the process

Asking for More and Getting It // 2016 Goals Review + 2017 Goal Setting

Last week I found out my bonus and this week Mr. ONL finds out his. :::squirming in my seat nervously, hoping I don’t burst into tears when we get the number::: (I am the definition of zero chill.)

His bonus has much more impact on our finances (and our retirement timing!) than mine does, but I still had a great moment last week around my bonus that I’ll talk about today. And then we’ll take a look back at the non-numerical goals we set for ourselves for 2016 and see how we did, as well as look ahead at 2017 and set some new goals. Next week we’ll share the full financial breakdown for the year, and what it means for our early retirement timing. (Are you as excited as we are??!?!?!?! Haha. Of course not.) ;-)

Asking for More and Getting It // Negotiating for more money at work, and asking more of ourselves to save faster // 2016 Goal Review + 2017 Goal Setting

Asking Others for More

I already shared last week that I had my last review ever. EVER. Even if we last until the end of 2017, we still won’t go through the whole review ritual, because we will have already given notice. Once that fact really sank in, I felt a lot better. Definitely a big weight off my shoulders.

There was something else about my review that I didn’t share, because I didn’t have any info as of last week’s post. But now I can tell you all about it.

We’ve both generally taken the approach in our year-end reviews of not asking for more money, either in future years, or in our deferred compensation for the year that’s just wrapped up. We’ve truly felt taken care of and appreciated by our companies, so there hasn’t been a need to press on anything. We know how fortunate we are to be able to say that, and we’re super grateful. It’s crazy that we can’t remember a single time when Mr. ONL pushed back on money at all, and I only asked for more once before in my career, in my very early years.

But this year, I wanted to push for more, first because I felt I deserved it for the year I’ve had, and second because it makes me nuts that women negotiate on money so infrequently. If for no better reason than to have negotiated for more money at least one real time in my career, I wanted to push on principle. I’d be a bad feminist if I never did this, right? And if I care about the legacy I’m leaving behind, then I have to do my part to create new norms for the young women who come up behind me.

So in my review, I asked for more. I said I believe that my compensation is lower than several peers who contribute less (based on real information), and that I believe last year’s bonus had been too small. And I said that while I always look out for the best interests of the company, and what makes sense for business, the economics also have to work out for me. The managers in my review said they’d take that back to the team who decides such things, and then I waited. And late the next day, I found out:

I’d been successful. I got more.

My company is pretty conservative about pay increases, so I didn’t get more for 2017, but I did get a bigger bonus, which we benefit from immediately. And we get all of it regardless of whether we work the full year next year. So I’m happy with the outcome, and would have chosen a bigger bonus over more for next year anyway. If you sensed a lukewarm reaction to my bonus last week (as Steve did), I can now say that it met my expectations. And given that this was likely my peak earning year ever (unless some future second act career takes off), it got me to a number that I feel really good about as a capstone to my career.

I’m proud that I gathered up the guts to ask for what I deserved, and I’m glad that I could push back on taboos in my last review, to grease the wheels for future employees. Take that, wage gap.

—> Follow along with our adventures between blog posts — with so many more pictures! — on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. <—

Asking More of Ourselves in 2016

Having just succeeded at getting more money by asking for it, I’m a little surprised I didn’t set pushing back on money at review time as a 2016 goal last year. But we did set a bunch of other good ones to get us to a happier, healthier, more financially secure place — basically, to ask more of ourselves. At the end of 2015, we did a wrap-up post and outlined five goals for 2016. Let’s see how we did:

1. Increase our monthly contribution to Vanguard

Status: We’ve successfully increased our monthly contributions to Vanguard by 25 percent this year, entirely through our pay ourselves first approach. We increased the contribution amount by the full amount of our pay increases for 2016, even though that didn’t account for taxes, and we cut our spending to make up the difference. Goal achieved. (Related post: How We’ve Upped Our Savings Game Without Budgeting)

2. Continue reducing our spending

Status: We made good progress in 2015 continuing to cut our spending gradually. We’re huge believers that we’d rebel if we tried to cut our spending dramatically at any point, so we’ve focused instead on occasional trimming rather than sudden chopping. So we just continued this trend in 2016, and our spending is now down below where we need it to be in retirement. Of course, several of our costs will go up in retirement, like health insurance and groceries (because I will be home more, not up in the air for work), so when we account for that, we think we’re right on target. Goal achieved.

3. Solidify personal loan to relative

Status: We solidified the loan in January, blogged about it in February, and have been collecting easy automated payments every month since then. Goal achieved.

