Recap: 2016 Edition

2016 might have been an incredibly sucky year by many standards, but it was a banner year for me on basically every front imaginable. I hit all of my personal, professional, and financial goals for the year, which I think is the first time that’s ever happened for me.

Highlights include trips to Seattle [Camp Mustache], San Diego [FinCon], and London [Harry Potter play], expanding my FI network with tons of awesome people, and getting my new job!

One of my personal goals for 2016 was to meet more FI/money minded friends. I accomplished that by going to a number of events specifically geared towards those kinds of people. If you haven’t started to expand your Mustachian network yet, I highly suggest you do so! Having a community that understands the reasoning behind your goals means so much when you’re celebrating or commiserating.

Relevant: My review of Camp Mustache and my review of FinCon!

My professional goal for the year was to get through the end of my early development program and into a position that was better suited to my personality and skill set. I can say I achieved that in spades this November when I got hired into what’s basically the perfect position for me. I haven’t been this happy with my job in I don’t know how long. The people are nice, the work is just varied enough to keep me engaged, and the benefits are stupendous (both compensation and unstated).

Career Update #2 is a post that covers a lot of the excitement I felt when I got this job!

However, I would say it’s my financial goals where I really killed it this year. I didn’t buy a multi-family rental property like I wanted to, but I still managed to not only hit $100k net worth at the age of 25, but also hit my stretch goal of $120k by the end of the year!

Everyone loves graphs right? So why not throw out some awesome charts and graphs to show exactly what happened in 2016!


I started off the year with a net worth (ahem, cash stash) of $81,459. I finished the year at $125,000! (Number is approximate until 1 January at which point I will amend with the final total. This is a finely tuned estimate based upon forecasted spending and my last paycheck.) This means not only did I hit my stretch goal for the year but it took me 6 months to go from the big $100k milestone to $125k! Part of that is market gains, part of it is lowered expenses, and still another part is all the money I got from work in December [bonus, moving allowance, raise].

That means I saved $43,541 this year, which means I saw an increase of 54% in my net worth! Go back to the start of 2015 and my net worth has increased a whopping 166%!! It seems incredible to me that I have managed to squirrel away just shy of $80,000 in two years! It still doesn't feel quite real to me yet…


I made recent strides towards reducing my spending, although I would have liked to spend less through the year. Considering just about everything I spent the money on was productive in some shape or form, I'm not too bothered about spending $41k this year. Remember when I said I wasn't particularly frugal? Case in point.

I also found it interesting to compare my spending this year to my spending from last year. Different months were at highs and lows depending on where I was, if I was moving, and if I was prepping to go on a trip. So far, there isn't really a discernible pattern. Yellow is 2015, green is 2016.


Unlike my spending, there is a very predictable pattern to my income. Spending stays at roughly the same level unless I move, get my tax refund, or get my bonus at the end of the year. It might fluctuate a bit, but that's dependent on side hustle income or people paying me back for things I paid for. I'm glad to see this went up from last year thanks to raises, moving allowances, side hustle income. In 2015, I earned $78k. I'm happy to report I earned almost $87k this year! That blows me away. That's almost ten thousand dollars more than 2015! I'm so grateful I have a great job that allows me to have all these options as to what I want to do with my money. As above, yellow is 2015 and green is 2016.

Wrap Up

Overall, every thing went swimmingly. I got a new job, which lowered my expenses and boosted my income, traveled to a bunch of incredible places around the US and the world, met a lot of amazing people, and continued to blog about my journey to financial independence.

Thank you for reading along today and this year! I'm excited to see what 2017 has in store for me!

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48 thoughts on “Recap: 2016 Edition

  1. Awesome year! hope to do a recap soon. I’m regretting using my name when it comes to number stuff. It would be so much easier to talk about numbers openly if I didn’t consciously know that anyone throwing my name into Google would easily find them. Oh well.

