Saturday, December 26, 2020

2021 Recap

Hi Everyone!

It’s been so long since I last posted. This year has gone by in a flash and has been such a bitter/sweet year. Just wanted to provide a brief update on the state of affairs for anyone still following.

I am doing really well and actually just got promoted again at the Bank. I will become one of the Regional Directors in January and I am super excited about the opportunity. 

Despite the pandemic this year, I received a 22% bonus and stock award. My total annual compensation this year was approximately $185k. I should surpass the $200k mark next year as I move into a higher bonus target with stock paying out over the next 3 years. Very blessed.

I moved back to my condo in October of last year and almost completely renovated. I just have to do the bathrooms. I am staying put for now. Some good things happened this year. I grew my liquidity, fully maxed out my retirement and refinanced the condo into a 15-year mortgage at 2.65%. The payment increased less than $100 and the condo is back in the black with a value of $142k (post renovation). Overall, I was able to grow my net worth by $155k this year. And, my net worth has grown almost $713k since moving home to my parent’s house for 5 years in late 2014. That was a super blessing. I actually miss being over at the house with them but they’re in my bubble so I see them often.

Below is a breakdown of the 6-year journey. Things are no longer tight and I feel like I have a good amount of discretionary income. I max out my 401k and aim to save at least another $20k per year outside of retirement. Most of that comes from the YE bonus and stock payout which was $30M this year after taxes. Coming from living paycheck to paycheck 6 years ago, I feel very fortunate every day. I still keep meticulous track of everything on spreadsheets. It's just pretty engrained at this point. 

Wishing you and your families a Happy Holiday and a better, more positive, more safe and more fruitful 2021!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Still Alive & Well

Hi Everyone!

I got a message from an old reader Traci and I realized there might be some people still checking out this old blog. I’m tickled. I’ll post an update soon but this gal living in the Chi is doing quite well and I’ve made a ton of progress that I can’t wait to share.



Saturday, February 10, 2018

2017 Recap...

2017 was another GREAT YEAR!

Moving home and renting out my condo was the best decision EVER! Not only are my Parents the coolest people but my Tenants are awesome as well! This entire experience has been a supreme blessing!

I was able to pay off another $30k last year while doing a whole lot of traveling!

My Net Worth has improved by $226k from ($93k) to $133k! Feels great to be in positive territory!

I tried to go back as far as I could to capture the progress to date since the student loan repayment madness began! Below is a chart that shows I've paid off $138k so far and all on my own! Slow progress but progress indeed when you consider I finally stopped living paycheck to paycheck when I started making 6-figures about 6 years ago.

Today, I have a healthy annual base salary of $136k and this year I will gross approximately $185k with bonus and stock that pays out in December. I actually have stock awards that will pay out over the next 3 years that was awarded from distinguished job performance. Mid-year, I got a salary bump as well from $122k to $134k and with the small yearly increase, I am now at $136k. Great things are happening!

CJ and I are still going strong. He works in the insurance restoration business as a project manager so he unexpectedly moved to Florida late last year to work on the hurricane damage. He is rocking out down there so it's hard to complain. Now we are trying to see if his move is temporary or permanent. The plan was for him to move to Chicago this year but Florida is looking promising, even if it's temporary. I already work from home Mondays and Fridays and a week every other month, which helps with traveling to see each other. I can do my job anywhere so my hope is that my company will allow me to split my time between Chicago and Florida and I am pretty sure I can pull that off.

My goal this year is to pay off EVERYTHING in the chart above with the exception of the final $60K federal loan. That baby has a monthly payment of $240 and is fixed at 3.25% for the life of the loan. At that point, I am going to shift my focus from debt repayment to growing wealth! Fun!

Right now, I have roughly $200k in Retirement Savings and another $30k sitting in cash and stock. Each month, I save $1,450 pre-tax (with bank match) and $1,500 post-tax. Not too shabby and next year I will be able to max out my pre-tax retirement with the shift to growing wealth! 

Oh by the way....Chitown turned 40 in December! Yasss!!! CJ turns 40 this week and he's coming to town to visit. My Dad turns 70 on Sunday and well...We are blessed! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

2017 Mid-Year Review...

Thanks to the person who left a comment about an update! So sorry I've been MIA. Our department at the office is short staffed due to turnover since March so I've been pulling double duty. Bad news is  that I'm super burned out. Good news is my hard work was recognized and I received a rare mid-year salary bump from $122k to $134k which was Huge! The increase brings me a bit more in line with market, although I'm still below market salary for my position. I also got invited to participate in a Sponsorship Program for people identified for Leadership Potential and Roles. It's a year long program so there could be more great opportunities on the horizon.

CJ and I are still going strong. 3 years in July when he first reached out to me. He's still in OH but is making his way to Chicago. I work a week there remotely every other month or once a month; it depends on what I have going on and the timing. Lately I've been preoccupied with my nephew's baseball season. ⚾️⚾️⚾️

My tenants want to stay another year and may want to buy the condo. It's a woman, her daughter and her parents living there now. Her parents were looking to downsize and sold their home faster than anticipated so they rented with her for a year. Worked out well since she was just wrapping up an unfortunate divorce from the prior tenant. Rent has always been paid on time and they're totally low maintenance. It's been a blessing.

Financially, I fell off a bit over the last couple months with being so busy and unfocused but I'm back in line. When I say I fell off, I overspent. But stayed on target and in line with my debt goals. My savings did take a hit. The raise and year end increase basically covers most of the car payment I picked up last year. Nice!

Thanks for reading my update! Below is snapshot of year to date and my net worth since I started tracking. I did go back and restate historic figures to add in my pension. The Bank stopped our pension plan this year in lieu of a 2% contribution to our 401k. So right now, I contribute 6% and the Bank contributes 7%. Not bad. I plan to increase my percentage contribution at year end to max out next year. Finally! 👍🏾

Sorry for any crazy formatting! I'm blogging from my phone on the train!

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. =)