4. Exceed our year-end targets

Status: Big time thumbs up on this one. Thanks to faster saving than we’d projected at the start of the year and lots of market tailwind, we’ve gotten significantly ahead of schedule, so much so that our retirement timeline is potentially negotiable at this point. Goal achieved.

5. Think less about money

Status: When we wrote this goal, we meant it to mean checking our account balances less and not stressing about spending. And this year we’ve achieved that. We’re now checking balances only once or twice a month, which is a huge improvement over the near-daily checking of a year ago. We also don’t pay attention to market fluctuations, and have continued investing twice each month no matter what. But, one thing that we’ve gotten worse about is thinking about retirement. While not thinking about money, exactly, it’s kind of the same thing. Thinking about money too much in 2015 kept us from being fully present a lot of the time, and this year thinking too much about retirement filled that role. We will try to do better in 2017. Goal partially achieved.

Overall, we couldn’t be happier. I mean, sure, we’d take more money, as we all would, but we’re proud of ourselves for sticking to all the goals we set for ourselves, almost entirely across the board. Because you can teach an old dog new tricks (the Mythbusters proved it). Thank goodness we asked more of ourselves this year — if we hadn’t raised the bar, we wouldn’t have reached higher, and we wouldn’t be where we are.

Goals for 2017

There’s still a lot of uncertainty about 2017, especially the timing of our retirement and questions around how we’ll get health insurance. But there are some things we do know we’ll need to do this year, which we covered in our recent pre-retirement to do list post. (Going to every possible doctor in early 2017 is top of the list! Time to load up on health care, just in case.) We also have a thematic goal for the year that we’ll share in January. And here are our big picture goals for the coming year:

Increase our monthly contributions while we’re still working – We want to keep our momentum going and up our game some more. We’re currently planning to increase our monthly contributions by the full amount of our raises this year, which will again squeeze our spending to account for taxes on the additional income, which will be a good test. The difference this year is that we may need to split those monthly contributions between Vanguard and our cash accounts, to build up our cash reserves to ride out market fluctuations. That piece of the puzzle depends on what we end up doing with our bonuses, which we’ll decide after Mr. ONL gets his.

Pay off the house – Always been part of our plan to be mortgage-free in early retirement, so a no-brainer. We did an in-depth breakdown on why Obamacare subsidies change the math on pay off vs. investing, and given that current talk is about keeping the ACA in place for three more years, it’s still worth crunching your numbers to figure out what makes most sense for your situation.

Decide whether to buy a second rental property – We’ve lately been lamenting that we missed the boat on buying another rental near us, but we’ve actually started to talk about buying an out-of-area rental. While I definitely don’t love the idea of owning a property we can’t easily visit, I do love the idea of diversifying our income streams and being less market-reliant. This is a pretty new idea for us, but we’re thinking more about it. (Related post: Choosing People Over Money // The Story of Our Rental Property)

Put wheels in motion for second-act business – We aren’t ready to talk about it here, but we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what we want to do after we quit our jobs. We want to start laying the groundwork for it, even if we can’t really kick it off until after we retire. Even though we aren’t doing the work yet, we already feel grateful to be contemplating a new venture based entirely on it sounding fun, not based on earnings potential. That is the best privilege of early retirement.

Hit our magic number in taxable savings – Another no-brainer. We aren’t yet in agreement about when we should retire next year, but we are in lockstep agreement that we don’t do it until we hit our magic number. Though you can bet that if we hit it in April or May, I’ll have a heck of a hard time agreeing to work the remainder of the year, regardless of what kind of a bonus Mr. ONL is predicting for himself. ;-)

How Was Your 2016? What Are Your Goals for 2017?

We want to hear from you guys! How was your 2016? Did you reach the goals you set for yourself? Any goals for 2017 you want to put out there? We’d love to give virtual high fives for all of it – even the incremental progress that may not feel like it rises to the level of a goal you met. Let’s discuss in the comments!

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105 replies »

  1. Boom! that’s so awesome. High five.

    I never negotiated salary until this job (which I’m actually okay with, it didn’t really make sense to do so in the previous situations). I also never asked for a raise until this job (this I’m not so okay with… kicking my past self). Never worked in corporate so I’ve yet to be inducted into this magical world of bonuses (next job, though! Private sector all the way) and raises if they exist are pretty small. Also we are publicly funded so the exact amount is not really something I can argue/influence; apparently most people got 0% and I’m one of the few who got any increase this time.

    This year: bought a house, paid off some extra principal, started regularly investing outside of retirement.

