Of Mice and Money // 2015 Wrap-Up and 2016 Rundown

this is our only post this week. we’ll be back next monday with one more before the new year. happy holidays, friends!

last friday was a pretty hilarious day. within an hour, we got word that mr. onl got a year-end bonus that exceeded our expectations, allowing us to meet our quite aggressive targets for the year, and… found out that we have mice. i am the worst person to give mice to, because i’m super anti-poison (i don’t even allow chlorine bleach in the house, let alone rat poison), and because i don’t want to kill anything. so what, exactly, do i plan to do? invite the mice to tea, and hope that we can have a philosophical discourse about why they’d be better off moving on to another home? even if i got those humane traps, i’m not sure i could stomach dumping mice out in the snow — it’s full-on winter here, after all. and let’s face it: mice are cute. who doesn’t have more sympathy for cute animals? but that was definitely an hour of the universe handing us something awesome, and then knocking us back down a peg for good measure. here, have some abundance! and some vermin! you’re welcome!

we’re just a little over a week away from the end of the year, and now that we know how our bonuses shook out (mine: better than my low expectations. mr. onl’s: better than our fairly high expectations. wohoo!), it’s a good time to look at how we did this year, and look ahead to our goals for 2016.

a word on our bonuses: several folks commented about how nice it is to receive bonuses, especially for those in public sector jobs, where “bonus” isn’t a thing. and it’s true, but there’s a little more to the story. in reality, only a small portion of our bonuses are true “extra money.” really, they are deferred compensation, and we’re both in a model in which we take a smaller salary throughout the year in exchange for a chunk at the end of each year. this allows our employers to hedge against a bad year by allowing our full compensation to be variable (and yes, we have had years where our pay has decreased compared to the previous year, or was pretty out of whack with our contributions at work), and allows us to save quickly because we don’t budget for the money we get at the end of the year, except for hitting savings targets. but, in good years, we do get more, which is the “bonus” part. but we’ll just keep calling these year-end lump sum payments “bonuses,” because that’s easier than explaining it all every time. ;-)

2015 wrap-up

at the end of 2014, we decided to move up our timeline for quitting our jobs to the end of 2017, instead of waiting for our previous date of 2020ish. that meant moving to much more aggressive targets for this year in terms of two main numbers: 1.) our taxable savings balance, which will sustain us for the first ~20 years of retirement, and 2.) our mortgage paydown balance, since we want to have our house paid off when we quit working. (our 401(k) balances are already in good shape, and we could stop contributing altogether and still have enough, we think, when we hit age 59 1/2 to sustain us for life. but we’re in a high tax bracket now, so want those tax deferrals! so we still max out.)

we also decided a year ago that we would quit at the end of 2017, no matter what — even if we didn’t hit these targets — but we also redoubled our commitment to hitting the numbers we think we need to retire the way we want to.

as we talked about in our post about revising our goals, we’ve always had year-end total goals, outlining where we want our balances to be in different categories by year’s end, and we’ve always hit those goals, and then subsequently gotten more aggressive for future years. but, given that we both get paid in a deferred compensation model, we never actually know throughout the year how we’re doing in terms of progress, other than the amounts we sock away automatically each month, because so much depends on how much we get at the end of the year. and this year was no exception. especially during the market roller coaster over the summer, we were pretty convinced that 2015 would be the first year when we didn’t hit our targets. and yet, we did, thanks mostly to mr. onl’s good “bonus,” and my expense report “oops.”

we don’t share our numbers, but here are some charts to reflect where we’re ending up this year…

net worth growth 2015

skewed scale snapshot of our year — the big jump in december is thanks to our “bonuses” going straight against the mortgage and into vanguard



our bonuses let us put a big chunk into vanguard, to bolster those holdings that will support us for the first 20 years of retirement



our bonuses allowed us to take a big bite out of the mortgage — only two years until we own our home outright!


net worth dec 2015

our net worth growth since we first started saving for real, updated with year-end 2015 numbers


looking ahead to 2016

the goals we originally mapped out for 2015, 2016 and 2017, our last three working years, assumed level contributions to our investments and mortgage all three years, but having hit our goals this year, we think we can do better in 2016, especially since we both got small raises. so goal number one is to increase our monthly auto-contribution to our vanguard index fund account to “hide” our raises. we decided we’re going to raise our investment by almost the total amount of our raises, even though taxes will shave down the amount we actually take home, and we’re committed to making up the difference by spending less.

