Monday, January 09, 2017

2016 Year End Review & Debt Repayment Journey...

Whew!!! 2016 was a long year but a good year! =)

2017 Bank Performance:

I had another successful year working at the Bank. I am now in year 17 and the time continues to fly by. I earned a Distinguished Performance Rating again which came with a 3% raise, a new $122k/annual salary, and $15k in Bank stock that vests in 3 years. It was a ton of work, extra projects, long hours and working weekends.

2016 gave me some perspective with my annual performance review. I am no longer going bust my butt for $3k in annual increases and $5k/year in stock (that doesn't pay out for 3-years). The reward doesn't match the effort. From now on, I will be content with a Solid/Satisfactory Rating which should still garner me eligible for a cost of living/merit increase since my salary still falls below the midpoint for my job grade. In essence, I am underpaid for my position so there is quite a bit of room for the Bank to make up anyway without me going above and beyond.

Hopefully, I can use the extra free time to do some legal pro bono work or paid legal work. I did some legal work in 2016 and it made me want to do more.

Net Worth



My Net Worth has improved drastically since moving home with my parents -- about 2 1/2 years ago. I am most proud that I stayed patient and didn't do my usual "all or nothing" in regards to either saving or paying down debt and ending up with...Nothing! And ending up sad. Instead, I've been attacking on both fronts, savings and paying down debt. I am also enjoying myself a little along the way.

The big change this year was the new car purchase. My 14-year old car died in July and this was the replacement. I plan to drive this one also until the wheels fall off. I love it!

I did a ton of traveling this year. My boyfriend CJ works in Sales is OH so my job is more flexible than his in terms of work location. So, I traveled quite a bit to OH in 2016, working out an arrangement at work where I can work remotely for a week at a time. I also took a solo trip to Cancun, Mexico in July by myself, and traveled to DC and NY to celebrate 40th Birthday's with friends. My 40th is coming up this December! Wowza!

The Plan

CJ is planning to move to Chicago this year. We are going to move back to the condo for a few years and then look to buy a house and/or relocate again to Maryand/DC area where his family lives. The majority of my debt will be paid off in three years, by December 2020. So, I am feeling a lot more flexible about moving and starting fresh somewhere else for a change. I never would have gotten to that place mentally were it not for the time I've been able to spend with my parents, living with them, having the quality time and being able to reduce my debt load.

2017 Debt Repayment










I was able to pay off a Grand Total of $32,797 in debt for 2017! That compares favorably to 2015 when I was able to pay off $34,556, but traveled less. It was a good year. I changed up my debt repayment strategy just a bit and paid off a Federal Loan vs. a Private Loan at year end. The Federal Loan carried a large $365/month payment and a higher interest rate. With the addition of the new car loan, repayment of this loan in particular along with my 3% increase, virtually made up a large portion of the car payment in the budget to even it out again for 2017. I am back to focusing on getting those private loans extinguished!

Debt Repayment Journey





I broke into the six figure salary range with an almost $20k increase in April 2012. That was really when I was able to stop living paycheck to paycheck and start paying down the debt. Tracking back to January 2013, I have been able to pay off almost $86k in debt with $67k of that progress happening in the last two years. This move home quite literally saved my life. The stress of debt is more than I can express here on a blog!

The plan for 2017 is to pay off both Private Loan #5 and Private Loan #6!

Net Worth

















At the peak of my debt, my net worth stood at negative ($203k) in December 2009. At year-end 2016, it was almost breakeven! Today as I write, I have a positive net worth! I am so excited and proud! I am so THANKFUL to my parents! They did not have money to help me but they have a loving home and big hearts and they welcomed me into their home and they encourage me every single day! I am immensely blessed!

Thank you so much for reading and for hanging in there with me! 2017 is going to be AMAZING!!! Just watch and see!!!


Thursday, October 06, 2016

September 2016...

September was a decent month. My net worth improved by almost $3M.



I have been able to pay off $14K year to date. I plan to have Private Loan #4 paid off by the end of November and Private Loan #5 by end of year with my annual bonus.















Shout out and Thanks to Dreamchaser for reading my blog and for leaving a comment. I am putting together another post that will give some detail on the debt journey since graduating from law school. =)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Daily Dollar App...

