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  • Post your 2020 Year in Review and 2021 Plans

    Given the people who write in the forum, it may come across that a lot of us are bragging, but my purpose is to show people who are just starting out how well you can do as long as you have a plan and stick to us, even if you perceive that the year was terrible financially (many people will say that 2020 was terrible economically, and while the markets are not the economy, as of today the markets are up by quite a bit compared to Dec 31, 2019).

    Age: 39
    Quarter End Retirement Balance Change from Previous Qtr
    Q4 2019 $746,000
    Q1 2020 $615,000 -21%
    Q2 2020 $765,000 +20%
    Q3 2020 $868,000 +12%
    Q4 2020 $1,013,000 (!!!) +14%
    I gotta be honest, I thought it would be a stretch goal to reach $1m by the end of the year. Then March and April happened and I didn't think that stretch goal was going to be possible at all now. But I learned I get very excited when the market falls, and just want to invest more because I take the viewpoint that the market is on sale. On the other hand, I generally don't get excited by sales when I walk into a store. We do not front-load retirement contributions and just invest with each paycheck into tax-advantaged retirement accounts. We are 75% tax-deferred, 25% tax-free, and 0% taxable. My wife is an internist, so relatively small doctor salary.

    Note when we made our financial plan in 2016, the retirement balance was $290k. I assume 6% growth/yr and yet we've exceeded that. Back in 2016 when I did my projections I expected us to have $835k by the end of 2020, and here we are quite a bit above that even though 2020 happened.

    Other milestones from this year: Grew NW by ~$400k (still under $1m because we owe a tad more on the house than what I think it's worth, but we'll pass $1m NW by the end of Q1 2021 if the market doesn't collapse again), paid off student loans after 11 years, and HELOC after 8 years, grew EF by $30k. I switched jobs during a pandemic, my wife “suffered” through a 6-week furlough. Through my job change I lost access to the mega backdoor Roth IRA, so sad!

    Goals for 2021: : ~$100k into retirement accounts, $3k into 529s, $10-$15k to start a taxable account, pay extra $60k (I suspect we’ll do even better), to mortgage to get below jumbo in order to re-fi to a better rate

    Mistakes we've made in the past to show you that you can screw up and still do well: took 11 years to pay off $220k of med school loans, NOT maxing out retirement accounts for 4 years after starting as an attending, and bought a doctor house 6 months after residency long before student loans were gone. We're still in the same house.
    Last edited by JBME; 12-21-2020, 11:41 AM.

  • #2
    the nice thing about being 10 years in to a sound, conservative financial plan is that my plans for 2021 are -- no change.
    each month we save a lot, make our mortgage payment, spend pretty much whatever we want to within reason, and continue to have no non-mortgage debt, so it's pretty much blue skies as far as anyone can see!

    Comment


    • #3
      2020: This year saw me panic around March and I changed my asset allocation from 95/5 to 100/0. I also panicked trying to get as much money into the market as possible.

      2021: I plan to win the PowerBall lottery without actually playing the lottery. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it but I've got plenty of time to come up with a plan.

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      • #4
        2020: lost job 2021: maybe look for one?

        Comment


        • #5
          2020 was financially great, but I missed out on a lot of great milestone celebrations.

          Our daughters med school graduation was cancelled, so my Dad and I didn't get to march up with her in our gowns. Three generations of Docs would have been cool, I'm bummed about that.

          My sons graduation from electrical engineering school was cancelled.

          Our long planed trip to Italy with some friends was cancelled.

          My Dads 90th birthday celebration was cancelled. (Fortunately just the celebration, not my Dad!)

          Our big trip to Europe with the kids to celebrate all these milestone achievements was cancelled.

          Some of those things are gone forever and can never be experienced again, but we have our health and are looking forward to better things to come. Financially, my net worth is up over 20% despite spending a lot of money on a bunch of crazy stuff.

