As we approach the final days of 2016…
It’s important to reflect on our cash accomplishments of the year.
Here’s 5 things that I accomplished in 2016, and what I learned about myself by doing it.
I went after a new position at work.
I spent three years working in the same location, with the same coworkers, and helping the same members every day. Things were comfortable, but things were dull. After itching for something exciting to happen for months, I decided to apply for a floating position. That meant taking my skills on the road and filling in at other branches across three separate counties for our Human Resources department.
This was one of the best decisions I have made in my career. I had the opportunity to meet and work with every employee in the company, learned how 9 different offices all did the same tasks, and was connected with a local networking group that has afforded me with a ton of connections in the finance industry. This job is what changed my job into a career.
What I Learned: You are always your own best advocate. When you keep telling yourself that it’s time for a change, go for it. You never know what you might learn, who you might meet, and what you may discover.
I successfully saved for “annual expenses” for 12 months.
Every year, my car tag needs to be renewed, my Amazon Prime account needs to be paid, and my Costco membership needs to be renewed. Rather than forgetting about these events and being “surprised” when the invoice came in the mail, I decided to budget for it. I set up a special savings account, divided the total annual cost of each membership by 12, and saved that much per month.
What I Learned: It feels a lot better renewing the car tag when it’s due rather than waiting until payday…or the last day of the month. Plus the lines at the DMV are always shorter.
I paid for two vacations in cash.
I went on a great New England & Canada vacation, and I went on a cruise… five months apart! I booked my cruise in 2015 so I had time to save up. Eventually I had enough to pay for boarding, flights, and spending money with a little left over. I easily could have stopped saving and just “lost” that money to random splurges each month, but I chose to keep saving. Because I did, I got to make a special trip and see Washington DC, New York City, Niagara Falls, and Toronto Canada. And I did both vacations in cash!
What I Learned: Just because I reached my savings goal doesn’t mean I have to stop saving. I will always want something else… and life feels when I actually can have it. Also, Canada is nice in the Summer, and Mexico is nice in the Winter. Try it sometime.
I left my job.
After four years, I was “senior staff” there I knew everyone in my company, I was on a casual conversation basis with my CEO and nearly every VP, and I was being considered for future management opportunities. I was also having my greatest year with the company ever, performance wise. So I left.
Complacency got the best of me. I didn’t want a little bit of authority and a lot of camaraderie accidentally derail me from my ultimate career goals (making lots of $$$). So, four months ago, I joined another company challenged myself to learn an industry that I knew nothing about.
It was a massive change and stretched me well beyond my comfort zone, but I haven’t regretted it once. Plus, this opportunity came with an impressive pay increase, which means more money to pay off my debt, save for the future, and just plan ENJOY!
What I Learned: Challenge yourself to try something new, even when you don’t think you need to. When it comes to your salary, always know what the market is willing to pay you for your talents, and seize every opportunity even if it’s unconventional or uncomfortable.
I increased 401k contributions to 10%.
Either I die at a young age (which I don’t want to do), or I reach retirement age. Those are my options. I don’t plan to die any younger than 100, so I need to plan for retirement. The first thing I did with my new-found salary was increase my 401k contribution from 4% to 10% of my pre-tax salary. I am 25 years old as of right now, so that gives 40 years to enjoy compound interest and income growth. Once everything but my house is paid off, I am going to increase it to 15%. When the house is paid off, i’m maxing out my contributions and start ballin’ out of control on my retirement savings.
What I Learned: I don’t want to work until I am 65. I want to retire by 50. The ONLY way that I can do this is by preparing for it right now. My job also matches my contributions, so that’s free, pre-tax money for me to quadruple over and over without any effort on my part. Boom.
I started Man Vs Cash.
My husband and I both literally have made our livings off of the finance (money) industry. I am surrounded by it every single day. Although our professions have taught us plenty, we both had to learn how to manage our own finances by ourselves over the course of many years. I strongly feel that the importance of money knowledge and transparency isn’t taught enough.
I could binge watch Netflix, or I could spend a few hours a week to share my knowledge with the world and possibly help change somebody’s life. It’s been three months since my first post, and I have already had one person recently reach out to me and let me know that I helped increase their credit score by 160 points. They told me that they never thought they’d have another credit card again because their credit was so horrible, and now they are thinking about actually being able to buy a house.
What I Learned: I reaaaaaaly like when people do well with their money, and this blog makes me focused on helping others, and keeps myself accountable to my promises.