2016 Year in Review & 2017 Goals

2016 is drawing to a close. It has been an extremely busy, yet great year. I moved to the Midwest to live with my girlfriend. I purchased a bicycle that I use all the time (until recently when the weather decided to snow everyday and not break 30 degrees). I traveled a little too much for work and weddings. And I kicked butt financially.

First let’s recap what my 2016 financial goals were when I set them last December:

  1. Max out pre-tax 401kPASS – I planned on doing this by September but actually got there in July.
  2. Max out Roth IRAPASS
  3. Max out my HSAPASS
  4. Pay off my student loansPASS – I’m debt free!
  5. Save 100% of my raise and bonusPASS – This has been going directly to my brokerage account.
  6. Contribute to my after-tax brokerage account as much as possible – PASS

As you can see I batted 1.000 financially in 2016. Moving out of Manhattan to the Midwest definitely helped me on the expense side, while busting my ass at work lead to a pretty decent increase in income. The US equity market has also been on a tear in 2016 which was icing on the cake.

The GF started cutting my hair as well and the $60 clippers I purchased paid for themselves in three haircuts. This will be a $300+ run-rate cost savings for me. Also if you want to test your relationship to see if it is cut out for the long haul, this is one way to test that REAL quick. Luckily we are still together.

Here were my 2016 non-financial goals:

  1. Get to the gym 4x per week and hit a 315# squat, 225# bench, and 405# deadliftFAIL – If I work a “normal” 40 hour week I definitely get to the gym four times in a week. But if we are traveling to visit family and friends, or going on vacation, or I’m traveling for work, this definitely doesn’t happen. Also I have been battling a little knee injury which I am just starting to get over, so my numbers aren’t near where I’d like them to be.
  2. Try and negotiate a remote work arrangement for at least six monthsPASS – I’m at seven months and going strong!
  3. Read more books in 2016Half-PASS – I have definitely read more in 2016 than any other year, but still nowhere near where I want to be. Need to prioritize this more.
  4. Travel – Half-PASS – We went on a cruise in February, but then the rest of my travel was mostly work or wedding related. While I definitely enjoy traveling to see friends and family, the weddings get in the way of the time we have to travel for pleasure. I have also realized too much personal travel is stressful for me, at least while working full-time. I think I need to tone down the travel ambition, at least while I’m working. Maybe this will change down the line once I pull the plug from working for a paycheck.

2017 financial goals:

My 2017 financial goals will remain the same as 2016, with the exception of paying off my student loans since they are gone, and include maxing out all tax advantaged accounts I have at my disposal and investing what is left into my after-tax brokerage account.

2017 non-financial goals:

  1. Get to the gym 4x per week and hit a 315# squat, 225# bench, and 405# deadlift – let’s try this again.
  2. Remain in my remote work arrangement – As long as I can keep up with my current stressful/demanding career, I know I want to do it remotely. I have no plans of moving back to metro NYC to trudging to the office everyday.
  3. Pass the Series 65 – I have been thinking about a second career a lot lately. I’ve been giving financial advice for years to family, friends, and coworkers for free and have enjoyed helping others tremendously. The Series 65 is an exam you need to pass before you can give investment advice for money.
  4. Read more – Self explanatory. I like non-fiction.
  5. Buy a mountain bike – I like my hybrid bike so much I’m going to get a mountain bike as well. There are some nice trails near me that I want shred.

Currently I’m looking forward to two weeks off of work coming up and our trip to Cancun (if anyone is going to be in Cancun the first week of January – let me know!). I hope you all had a great 2016 as well and were able to crush all your goals, financial and not. Thanks for reading in 2016 and happy holidays!

How was your 2016? What does 2017 have in store for you?

39 thoughts on “2016 Year in Review & 2017 Goals

  1. Claudia @ Two Cup House

    Yay! I’m so happy to hear that life in the Midwest is working out well for you and for work. 🙂

    In 2017, I want to move away from “working out” to a purposeful fitness goal. Making the most of our retirement plans is also on the books.