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          • #6
            We hit my "reach for the stars" goal of saving 50% of gross income this year. Combination of maintaining my salary and not spending as much. Spent almost 10K less in daycare then last year. We had 2 months without it in the spring and we dropped from 3 to 2 days a week the rest of the year because of my wife working less. She started her new job today so that is also good!

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            • #7
              2020 year in review: dropped to 4 days/ week which I was able to enjoy the extra day off w my wife until March, drop in salary with big increase in net worth, saved $$$ by not traveling, paid off student loans.

              plans for 2021:
              https://youtu.be/mYvAYwpUDv8

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              • #8
                Always tricky to get everyone to lay it all out there even here on WCI, but I decided to write this down down in recognition that staying the course really pays off some years. I am also starting to worry about SOR risk as I approach retirement, so this was a good exercise to consider plans one year to the next.

                Here goes: 12/19 to 12/20 my investments were up 25%, including contributions. That is, my top line compared to top line was up 25%. Kinda crazy, but trough 3/20 to peak 12/20 up >40%. Here is the thing though, I didn’t really do anything different than I do every year. Even though I am in a 2-4 year window to retire and am conservatively FI, I still save about 50% of gross. There is one big tranche that drops in Jan, which I invest immediately, but the rest is monthly DCA. All of it goes to Vanguard target date funds in my retirement accounts and total stock market index in my taxable.

                There are a few one offs. 1) we have a modest 6 figure taxable account in Vanguard Intermediate Tax Exempt (wife inherited from her Mom). Likely slated to partially fund the retirement place when we find it. 2) I have a variable annuity in total stock market index that my work pays to provide a 10% match on salary over the iRS $285k limit. This is found money. 3) I have a save to spend account that is piling up cash during the pandemic (several trips canceled). 4) we own two rental properties free and clear and count ourselves very fortunate that the tenants have been able to keep paying their rent during the pandemic.

                I did make a few “moves” in 2020. 1) Big TLH transaction in 4/20, which left me with a lot of S&P 500. This was good for returns for the rest of the year, but I am now a bit skewed to large cap. 2) I had started keeping several years of retirement expenses in total bond market index in my 457s. At the trough I shifted them to 30 stocks/70 bonds, which again helped in the run up. I know, market timing bad, but as Joe would say, ‘C’mon man!” 3) I shifted my rIRA to international but recently shifted back to a target date fund. I know, no bonds in Roth and all that, but this one is still aggressively stock heavy and I have discovered that I prefer having the bond risk reduction spread to all three types (taxable, tax deferred, and tax free).

                For 2021, I am planning to keep the same plan in place, but I am toying with some ideas. 1) I’d like to counterbalance the S&P 500 in taxable with a broader market index or indices in tax deferred to avoid capital gains for shifting the S&P 500funds, and I don’t want to use the TLH losses. Mulling this quite a bit. 2) I have decided to leave the 457s at 30/70 if not yet vested (the majority) but go back to all bonds in the vested portions. Hmmm, maybe I’ll do the small cap/midcap here? 3) we are thinking seriously about a place at the beach. I may or may not cash the rental properties to pay for it. Either way, the properties probably all eventually get cashed to buy the final retirement place. But this year has me thinking it may be time to start spending, especially if I work a few more years. 4) I plan to start gifting money to the adult kids to max out their retirement funds. I am proud of how they are doing on their own and I am mindful of economic outpatient care. But, they don’t expect it and it is easy for me to make up the difference at least while I am working. I think of it as family wealth anyway.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Like many, 2020 was a mixed bag for us. We mostly stuck to our plan: hit our retirement savings goals and while I won't check investment balances for the year until next week, I *think* we hit the 1M networth milestone! Instead of doing SO MUCH TRAVEL, we bought a cabin. That was definitely not planned but no regrets. . . We have spent so much time up here and love it more each visit. So I have covid to thank for that. Covid also made my job so much better. I went back to work full time about 16 months ago and I was worried about being away from my kids that much. Well 6 months in and I've worked mostly from home since then. Consequently I have more time with the kids than when I was part time. So that's been nice. The downside was losing my grandmother totally out of the blue, in the fall. We were very close, she was the only person that really understood the chaos and dysfunction that is my mother and she was my home. She was funny and irreverent and kind and the best cook and I miss her so much! So that's been hard.