    Goals for next year: set up a 2nd automated investment, renovate kitchen, chuck a little extra at the mortgage hopefully.

    • Thank you! :-D It’s nice that private sector jobs offer the possibility of a bonus, but of course it comes with a BIG cost of selling the company all your free time and brain space. If I was starting over, I don’t know if I’d go the same route, honestly! Congrats on buying your home, paying off extra principal and investing! And good luck on your 2017 goals! :-)

  2. Congrats on such a good goal score.
    To me, the fact that you realise you are not present enough now is by far the best you can get.
    I had a few of these moments this year, and I now try actively to be 100 pct present when it matters…! That should be my brother one goal for 2017!

  3. Congratulations on the raise and bigger bonus! I’m really glad you asked for and secured what you deserve. High five! I really like your goal of thinking about money less. I may have to steal that as one of my 2017 goals. Right now, I mainly want to focus of finishing my CFP classes and hacking some badass trips with credit card rewards :)

    • Thanks, Kate! :-) I’m proud of myself for asking for more. And yeah, thinking about money less has definitely been a good thing for us this year… though we are NOT thinking about retiring less. Goal for 2017… ;-) Good luck finishing your CFP! And can’t wait to hear what awesome trips you take!

  4. I may sound – very – stupid here, but what is a bonus and what do you have to do to get it? I live in Australia and work in health, so I don’t know which one of these two facts prevents me from having bonuses or even knowing what they are :)

    • A bonus is basically a gift from your company. For me to get a bonus, our company has to meet several different benchmarks. We met 152% of our goal this year, so we get 152% out of a possible 200%. The amount you get is based off your job level and personal performance. For me, this means Wednesday I get a paycheck that has my normal pay plus another month’s worth of pay in it! Some companies pay out in December, others do the spring, and still others pay out quarterly.

      • Thank you Gwen! And, woah! There is nothing like that for me… I might have chosen the wrong course of studies! Well I love my profession so I don’t think I would have actually chosen anything else, but it is interesting to see how things are everywhere. Thanks again :)

      • You’ve only chosen the wrong field if you wish you could work more hours and be expected to be online at all hours… that’s the price for a career path with bonus potential. ;-)

      • Oh gosh yes, I am not expected to be online at all hours, that’s for sure. Although I do work 5-10 more hours to do everything I am required to do. They call it “poor time management skills”, I call it “sucking the life out of employees by managers who only see numbers and have no idea how much time things take”. It is actually a common occurence (it’s not just me) for my colleagues to have to come in early/stay late and not have the opportunity to charge for that time due to, again, “poor time management skills”. Grrr.

      • How frustrating and unfair! :-( I know sometimes my long hours are my own fault, but your employer shouldn’t be blaming you for their poor understanding of your work. Have you tried actually showing them how long things take?

      • I know right? Unfortunately we all try and get told the same when we do. It is pretty much “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”, as you can see here: “It isn’t just senior executives and top managers burning the midnight oil as part of their very well paid jobs”
        Sorry about the link but I just wanted to show that it is actually rampant if we want to keep our jobs – need FIRE! – if you’d rather edit and get rid of the link that is perfectly fine :)

      • Thanks for sharing the link! I’m happy to keep it here for others to check out. :-) And I completely agree with that thinking, that senior folks and “regular workers” alike need to draw that line in the sand and leave on time… unfortunately I’m horrible at following that advice myself. :-S

    • Gwen gave a good answer, but it’s essentially a form of profit sharing at a for-profit company, combined with some incentive for personal contribution. These bonuses typically only come with jobs that are high pressure and high stress, so there’s a different trade-off involved!

  5. Great work on the negotiation! Pretty sweet that it worked out to a larger bonus vs a salary increase for you as well.

    We hit the bulk of our $ goals this year, the ones we didn’t were long shots but we still are working on them. I have been making a list for 2017, suppose I better get to it

    • Thank you! :-) And hooray for hitting most of your goals for the year! Fingers crossed you can check off a few more before the year is out. Look forward to hearing what you can do in 2017!

  6. A big congratulations on asking for more money…and getting it! You are right that this is probably going to be your biggest income year perhaps of the rest of your life, so this is the time to maximize it as best as you can.

    The year’s been great for us as well. We’ve increased our net worth around 20% and put our new retirement plans into place, which sends me packing up my work laptop and sending it back in two weeks. We sold both of our homes and now live in an Airstream, which we’ve decked out the best we can with all kinds of Christmas decorations at the moment (and when I say “we”, I most certainly mean Courtney!).