goal two, then, is to continue reducing our spending. we’ve made huge strides in reducing our spending since our baller years, but have also never wanted to make changes to the way we live that feel drastic. we knew that would stoke our natural rebelliousness and make us snap back to high spending. so gradual cuts and trims have been where it’s at for us, and we will continue that trend into 2016. last summer, we posted about our high grocery spending, and while a full post on this is forthcoming, we’ve been doing well at consistently spending less each month than we were spending. and we think we can trim further.

goal three is to figure out the terms for a personal loan we’re most likely going to make to a family member. this is touchy stuff, and we’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and we want to be sure we have every conversation (and put everything in writing, of course) before any money changes hands. look for a post about this once we get all of this squared away. big picture: we’re thinking of this loan as replacing our allocations for bond fund investments, because it’s a hedge against equities, and as we get our monthly payments, we’ll invest those payments into bond funds. or at least that’s how we’re thinking about it right now.

goal four, of course, is to exceed our year-end targets, so that in 2017, our last working year, we have options. maybe we can build up a bigger stash than we originally thought we could, which would give us a little wiggle room in our retirement budgets. maybe we could work four days a week for the last six months. maybe we could retire early. if we can beat our target amounts in 2016, we’ll be stoked either way, and upping our vanguard contributions right off the bat will certainly get us started on the year with some great momentum.

finally, goal five is to think less about money! kind of an odd goal for a couple of personal finance bloggers in the fast lane to early retirement, we know. but now, two years away from retirement, the last two out of nearly a decade of focusing on saving, we think we have things mostly down. our spending keeps getting closer and closer to full optimization, our saving is highly automated so we don’t even think about the huge percentage of our incomes that go straight into investments, and… we both find it super easy to get overwhelmed by our jobs if we let that happen. so our goal instead is to stay present, enjoying these last two years of work as much as we can, focusing on the journey more and the account balances less.

there you have it, our 2015 wrap-up and 2016 goal rundown! did you hit your goals in 2015? what goals are you setting for 2016? anyone else actually planning to focus less on money, like we are? enjoy your holidays! have fun, stay safe, be well. :-)

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61 replies »

  1. At my last job, about half of my total compensation came in the form of two stock vests each year. It was kind of fun because then I could make a huge lump at some savings goal, like the mortgage or my investments. But also kind of annoying because whether I hit or exceeded my goals was SO tied to my employer’s stock price. Now I have a larger monthly salary, but with more retirement account room and ESPP, I feel like I don’t actually see that much of it, but I do have a bigger monthly shovel than before.

    I didn’t hit some of my goals this year and I finally sat down and calculated why, which made me feel a lot better. Post in draft form! I don’t like to do my end of year post until January so the numbers are more exact :)

    • Yeah, it’s definitely awesome and frustrating to be in the deferred compensation arrangement! :-) I think the unpredictability would be hard for a lot of people, and in fact was hard for me when I still had debt. But now that we have built up a good sized cushion, it doesn’t bother us, and we love how easy it is to save big chunks with this system. Look forward to reading your year-end wrap-up in January! :-)

    • Same boat here, about a third of my compensation this year was from “bonuses” on which I had pretty much no control. It’s sometimes tough, but also good since we don’t rely on those in our plans. But it does help meeting crazy saving goals (getting close to 70% after tax this year!)

  2. I don’t blame you about the mice. We had them when I was a kid and it wasn’t pretty. We had awful and inhumane traps that I made my dad get rid of because I was crying so hard. Congrats on the better than expected bonuses, and moving the date up! This year one of my goals is to learn more about investments so I can maximize making money in that arena.

    • Oh, I’m sure I’d cry like that now if I had to see dead little mice. I’m such a wimp. :-) Thanks for the congrats! And on your goals, make sure your info on investments includes at least some John Bogle. The info on index funds vs. actively managed funds or individual stock purchases was super persuasive to us!

  3. Great year and congrats on Mr. ONL bonus exceeding expectations. I’m curious to see where you guys will come out on the personal loan to the family member. Everything I’ve read has always said if you’re “loaning” money to family or friends you should treat it as a gift and not expect the money back. Just because if they are slow to pay or don’t pay, it becomes awkward trying to get that money back. Happy holidays!