    I would imagine having “money minded friends” makes the FI experience feel a lot less lonely. My problem with internet friends in general has always been that it stays on the internet….unless you spend money to take it off the internet….we shall see if next month’s Camp Mustache proves to be a worthwhile investment for me, or if it will be like similar meetup events where everyone else seems to be making BFFs and I was just along for the ride. I don’t really have any expectations, so it would be hard to be disappointed. 😀
    TJ recently posted…The $17,000 Christmas Present.My Profile

    • I’m sure it’s been a great year for you as well based off your posts thus far. This close to an extended sabbatical? Jelllllyyyy.

      See you at CMSE in a few short weeks!

  2. Congrats again on getting that job! The income increase and better position make life so, so much better. Bravo for squirreling away such a fantastic net worth, too!

    We spent a looooot of money in 2016, mostly due to buying a house. I’m hoping our expenses will level out more in 2017 so we can sock away 60% of our after-tax income. Let’s do this!

    • Thanks Mrs. Picky Pincher! I think I’ll be a lot happier in 2017.

      I’m hoping I don’t fall into the “spending lots of money because I bought a house” trap. Must. Avoid! Good luck on your 2017 savings goals!

  3. Awesome, Gwen! This is going to make me sound old (and compared to you, I am), but I sure do wish I knew at your age what I know now! I think it’s amazing and wonderful that you are killing those financial goals and have it all figured out at your age. Here’s to 2017! Cheers!

  4. That is amazing Gwen, I’m so happy for you! I’m far behind but looking to 2017 as being a big year of changes and improvement putting me well on my way as well. I’ve ended up opting against FinCon as I don’t think it would be in my financial best interest sadly.

    You’ve worked hard and it’s paid off, I can only imagine what you will achieve in 2017 with your new job and new living situation.

    • Thanks Vanessa! Don’t compare yourself to me – compare yourself to what you would’ve done without FI!

      FinCon isn’t for everyone, but those who do go usually have a pretty great time. It was definitely a highlight of my year.

  5. Nice job, Gwen! Your numbers are really trending in the right direction!

    I’m hoping to get a chance to meet more FI-minded friends as well… I just booked FinCon for 2017 so maybe I’ll see you there if you go again.

    Have a great New Year!!

    — Jim
    Jim @ Route To Retire recently posted…Year-End ReviewMy Profile

    • Thanks Freedom 40 Guy! It’s kind of fun to play with my employer’s pension calculator. It says I would make over $6 million if I worked a traditional career and retired at 60. Isn’t that crazy!?

  6. Killing it! Sometimes I get a little country envy (I’m not in the states, or Canada, or the UK, so it’s tough finding like minded mustachian friends of the interwebs) so I’m really excited for you to have reached that personal goal. Here’s to another year of awesomeness.

  7. Nice job, Gwen! I happily discovered your blog this year, and other inspirational blogs in the FI sphere. Nice podcast on MadFIentist today too. Great way to end 2016. I listened to it on my walk into work today.

    Personally, I came into 2016 totally on the ropes. Marriage was in trouble, career stalling out, our monthly income vs. spending was starting to dip into the red, in part due to lifestyle inflation – I was feeling trapped & hopeless. Reading FI blogs and several related books were a big part of starting to turn things around.

    Thanks for putting yourself out there!

    • You’re so very welcome! I’m glad I’m able to help inspire you!

      I certainly hope your 2017 goes better than your 2016. Good luck!

  8. Great job in 2016! That’s a huge increase in net worth. Enjoy the big gains now because it’s a lot harder when your net worth gets bigger. 🙂 Happy New Year!

    • Thanks Joe! I’m reveling in the big fun % increases now while they last! Although I suppose it might be more fun to have my NW go up 4% in a year but have that 4% be bigger than the 54% I put up now. Math is just fun! Happy New Year to you as well!

  9. Great work! Looks like a very productive year. Was the increase in spending mostly from travel? Do you plan to maintain these habits? Hope you have the same success with your 2017 goals. See you at the top

    • Thanks, GOF! I increased my travel a bit, but the increase was mostly from upping my charitable donations in 2016. I haven’t yet decided on how I’ll handle that going forward. However, my housing costs will go down significantly so that will free up a bunch of money. Good luck to you on your 2017 goals as well!

    • Thanks Donnie! I really appreciate you taking the time to swing by and comment!

      Good luck on your goal! Who knows, maybe we’ll even meet!

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