    Things are rolling along pretty smoothly for us right now. Stocks are crazy, which makes that net worth number look especially nice. Retirement on the horizon. 75-degree days this week with solar generating the vast majority of our energy.

    I wish I could complain about something, but I can’t! ‘

    …oh, wait. Yeah, the Arizona Cardinals football team. Yeah, I can certainly complain about them. Lost to the Miami Dolphins yesterday. Ugh…

    • Oh yeah, I could complain about the Saints – back to the ‘aints lol. They are back to looking like the team I remembered watching growing up. sigh…

    • Thanks! And geez, what a year you guys have had! So many big changes, all for the better! You must be feeling pretty amazing about 2017 and beyond… especially knowing that you guys are well equipped to weather the next big recession, whether it hits next week, next year or in a few years. As for football… no comment. :-)

  7. Congrats on getting your deferred compensation increased, that’s pretty sweet! It has to be frustrating to know that you’re getting hosed just because of gender.

    The only negotiation I’ve done for salary or bonus is when I first got an offer from megacorp. The pay was fine, but I was coming in at “newbie” level and I fit their description of experienced hire, because I’d been working in another industry for over 6 years prior to this job. I pushed back and won, not asking for more money, rather the extra week of vacation and experienced hire moving package which netted ~$15k extra in relocation monies. But that extra week of vacation meant that in 5 years it went to a month, not just 3 weeks. Priceless!!

    When I went to my current company, Prof SSC and I had a number that the offer had to meet to make it worth the disruption in our lives. Their salary offer was about 20% higher than that number, and came with an additional ‘yuge’ sign on bonus and better yearly bonus target numbers, while also keeping the 4 weeks of vacation. Negotiating for more felt greedy, as I thought it was more than fair.

    As far as 2016 goals, I think we’ve done well, but we will probably miss them since we didn’t anticipate Prof SSC becoming Prof SSC mid-year and not getting paid for 3 months and cutting her salary by 2/3. Was it worth it, hell yeah! However, because we’ve been so good and focused, we’re still on target for a 2018 FIRE date. Although if we don’t hit our free and clear walk away number until later in the year, I may stick around for the next round of bonuses and incentives to hit summer of 2019. Why leave all that on the table if it’s only 7 more months? Yipe, OMY is legit!!

    • Thanks! I don’t actually think my gender has hurt me per se, as my company has a high percentage of woman leadership. I think it’s just the natural tendency of women not to push for more which then compounds over the course of a career. And mostly when I talk wage gap, it’s the wage gap in our marriage. Hahaha. (But seriously, no complaints that Mr. ONL earns more! That’s half my money after all.) ;-) How awesome that you guys pushed for more vacation — like you said, that’s priceless! I did the same thing when I started my job many years ago, and starting with three weeks is pretty much the best thing ever, because two week gets you basically nothing.

      Given that you guys had a major change of direction this year, it sounds like you’re still crushing your savings — so awesome! Just don’t get into that OMY (or “one more bonus”) mindset! I’ll help remind you come 2018 to hurry up and quit already. :-)

  8. Awesome job on asking for (and getting) a larger “bonus.” I agree that’ll help pave the way for others, in addition to getting you more toward your big savings goal. Sounds like you killed your goals this year, too. We met our big goal for the year and next year will be focused on increasing investing & giving.

    • Thanks! Yeah, pretty crazy where we’re ending up on the goals… I would not have guessed we’d get such a good grade (and seriously, the markets helped a lot — we can’t take credit for that part!). Congrats to you guys on meeting your big goal for the year! :-D

  9. That’s awesome that you can get ready to start up a business purely because it sounds fun. It’s a totally different type of mindset when you’re working solely because you want to, and not because you need to in order to put food on the table. I know for myself, I’d probably be a full time bike messenger if I money was no object. Looking forward to hearing about this new business.

    • Yeah, we’re super excited to do our new biz! (When was the last time I said that about my career?! Haha.) I can tell you that we will definitely NOT be pursuing a second act as bicycle messengers. ;-)

  10. Congrats on the bonus increase – that had to feel great! I didn’t hit my financial goal this year (in fact, I missed it by a long shot), but I ended up learning a lot more about money because of it. And even though I didn’t hit my goal, I’m in a much better place financially than I was a year ago – so I’m thankful for that!

    • Thanks, friend! I LOVE that you are viewing where you ended up on the year in a positive light — sometimes the things we learn from not reaching our goals are more important than the goals themselves. Here’s to learning!

  11. Awesome job asking for more and getting more! I tried the same thing last year to no avail. But I at least got my point across that I wasn’t happy (maybe that’s what contributed to them allowing me to work remotely for the time being).

