By: Revanche

2014: The year in review

January 1, 2015

HNY

2014 highlights

SPENDING

The good: We can do a fair bit of luxury spending: travel, paying a little more for good quality things rather than settling for the cheapest (and lower quality), eating out more than usual to conserve energy.

We’ve considered a new (to us) car but we’re holding off for now. We’ll wait til the new fancy edition that PiC wants is at least a couple years old and available on the used market. That also means paying cash so I’d like to have that on hand.

The bad: I still feel we spend too much of our incomes (about 75% of it) but we live in both a relatively HCOLA and we pay at least $17,000 annually for my dad’s upkeep, more or less depending on shenanigans.

SAVING

The good: We maxed out PiC’s 401(k) contributions.

I made a last minute 2013 IRA contribution and did the same for 2014. (Last minute because I plain forgot.)

We continued to save 25% the whole year, and started a new savings account for LB.

Our side money venture went really well in Q4.

The bad: I don’t have a retirement plan through the new company so I intended to set up my own. Researched, yes. Decisioned, no. So that’s a fail.

The I don’t know yet: We expanded our portfolio into real estate this year.

Since it took me all of Q1 to properly collect our net worth data, I don’t feel like I can really extol our progress accurately on that front.

BEST OF

PiC got a fantastic promotion and raise.

My job pays well enough (begrudgingly “I GUESS”) with far less room for income growth but I have non-monetary benefits that are great for my health and translates into savings and improved quality of life for us: very low commute costs, no costs for professional clothing, very flexible scheduling so I can cook/rest/life a lot more.

We traveled to an international destination we’ve always wanted to explore together.

Our relationship has become stronger and more resilient throughout pregnancy. The pregnancy has been incredibly difficult, both for my health and sanity, and therefore, on PiC, but you generally wouldn’t know it – he’s been an incredible helpmeet and caregiver. It also helped punt us into getting way more organized both in the home and with our money which, of course, makes me really happy.

Rescuing Seamus – he’s been a delight. I still have to fight the urge to add another dog to the household … I know we’ll have our hands very full soon.

WORST OF

Hands down, losing our beloved boy.

LOOKING AHEAD

I don’t have concrete goals other than to maintain our current heading: save and build wealth, enjoy a good bit of life and keep stress low.

We remain debt-free, except for mortgages (as I turn to PiC and ask “Wanna make a fat payment to the mortgage?”). Considering how much more work it is to dig out of debt (O the Memories!), just making decisions that keep us out of it in the first place feels like simplicity itself. It does involve saying “no” or “not now” in a lot of areas but not so many as you would think. It helps that we’re a simple pair.

The Plan

1. Keep saving 25% (minimum) of both our incomes as long term savings; this leaves 75% for all expenses, ours, LB’s, dog’s, my family’s, etc.
2. Cashflow LB’s expenses via the savings we already put aside and continuing to take that out of our cash designated for regular expenses. Basically this means cutting back on our regular expenses to allow for LB’s.
3. Streamline our money management. We got on Mint this year which is starting to work ok. Though their habit of duplicating transactions is nutty-making.
I’m now testing a joint email account for our bills and household accounts so that we both have access to incoming bills and other financial information – very important.
4. Get on that estate planning.

:: What were your bests/worsts? How’d you do this year?Β  With life/saving/spending?

13 Responses to “2014: The year in review”

  1. You and PiC has had a lot of ups and downs last year. With LB on the way, 2015 will be amazing (although you might lack a few hours of sleep for a few months). ^__^; Happy new year to you, PiC and Seamus. May 2015 bring you much happiness and fortune.

  2. Athea says:

    I think even though you had ups and downs, your year went better than expected. I did really well this year personally with my career and in regards to my education and personal health. In regards to finances, meh. I am hoping 2015 will be better.
    Athea recently posted…December Recap & January GoalsMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Where it went well, we did at least as good as or better than expected. Where it was bad, it was devastating. Roller coaster.
      I think you hit on the most important points of improvement in 2014, setting you up for a good 2015!

  3. Alicia says:

    its been quite the year for you two. I remember that I started reading your blog around the time you lost your boy, and it broke my heart. I think your 25% savings is a great number for a reasonable retirement timeframe (I’m not convinced on early retirement and 50%+ savings rates to be done at 40). Cannot wait until LB is here.

    • Revanche says:

      Yeah that was bad times :/
      I’m definitely hoping for a higher savings rate (just raising it incrementally) as we go along since I’m neurotic but it’s probably not wise to be adjusting to LB AND feeling the pinch of less disposable income at the same time.

  4. […] 2014: The year in review by A Gai Shan Life – yes, I need to start our estate planning as well. It was easy when I was single as all the money and everything I had was going to be given to my girlfriend/fiance (now wife) with a very small portion to my parents. My wife just doesn’t like dealing with these kinds of things so it is up to me to look into it and explain everything to her to make a sound decision. […]

  5. Sally says:

    Yes, yes, and yes to just staying out of debt. I keep reminding myself not to buy this now, now to buy that now. Bests were all the wedding good stuff and honeymoon, and Christmas, and having so many family members stay at our new home. Worst was the wedding cost and some personal stuff we struggled with, but we’re working on daily now. We had a spendy Christmas, but we knew it was coming. Dogs are the best and make a house a home. So excited for your LB!!! I have lots of goals for 2015, since 2014 was tough on many fronts, but it was still very good. I want to get to that “comfortable” point, so the main goal is just increase income so I can meet all my money goals. And no fast food! I want to finally break my bad habit. Happy New Year!
    Sally recently posted…In 2015, Learn by Positive ExampleMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      You had a VERY eventful year! And I’d wager that there are always some rough transitions on the personal front in the first year of marriage, in one way or another so actively working through them as they come up is a net positive in my book.

      Go forth and conquer on the work front and best of luck working on cutting out the fast food! πŸ™‚

  6. What a year!
    Next year will prove to be interesting, too. Nice work, PiC, on the monster raise.
    I’m looking forward to LB joining the melee πŸ™‚
    Anne @ Money Propeller recently posted…New Year – New Giveaway – $50 and BooksMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Melee is right! πŸ™‚ That raise will really come in handy – we’ve already changed allocations for savings and spending so it’ll be great to have the cushion, especially when I’m off on leave at partial pay :/

  7. SP says:

    Happy New Year!

    Best of 2014 was finding our house in what turned out to be a relatively straightforward manner (after bracing for months of searching & offers). Also, finding my new job! Worst of 2014 was work related, and how things went with a certain person at work… glad that is behind me.

    I hope you, PiC and LB have an excellent 2015!
    SP recently posted…On my mind: Disjointed Links & ThoughtsMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Happy New Year!

      I love how your house buying went way more smoothly than expected & yay again for the new job! I hope you end up loving this one.

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