How Did We Do on Our 2016 Goals?

october 2016 net worth update
2016 has been a challenging year in many ways. Financially, we have persevered through the challenges and done pretty well in spite of them. Considering the fact that we were paying $150 a week for Little Stapler’s occupational therapy and then I got laid off (again), I’d say we’re doing OK. 



Before we get to the numbers, I want to introduce you to Sarah Li Cain, the newest blogger here at Stapler Confessions. Sarah runs her own site, High Fiving Dollars, where she tells her own financial story. Plus, she’s getting rid of 90% of her stuff — I really respect someone who can do that!

Net Worth Update:

2016 Net Worth

2016 Net Worth

What’s happened since my last Net Worth Update?

  • Paid off a Student Loan:  I used the proceeds from the sale of Stapler Confessions to pay off a student loan. I didn’t give myself much time to think it through: I transferred the money the day after it hit my bank account.
  • Retirement Accounts Back Online: From time to time, loses communication with retirement accounts and it looks like our investments are stagnant. That seems to explain the $20,000 jump in retirement assets since my last update, in October — because we haven’t contributed $20,000 in three short months.
  • Business Spending: My current laptop is five years old. Sometimes, it sounds like a jet plane taking off — and I have no idea what background process is causing it. On Black Friday, I bought a tiny, new laptop, and put it on my business credit card. I consider it a sign of success when I can pay off that expense directly from my business checking account, without diminishing my monthly “paycheck.” But, that big bill hasn’t been paid yet, which is why it’s showing up on my net worth.

Our 2016 Financial Goals:

  1. Zero Net Worth: SUPER MAJOR AWESOME SUCCESS! In January, 2016, our net worth was -$30,000. Now, our net worth is $44,000. That is so much better than our goal of zero. I’m pretty dumbfounded at our success here. I believe a lot of it has to do with our slow and steady contributions to our retirement accounts. Mr. Stapler has a 3% match and I had a similar match before I was laid off. Plus, smart decisions throughout the year — to pay off a student loan, to spend the bonus on an asset (a used car), to privately sell our old car, etc. — helped.  
  2. $10,000 Liquid Savings. FAILURE! We still don’t have $10,000 in liquid savings. We do have some resources at our fingertips if we had an emergency: $10,000 in Roth contributions (can be withdrawn penalty-free), Mr. Stapler’s 401(k), and $1,000 in my business checking account. I guess the business checking account is liquid savings. But I don’t want to touch it!  
  3. Streamline our Finances. PARTIAL SUCCESS I didn’t make the kind of progress here that I wanted, but I did make some progress. The year started off strong, when I rolled Mr. Stapler’s old 403(b) into an existing Vanguard rollover IRA. But there are still two random bank accounts with $0.02 in them and we haven’t used them for years! That said, we did completely get rid of a student loan, so that’s one out of … oh … a gazillion … accounts that have been closed. This “to do” item is staying on my list for 2017. 

Our 2017 Financial Goals:

      • Get Rid of PMI: We currently pay over $200 a month in PMI. That would go away if we could get the outstanding principal on our mortgage down to 80% of the equity of our home. I believe we’ll be able to do that with a combination of (1) a re-appraisal of our house, which reflects the hot real estate market last summer, and (2) a significant payment to principal. An appraisal will cost us $400, so I don’t want to re-appraise the house until I believe we can make that significant principal payment. Mr. Stapler is slated to get another bonus this year, so I hope we can use just a portion of it to make this payment. 
      • Streamline our Finances: Decluttering is the name of my game. Time to get rid of dormant bank accounts and little itty bitty student loans that are gnawing at us! 
      • Clean out the Basement: This is a financial goal because I’ve been keeping clutter in the basement solely because “I could sell it for a few bucks.” After several failed attempts to sell some of these items, and several years of not even trying to sell certain items, I have resigned myself to the fact that I’m not going to get anything close to the effort it would take to get rid of these items. Getting rid of the clutter in the basement is going to give us more square footage in our home. Both Mr. Stapler and I have some tinkering, crafting, and exercising to do — and the basement is a perfect space for that. Once we can see the floor. 
      • $10,000 Cushion in Business Checking: Instead of having it in an emergency fund per se, I would like our cushion to be in my business checking. That will allow me to consider hiring a paralegal next year, which is a great way to scale up the business to the next level. 

How about you: How did you do on your 2016 goals? What goals are you setting for 2017?  

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