    • Thanks for the congrats! Yeah, we’ve read the same advice, and generally think that’s good advice. We’ll talk about this more once it’s all settled, but we’ll have a “guarantee” of sorts that makes it a more desirable situation than thinking of it as a total gift (and the amount, in truth, is too big to be a flat out gift). But agree with you — it’s not like you’re going to take a family member to court! Much left to ponder… :-) Hope you have wonderful holidays and get a break from the business travel! We have TWO FULL WEEKS of no work travel — wohoo!

  4. Looks like you made fantastic progress in 2015. Really terrific when you consider that the stock & bond markets were flat this year. I’m just glad the markets didn’t have a big setback. I’m hoping for a little more equities growth in 2016.

    • Amen on no market setback so far! Yeah, we’d love to see some growth next year, though I’m sure you want it more than we do, since you’re SO CLOSE to pulling the ripcord! 2016 is going to be such an amazing year for you — can’t wait to read all about it!

  5. Just $.02 on loaning money to family. I know this is generally considered a no-no, but we have had benefit as both loanee and loaner (not sure if those are words, but you get the idea). With interest rates so low, the loaner can actually make a bit of money while saving the loanee some.

    We actually didn’t get anything in writing other than using a shared spreadsheet to know when the loan would be paid off. We felt extremely confident that the loans would be repaid (to my parents, from the Mrs. sibling). In the event that some extraordinary event prevented that from happening, the loaner wouldn’t be hurt too badly and it could be written off as a gift.

    If you feel the need to get something in writing, it may be a sign that the loan isn’t the best idea. Just something to think about before getting into something you may regret that could damage family relations.

    Congrats on crushing the goals. Keep it up!

    • Thanks for this great input, C. We, too, benefited from a family loan years ago to get out of credit card debt, so we do have a strong desire to pay it forward a bit. We’ll write more about all the dynamics involved, but some of the need for written terms is to satisfy the desires of the “loanee” and the parents (who suggested this arrangement in the first place). And all of our thinking about it is focused less on the money side, and more on the relationships side — that’s what we really don’t want to harm.

      Thanks for the congrats. Hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas… and get some snow soon!

  6. Congrats to you both for your “bonuses” exceeding your expectations! Doesn’t it feel great to kick it into high gear & accelerate savings even more than anticipated? :) I still love how you explain that you “hide” your raises, it gives it more of a playful vibe & much easier than phrases like “socking away” etc. Also – YES to thinking less about money. I’ve got confidence in you both!! I hope you both have excellent holidays & enjoy your time off! :)

    • YES, it feels totally great! And yeah, we will probably always think of it as “hiding” money from ourselves, mostly because we are spenders by nature, and if we see money, we feel like we have it to spend. :-) Thanks for the holiday wishes, Alyssa! Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

  7. Sounds like you’ve made great progress! I like that you share your graphs without the numbers. We aren’t comfortable sharing a lot of numbers yet, either, but graphs give a good picture of progress.

    Also, I appreciate that you’ve carefully thought through and prepared for the personal loan. That can get messy if not handled without foresight.

    • Yeah, the personal loan — we wouldn’t choose to do it, but are feeling like we can make it work without harming relationships. More to follow on that! And definitely stick to your guns if you aren’t comfortable sharing numbers! There is no need to do it, especially if you can talk percentages or use graphs. It’s all relative anyway! Happy holidays!

  8. One idea on the mice – borrow a cat for a few days (or adopt one). They may or may not catch a mouse, but their scent will stick around. That may be enough to deter the vermin from sticking around.

    Congrats on an inspiring year! It’s so exciting that you are almost ready to retire. Keep up the good work :)

    • I *wish* we could borrow a cat — I’m allergic. :-) Thanks for the congrats! We were feeling a little discouraged for the past few months, thinking we wouldn’t hit our targets, so this has been a nice cause for mini celebration. :-)

  9. Congrats on a great year!! It’s funny when you talk bonuses because yes, many people just think it’s cash in your pockets but oftentimes its paid in different ways and unless you plan to stay with a company over a few years, you may not actually realize all of the bonus that’s promised to you. I faced that when I left my company. I could have stayed in a job and career I hated to collect 1/3 of a bonus from previous years or I could move on with my life. It wasn’t an easy choice, but it’s one I’m glad I made.

