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.
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!
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!
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!!!