    I crushed all my 2016 financial goals due to moving to the Midwest, a decent increase to income this year, and US equity markets performing quite well.

    I’m curious to see if you can really pull the plug before the end of next year ;)

    • Thanks! So awesome you had such a great year… including getting permission to work remotely (I’m *sure* you asking for more and not getting it contributed to that). And we’re also curious about whether we can quit early next year… hahaha.

  12. Amazing job you guys and congrats on asking for what you want! Especially after you told me how much your job is slowly killing you! I can’t wait to hear that actual retirement date! 2016 was my best year financially, but personally a little tough as I lost a few people who i was close to. I haven’t sat down to to my 2017 goals yet, but honestly I think it will be more of the same, plus a bigger trip thrown in there (but I haven’t quite settled on that either). Looking forward to our chat this week!

    • We’re chatting in two weeks, right?! (Eeek… please let me know if I have it wrong!) And thanks for the congrats! I was really proud of myself for asking, just to have done it once for real in my career. :-) Can’t wait to hear where you decide to travel in 2017!

  13. For diversifying income into real estate investments, have you checked out Peer Street? I’ve been investing in Peer Street for about 17 months now, receiving a steady stream of interest income and quite pleased with the returns. After 20 years working and contributing to a 401K, I felt like I was overweight in the equities column. I had a rental property in another city (sold this year after 10 years) and I just don’t think I have the intestinal fortitude to be a real estate landlord like that. Peer Street diversified my income stream without the stress.

    • Great suggestion — thanks! We have NOT put any real energy into exploring these options, though we certainly will. Good to know your experience has been very positive!

      • I’m not a fan of some of the other alternatives (like Realty Shares or Fundrise) as they are offering mostly equity positions or mezzanine in real estate and they are frankly extremely speculative investments run by former and current investment bankers (did you read or see the movie, The Big Short?). I’ve made it my mission the past year or so to become well versed on Peer Street so if you want more details (I’m happy to share my data) and the investing criteria/rules I’ve come up with would be happy to share. I don’t have my own blog or anything and staying focused on the end game for the time being but written a couple of guest posts on this topic and constantly evaluating this investment. Sort of like Lending Club but VERY different because the investments are secured by 1st trust deed positions on real estate so if someone decides not to pay back the loan, you, as the lender, have real estate as collateral.

      • Thanks for sharing this great perspective! This is a whole area of investing that we’ve never explored, so know close to nothing. It’s helpful to hear your cautions, for sure! We’re far more inclined to go the DIY route in all things in life, so this type of service is not innately appealing to us — we’d rather choose our own rental and tenants, etc., if we go the second rental route. It’s also why we’ve never done Lending Club, but did do a personal loan!

      • It’s sort of a DIY way to invest in REITs, in my opinion. I get what you are saying… the cool thing about these loans for me is that all mine are due in 24 months or less, so inherently more liquid that a real estate investment. And they are spaced out with maturities like a CD ladder except I’m earning good returns instead of lame CD rates. That being said if you can stomach the stress of a rental (the potential liability, things breaking, disruptions when tenants move out, etc.), then there are a lot of tax advantages to them. There are certain RE markets where the price of the property vs. rental rate ratio is quite favorable and there are excellent deals with great investment returns to be had. In those cases it’s a good arrow to add to your diversified portfolio quiver. I’ve thought a lot about this stuff and what I’ve discovered about myself is that these more active types of investments vs. passive ones cause me a lot of stress. Maybe it’s because I’m so debt averse. Maybe I’m a control freak. :) It’s probably something off in my psyche causing this and pushing me to find different ways to accomplish the same thing.

      • We have a lot to think about! I don’t know yet if I have the stomach personally for all of that, but really value you sharing your perspective! We know there are good values still out there, even if they are gone in our area, so we will be doing a lot of looking in the near future.

  14. Congrats on the goals crushing and your negotiation skills to engineer a larger bonus for 2017! Awesome feel good stuff!

    We also had a stellar year with our net worth rising a quite ridiculous amount. Driven by high savings rate across all our various tax advantaged accounts, Vanguard taxable and all supported by large bonuses (particularly mine) and stock options vesting. The market helped things along for sure.

    I get my 2016 bonus paid out in March 2017 and it looks like it could be another very good one based on the triumvirate of areas that dictate the abonus amount ( personal performance, division performance and company performance). My options also vest around the same time ( Feb) so a sizeable deposit should be winging its way to Valley Forge before the end of Q1.