    • Congrats on being able to walk away from a partial bonus! We are going to have to face that in our last year, and it’s one of those things that can keep you working forever. If you stay until X, you get your 401K match, then if you stay a few months longer, you get a retention bonus, then there’s the year-end bonus… it can be a never-ending loop if we let that happen! So we may ask you for some moral support when the time comes. :-)

  10. I worry about your plan to lend money to a family member – I’ve seen this a lot of times at work and have never seen it work the way that it’s intended. Plus when it goes wrong you don’t really have the same options to get it sorted out.

    I think you’re playing with fire here – the reality is that if a person can’t afford to borrow the cash from the bank then why would they be able to afford to pay the loan back to you? My wife and I have been approached a number of times for loans of varying sizesfrom family and friends (why do they even ask us anyway?) and we haven’t taken the bait once. But then when you look at what they do next you become very glad that you didn’t lend them the money!

    It sounds like you have an agressive ER plan, but if this loan goes astray then it could put a huge hole in your ER plan!

    • You raise a lot of good points, and trust me — we have thought about all of it. This situation is unique in that the request does not come as a result of bad spending decisions, but rather a health issue, and we have a guarantee/collateral for our loan. We definitely know this is tricky stuff, but feel like there are some mitigating circumstances in this case. Thanks for your great advice!

  11. Congratulations! Those pie charts are looking super impressive. Here’s to a 2016 that exceeds all our expectations :)

    On the mice, I can’t bring myself to kill them either. They’re too freaking cute. When I had them in an apartment years ago, I came to a kind of live and let live arrangement, where I put all my food either in the fridge, or in glass jars they couldn’t get into, and was just fanatical about not giving them anything to eat, but also didn’t bother them running around the floor every now and then. That worked pretty well because they clearly had access to food elsewhere in the apartment building; might work less well in a standalone house.

    • Thanks! And absolutely — to a great 2016 all around! I love your laissez faire attitude about the mice — that is how we are with the spiders. Living in the mountains, there are more spiders than I ever could have imagined. But fortunately I’m not scared of them, so we just basically leave them alone. (Unlike the fruit flies this past summer — I murdered them without mercy.) I don’t think that will fly with the mice/mouse, though, because our littlest and yappiest dog barks every time he hears vermin, and that is making Mr. ONL crazy, which can only mean one thing: mouse traps are coming. Fingers crossed I can talk him into the humane ones, but I don’t get much of a vote since I refuse to deal with the problem myself. :-)

  12. Congrats on the bonuses! It’s always nice when they come in better than expected. When I was younger we would get mice every fall. Just living in the country sort of thing. One year I made a live trap using one of the regular snap traps, and it worked great! Just a thought, and if you feel really bad, you could catch and cage and have new pets, lol
    Good job on hitting your goals too! We have t tallied everything yet but I think we may just miss our goal, it will be close. Either way it’s a win because we still saved a lot. I hear you on getting caught in the bonus loop. I’ll probably defer quitting for a few months just to get the “last” one, but if you need support when the time comes, I’ll do my best to help!
    Have a merry Christmas and enjoy your time off!

    • Thankfully this is our first go-round with mice in the mountains, and it’s our fifth December here… so I hope it’s not an annual thing like it was for you! But I like your pet idea. :-)

      You’re so right on the goals — you win either way! Same for us. But we sure like it more when we hit our goals. ;-) Because of that bonus loop, we’re now thinking we’ll probably work a month or two into 2018, instead of quitting at the end of 2017, just to be sure we get those last year-end bonuses before we give our notice — you gave a very persuasive argument on the topic a few months back! But yeah, let’s support each other in actually pulling the trigger when the time comes. Happy holidays to you and Mrs SSC and the family! :-)

  13. Sounds like a great 2015! Always nice to have the bonus at the end of the year that can take an okay year to a great year! Good luck on the family loan. I don’t know if I would ever do that but that might be more about seeing my family members behaviors than if I think it is truly a good idea or not. Hope you both have a great Christmas!

    • Amen on the bonuses! And yeah, the family loan is a tough call, but there are some circumstances that make us less anxious about the whole thing. :-) Merry Christmas to you and your family, Thias!

  14. Looks like a great year and way to finish strong! Bonuses are also nice, even nicer when they are more than expected. :) Mice are cute but can be very destructive. We had a good year goals wise despite some ups and downs on the employment side. Looking forward to a great 2016! Wishing you guys a great holiday!

  15. So, any updates on the mice?? We had some earlier this year, but my housemate caught them using mason jars and peanut butter and walked them down to the grass near the river and let them go. But I hear you that that is perhaps a less-kind option in winter. Although, I don’t know, mice do survive somehow in the wild…maybe they’d make it?

