For many of us, the next few days will be spent planning for the upcoming year. Because despite what's happened in the past, there's always an opportunity to start over with a clean slate, work toward different goals, and live more intentionally.
As a personal finance blogger, I'm constantly reminded of the power of money.
The power to take risks, cut ties, or change your life completely.
Whether your goal is paying off debt, building an emergency fund, saving for a long-term goal, or reaching financial freedom, it's never too late to get started.
Here is a snapshot of my finances this year:
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.
Here is a breakdown of this year's changes:
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Last year, I started using Personal Capital's tools to automatically import my accounts to track my net worth.
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As I approach my three-year blogiversary, I'm reminded of all that's happened over the past few years. Despite the professional turmoil since Cashville Skyline began, I'm happy with the progress I've made since my very First Net Worth Overshare.
In addition to growing my net worth from $83,308.72 to $267,259.64, I've turned Cashville Skyline into my full-time business. I'm now earning income a few different ways:
- Freelance clients (writing, content management, editing)
- Social media consulting (1-on-1 training for financial planners & bloggers)
- Blogging income (advertising, sponsored content, affiliate marketing)
- Money coaching
- Investment income
Looking for some help in 2017? Let's talk.
After countless happy hour talks with Believe in a Budget, I think I'm finally ready to experiment with some products in 2017. It's amazing to have a local blogger friend to brainstorm ideas with (and complain to over whiskey when experiments don't work).
In case you missed it, I'm launching my first FREE, seven day course!
Starting on January 1st, you will receive one lesson per day by email on these topics:
- Calculating your net worth
- Establishing a budget
- Paying off debt
- Improving your credit score
- Saving more money
- Building an emergency fund
- How to start investing
- Earning more money
I’m sharing my favorite tips and tools for a healthier financial life.
The course is FREE, so you have nothing to lose by signing up.
This year, I started taking CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® classes through Boston University's self-paced online program. I enjoyed the coursework, but really missed the community and accountability of in-person classes.
That's why I'm switching to in-person classes through Belmont University's program next month. Classes begin on January 17th and will continue every Tuesday night through 2017.
Later in October, I'll be hitting my 4th FinCon in Dallas.
After an expensive August and September, I cut back in October and November. I skipped a couple of major events—a close friend's wedding in Massachusetts and my boyfriend's family ski trip in Colorado—but I was grateful for the opportunity to replenish my emergency fund.
As predicted, December has been more expensive. I flew home for Christmas in Massachusetts, plan to visit my boyfriend's family in Buffalo, and will celebrate New Year's Eve in Toronto.
Next year I'm hoping to cover a couple of international trips with credit card rewards points. Other than a couple of conferences, I don't anticipate any other major expenses.
A reader recently asked why my net worth overshares always include credit card debt. My net worth overshares are a picture of each account on the day my posts are published.
In the interest of transparency, I include my current credit card balances even though I pay them off in full every month. By keeping my total utilization below 10% and total debt to a minimum, I've managed to keep my credit score high.
Deciding how much of an emergency fund you need is a personal decision.
Most financial planners recommend saving three to six months of expenses, but the right number for you depends on your personal situation.
Personally, I will feel most comfortable once my emergency fund reaches $15,000. That's six months of expenses at $2,500 per month.
I've been saving a little every day with Digit. It's a handy, free tool that I've automatically saved over $1,000 with.
I love managing my account via text message!
Read my full Digit review here.
In a bold move, I decided to sell off my small dividend portfolio this month. I haven't seen returns as strong as my total stock market index funds, and I no longer have the time or desire to track individual companies.
Moving forward, I'm sticking 100% with index funds. I'll max out my Roth IRA, HSA, top off my emergency fund, and then continue adding to my brokerage account.
I think about aggressively paying down my mortgage all of the time. But at 3.25% interest, the decision would be purely emotional. My brain says stay the course and invest the difference, even if my heart prefers to be 100% debt-free.
Assuming I don't take on additional debt, I'll make my final mortgage payment on February 1, 2027.
2017 Financial Goals
- Max out Roth IRA – $5,500
- Max out HSA – $3,400
- Build emergency fund to $15,000.
- Take two international trips with credit card travel rewards.
Ready for a refresh in 2017? Join my FREE Money Resolutions Course!
Readers: What are your money goals for 2017?