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Claudia. The Midwest WAS going great, until it snowed a foot and now is 20 degrees 🙂 I think you have a great fitness goal. I always have a plan when I walk into the gym since I have a specific program I do, which definitely helps.

  2. Gen Y Finance Guy

    Nice work hitting all your financial goals for 2016 and for negotiating that remote work arrangement.

    2016 was another one for the history books in the GYFG household. Here were our financial goals for 2016:

    1 – Earn $270K in 2016 – Pass, with half a month to go we are projected to finish the year with $330K in income

    2 – Save 50% of income after tax – In 2015 we managed a 44% savings rate, we are on track to hit 51% for 2016.

    3 – Increase Net Worth by $112K – We are on track to increase Net Worth by $200K in 2016

    4 – Max out 401K & HSA – Pass, will be making my last contribution to each next week.

    5 – Pay down Mortgage Principal an additional $25K – We actually paid it down about $31K extra.

    In 2017 I am personally setting less goals (only 4 this year vs. 12 last year).

    1 – Earn $500K
    2 – 250 Workouts
    3 – 250K new page vies to blog
    4 – 28 days of vacation

    Here is to an EPIC 2017!
    Gen Y Finance Guy recently posted…Freedom Fighter Interview #29 – Amber Tree LeavesMy Profile

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      You’ve definitely been crushing it in the income department – congrats. I think fewer goals are a better idea as well. Easier to attack them. I especially like the 28 days of vacation one 🙂

  3. Leigh

    Hah I feel you on the wedding travel taking up your travel time. We actually skipped three weddings we were invited to this year because the timing simply didn’t work out to travel. I have some friends that seem to go on trips every weekend and that just sounds exhausting to me!

    Congrats on paying off your student loans and meeting your financial goals in 2016! And your relationship surviving your girlfriend cutting your hair hah. Another good test is a month long road trip in another country 😉

    Good luck with the Series 65 in 2017!

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I skipped two weddings this year. First time doing that but it was definitely the right move. I totally agree on the travel – I need weekends at home to rest and relax after long work weeks.

      A month long road trip sounds great! I’ve scheduled my Series 65 for January already, so the test will be here before I know it. Have a great 2017!

  4. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    Wowza, you’re on fire! I’m super jelly that you’re debt-free and taking names. 🙂

    We’re still in the getting-out-of-debt leg of our early retirement plan, but it feels great slamming down huge payments on our student loans. We’re hoping to get all $65,000 of it paid off in 18 months, so that’s our big goal for 2017.

    I haven’t been able to max out retirement contributions, but I do make sure to put away $200/mo in an IRA. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best I can do while we’re getting out of debt. The upside is that I have a good chunk of time on my side at the age of 24.

    And kudos for getting out of a daily commute! I’d love to get into working remotely, but for the time being I’m still chained to a desk. Boo!
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…What A Frugal Weekend!My Profile

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks MPP. I think you have a great plan of paying off the debt while still contributing what you can to retirement. Time is on your side for sure!

  5. Jeff @ The Lifestyle Accountant

    Sounds like you had a great year. The remote work arrangement clearly has been a great financial move but also one that’s given you a higher quality life. And free haircuts!? (Just don’t let her cut your hair when she’s mad at you). I’ll be interested to see your experience taking the series 65. I’m about to let my two year window after passion the exam expire.
    Jeff @ The Lifestyle Accountant recently posted…What It’s Like to Partner With a High-tech Accounting Firm as a Freelance AccountantMy Profile

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      She tried pouring herself a glass of wine before cutting my hair once – I was having NONE of that! I already scheduled my exam for the middle of January. I’ve made it 1/4 way through my review book and at least that section I knew most of. How hard did you think the exam was for someone with our background?

  6. Mr. PIE

    Nice work in 2016. More than a success!!

    We hit all our financial goals in 2016 and of course the market helped things along further. The most pleasing part was really putting a lot monthly into our taxable account at Vanguard. We actually increased the monthly amount in the second half of the year based on our disciplined savings habit.