Found this cute app over the weekend called Spend Today and it's based on the daily dollar method. You get a certain amount of money for the month divided into days. If you spend less than the daily allotment, you have more to spend the next day, week, etc. If you overspend, then you're borrowing from the next day, week, etc. This was my warning message from yesterday evening. Needless to say, it persuaded me from spending any money today which wasn't too hard since I work from home on Mondays. 😂 Looks like I may be on leftovers for the week too! 😂


Sunday, September 04, 2016

August 2016...

My Net Worth bounced back in August after the car purchase!

My 401k broke the six figure mark for the first time! Yeah! Progress! I continue to contribute 5% to my 401k for the company match. The Bank suspended our pension plan this year and will start to contribute an additional 2% to our 401k for a total of 7%. I enrolled in the 401k program that will automatically increase my personal contribution rate by 1% annually. So next year, I will contribute 6% and the company will contribute 7% for a total of 13% or approximately $16k annually in contributions.

I am still very focused. I also contribute 15% to the Employee Share Purchase Plan (ESPP) where I am able to buy company stock at a 15% discount. By the end of the year, Private Loan #4 and Private Loan #5 will be paid off and my goal is to have at least $30k in savings. What I report below is the stock value at cost but the market value will be close to $29k by the end of September with another quarter left in the year.

I am on track! Things are still up in the air on where I will be living next year. Will I move back to the condo,stay here with my parents or move to Ohio or even Maryland?!?! CJ just took on a sales position in OH and he is doing really well. I am also doing well in Chicago but there is so much violence happening in Chicago that I am more open than ever to relocating. So, we still have to figure out how to get to the same city. I am more flexible and have the ability to work remotely and a boss that is supportive. So, we'll see.

My tenant signed on for another year so I am good to go until August/September of next year. I am so thankful for a good tenant!














Wednesday, August 24, 2016

July 2016....

July was a really good but busy month. It started out with a solo trip to Mexico and followed immediately with a new car purchase. A few days after I returned from Cancun, my 14-year old car essentially said ENOUGH! I knew it was only a matter of time and I am thankful for the years my car rolled with me! Literally!

July was a decent month. The biggest change was in my Net Worth with the new car purchase. The value of the car drops immediately when you drive off the lot. I love my new car and it has already taken me to Ohio once for my family reunion and to visit CJ. I will be riding back to Ohio to work there for a week again in September. The increase in liabilities was partially offset by gains in my retirement account.

Overall, not a bad month. I am working to adjust the budget to account for the new car payment. I wanted to get the car now and get acclimated to the payment vs. moving back into my condo next year and taking back on the housing payments and new car payment at the same time. It all worked out from a timing perspective.

My Goal is still to pay off a minimum of $30k in debt this year and to pay off Private Loan #4 and Private Loan #5!




June 2016....

June was a good month. I snowballed $2,400 for May and June and my net worth improved slightly.





Saturday, July 23, 2016

So Much Change...

Y'all it's been world wind of a few weeks. I took my second solo vacation out of the county to Rivera Maya Cancun earlier this month. CJ couldn't get away from work and I needed to get away. Loved it!!! I am completely sun-kissed! 😘 I stayed at Secrets Playa Mujeres which was all-adult resort and completely amaze-balls!!! Good food, sun and beach! Love!!! ☀️☀️☀️





Less than a week after returning from vacation, I had to finally say Goodbye to my car of 14 years...The Green Machine!!! It served me well considering it had major rust corrosion and was welded together in so many places. This car's engine and transmission were still going strong but things kept breaking off underneath and I needed a set of new tires before Winter. With one more year at home, I decided it was time to get another vehicle that I can ride for another 14 years!!! LOL I'm happy and I was more than ready! My new car is a Nissan Murano SUV and I love it! It's sporty and fun, just like me! 👍🏾


I got my first real haircut too!!! It's super fly! Lots and lots of curly layers!!! I'm so happy and I didn't need to fly to LA or NYC to get a deva cut! I found a salon specializing in curly hair on the North Side of Chicago! Thank goodness for Instagram!!! My Sis found the salon and stylist for me!!! 


I'll definitely have to change up the budget to fit in the new car note but I have a year to get used to the new payment and get ready for the move back home. 

I am on target to have all but one private loan paid off by the time I move back to the condo in September of 2017, a minimum of $40k in savings and just over $100k in retirement balances. The last private loan will be paid off in December of next year with my annual bonus and I would have paid off just over $100k in student loan debt!!! Oh yeah!!! This move home with my folks was an absolute life saver!!!