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Archive for January, 2016

2015 Year-End Results = Gratitude

January 3rd, 2016 at 05:56 pm

I already posted our year-end results on the forums, but will repeat them here with a bit of editing:

2015 was a very "ho-hum" year financially speaking.

Overall net worth increased by only 4%, our smallest increase since 2008.

Financial assets, on which our rate of return was an unimpressive 1.6%, make up 86% of our net worth.

Non-financial assets, on which our rate of return was was -0.4%, make up 14% of our net worth.

We have no liabilities.

Most of that 4% NW increase came from new savings.

Although our net worth did not grow by as much as I would have liked, I will take a year with a little progress over a year where we had no progress or went backwards. We have our health, we have our new dog, and we lived to see 2016.

I think the most exciting development for 2016 is that a retirement plan is starting to become clear. I think that we will be able to use an initial withdrawal rate of 2.5%, which will cover our very basic needs. Social Security income will be used for wants (travel, hobbies, gifts, clothes, eating out, donations . . . anything but the most basic needs). What that means is that even if SS goes bankrupt, we will be barely OK. We are very close to having enough to cover our current basic costs at 2.5% withdrawal, with 10+ years to go to retirement unless we retire early, but now DH would like to relocate to a super HCOLA. If we do move, our expenses will go up, requiring a larger nest egg.

My biggest challenge going in to 2016 is my work situation. I still have my job, but many at my branch have been laid off and most of us who remain have had our hours cut drastically. My hours and income really fell off at the end of the year. The writing is on the wall - eventually I may lose my job or at the very least lose my benefits - so I have been job searching. As those of you who have been there know, job searching when you're in your 50's has its challenges. Fortunately I already landed an "occasional side gig" which is replacing some of my lost income, but it's not a permanent solution. I am really grateful that I'm entering this somewhat challenging time not scrambling to play catch up.

If you're still young and healthy and making a decent income, save as much as you can while you can. And if you're still young and healthy and making only a modest income, save as much as you can while you can!

Happy New Year everyone!

45-cent-plus Breakfast of Champions

January 3rd, 2016 at 08:19 am

This morning I made myself an open face sandwich: 1 slice of whole wheat bread + organic cheddar cheese + 1 sliced small avocado. 12-cents for the bread (regular price, store brand) + 0-cents for the cheese (had a cash register coupon for free cheese) + 33-cents for the avocado (they were on ad at 3/$1).

I had coffee with milk as well but am not able to calculate the cost of that very easily. I'm definitely under $1 even with the electricity & water costs for prep and cleanup.

Now that I am fueled up, I am going to start on my year-end and year-to-year review. I'm just getting around to it today because on the 1st we hit the Dillard's New Year's Day sale followed by 2 parties (with potluck prep for 1 of those parties), and yesterday I was job hunting and emotionally needed to just chill in the evening.

I'll check in later when the numbers have all been checked and run.