Happy New Year to You!

2019 is in full effect!

Before I dive into what’s coming next, let’s take a look at how 2018 went. 

What didn’t go well

Job Loss:

My teaching job of nearly 5 years came to an end mid-year.
Thankfully I knew this was coming and had time to prepare financially.
But, I wasn’t able to save or invest as much in 2018 because I wanted to shore up my emergency fund. 
I also didn’t max out my Roth IRA contributions for 2018, only putting $1,000 into the account.
The good news is that I have until April of 2019 to put in additional funds for 2018.
This goes for you too!
If you are eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA but you haven’t yet hit the annual maximum contribution , there is still time for your to make contributions for 2018. 

Another Job Change:

In July I took a new job that looked good on the surface but turned out to be a terrible fit for my lifestyle and personality.
I resigned after 3 months, with no job lined up, because I was miserable, burned out, and still recovering emotionally from the earlier job loss. 
I would never advise someone to quit a job before having a new one, but the situation was bad and my husband and I were blessed to have money in savings to keep us afloat until the right job came along.
Financial freedom is about being able to say ‘bye-bye’ to people and places you don’t like because you have the option to do so. 
There have been too many years when I worked jobs I hated, with terribly long commutes, and jerky bosses, just so that I could ‘pay the bills’.
Although we’re not yet financially independent, the only debt we carry is the mortgage on our home and on our rental property.
So this gave me a degree of freedom (and the confidence) to make the choice to leave my job, and know that all of the bills would still be paid. 

What went well

Scaling back to part-time work

After a couple of months out of work, I decided to return to work, but only on a part-time basis.
I took a clinical job (I’m a certified physician assistant), seeing patient’s in an office 3 days per week from 9 am to 5 pm. I have two days off during the week and I’m off every weekend.
I can’t ask for a better schedule. And, my commute is only about 20 mins!
Less time working, means less income. But…in this season of my life I just need a break. I may return to full-time work in 3 years when our son starts kindergarten.
I maintain two or three side hustles that I can lean on if I ever need an additional cash infusion. And I bring in some money each month via my Youtube channel, coaching, and products.
I intend to grow these revenue streams (but slowly) so I don’t risk burning out again!

Pre-tax Investing

I contributed $12,649 to my pre-tax investment accounts through my employer in spite of being out of work for 2 months in 2018.
Because I knew my teaching job was ending mid-year, I front-loaded my retirement contributions.
Meaning I increased my pre-tax contributions at the beginning of the year before the job ended so that I could put in as much money as possible.
At the time I wasn’t sure how long I would be out of work.
Over $11,000 of the $12,649 was contributed in the first five months of the year. 
Thankfully, one of my part-time adjunct teaching jobs offers a 401k that I began contributing to at the end of 2018 to.
As a part-time employee I don’t receive an employer match but I’m grateful to have the option to contribute to a plan while I work less hours. 

Taxable Investing

I also invested $13,259 in taxable brokerage accounts. Again, not bad in light of the job loss. Over the years I’ve done a pretty great contributing to traditional workplace accounts and I’ve maxed out my 403b for the past 5 or 6 years in a row prior to 2018.  
But if I want to retire early (before 59 and 1/2 I need to diversify my investment strategy and contribute more to taxable accounts that I can tap into during my early retired years.

Travel

I traveled…a LOT. 

Phoenix, Arizona + The Grand Canyon (January)

In January my husband and I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona and to the Grand Canyon. Thanks to credit card rewards we were able to fly free roundtrip! 
This was only our second time taking a trip ‘off season’ and it was amazing. There is something about leaving the freezing cold here in Maryland and a few hours later landing in 70 degree weather. 
We plan to take at least one ‘off season’ trip per year from now on. 

New York City (June)

In June we went to New York City for an extended weekend to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary.
We stayed at a hotel in Time Square, traveled to Central Park and up to Harlem to eat at Sylvia’s Soul Food Restaurant and see the Apollo Theatre.
And of course we took the boat tour around the entire island of Manhattan.

Disney World Orlando, Florida (July)

In July we took the kids to Disney World. My mother-in-law wanted to celebrate her retirement with a family trip so went we with the extended family to Orlando. 
My in-laws covered the cost of the house rental and the Disney Park tickets which only left us with the cost of airfare for myself, hubby, and the three kids, plus food, and car rental.
We also drove down to Daytona Beach during our time in Florida. 