    A big disappointment this year was to put our blogging efforts on pause. But for good reasons. We were happy not to pull it completely and so will do our best to get some periodic updates shared.

    All still very much on track to pull the plug in summer of 2018. Earlier if we were not so darn conservative!! Trying to convince Mrs. PIE for her to do it a bit earlier…..but since her bonus pays out in June of each year, hard to leave that on the table….I think we will see our current plan play out.

    • Thank you! It felt good. :-) Glad you guys had a big year, too! With the markets doing what they’re doing, it’s kind of hard not to, but obviously being very focused about saving makes a huge difference. I understand all your reasons for sticking to your planned quit date. Just don’t let it stretch beyond then… one more year syndrome and all. Or maybe we should rename it, for cases like ours, to One More Bonus Syndrome? ;-)

      So glad you guys will still be posting periodic blog updates… and we’ll all look forward to when you quit and can return fully! :-D

  15. I’m really curious about the second act job!

    Awesome progress on the goals! We blew past our financial goals for the year (well ahead of our $500k in 5 years plan) but we haven’t set specific goals for next year yet. The end of the year always comes up so quickly!

    • I’ll share more about the second act once the wheels are more fully in motion — promise! :-) And congrats on the huge year you guys had! Wohoooooo!!! You still have time to set goals for next year… no pressure. ;-)

  16. Congrats on the bigger bonus!

    I ended up missing a few of my financial goals this year (darn!), but exceeded a few others. So it was kindof a mixed year.

    Can’t complain though…now that I’m FI it feels like life has actually begun!

    • Thank you! It felt good to get the bigger bonus, even if it doesn’t make a huge difference in our progress. And congrats on exceeding some of your goals this year!

  17. I thought you wee going to quit at the end of 2017 regardless of numbers? Now you say there are magic taxable numbers. Are you flip flopping on us again? Haha. I kid. And for reals, mad props to you for cashing out on those mad negotiator skills.

    • Ha! Totally fair question. So we’ve always had a number in mind for our taxable savings, and we also had a “preferred reach goal” number that was higher. But when we decided to quit at the end of 2017, no matter what, we said we wouldn’t worry about the numbers if we fell short, and we’d figure things out. But now, it’s clear that we’ll hit our original number much sooner and our preferred reach number even before the end of 2017, so it’s a question of: Why keep working til the end of the year just to collect a bonus we don’t need? (I mean, of course I understand WHY, but also want out ASAP!) :-) And thanks for the congrats, pal! :-)

  18. Congrats on the successful negotiation! I would like to try that some year, if I actually felt confident that my contributions exceed my pay. In honestly assessing my performance, I know that my attention and efforts have been somewhat scattered this year. But the small bonus and raise certainly help with our financial goals. We have definitely made big progress this year, so the added income will just help us keep building momentum. I’m actually looking forward to drafting my update post, as opposed to the one from 2015 when I dreaded adding up all the numbers :)

    • Thanks! :-) Only you can know whether you’re contributing enough to ask for more, but be sure you aren’t judging yourself more harshly than others. You know the stats — women rarely ask for more, but men often do. If a man in your role was contributing as much as you are, would he ask for more? That should be your measure. :-) Hooray for your great progress this year! Can’t wait to see your wrap-up of the year!

  19. I am ABSOLUTELY super excited about when you’re retiring! Well done on everything this year! (also, I get a little stressed when you talk about another rental… but we all know I have irrational personal fears in this area!)

    • Thanks, my friend! And yeah, I get nervous talking about another rental too. But then I get nervous about all forms of risk and investing, so I probably shouldn’t listen to myself. ;-)

  20. Congratulations on a great 2016! You did an awesome job asking for more.
    I’m terrible at that. Good luck in 2017. It looks like you’re on track for ER very soon. I’d say go for it if you can’t stand working anymore. Why put it off if you don’t have to? Get on with the rest of your life. :)

    • Thanks, Joe! I have never really asked for more before in such a forthright way, so I’m proud of myself for doing that. :-) And I’ll refer Mr. ONL to your great advice here when we have our timing discussion next week. Hahahaha.

  21. I’m still glowing with pride for you. You pushed back sensibly and got more, YAY!

    We bought an out of the area property for our rental, if only because that area was where a friend advising me has the best expertise to help me out, and also because the Bay Area is currently impossible for us to buy just for an investment. The idea of investing at these prices (and the associated expenses and risk) gives me the collywobbles! I’d be interested to hear where you come down on this decision.

