Another year has come and gone, leaving a review in its place…bye 2017.
Today, I’m penning an article like a letter of sorts to anyone who is interested in reading about my year in review, highlighting both life and money topics.
There are a few personal aspects that stand out from the year that I’m going to share. Also, if you have followed my month-end financial reviews, this post will go over the final results of my year in market investments.
2017 – The Year of the Unknown
What better way to start than at the very beginning?
2017 started off on the wrong foot, quite literally, with a bum ankle from an unfortunate hiking accident.
Moving into the beginning of the year, I had high hopes I would find my ideal position working in my chosen career field. I didn’t.
After losing my job over one year ago, I want to re-enter the workforce at a traditional 9-to-5 once more.
And this time, end it on my terms.
If you are a regular reader, you may be surprised since I alluded to finding a position in late 2017. It turns out, the job was not as described. Instead of prolonging the inevitable process – I walked away (w/ notice, of course). It’s kind of crazy. I walked away from a good salary and benefits. I will be discussing this in more detail when I write about the job I end up landing…eventually.
You may be wondering why it has been so difficult for me to find a job.
A big portion of it is due to the fact that I am wanting to make a move out-of-state.
Another factor is that I left the energy industry with specialized experience. My prior experience is making it more difficult – though not impossible!
Throughout 2017, I made an effort to look for jobs in a different state, while still residing in my current mid-sized town. If anyone has ever done this, you know how difficult it is, especially with no relevant contacts in these given cities. I looked in Chicago, Salt Lake City, and Dallas.
Why these cities?
Chicago – for a large city, the cost of living is more reasonable than Seattle, San Francisco, and NYC.
Salt Lake City – my husband really wants to live here due to the various hiking trails, parks, gem hunting opportunities (hmm, on this). There are outdoor activities close by that would make for an active place to live.
Dallas – a robust job market, no sales tax, and relatively low cost of living.
If money was not a factor in the equation, I would prefer to live in Seattle or San Francisco, but right now, I am priced out of actually living in those places AND getting to FI in the next few years. I can’t do both…
Overall, my job search focused on larger cities because it’s something both my husband and I want to experience at least once – living in a walkable city. We figured it would either be now or never since looking for an out-of-state job is easier while unemployed. Ya know, being available for interviews…
Mid-year, along with traveling for interviews, I started a short-lived hobby making polymer clay and leather jewelry/creations. Here are some pictures from my experience. I am going to revisit this at some point, once I can start using pottery clay/ceramics.
Another summer highlight was taking a vacation to NYC.
I had been to NYC previously as part of a sister trip, but this time I went with my husband who had never visited before. Since we were there during the summer, there were hoards of people everywhereeeeeeeee.
Highlights other than the usual happenings included getting caught in a downpour in Soho and riding it out under awnings (while witnessing the negligent delivery lady leave Amazon packages decked out in the rain), mediating a fight between the Uber driver and a disgruntled customer, and learning where Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) lives!
Some of the NYC eats (Click for description) …
After summer ended, and a contract position came and went, I finally took the leap and…
Started a blog. On September 18, 2017, Full-Time Dollars went live.
For the last quarter of 2017, I spent an insane amount of time working on my website. It has surpassed anything and everything that I have done in a long time – and in a really good way. I will write more about it in a blogging “select month” review including what I have learned and my plans for the future. In the interim, you can read about my vision for Full-Time Dollars here.
The Last Financial Review
After giving it some thought, I have decided that this will likely be my last financial update about increases/decreases in market investments.
I started sharing some financial aspects because when I first started reading financial blogs, that’s what I enjoyed – the numbers!
Thus, I made room for that type of content when I started blogging. I figured it would be appropriate to give the reader a view of my finances given that this is a personal finance site.
This website is aimed at making the move from the traditional 9-to-5 to a redefined life, with money being one of the prime factors. It makes sense.
That being said, after making a few of these types of posts, I noticed that they weren’t all that popular. In short, my current readers aren’t interested in this type of monthly content.
So instead of taking the time to update you on my financial progress, it’s going to leave me more time to focus on writing more actionable articles that pertain to how I got to where I am financially – so that you can apply the same tactics to your life if you choose to…
…and I am thinking about making quarterly “Life & Money” posts as part of a series. Read more about it in the next section.
Without further ado…here is my last official financial update (for the foreseeable future).
If you’re invested in the markets like I am, you will nod in agreement that 2017 was an epic year.
So epic in fact that without a 9-to-5 job, my household achieved another milestone in early October.
I left you in December with an increase in investment value that had already surpassed my normal yearly contributions.
2017 Change in Investment Value
The change month over month was $10,442.42, which brings the 2017 increase in investment value to $80,325.72.
I have my view of the balances split between traditional and early retirement accounts. Currently, this is tentative, as I am still determining how I want to structure the outflow of funds during retirement. I still have time to consider the options prior to permanently departing from the 9-to-5 to more fulfilling work.
Contributions + Growth Breakdown
For 2017, I contributed fresh capital of $6,500 to IRA #1 and #2. I normally max these IRA’s out at $5,500/for each account. This year due to the loss in income, I am waiting until the beginning of 2018 to contribute fully to plan year 2017.
Also, an additional $2,931.68 was added to a small pension that is currently not available to be invested.
This brings the total 2017 contributions to $9,431.68.
This is the lowest yearly contribution balance to date in likely the last 8-10 years.
You can determine that without significant contributions, my household investment accounts have grown well beyond my contributions for 2017.
When I was still working and investing regularly, contributions totaled $40k-$50k “all in”. After securing a new job, I am going to start off with working to get the emergency fund back up to 1-year expenses, contribute half my take-home pay to investments, and the remaining to build up a 3-year auxiliary fund.
Life & Money Series in 2018
2017 had a lot of significance in both my personal and financial life.
I set out to find a job out-of-state and failed – but I’m still working at it. Without a job and only my husband’s income in the mix, a milestone was still achieved and the money mass that was built year over year is continuing to do its work.
For 2018, my big-time goal is to find that permanent job – preferably in a different state. The stars may have aligned because I got an “interesting” call last week. I’m crossing my fingers this one pans out because I am SO over looking for jobs. If for some reason it doesn’t work out, I am considering making a move to a different city anyway and finding a job once I’m there. As crazy as it sounds, I learned last year what didn’t work, which is why I feel as though I have to do this – in order to finally make a move! Makes sense, right?
This is all happening in real time, so bear with me! I’m really looking to do something that I enjoy as my potentially last w2 job and going on a “great adventure” (as my husband has coined it).
Going into 2018 to tie in the theme of my blog, I am considering starting a quarterly “Life & Money” series. These series of posts would house some areas of my life and some money aspects. That will likely be more interesting than my lackluster monthly reports. I’ll work on the specifics…
Until then, here’s to wishing you an abundant & happy 2018…Cheers!
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Please note: The stock market can be highly volatile, with past results not being an indicator of future results.
How was 2017 for you? Any big goals or plans for 2018? Please share your stories and comments below.