    Congrats on the mortgage paydown! That’s amazing to see the difference in the two graphs between October and now!

    Regarding focusing less on money in 2016, I’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and start using Personal Capital. (Well, ok, it’s not much of a bullet since it’s free, but it’s still a bit of a time investment to link all my accounts, etc.) However, I think I may be focusing *more* on money if anything in the next few months, as I start to figure out student debt repayment. Yeah, it’s that time. But I also want to make a larger list of goals/resolutions/intentions for 2016 that extends beyond finances.

    Hope you have a great holiday! :)

    • We haven’t acted on the mice yet, but also haven’t heard them in a few days. I kinda want to pretend it never happened. :-) And yeah, I’m sure you’re right that they are WILD animals who can handle the outdoors. I’m just such a wuss about these things, which is why I had to stop volunteering at the animal shelter — I kept bringing dogs home. :-)

      Yeah, the mortgage thing feels incredible. We’re so close to paying it off, and feeling especially thankful (re: last week’s post) that we bought only enough house to be a second home, or we’d be much farther away from paying it off now.

      You’re in a time in your life where focusing on money a bit makes total sense. I think it’s kind of a bell curve — we all naturally start out not thinking about it enough, and then learn more, but then become pros and have our systems down and can think about it less. But Personal Capital is a great way to track it all, so definitely worth the set-up time. I hope you’ll post on your goals and resolutions — can’t wait to read them! We’re not really resolution people, but we’re definitely all about the goals and intentions. :-)

  16. Congratulations on doing so well with your savings. We were only talking this morning over our solstice celebration breakfast about how hard it is to balance the desire to save as much money as we can, eat well and save the planet by reducing packaging. We live in a part of the UK that lacks a farmers market, so we are mostly stuck with supermarkets and their wrap-it-in-plastic philosophy. We make most things from scratch but I too have a plan to do better at this and I think this will help the finances and environment, so win-win. Well done on coming up with some achievable goals for 2016 and good wishes for the festive season.

    • We can definitely relate to that conundrum! Check out our recent post called “Our Triple Bottom Line” for a discussion of this. We think frugality at all costs is a very wasteful way to live, and we gladly pay a little more to buy less (or no) packaging. But we’ve also spent enough time in the UK to know that you all have a special challenge with things even more packaged than in the states! Happy holidays to you too!

  17. You guys are doing pretty darn awesome, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if you figure out that you’d be okay retiring even before your anticipated retirement date. Your goals all seem very appropriate, and I admire your desire to essentially hide your raise by increasing your contributions into your retirement savings. Well done!

    For us, the goal is simple – maintain course so we retire on schedule, which is by year end. We’ve actually stopped contributing to brokerage and instead are now building up our Ally savings account so we can make a cash offer for an Airstream, hopefully for a killer deal. We’ll see how that goes. We may end up getting the trailer earlier than expected so we can sell our current house at prime time in the real estate market. Might be spring rather than late summer as originally planned.

    Still kinda up in the air, so we’ll see. :)

    • Thanks, Steve! Hiding those raises is what has gotten us this far, more than being frugal (which we’re not especially!). I think at this point the odds that we move up our date are low, because we want that last year-end bonus in 2017… as you’ve gathered, Mr. ONL’s bonuses are sufficiently large in terms of percentage of total income to keep us working those few extra months until we get it. And truthfully, I like the idea of a bigger cushion! But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. First goal is to crush it next year. :-)

      Wow — you guys are so close if you’re focusing entirely on cash. So exciting! Can’t wait to see the Airstream you find — are you looking for an old, cheap one that you’ll fix up, or a newer model? And selling your house this spring, maybe — IT’S ALL HAPPENING! So excited for you guys!!

      • Thanks ONL – we were originally looking at an older model that we could fix up, but we’ve recently decided to purchase a newer model. We haven’t done renovations in an RV before and would rather spend a little extra to get one that’s in good shape – the last thing we want is for something to go wrong soon after we begin our venture and have to sink thousands into repairs. Better safe than sorry, I guess. :)

        And definitely understood regarding the year-end bonuses. That could provide funding for another half year of expenses depending on how large those bonuses are. After all, social security is important enough for my wife to work an additional couple months to ensure it comes when we eventually hit “retirement age”. :)

      • Gotcha — I think going with a newer model makes total sense. Good luck finding the perfect one! And yeah, you totally understand given the SS credits Courtney is sticking around for! I am calling any extra $ we can save above and beyond our magic number the “renovation fund.” There are a bunch of things we’d like to do if we stay in our current house, but don’t necessarily have funding for those things. A few extra bucks could let us make a few changes either for us to enjoy, or to get a better sale price if we decide to downsize.

