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. Con­grats on a great year!

    2016 might have been an incred­i­bly sucky year by many stan­dards, but it was a ban­ner year for me on basi­cal­ly every front imag­in­able.” This is how I felt, as well. I kind of feel guilty know­ing that I per­son­al­ly had such a good year when it seems like every­one else’s has been awful.
    Matt @ Opti­mize Your Life recent­ly post­ed…How Not to Fail at Your New Year’s Res­o­lu­tionMy Profile

  4. Con­grats on an awe­some year, Gwen! I always wait until after 1231 state­ments to final­ize my num­bers, it’s always excit­ing to see how the year wrapped up. Con­grats on CRUSHING it this year!! (and, I look for­ward to meet­ing you at Fin­Con, my first!!)

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Increas­ing 54% in net worth is pret­ty damn awe­some. Con­grats Gwen. Very neat to see year by year com­par­i­son. These are charts I do with our analy­sis too. 🙂

  9. This is awe­some, Gwen!!! I can’t wait to meet up with you in Flori­da and talk shop. You have a hell of a plan and are fir­ing (ahem) on all cylin­ders. Keep up the good work and keep track­ing your progress. It helps.

  10. Great work! The fact that you’re think­ing about this stuff so ear­ly on in your career (life) is awe­some. You’ll be a mil­lion­aire before you know it if you keep on this tra­jec­to­ry!

    • 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!?

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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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