January 2017 Plan Update

December 2016 Plan Update

Welcome back, friends!

PLEASE – If you haven’t taken my SUPER IMPORTANT AND AWESOME SURVEY, please do it now. Share it with your family. Make your friends take it at your house. Post it on social media. Okay… you get it. Thanks. Seriously and honestly: Thank you.

Welcome to 2017 – the year where people stop dying and the world becomes a wonderful, hopeful, kind place. Too much hope? I love a new year. A clean slate. And while I can’t entirely control the world, I can move myself forward. So, the next few posts will be introducing the 2017 Stock household goals (yay goals!).

Our holidays were lovely. We spent Christmas as home with friends and then headed to Sacramento to visit Mr. T’s sister after Christmas (those bills will show up on next month’s update). The kids had a lovely time being crazy with cousins and we got to visit SF and the kids got to see the Golden Gate bridge for the first time (“it’s not entirely made of gold, like we thought…” Inside Out reference. You’re welcome).

The Numbers:

You guys… if you haven’t signed up for Personal Capital, I think you’re nuts! Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (I assumed bloggers pushed this because of the affiliate income until I started using it myself… worth the FREE pricetag! And Seriously Amazing.)

Our investments ended the year at $133,270. And our mortgage balance currently sits at $52,975 – almost to another milestone to celebrate (under $50,000!). I feel great about the progress we made in 2017. I’m dang sick of our mortgage, but it’s dropping nicely and the markets have been kind. Not going to lie about how it feels good to see our investment number consistently rise each month.

For our savings percentage, we track the percentage of our pre-tax (or gross) income and the extra payments put toward the mortgage are included in the amount saved. Savings percentage for December: 37%. We didn’t save a whole lot this month, considering. We sent money out into the world for good instead. 🙂 But the new year is beginning and we’re so full of goals!

2016 Financial Goal Update:

A final look at how we did!

Overall, I’m pretty happy with where we stand. As I said, we totally failed on the Roth IRA goals, but we redirected those funds into upping Mr. T’s contributions to his 401k. This year, he contributed $15,250 and he’s set to max out next year! YAY! We beat our mortgage goal (and our crazy market-based goal. Crazy markets!), so we had a pretty great financial year:

  • $125,000 in investments by the end of the year ($116,585/$125,000) – Done!
  • Max out my Roth IRA for 2015 by April ($5500/$5500) – Done!
  • Max out my Roth IRA for 2016 by December ($0/$5500) – Fail
  • Max out Mr. T’s Roth IRA for 2016 by December ($0/$5500) – Fail
  • Mortgage balance below $55,000 by the end of December ($52,975) – Done!

Notable Expenses This Month: The Story Our Money Tells:

These are expenses that tell an interesting story. A peek into our lives through our pocketbook:

  • $34 – Date night! We had a gift card to a restaurant and ticket vouchers to the theatre Mr. T had bought me (literally years ago!). We heard the guy next to us in the restaurant saying he bought a Groupon right before coming to the restaurant… so we fired up our phones, downloaded the app, bought the Groupon, and saved ten bucks! Then, when we realized we didn’t use our gift card entirely (because we spent money at Groupon instead), we came back after the play and ordered 3 desserts! Best date ever.
  • $111 – We chose a UNICEF “Inspired Gift” to put under the tree for each child for Christmas this year (ie: mosquito nets, books for a classroom, etc.). I loved the idea of giving gifts to kids from my kids. And it provided my kids a great reminder about how lucky they are and that they can do good in the world. (Mr. T and I also made our own various donations to several causes as well including the White Helmets doing amazing work in Syria.)
  • $125 – Anchorage museum membership renewal.
  • $5.03 – 2 cans of frosting for Florin’s class gingerbread house party (Lui ate much more than this in candy…).


$0.20 from my Bookscouter Affiliate Link

$100 – Personal Capital Affiliate Link – Honestly, I feel like readers are reaching through and giving me a big “high five” when you use my affiliate links. Well, friends: *high five*! You’re the best.

Financial Phrases:

These are things said by actual people that were either talking to me or near me enough that I could hear them:

12-year-old girl: Mom, I took one of those online quizzes where it tells you where you’ll be in ten years.

Mom: Where are you going to be?

12-year-old girl: Bermuda

Mom: And how do you plan to pay for that.

12-year-old girl: By marrying someone rich.


Between 2 parents outside the elementary school:

1 dad: How was your day?

1 mom: Great! I quit my job today.

1 dad: Oh wow! Congrats! Is your plan to find something else after the holidays?