  18. Congratulations on meeting your targets! What a great Christmas gift to receive this year! About the mice, I’m scared of them – very much like an elephant. I know they’re cute but I just can’t stand them.

    As I read your goals, my thought went from ‘that seems simp…oh no, I thought too soon.’ I must have been used to seeing financial goals as $$ targets that my mind processed yours as easy just because you didn’t write any number. I know, I know. Sorry.

    I like your goal five the best, probably because that is my ultimate goal since I started. Lately, I’ve been spending less time looking at my spreadsheets and bank/investment accounts because I decided I don’t need any more stress (heh!). But in saying that, I know that I’m only brave to do this because I’m confident that my finances are in order after I’ve spent ample time to take control of it. I guess you guys feel the same way. :)

    I did hit 2/3 goals this year and even if I didn’t hit one, I still have more equity investments this year than I did last year, so that’s still a win. Like you, I want to focus less on the $$ next year and more on self-improvement, family and giving back. Happy holidays! Enjoy!

    • Our goals ARE completely simple, so it’s fine you thought that when reading them! :-) Sort of a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, since we feel like we’re doing pretty well on our finances. (Note: I didn’t say “at life” or “at keeping our house in order” or any number of other tasks that we’re failing at, thanks to all the work travel. We struggle with adulting just like everyone else, even if our financial house is in order!) And yes, definitely with you on thinking about money less! And couldn’t agree more that that should be everyone’s goal. Money is just a tool, after all, and we should treat it like that.

      Hope you have wonderful holidays! xx

  19. Hey onl,

    Looks like 2015 is a ” grand cru” year for you. When I read your blog, I get the feeling you have all things figured out and that shows in the results.

    The pie charts are really nice. Such a big evolution from November to December. I wish you all the best for 2016.

    Here at ambertreeleaves, it looks that we will hit the financial goals. It is our first year so we are happy. The plan for 2016 remains the same: balance fun with reasonable saving.

    A last note: I like the ” think less about money” goal. Personally I think little about our investments, but I have an hawk eye on our budget and my play money.

    Best wishes

    • Thanks, ATL! We definitely do NOT have everything figured out, but (knock on wood!) we’ve still managed to do well so far. :-) Glad you hit your goals for 2015, too! And your plan sounds so reasonable: balancing fun with savings. Good luck in 2016!

  20. I think putting your investments on automatic is one of the best things you can do. I’ve never made big money (at my job) but my accounts are now in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Its pretty amazing to me in a certain respect in that I dont feel like I’ve spent too much effort on it over the last 20 years (other than the going to work part of coarse) Its like a bill that has to be paid and you dont really miss the money. For a long time I hardly even looked at my accounts. I picked good funds and just let them do their thing.
    Despite reading/ studying plenty of finance articles etc, I have to say that any theories or market timing ideas I’ve had have been more wrong that right. Probably like 70/30. Meaning when the market has gone down a lot and maybe I should bought in (using some excess cash), I waited thinking it would go down a bit further before I put more money in. But instead it went back up and I never got to buy the dip at the lower price. Its not worth the time or energy spent. You cant predict it. Most mutual or hedge fund managers cant either. So for me, I look to keep my costs/ spending down in my life as much as is reasonable and set all my investments on automatic. I’m always looking for ways to improve my finances, but I dont have spreadsheets or overly micro-analyze things. Come up with your investment plan or system, then focus on enjoying your life as much as possible. I dont believe spending countless hours researching, trading etc will guarantee you a better outcome or enough to compensate you for the time spent.

    • Nice job automating things and building up a good nest egg! And yeah, same here — we’ve never had much luck trying to time the market, so we don’t try anymore! Just stick to that automatic investing every month, like clockwork.

  21. Great set of goals for 2016! Should lead to a successful year and an even better foundation. I’m interested to see what terms you settle on for the personal loan. Dealing with loans to people you know can be tricky, but it sounds like you are taking the right approach to the situation.

    Bert, One of the Dividend Diplomats