                  2021 . . . We'll keep saving/ investing and. . . It might be the year we retire the trusty 08 Corolla:-( We really need something with awd for the cabin though. Looking at going electric!

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                  • #10
                    I haven’t been tallying year end NW annually. Kudos to those of you who have been. I think my NW has been going up about $500k a year since I got out of residency, and I crossed another big number at some point late in the year. I’m getting to the point that income doesn’t matter as much as market performance.

                    I sold my house this year and put most of the equity in the market, though I’m still sitting on a lot of cash, considering alternative investment options, Branched out into RE funds (Just over $200k this year in debt and equity). The other new thing I did was investing $10k in ibonds. I’ll probably try to put another $5k in via tax refund. Plan to make $66.5k in retirement contributions via solo 401k/bdRoth/HSA.
                    Held on to my 12 year old beater, my 4.5 year old laptop, my 4 year old iPhone, and my 3 year old Amazon Fire for another year (will probably replace two of those next year).

                    2021 - goals are to work less, find things to spend money on, and travel more.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Peds View Post
                      2020: lost job 2021: maybe look for one?
                      Where are you looking? Do you do general peds? Office and hospital work?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lithium View Post
                        I haven’t been tallying year end NW annually. Kudos to those of you who have been. I think my NW has been going up about $500k a year since I got out of residency, and I crossed another big number at some point late in the year. I’m getting to the point that income doesn’t matter as much as market performance.

                        I sold my house this year and put most of the equity in the market, though I’m still sitting on a lot of cash, considering alternative investment options, Branched out into RE funds (Just over $200k this year in debt and equity). The other new thing I did was investing $10k in ibonds. I’ll probably try to put another $5k in via tax refund. Plan to make $66.5k in retirement contributions via solo 401k/bdRoth/HSA.
                        Held on to my 12 year old beater, my 4.5 year old laptop, my 4 year old iPhone, and my 3 year old Amazon Fire for another year (will probably replace two of those next year).

                        2021 - goals are to work less, find things to spend money on, and travel more.
                        How much has been savings for retirement versus investment returns versus debt pay down?

                        That is incredible.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by endo4jc View Post

                          How much has been savings for retirement versus investment returns versus debt pay down?

                          That is incredible.
                          Mostly investment returns, but I've had a very low spending rate (<$35k a year) as a single person with no kids so I've been socking a lot away. Working a bit less now. Also came out of residency with a high six figure NW in 2014 due to moonlighting and investment returns in the early-mid bull. Was lucky to have not much student loan debt (I took out just enough that was subsidized that I could pay back at 0% during grace period as an intern).

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                          • #14
                            Context: early 30s, married (spouse works part time) with two young kids. Finished training in 2018. NW at that time was -175k.

                            2020 goal: Save 40% of gross. Ended up saving about 45%.

                            2021 goal: Save 50%. May be harder to do if we decide to put more towards the mortgage. We have about 11 years left at 3.3%.

                            NW will hopefully hit two commas by the end of January barring large stock market shenanigans, which are certainly within the realms of possibility.
                            Last edited by TheDangerZone; 12-22-2020, 10:27 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TheDangerZone View Post
                              Context: early 30s, married (spouse works part time) with two young kids. Finished training in 2018. NW at that time was -175k.

                              2020 goal: Save 40% of gross. Ended up saving about 45%.

                              2021 goal: Save 50%. May be harder to do if we decide to put more towards the mortgage. We have about 11 years left at 3.3%.

                              NW will hopefully hit two commas by the end of January barring large stock market shenanigans, which are certainly within the realm of possibilities.
                              wow from -6 figures to 2 comma club in 3 years- congrats, you're killing it!

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