    • Awww, thanks friend! :-D That’s good to know that your rental is out of area. I’m not crazy about the idea, but it’s at least worth thinking it all through. I’m like you… I don’t love the idea of investing in our local high priced market! So we’ll see where we land on that…

  22. Congratulations on pushing for more bonus and getting it! That is very exciting. I am terrible at negotiating pay raises for myself. I’ve only done it successfully once, and that was at the very beginning of my career. Now I realize that I could have done it for my current position and would have been making about 2-4% more all along if I had. Missed opportunity.

    I only set one goal for us this year, which was to put the same amount into savings as last year. We hit that goal at the end of Q3 (wow!), so I am very excited to see where we end up for the year. My bonus is likely to be very small this year (it’s never big, but this was a bad year for our business), but we have a few other variables. Here’s to a good rest of 2016!

    • Thanks! And how awesome that you hit your savings goal so early in the year! Wohooooo. Fingers crossed that we all finish out the year strong. (And it’s not too late to push on compensation — we have probably ALL missed opportunities to ask for more, but no reason you can’t start in the latter half of your career!)

  23. So proud of you for negotiating for more. I’ve never done it myself. I have on occasion mumbled something incomprehensible under my breath about not being entirely happy, but they assured me that I was mistaken and should be very happy and so that was that. Such fail.

    Congratulations on meeting all your 2016 goals. 2017 is going to be even better – for obvious reasons!

    The BITAs have had a most excellent 2016. We exceeded our savings goal for 2016. I started my blog and have found a community here that I am proud and glad to be a part of. My FIRE date is supposed to be Jan 2021. The extra savings we’ve accomplished thus far might pull that back to November 2020. Maybe. I’m watching the numbers like a hawk. If it gets pulled up much more I’ll be in trouble though – the name of my blog will be all wrong because I won’t be 42 when I retire : )

    • Thanks! I will say… most companies have a hard time looking beyond their own noses, so when I grumbled, their response was, “No, your pay is in line with others with similar experience.” It was hard not to shout back, “I mean ‘in the world’ not just compared to here!” Oh well. :-) And I’m so glad you guys joined the blog community! And I think everyone would be willing to grant you a little leeway on 42 if it’s because you hit your goals early. ;-)

  24. Nicely done! I’ve never pushed for more money, mostly because my company has more than met my expectations. I was planning on negotiating when I started after graduation, but they offered me $15k more than I was expecting.

    I very much look forward to the grand reveal of your ‘second act’! It’s an intriguing mystery :) As for my goals this year, I set out to max my Roth IRA, 401k, and hit a net worth of $120k. If all goes well in December I should hit all three! No ideas on goals yet for 2017.

    • Thanks! And that’s a nice problem to have — having your company beat your expectations! Fingers crossed for you that you hit all those goals this month — I believe it will happen. :-)

  25. Congratulations! It’s so great that you negotiated and were successful in getting what you deserved.

    If the markets keep up their crazy run, I might meet my stretch goal for the year, but honestly, I’ve already made so much progress that I’m not too concerned about it.

    Goals for 2017:
    Continue to save >50% of my (gross) income.
    Get my CPA designation and a raise (and bank that raise!).
    Get my partner on board with paying more attention to & reducing the expenses that he pays for.

    • Thanks, Katrina! :-) And hooray for being so close to your stretch goal for the year! I hope you make it. :-) And your goals for 2017 all sound awesome — good luck achieving all of them, especially getting your partner on board. :-)

  26. Congrats on your success! It is inspiring to read about your progress.

    I finally got serious about my finances this year and paid off my two smaller student loans. Chipping away at the big one now (40K) to get myself set up for future changes. I’m nervous about needing a new car so I’m also setting aside money to prepare for that.

    My goal for next year is to get my net work into the black. Not very impressive by some standards, but it will be a big change for me!

    • Thank you! :-) CONGRATS on paying off your loans! Wohoo! Now that you have that momentum, your big one will be so much easier to crush — sending you lots of good vibes! And don’t let anyone tell you that getting your net worth into the black isn’t a huge deal. That is a GREAT goal. By the time we retire, my net worth will only have been in the black for less than a decade, so you can still achieve a lot of goals quickly if you really focus. :-)

  27. Congrats on all of your achievements, and especially your succesful negotiation. It’s too bad that it’s easier to negotiate when we’re in a stronger position, regardless of how fair or deserved it is even when we’re weaker. You have a win under your belt now, though, and that will make it easier in the future too.