Orlando, Florida…again (August)

In August I traveled to Orlando again, this time solo, to attend FinCon.
And my Youtube channel was nominated for a Plutus Award!
I didn’t win but it was an honor to be nominated.
The highlight of the trip was meeting so many new people and connecting with friends that I’ve made online since starting my channel in 2015. 

New York… again, specifically Brooklyn this time (September)

I attended a conference in Brooklyn to learn more about building an online business. I traveled up to New York on the Megabus again, but this time all of my travel was a business write off!

And finally, in December, Eric and I left the 30-degree weather behind in Baltimore (again), this time landing in 80+ degree weather in Ochos Rios, Jamaica for a kid-free 6 night (just because) trip . It wasn’t really a celebration of anything we just needed some time to get away and de-stress.
When it was all said and done we spent about $5,000 on travel in 2018 which is pretty great considering the number of days we traveled. 

No regrets

A person commented on one of my recent videos noting  that I could have maxed out my Roth IRA if I hadn’t traveled so much this year.
This is totally true, of course.
But it was an intentional decision on my part to travel more and I have NO regrets.
I fully intend to continue pursuing my financial goals while actually living my life and doing things that I enjoy. 
One of my biggest lessons for 2018 was that I needed to enjoy life more NOW.
I realized that I was so focused on ‘checking boxes’ and accomplishing goals that I wasn’t actually enjoying the journey. 
No more of that!
I will enjoy life today and keep my eye on tomorrow. 

Featured on Rockstar Finance

On the morning of December 29th I woke up, said my prayers, read my Bible and then scrolled through my phone before getting out of bed.
(I’m working on NOT reaching for my phone and looking through my email before getting out of bed- but on this day I lost that battle).
I scrolled through my inbox and eventually opened up the Rock Star Finance email that I receive daily in my in-box. Under ‘Today’s Features’, one of the title’s catches my eye.
It’s an article entitled 19 Money Moves to Make in 2019. 
It catches my eye because I posted an article by that name earlier in the month.
I LITERALLY clicked on the article thinking, ‘oh, someone else posted an article with the same title as mine’
Needless to say I was shocked to see that it was actually my article reposted on Rockstar Finance!
That was an awesome way to start my day and it was my very first feature!

Completed my 1st full year in business

FrugalChicLife, LLC. celebrated its one year anniversary!
At the end of 2017 FrugalChicLife became an LLC (limited liability corporation), an actual business.
In 2018 I increased my revenue from one-on-one coaching clients and I turned my free 21 Day Money Challenge into a course.
I also launched the Side Hustle Bootcamp for those interested in starting online side hustles like blogging or creating a Youtube channel. 
It’s been awesome seeing others pay off debt, save more,  and earn more in order to accelerate their own journey to financial freedom. 

What’s coming in 2019?

Financial Goals:

Max out my Roth IRA. The IRS has increased the contribution limit to $6,000 for 2019.
Woop-woop!
All money nerds are excited about this.
They also increased annual 401k and 403b contribution amounts as well. 

Business Goals

I would like to earn a consistent minimum profit of $1500 from the business every month after expenses. 
Could I earn more with the business?
Absolutely, but for me 2019 is the Year of Enough, and I have no plans to overwork and lose myself in pursuit of my goals. I’m ok with slowly growing the business while keeping my focus on family and self-care. 
I do plan to begin actually paying myself a salary, even if it is a small amount each month.
Up to this point I have been reinvesting everything back into the business. 
I’m also excited about my newest venture, the Beyond the Budget Accountability Program.
Beyond the Budget is a 12-Month Group Coaching and Accountability Program for Wealth Builders looking to take their finances to the next level. The program includes monthly coaching calls, goal-check ins, and monthly challenges to help participants stay on track with their financial goals for the year.
Of course I will continue to upload on Youtube, with a goal of two videos per week and I fully intend to blog more regularly over here as well. 

Personal Goals

Work out at least 3 days per week for 30 mins. (cliche I know, but I really need to get in shape).
Continue to date my hubby and plan at least 2 date nights per month.
Read at least 1 book per month.
I’m currently reading Women & Money by Suze Orman 

Final Thoughts:

Overall 2018 was a challenging, stressful year and I’m glad that its over! But a lot of things went really well also.
I feel blessed in my life. I’m healthy. My children and husband are healthy. And I’m even more determined to continue pursuing financial freedom and living a life rich in spirit, time, and peace (and oh, yeah money too).

How was your 2018?

What are your personal, life, and money goals for 2019? 

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