2015 Year in Review & 2016 Goals

Boy did 2015 fly by! It was my first full year of living in Manhattan and my first full year of living the financial independence lifestyle, and I was busy as ever.

I did a lot of traveling and visited the following countries and states for work or personal trips: Bahamas, Grand Turk, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Louisiana, and Minnesota. I saw lots of friends and family, earned some mileage and hotel points, and ate at some really neat restaurants on work’s dime.

Now although I had a ton of fun in 2015, it did not effect my progress against my financial goals negatively. Back in July of 2015, I wrote a half year update to see how far I had progressed against my 2015 goals. Below were my seven goals for 2015 and some explanations for how I finished off the year.

  1. Max out pre-tax 401k – I was planning on maxing out my 401k by November, but I got antsy and decided to apply most of my bonus in September to my 401k to max it out. PASS
  2. Max out Roth IRA – I maxed out both my 2014 and 2015 Roth IRA in 2015, with my final contribution occurring in September during bonus month. PASS
  3. Max out my HSA – As of my mid-year update I wasn’t sure if I would hit this goal, and was planning on missing it by a couple hundred bucks. After I posted the mid-year update, I realized how silly it was to miss a goal by a couple hundred bucks, so I went in and changed my contribution amount, and this will max out in my final paycheck of 2015! PASS
  4. Pay off my student loans – I go back and forth with this on a monthly basis. I officially have one loan left at 3% and the math tells me to pay it slowly but my mind says get rid of the stupid thing. I paid off two other loans in 2015, way ahead of schedule, but I think I’ll pay off this last one off in 2016, so that I’m able to be completely debt free. FAIL, but on purpose.
  5. Never finance a car again – Well I’m still living in Manhattan, and still car-less so this one is a big, fat PASS.
  6. Save at least 75% of every raise and bonus – As noted above I used my bonus to max out my 401k and IRA for 2015, so I definitely saved 100% of that puppy. I’m also always looking at ways to decrease my spending, not increase, so I’ve definitely been socking away 100% of my raise as well (the portion that doesn’t go to Uncle Sam). PASS
  7. Once all tax advantaged accounts are maxed out for the year, begin funneling all savings into my after-tax brokerage account – Ever since September when I maxed out my 401k and IRA, I’ve been funneling all excess cash flow into my after-tax brokerage account like clockwork. PASS

In 2015, I hit 6 out of 7 of my finance related goals, did a ton of traveling for work and personal, and was able to find time to blog and workout. My other main interest besides travel and financial independence is lifting. I targeted getting to the gym 4x a week in 2015, but fell short and probably averaged 3x per week. I’ll discuss my progress and routine below when I get to my 2016 goals.

Here are my 2016 financial goals:

  1. Max out pre-tax 401k – I plan on doing this in September again.
  2. Max out Roth IRA – I don’t really have a time line for this but it will get done in 2015.
  3. Max out my HSA – the way my employer does my contributions, this will occur in December again.
  4. Pay off my student loans – I only have about $4k left at 3%, but I will pay this off in 2016.
  5. Save 100% of my raise and bonus – 75% was too lenient on myself, lets jack it up to 100%.
  6. Contribute to my after-tax brokerage account as much as possible – I plan on making more in 2016, while keeping my expenses at bay, and therefore these contributions will go up. Looking for a big increase year in the net worth department in 2016!

Here are my 2016 non-financial goals:

  1. Get to the gym 4x per week and hit a 315# squat, 225# bench, and 405# deadlift – I follow a powerlifting routine, and my progress is dependent on how regularly I get to the gym. 2015 was ehhhhh in this department. I tend to go on vacation for a week and not lift, or travel for work or work late for a week and not lift. These are excuses I plan on addressing and hope to get my average attendance closer to 4 times per week in 2016.
  2. Try and negotiate a remote work arrangement for at least six months – I think this is doable if I sell it well. I work for a big bureaucratic company, so usually this request would fall on deaf ears. But I work in a smaller division and we operate fairly autonomously, and my main boss seems to consider my well-being for the most part. I’ll start with a six month ask, which would span from spring to fall and then basically leave it open to working out of an office after that to sweeten the deal for them. I’m still figuring out when and how to request this, but I’ll write about my success or failure (cross your fingers for success) once I request it. My Manhattan lease isn’t up for a few months, so I have some time to plan. Can anyone say geographic arbitrage?
  3. Read more books in 2016 – I’ve definitely read more in 2015 than I have in the past. I just need to stop trying to convince myself to read fiction, as I’m a non-fiction guy. The fiction I like has to be on TV, so I’ll stick to non-fiction books related to finance and biographies as they peak my interest the most.
  4. Travel – I did a lot of this in 2015 but am planning just as much, if not more, in 2016. I have already booked a cruise for February where my girlfriend and I will visit a few places I haven’t been before such as Belize. I also have quite a few weddings, and depending on if this six month work arrangement ends up, who knows where I’ll travel to! I’m also debating if a trip to San Diego for FinCon is in the cards.