1 mom: Nope. I’m staying home with my kids. I’m really excited about it. I feel like I’ve been missing everything!


“Christmas was our downfall. Growing up, I had 6 siblings, so Christmas morning was complete chaos of presents and wrapping and I felt obligated to recreate that for my children. I started when I only had one. Then it was hard to back off later.”



The Money Moose Survey!


2017 Financial Goals


  1. Happy 2017! I can still say that, right?! 😉

    You had an amazing year last year. Congrats on all the milestones. We still haven’t maxed out our 2016 IRAs, but we will by April. It was so exciting to see 2017 come up as an option when I made my last transfer into my Vanguard account. I’m also happy to hear Personal Capital is working well for you. Maybe I will give it a go.

    • MaggieBanks

      Definitely give it a go. Graphs! Charts! Fee analyzer! It’s a geeked-out dream! And Happy 2017 to you as well! (technically you can say that all year long!)

  2. I think you can still say happy new year until at least the 15th of the month :-). Congratulations on a great 2016. Well it doesn’t look like you made all of your plans, you’re 37% savings rate is what caught my eye. That is terrific – good job!

  3. Emily Jividen

    “Christmas was our downfall. Growing up, I had 6 siblings, so Christmas morning was complete chaos of presents and wrapping and I felt obligated to recreate that for my children. I started when I only had one. Then it was hard to back off later.”

    I was really struck by this, because I had two competing feelings. The first was that we bought too much for Little Bit this year in part because I budgeted too much and felt I had to “use it up.” I didn’t need to do that, as evidenced by the fact that mostly this week she’s played Minecraft (her purchase from her allowance) on her Kindle (over a year old.)

    And then I thought about the fact that my dad and stepmother decided that the family should only give modest presents this year instead of presentorama for everyone as usual. No one felt deprived. The kids were not bored or disappointed, and there was just as much fun chaos in the house.

    In other words, even if you usually do a lot for the holidays, you can back it down and it will be fine.

    Love your date night story. Jon and i need to do more of that this year.

    • MaggieBanks

      It’s true. Christmas morning will always be full of joy and craziness no matter the amount of presents… and the Mindcraft thing proves it… if they get one present they really connect with, it’s enough! This year, that was my sister-in-law’s old polly pockets! They’ve spent HOURS with those!

  4. That three-dessert date night sounds fun!

    And I hope all those nice things you said about 2017 come true!

  5. Welcome back to the financial blogosphere! You were missed! Congrats on hitting your 2016 goals. And an extra congrats on earning some side cash from the site! That is totally awesome. I love the picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. I went out a few years ago for the first time and absolutely loved it. Although, I must say, I had no idea how chilly San Fran would be at the end of April. We had to buy beanies and scarfs. HA! Glad you’re back! I look forward to cheering you on in the new year!

    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    • MaggieBanks

      Thank you. I’m excited to see what shenanigans we’ll get up to in 2017… amazing ones, I hope!

  6. Congrats on a great year – here’s to an even better 2017, for all of us.

    Mr. Smith and I really need to go on a date, before the twins arrive. We usually count my work party as our big date of the year – nice and free. But this year my employer cut back to an employee only happy hour type party. Groupon is a good idea – maybe we can find a good deal on there. I do love desserts!!

    • MaggieBanks

      We’re terrible at going on dates… we usually manage to do so only annually as well… but no office party for us. 🙂

  7. ExploreMountainsOnSkiFoot&Bike

    Congrats on reaching many of your goals and for not stressing on the fails!

    I had a successful year in regard to finances and personal goals as well. I discovered FIRE and bumped by savings rate from 25 to 45% and ended the year having reached the halfway point to my FI goal.

    I am echoing suggestion of the White Helmets great work and watching their documentary.

    I will also toast to 2017 being “the year where people stop dying [from anything preventable] and the world becomes a wonderful, hopeful, kind place.” We have some work and fun to do to reach that goal.

    I looking forward to the survey results outcome.

  8. Happy 2017! Here’s to a happy shiny year where we look out for each other and also prevent bad things from coming to a federal government near us! Like preventing forest fires, you can do this too! I don’t think I quoted Smokey the Bear quite right there but you get it.

    The last date we went on was to Italy three years ago (I’m calling that our last date, adventure, and trip!) before JuggerBaby came along so I think we may be due for something fun this year. No idea what, but we’ll come up with something.

    Well done on the mortgage!! And the savings!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks lady! And yes, let’s all be Smokey the bear! 🙂 And I agree you’re due for a grown-up adventure!

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