    • Thanks! And YES, so true. I have way more leverage now than I did when I was younger, and way more leverage than plenty of workers will ever have. I know how lucky I am to be negotiating from that place of strength. :-)

  28. Congrats on your success.

    Most financial goals are exceeded for the year. My goal was to save 2x our expenses and set the stage for next year as my wife recently left the work force to be a stay at home mom. My secondary goal was to lay the ground work for my wife to earn money via side hustles. The verdict is still out on that as the transition out of work for her took longer then expected (they requested and she accepted staying on for an extra 2 months).

    Next year the goal is to still save 1x expenses while helping to get my wife transitioned into her knew opportunities.

  29. Nice job on the bonus bump!

    Around our house, Mrs. Need2Save gets a larger bonus than I do, some years it’s MUCH larger. No complaints here, as you said – it’s half my money too ;-)

    For 2017, we were able to find at least an extra $200 a month on top of what we already budgeted for our after-tax Vanguard account. Our pre-tax accounts are in good shape, but we really need to accelerate our after-tax accounts.

    • Thanks! And gotta love those spouses and their big bonuses! ;-) That’s so awesome that you upped your savings this year — same boat for us on needing to beef up taxable!

  30. I offer a double high-five to both of you! I’m also glad that you were able to give yourself the gift of knowing you had negotiated for yourself. That’s something that won’t eat away in the What Ifs category.

    • Thanks, ZJ! And so true — I love that I now get to know forever that I fought for this. It’s a great feeling, and I just decided that I’d donate 100% of the added bonus, so I feel extra good about that too. :-D

  31. Congrats on your negotiation! Every year I think about negotiating but so far have decided against it. I already feel like I’m compensated fairly for my work, and I make more than at other companies for a similar position. Although I did negotiate earlier this year to get a big promotion track-type of project, which I’m proud of.

    • Thanks! If you feel like you’re fairly compensated, then great! I often feel the opposite — that I could easily make more if I traded companies, though I wouldn’t like or respect the others as much — and that’s what drove my asking the question. That’s awesome that you got that project — hope it pays off for you quickly!

  32. All the talk of bonuses is fascinating to me as a teacher. There is no negotiation for more except in our evaluations; we can ask for higher ratings, but that doesn’t really affect compensation, only your record. I have never negotiated for more money in a job, so it’s hard to imagine how one pulls together the nerve to do so. Way to go on asking for what you deserve and getting it!

    • Thanks! I know we’re lucky to be in jobs that have this opportunity, though they come at the cost of having to be online and available at essentially all times. I was told last week, for example, that I should always expect to be working on vacation. So that’s the very real flip side!

  33. Way to go in asking for an increase in your bonus! Research shows that women, overall, tend to start their careers somewhat lower in compensation than comparable male peers, and the gap grows significantly over time (even adjusted for time lost due to maternity leaves). Two big factors are that women don’t move up the ranks as fast or as high, and that women don’t ask for compensation levels comparable to their male peers.

    I took this research to heart and negotiated firmly for appropriate compensation when I accepted a senior management position. I got a figure within the range I asked for (and judging from the response of my supervisor above what he originally had intended to offer). I have since found out that I was the most highly paid woman in that rank at the organization, and at about the median when compared to my male peers at that rank.

    It does help pave the way for other women. Since I was hired, another woman was hired into a position one step above me and is being compensated at a rate just a little above what I was earning. It also helped me reach FI that much sooner. So good on you for following your feminist instincts!

    • I have seen that research, and it’s not hard to understand how it happens. A small divergence early in one’s career can really set a woman back overall! I’m so glad you negotiated firmly for your compensation and it has paid off for you! And even better that you’ve helped boost up other women! What a great legacy to leave. :-)

  34. Ooh, I’m excited to hear about your second act! That has been one of the most fun aspects for me. It seems that every day has been a chance to learn new things. I’m sure whatever you decide to do will be awesome!

    Also, big congrats on the extra pay and crushing so many goals!

    • I’m excited to share more about it! Just have to keep it close a bit longer. :-) I’m excited to get to where you are soon, and have time to dive into the more creative projects we want to take on! And thanks for the congrats! It’s nice to end the year strong. :-)

    • Thanks, Mackenzie! :-) Can’t wait to share more about it once we get a little farther along with things… not easy at the moment with work still taking up too much time!

  35. The power of the ask! This is such a good reminder for me as I move into a season in my life where I’m going to be asking a lot of the world. I’m so happy that your ask worked out as it should have – you deserve that! And thanks for the inspiration.

  36. Awesome! You deserved that pay increase it sounds like!!! Good job being confident enough to decide what you want and get it! Very inspirational! Thank you!