I was lucky to have a great 2015, and hope 2016 is just as great. Thanks for being part of my journey, and Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! I’m so pumped for what 2016 has in store!

How was your 2015? What do you have planned in 2016 that has you ready for the new year?

37 thoughts on “2015 Year in Review & 2016 Goals

  1. Brian @DebtDiscipline

    2015 looks like a great in and all while live in NYC. Nicely done. I really like the work remotely plan. Since you travel so much for work, that might be another selling point for not being in the central office. Have you decided on a new location to live? We had a good 2015 and looking forward to an even better 2016.
    Brian @DebtDiscipline recently posted…What Did You Get?My Profile

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Brian. With regards to the remote work arrangement I agree that traveling for work is a selling point. Plus some employees already have some type of remote work arrangement, but most of them are more tenured than I am. I think I’ll be a good enough salesman to get the job done though 🙂 No location determined yet!

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Steve. Only have $4k left at 3%, down from around $40k when I wrapped up my graduate degree 5 years ago or so.

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks! Yeah if I’m working remotely I think I’ll be much more diligent. But when I travel for work, usually hotel gyms don’t have the equipment I need. Also if I work a few 12 hour days in a row, I tend to put working out on hold until the weekend. All things I plan on working on in 2016!

  2. Dominic @ Gen Y Finance Guy

    Go Crush 2016 dude!

    I hear you on the fiction books. My wife is always trying to get me to read fiction, but I really just have no interest. I read to learn, not to be entertained. That is what the small allocation of my time is for watching TV.



  3. Abigail @ipickuppennies

    I definitely need to read more “real” books. I’ve been reading up a storm, but mainly fluff. Fun, escapist stories about spies or whatever, but not really what I think of as actual reading.

    My two goals in the new year are to max out the Roth/open a SEP and to keep working out as steadily as possible. Even if it’s just little stuff, any kind of activity is better than none.
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…2015: The year in (financial) reviewMy Profile

  4. Financial Samurai

    That would be cool if you can negotiate six months of working remotely. Just know that every single manager thinks that remote work equals not working, so definitely ask and a strategic away without blowing up your career!

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I don’t think that would be the case since I work with a great team right now, but never know – they might think I’d start slacking. We’ll see!

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Jeff. I hope it works too! I’m going to use what I learned in 2015 to make 2016 an even better year. Here’s to a great 2016 for all of us!

  5. Our Next Life

    Whoa — you CRUSHED your financial goals. The approach to your student loan makes total sense, but I can tell you that it felt incredible when I paid off my student loans, even if the better choice on paper would have been to pay them on time and invest that money instead. You can’t put a price tag on freedom! Get rid of that last one, and let that last weight lift. Speaking of weights… holy crap, you’re strong! 🙂 Hope you’re having great holidays!
    Our Next Life recently posted…Of Mice and Money // 2015 Wrap-Up and 2016 RundownMy Profile

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Agreed on the student loan, as that puppy will just get paid off in 2016. Also going to make a bigger effort to hit the gym 4x a week so I can reach those goals! I’m enjoying my break, and I hope you are as well!

  6. Brendan @ FutureMinimalist.com

    Wow! That is an impressive list! I really like how you have made a list of both financial and non-financial goals. So far my goals for 2016 focus primarily on financial aspects of my life so I might follow suit and create a list of non-financial goals too! Such an awesome job – and so great that you have so little student loans left! I’m working away at mine but don’t expect to have it paid off until 2020. Happy New Year!
    Brendan @ FutureMinimalist.com recently posted…December 2015 expenditureMy Profile

  7. DC @ Young Adult Money

    Honestly any negative impact the remote work arrangement could have would be overruled by the sheer awesomeness of having the remote work arrangement. I hope it works out for you! I had my 2015 goals review last week and will have a lengthy post on Wednesday about my 2016 goals. There’s a lot I want to accomplish so I need to stay focused the entire year.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…2015 Goals Review – How Did I Do?My Profile

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Yeah I really don’t have much to lose in asking. The worst that can happen is they say no! Looking forward to your 2016 goals!

  8. MrFireStation

    Banking your raises & watching your spending – no faster way to your FIRE Escape from the rat race than that. It is great that your financial goals are matched with challenging personal goals. Keep as focused in 2016 as you have been in 2015 and you’ll be amazed by how far it has taken you.


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