2015 was a rough year for me financially. My car drama alone would have made it tough, but I was also dealing with the onset of major medical expenses. Yeah, not cool. I didn’t want to start out my new year on a sour note though, so I spent some time evaluating my financial life over the last few days.
I’ve always had a clear vision of the financial life I want for myself. Thankfully, it never involved “big” money. I simply want a calm financial life. I want a life where my income is steady, I’m relatively debt-free, and I’m not constantly struggling to come up with money for necessities. I would wager most people want this for themselves. Being the 30 year old I am, I now realize this kind of life is possible, but it definitely looks different than I thought it would. I have a steady income, I’m close enough to debt-free, and I don’t struggle to afford necessities. Yet, I still stress about money. I still struggle with the feeling that I’ll never have enough money to satisfy whatever whim I’ve convinced myself I need. I have no idea what the next 10 or 20 or 40 years will look like for my financial life, but I’ve finally figured out my attitude is the biggest factor in my financial success. It really doesn’t matter how much I make. It doesn’t really matter what financial obstacles I come up against in the future. My attitude and behavior with my money is what will make or break my financial life. Realizing this has helped me deal with the fact the 2015 wasn’t a great financial year for me.
In order to move on from 2015, I made a list of my major financial moments from this last year.
- I sold my car, purchase a used car with cash
- Used car died three months later, I sold it for parts. Took a $6,000 loss
- Purchased another used car, put about $5,000 on a car loan
- Current car loan balance is $2,500
- Decided to have the two surgeries I needed
- Paid off the first surgery which was $4,300
- Second surgery bill has not come in yet, I expect it to be in the $2,000-$3,000 range
- Contributed 13% of my income to retirement
- Started an online investment account (my first foray into investing outside of retirement!) and am contributing a small amount to it each month
- Didn’t use my entire emergency fund (I’ve definitely done this in the past)
- Saved $2,500 for a trip to Europe
Then I thought ahead to what I hope to accomplish this year:
Goals for 2016:
- Pay off car by May
- Pay off surgery by this summer (my pay off date will be determined by the final total of the bill)
- Save $2,000 for house projects
- Potentially put my house on the market (While this freaks me out, I really need to move closer to work)
I have a good feeling about 2016 (it’s worth noting, I say this every January). My 2015 recap doesn’t make me very happy, but I’m going to go ahead and face the challenges of 2016 head on (and try to have a positive attitude while I’m at it). I had a rough year. It happens. Thankfully, I learned a lot of lessons and that’s really all a fully-realized adult can ask for, right? (This is a real question, do you know the answer??)
Jasmin is Vice President of Marketing & Operations for Pete the Planner®. Jasmin runs special projects, manages programming for clients, and stews over new and creative ways to engage people with their finances. In her downtime you can find Jasmin hanging a light fixture or painting a room at her fixer upper.