Sunday, January 02, 2022

2021 Year-End Update

What a year... as I write this, I'm on the mend from my own mild case of COVID, having been finally been hit by Omicron despite being vaccinated and boosted. (I got it from extended indoor, unmasked contact with a family member who turned out to have been not as "careful" as they thought they had been.) I know a lot of people are in the same boat. It is disheartening to have such a huge spike in cases after feeling optimistic over the summer, but I am trying to focus on the lower hospitalization and death rates. If vaccinations mean COVID becomes something that has less serious long-term health risks, like the regular flu, that is good news.

I've been using this low-energy post-holiday time to start getting year-end accounting in order. A few facts and figures:

The investments I manage for my mother had returns of about 20% this year.

My year-end net worth was $2,232,684.

My income from investments was approximately $145,000, while my income from work was approximately $72,000.

My spending on "Arts," a new category I started breaking out last year for museums and concerts, was up from about $100 in 2020 to over $1,000 in 2021 because I was so excited to enjoy live music with the reopening of local venues. (Most of the concerts I went to were outdoors, but a couple were indoors, with masks required.)

Sweetie and I had let our gym membership expire during the height of the pandemic, but we re-joined this fall, at a cost of about $1,100 for a year. I also spent about $250 on some apps and equipment to try to get myself to exercise more at home.

My travel expenses were an all-time (or all recent memory, anyway) low of $356 in 2021. All we did was visit family using our own car. 2020 would have been almost as low but for an international trip for a wedding early in the year, before the pandemic blew up.

I spend about $1,800 on clothes in 2021, vs a little over $800 in 2020. I bought a couple of expensive fleeces from Patagonia and expensive Hoka One One sneakers since they are the only shoes I can really walk in anymore, but otherwise much of my spending was on very inexpensive jeans and shirts on eBay, some of which were for Sweetie. I love working from home and being able to prioritize comfort!

When I did my 2020 taxes with my accountant and she heard I was working again, she suggested that I not do pre-tax 401k contributions anymore. She did a quick calculation of how my savings might be likely to grow over the next 15 or so years and said "you're going to have a lot of money when you retire! Your tax bracket is likely to be higher then, so you should probably focus on Roth IRA contributions now." So I immediately switched to doing Roth 401k contributions in my employer's plan.

I'm still enjoying working again. During the summer, I did find myself missing the freedom I had the last couple of years, and Sweetie is itching to travel again when the pandemic subsides. I'm hoping there will be an opportunity to scale back my hours. Occasionally it has crossed my mind that I could get a better-paying job that would still allow me to work from home, now that my entire industry has become more flexible about remote work and is likely to stay that way. But I'm not feeling greedy about the money. My current salary has more than stabilized my cash flow. I could cut back my hours somewhat and still get benefits, so that is a plan that is in the back of my mind for whenever it makes sense.

Thank you to anyone who still checks back in and reads these posts. I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year! Onwards and upwards in 2022 (as long as we're not talking about COVID hospitalization rates!)


Drekin said...

I want to say I see you don't get many comments but I've been following you for over a decade and you have inspired me to think about financial freedom. Please keep posting, even if just once a year.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on a great yeat

bethh said...

As long as my feed reader still works, I'll get your posts!

It's too bad you got Covid but it sure seems like it's going to happen to all of us - I just want to hold out for a mildish version if at all possible.

It's so great you're enjoying working. I'm planning to take a gap year starting mid-this-year; hopefully the next job I find will be something I don't mind or even enjoy doing for a few more years.

Thanks for the update!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you made a new post. I thought you abandoned your blog. I'm so happy you got the shots and only have a mild case. Whenever I read your posts I feel guilty about my spending habits. This year I shall spend less than last year.


eto124 said...

Long time reader here. Thanks for the update. You are an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm so happy you are still here. I have been reading your posts for many years and happy to hear how you are doing. You are always an inspiration for me to stay on track with my finances and I thank you for that! All the best to you for 2022 and please stay healthy!!!

Anonymous said...

Feel better soon! I've been reading your blog for many years and our situations are somewhat similar in terms of finances. I am actually early retiring at age 50 (just another week and a half if work to go!). I am looking forward to much less stress (my job has a ton of deadlines) for awhile. Not sure if this will be permanent or, like you, I go back to work in a lower stress job at some point in the future. For now I'm just going to enjoy since I've literally never been unemployed in my adult life!

T'Pol said...

I am glad you had a mild case of COVID. I wonder if you are working full time. Stay safe! Have a great year!

Anonymous said...

Happy to see your post! I check every so often even though I believe I get email notifications of your posts. I didn't see one recently though...unless it went to the spam folder.

Anyway...looks like it was a good financial year for you. I was optimistic up until a week or two ago when the market started getting volatile. Now I guess I need to get into safer investments if I hope to retire around age 60 (in a couple years. It's nice you're enjoying your work. I'd like to ease into a job with fewer hours, but for now I'm happy to work remotely until my employer decides it's safe for us return to the office. Even then, we'll be working on a hybrid basis and I'm happy about that.

Take care and look forward to your next post whenever that may be. :)

Justice said...

My first time reading you and like it. Keep posting your savings and money making experience to follow. Thanks.

Toni said...

I've been following you for quite a while, too, and am glad you made a post. Stay well.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see your writing again. I've always enjoyed reading your posts.

Zuzu said...

I still check your blog periodically and am always glad to see a new post. You're in a great place to work a job you still enjoy and not worry about money.

Anonymous said...

Any chance we get a 2022 end of year recap? Hope all is well!

Anonymous said...

Please give us an update for 2022!