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2016 Money Summary

January 2, 2017

While many agree 2016 was a generally crummy year, our finances did pretty well.  I haven’t finished analyzing my spending for 2016 in detail, but I will. I’m not that interested in the day-to-day information for purposes of control, but I like to have the breakdown for my own introspection.

At the highest level, our money looked about like this:


Spending:  We were coming in around $95k in spending (well under my goal and less than last year), but we replaced our car before the year ended.  This could be its brief own post, but the shortest version is that Volkswagen is buying back our 2011 VW Golf Diesel for way more than it is worth, and we replaced it with a Subaru Outback.  After taxes and such, we’re out about $10k for the difference.  We took the 0% financing to increase our liquidity – although we will keep the full balance in savings and mentally note it as “spent”.  If not for the emissions scandal, we would not have replaced the car yet (6 years).

Home:  Seeing the impact of the mortgage prepayments on the year-end statement was fun, especially as I didn’t actually make the 2015 ones until early 2016, so it was pretty big. The total mortgage is still a big number, but it is shrinking!

The major project of the year was the earthquake retrofitting, which was extraordinarily cheap after tax incentives.  We bought another couple blinds and 8 dining chairs (STILL no table), but we still are pretty behind the game when it comes to having a fully decorated house.  And I’m completely fine with that.

I’m bookkeeping the tax-assessed value, which in California is limited to go up some smallish percentage each year.  The “market value” is already quite a bit more, but since that may fluctuate (bubble?!) and it isn’t anything we can cash in on without moving to a cheaper market, I don’t see a benefit in tracking it.

Overall Net Worth:  We had another strong year, thanks to increases in the markets and our savings.  It’s been a long time since the markets had a really terrible year.  I haven’t reported our numbers in a long time, but I will say we STILL have not hit the million dollar mark (unless we take advantage of market value of our home).  This could be the year, but only if the markets do well again (only if we don’t devolve into world war III / end of democracy / global recession).

What next?  I’ll make a more detailed post on this, but our strategy for next year is largely the same as this year.  We’ll do another ~$25k mortgage prepayment.  I’ll shoot to have my retirement account maxed by end of summer, with T’s on track for even contributions throughout.  We’ll end the year with spring property taxes & insurance in the bank.  I’ll target a modest tax refund of $1-2k.  The remaining money will increase liquid savings until we know what is next.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2017 10:52 pm

    Seems like a solid year! If you combine our numbers, we surpassed the million dollar mark this year, which I was pretty excited about, but my husband still struggles internally with this wealth thing a bit – we’re becoming concerned that we have more than his parents who are at retirement age…

    Happy new year! Here’s to you guys possibly surpassing the million dollar mark in 2017!

    • January 3, 2017 11:47 am

      It’s fairly unlikely, but within the realm of possibility! Being in an expensive area, we still feel pretty average / not wealthy.

  2. January 5, 2017 3:48 pm

    Do you not include the paid value of your property in your net worth? I use the most recently appraised value minus the remaining mortgage but it also makes me feel like it’s inflated. At the same time, it’s still an asset and liability.

    Living where we do, I don’t think we’re ever going to feel comparatively wealthy 🙂

    • January 5, 2017 6:10 pm

      I do. It sounds the same. The tax-assessed value minus the mortgage. I just don’t include the “market value”. Separately, I track my investable assets.

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