
2016 was a memorable year of unexpected fortune in the markets, and rich in life experiences and interactions. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store!
I leave you with an incredible message from my mentor, teacher, and coach – Tony Robbins.
What he shares is so pertinent for us (the overachievers!) and how to really create a lasting impact in our lives. Hint, it’s not about one-hit wonders, rather creating the necessary rituals/habits that add up to huge results over time.
I wish you and your family a stellar 2017 filled with prosperity, love, health, and fun.
Don’t settle for less than you can be in 2017! You are awesome!!
Readers, how was your 2016? What’s in store for 2017? What are you most excited about doing, or are already doing?