    On a non financial level, we were happy to get our young boys out on some lengthy hikes in summer ( Mt Washington among others) and some decent sized winter hikes in the Whites.

    Hope the Series 65 works out really well for you. It sounds Iike an area you are very passionate about and that will help with focusing on the work to pass the exams.
    Mr. PIE recently posted…Our Last Post. Farewell, We’ll Really Miss You.My Profile

  7. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    Congrats on a great financial year, and also a successful move to the Midwest!

    I’ve also cut way back on wedding attendance – they all require us to spend hundreds on travel and lodgings, which severely cuts into our budget for personal and family travel. Honestly we usually only get one or two personal trips in a year because the planning and budgeting for it takes up a fair amount of time. With full time work and the dog to tend to, and the kiddo to chase, that stuff takes more time than usual. 2016 wasn’t a bad year for us but it wasn’t great either, so I’m looking forward to making 2017 way better.
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life recently posted…Real Estate Investing: reducing costsMy Profile

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I skipped two weddings this year which was definitely the right choice in the end. Now I’ve got a bunch already springing up for 2017… Hope you have a great 2017!

  8. Todd

    Yes to the haircuts! My wife (then girlfriend) would HATE it, but still help me out with the parts I couldn’t reach for a solid 5 years. She finally had enough at one point and she bailed on it. I think in FIRE however, I’ll go back to cutting my won hair. After all, won’t really care what it looks like in the back since I won’t be working anymore!

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      It was a great investment. The clippers paid for themselves in 3 cuts! She doesn’t mind doing it luckily.

  9. Norm

    We will hit most of our goals, but not all. We maxed out my retirement account and our Roth IRAs. But our savings rate will probably just come up short of our 60% goal.

    I already hit my usual goal of 24 books read in the year. Actually, since our networks at the office were down all day today, I finished number 26 at work because there was nothing else to do!
    Norm recently posted…Financial Implications of the ElectionMy Profile

  10. Mustard Seed Money

    What an awesome year that you had. If you can have half the year that you did in 2016 I’d consider that a success!!!

    I haven’t put down anything on paper yet but I am thinking that if I can attend a bootcamp next to work 4x a week that it will be a win but I still need to see how the year finishes out to put some final touches on my financial goals.
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Resolve to Exercise and Make More MoneyMy Profile

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks for the compliment MSM! Working out 4x a week is tough while working full-time, but I try my best. Good luck with your 2017 goals.

  11. Mr. Fi

    Hey Fervent, well done on your goals! Certainly being free of that student debt must feel good.

    I wish we made enough to max our 401k’s but we settle for maxing our IRA’s…we hit about a 1/3 of the max for our 401k’s but we at least get the full company match. Also, with the wife’s new company, they match up to $500 for her HSA so that will be a nice increase for 2017.

    Good luck going forward and stay warm. It’s been nasty up here in MT. Almost 2 feet of snow and on Saturday morning the wind chill hit -42 F. Bleh.
    Mr. Fi recently posted…3rd Quarter Budget: 2016My Profile

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Team CF. Pretty hard for 2017 to be better than 2016, but I’ll try to make it happen 🙂

  12. Leah

    Congrats on your debt paid off! That’s a huge accomplishment and one I’m working like crazy toward. Don’t give up on the gym (I lol’ed at “let’s try this again”). And good luck with the Series 65 test! Is your work sponsoring you to do that, if you don’t mind me asking?

    Keep up the great and inspiring work!

    – Leah from http://www.urban20something.com

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Leah! My employer has no idea about the Series 65 (they are not a financial planning firm).

  13. Buy, Hold Long

    Very good to see. Setting new goals for the new year is an important thing I try to do every year, whether its money related or personal like you have done with books and travelling. It’s nice to keep track of our progress.

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I don’t know about life. For now it’s great though. I lived in NYC for a little over two years. The summers were too hot and winters to windy and cold. I enjoyed the weather maybe 4 months out of the year. But I think you’re onto something with Hawaii.


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